Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Riding impression: Harley Davidson VRSCF V-Rod Muscle


The Harley-Davidson VRSCF V-Rod Muscle looks good, goes hard...

Our no.1 favourite Harley is definitely the XR1200, but the VRSCF V-Rod Muscle isn’t too far behind. Well, we’d still rather take a V-Max or B-King if we had the choice, but since we don’t… and since Solomoto have done this handy little riding impression of Mr Muscle, here are some excerpts:

They used a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy in the second Terminator movie, where that bike was used for all kinds of stunts. However, if the Terminator were to ride a Harley today, it would have to be the VRSCF V-Rod Muscle. The V-Rod has seen several versions being launched over the last few years and the engine capacity has been bumped up from the original 1200cc to 1254cc, but really, the Muscle is the first major ‘new’ model in the series.

Without detracting in any way from the traditional V-Rod styling ethic, the Muscle is now the most attractive and contemporary looking bike in the V-Rod series. With its huge 240mm rear tyre and side-mounted exhaust pipes, the bike looks an intimidating dragster… yes, people will be turning their heads to look at your machine and be prepared for the questions from passers-by when you finally stop to park the bike!

The Muscle’s instrumentation is more comprehensive than most other Harleys – in addition to the usual fuel gauge, you also get a speedometer and tachometer, which is useful. Around town, the Muscle can be less than ideal because of its weight, length and shape of it handlebars. Still, for a dragster-like bike with a 240mm rear tyre, the bike is at least reasonably agile. And then, without any doubt, you’ll be the King of traffic lights, which should be great fun. Indeed, the engine provides strong acceleration from above 2,000rpm and unlike most other slow-revving Harley engines, this one revs up pretty quickly.

The V-Rod Muscle's riding position makes you stretch your arms far ahead and air protection is nil, which isn’t very comfortable on the long haul. Fortunately, 60-degree V-twin doesn’t vibrate and the rider’s seat is wide and comfortable, which helps matters. On the flip side, the pillion seat is small and thin, the footpegs are not insulated with rubber and there are no grab handles, which, depending on who’s riding with you, may not be such a bad thing…

On the move, you have to muscle the Muscle into corners – with its long wheelbase and massive rear tyre, you need to plan for corners well in advance and use full body English to get the bike to turn. Do this, however, and it’s possible to corner quite hard on the bike. However, the suspension is a bit soft – especially the rear shocks – which can compromise the handling somewhat. Also, the low-ish footpegs can grind out on the tarmac pretty quickly, if you get too ambitious with your cornering speeds.

To sum up, this is a ‘different’ Harley, one that’s not aimed at the Sportster, Fat Boy or Road King buyer. No, the Muscle is for those who want a Harley but who will not sacrifice performance for spectacle. Yes indeed, the Harley-Davidson VRSCF V-Rod Muscle would be the ideal bike for the new Terminator...

Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle
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