While we’d always prefer a GSX-R to a Harley, we have to admit we rather like the Night Rod and the V-ROD Muscle. These are the only two Harleys (apart from the XR1200X, which no longer seems to be in production…) that we’d be happy riding and the 2013 models feature some minor updates which only make the bikes better.
First up is the 2013 Harley-Davidson VRSCDX Night Rod Special, which now gets lighter, black-painted aluminium wheels (19-inch front, 18-inch rear), a tapered tail section with flush-mounted LED taillamp, a swept-back handlebar that brings the bike’s controls closer to the rider, reduced reach forward-mounted rider footpegs, 43mm USD forks, preload-adjustable rear shocks, a stylized ‘speed screen’ visor, straight-shot exhaust with brushed-aluminium finish dual mufflers, racing stripe on airbox and tail section, sporty front fender with painted brace supports, Michelin Scorcher 240mm rear tyre, and black powder-coated engine with black covers and blacked-out frame, handlebar, front fork and triple clamps.
The 2013 Night Rod has a hydroformed steel perimeter chassis and a cast-aluminium swingarm, and its rubber-mounted, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, DOHC, 8-valve, 1250cc ‘Revolution’ V-twin thumps out 125bhp and 115Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a 5-speed gearbox and according to Harley, the bike’s slipper clutch makes for low-effort downshifts. A low-maintenance carbonfibre belt transfers the engine’s power to the rear wheels, a high-performance Brembo braking system (with optional ABS) handles stopping duties and Harley also offers a proximity-based ‘smart security system’ that includes a hands-free key fob. The bike weighs 302kg (wet weight) and is priced at US$15,800.
Up next is the 2013 VRSCF V-Rod Muscle, which is essentially a slightly different – in terms of the styling – take on the Night Rod. The V-Rod Muscle gets the same chassis, suspension, engine and brakes as the Night Rod but has ‘chunkier,’ more aggressive styling, platinum (rather than the black) powder-coated powertrain with polished covers, a satin-chrome exhaust with ‘turn-out’ mufflers, silver-colour cast-aluminum wheels and a lot of polished, shiny bits that are blacked-out on the Night Rod. The V-Rod Muscle is about $100-200 cheaper than the Night Rod.
Both these bikes are, we think, quite cool and if muscle-cruisers are your thing, this duo is a viable alternative to the Yamaha VMAX and Ducati Diavel.