Harley-Davidson Street 750 vs Honda VT750S

I know, the news on the new entry levels Harley-Davidson Street 750 and Street 500 are less then 24 hours old, and many details remain to be disclosed in a stretched out marketing hype. But we all expected this to come: less cc, more water cooling – who doesn’t want to save the earth.

And it makes sense, as aspiring Slumdog Millionaire will not start his or her career on a Harley Ultra Limited. Its back to the roots for Harley. They know how to build smaller bikes, the Sportster range (starting at 883cc) is proof enough, I owned one, and loved it as city commuter bike. Now that I am retired I cruise the highways on a Road King, and regret to have sold my Sportster, it was such fun in the city on small runs.

HarleyStreet750

When I heard the news on the Street 750 my first worry was: did they get it right.  Owning a handful of Harley-Davidson shares (just enough for a drink or two), I looked at close rivals, people selling this type of motorcycle by the truckloads: like Honda.

Quick search and easy find: the actual Honda VT750S

HondaVT750S

Not sure why the marketing department of Honda added a “S” to the type names, as it has less power then the Harley Street 750. Comparing apples and pears, its 32.5kw for the Honda vs 55bhp for the Harley, levelling to 43.1 vs 55, thank you Porsche. Yes: Porsche! Zee Germans helped Harley to squeeze some more umpf out for the V-Rod, and their 60 degrees is the same angle on the Streets – not the potato potato of the 45 degrees on traditional Milwaukee vibrators. And not the odd 52ish something of Honda.

Now look at the pictures, Harley knows how to present a bike. Why on earth does Honda think the mandatory horn placed next to the radiator is exciting design, its all clustered, looks like bolted on by bob the japanese builder.

Ahh, the price tag you say. Prices for the Harley Street’s are unknown, the Honda VT750S is £5,999. With a bit of imagination, and build by cheaper Indian labour controlled by York or Kansas City quality control managers, it is possible to get close, the Sportster Iron 883 is just £6,995… very close.

Did you know the Honda has a drum as rear brake? You may call this nostalgic, but it reminds me of my first Honda, a SS50 in 1973. And just a 5 speed gearbox vs 6 gears on the Street 750?

Enough first comparisons, Honda must be crying by now. Living in Harley land with life HOG membership (no tattoos!), I quickly realised there is one other thing these Milwaukee guys got right: accesories. While the downloadable Honda accessories catalogue for the VT750S features 7 items, that is seven in print, sept in French, sieben in German and nana in Japanese, the Harley-Davidson section for the Sportster alone is 65 pages, and yes, I can do the number 65 in earlier languages.

I am confident the Street 750/500 will be as prominently featured in the 830+ page Harley-Davidson genuine Motor Parts & Accessories catalogue 2015, adding another kilo to its weight.

A last word to production facilities – do you know the iconic US brand name called Apple

apple

Designed in California, build in China

For Harley-Davidson it will soon be:

Designed in Milwaukee, build in India or somewhere else in this wonderful world.

And that is fine with me !

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5 Responses to “Harley-Davidson Street 750 vs Honda VT750S”

  1. Nimit Bafna Says:

    It’s good that you are a Harley fan but why the honda thrashing? Anyways, that’s beside the point. I am from India and let me tell you about the so called slum dog millionaires. Harley launched in India and then decided to make the street 750s here as per the Indian requirements. India is not a cheaper labor alternative like you think in your fantasy world. Do your research before posting. Find out how many Indian engineers they employed for this project. And before you are prejudiced to think India is poor, find out how many Indians figure in the top five richest people in the world. (hint: the richest people in the world are ambanis, Indians, )

  2. RubenAlonzo Says:

    I plan on buying a Street 750 as soon as they hit the market. Harley has sine divulged that the Street 750/500 meant for American soil will be built in Kansas. The ones meant for the International market will be built in India.

  3. Good article Axel. I think it’s a smart move on Harley’s part. The old farts may not like it, but it’s the right thing to do. Plus, I think they look great, and like you say, it could give Honda a real run for their money.

  4. I really like the looks of the Street 750 and think it’s going to be a winner, especially for urban riders. But, as others have also said, 750cc will get you across the country just fine – I did it on a Honda 550.

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