For many people it is a dream to own a Harley. They’ve built a great brand and they have a huge fan following. However, if you ask a Harley owner about his ownership experience, you will get polar reactions.
Harley as a brand has become a cult, but one of the reasons it is such a cult because people hate it or love it. Without hate there is no love. It’s not that some people hate it and some people love it. Sometimes, the same person loves it or hates it from time to time. I fit into that perfectly.
I’ve been owning a Harley Street 750 for more than a year now and my feelings about it are very mixed. I’ve done a lot of short and long rides with it. Sometimes I’ve enjoyed the ride and sometimes I wished I had a better bike.
My views are very India focused. If you think about Indian road conditions and Indian traffic, I feel Harleys do not belong here. Harleys are good for US and International roads where you can hit the highway and forget everything else. But you can’t do that in India. Even if you hit the highway between two major cities, there are plenty of villages in-between and so many intersections. It is hard to find more than 2-3 kms of uninterrupted roads.
Harleys fit into the cruiser category and by default, cruisers are meant for stress-free highway riding. The lean back sitting posture, the highway footpegs and the engine capacity – all speak of stress-free riding. But you can’t ride like that in India. And since you may have to come to a stop or slow down considerably any time, I feel Harleys are extremely dangerous on Indian roads. I’ve nothing against Harleys. If you think about cruisers from other brands like Suzuki or Triumph, its the same story.
Some people buy a Harley Davidson as a swag tool. For them, it serves the purpose. A Harley doesn’t go unnoticed on Indian roads and the sound is something you cannot ignore. But considering that we are not looking for Swag as a true biker, let us put that out of the window.
As I had mentioned in my previous article, it is better to use adventure bikes in India than cruisers. They have better handling and will not throw you out of balance when you ride over a pot hole.
Out of all Harleys, the Street 750 is guilty of having very poor brakes. They have launched the 2017 model with ABS, but my bike is a 2014 model and doesn’t have ABS. If you step on the brakes, it pulls you on one direction and the bike skids very easily. I know its dangerous because I fell once.
The brakes are so poor that many people have complained about it. There’s even a Change.org petition that owners of Street 750 have signed. There are more than 1,000 signatures overall for this specific issue.
I have recently tweeted to Harley India about the poor brakes and asked them if they could recall the bike and replace the brake. I will update here if there is any response from them. If I do not get a response from them, I am also planning to launch a documentary-like video on this issue. I need a satisfactory response from the company.
@HarleyIndia I own a Street 750 and it has faulty brakes. Can u upgrade my brakes? You’ve endangered my life and I’ve fell once due to this.
— Deepak Kanakaraju (@digitaldpak) June 26, 2017
I know that this article has become more of a rant than a review, but the attitude of the company towards its customers shows if they care about their end users or not.
If my brake issue is solved by Harley, I will remain a Harley customer of life. If I don’t get a proper response from the company, I am going to switch to Kawasaki and create my own biking group to go on rides instead of depending on Harley Owners group for the rides.
Anyway, it wouldn’t be fair if I do not end this article with a few good lines about the bike. The bike is extremely powerful and the 750 cc engine is super smooth. Once can go on a highway ride without vibrations at 80-90 kmph unlike Royal Enfield.
The ride position is good for someone around 5 and a half feet tall. However if you are around 6 ft tall, you will feel that the bike is a bit small for you.
If you want to go ahead for this bike, I would recommend that you can spend another 15% and get a Kawasaki Versys 650. My next review is going to be about that. Versys 650 is an excellent tourer and one of my favorite bikes.