Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Riding impression: Harley Davidson VRSCF V-Rod Muscle

The V-Rod Muscle looks hot, goes hard, sounds good. What more can you ask for...

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...


Anonymous said...

Looks like a Cady Escalade in two wheels, can't put it in words but something looks wrong, not with the design but with the it for this times?..for a Co. $ize of HD? that niche market so big/valuable/promising to compete in?..


Anonymous said...

I took mine out for a short ride today, within a second of parking it I had guys asking me what it is, 'great lookin bike'. I went to get a coffee and when I came back to it there where people taking pictures of it. Riding back I had several thumbs up from car drivers. Fast cars slowed down to look, then sped up to have a look at the front - then dropped back to view from the back as I rode on.
Yeah, I like it!

Anonymous said...

Just picked one up a week ago. Thought it was pretty cool looking and then I finally got a test ride in. I come from a sportbike background and personally I think the v-rod is a decent performing bike for somewhat legal highway riding. I have an hour ride to work and this bike is smooooth and accelerates hard. Seat is comfy and reach is decent if you are over 6ft. Shorter guys might not like it so much. I kind of enjoy pushing it into corners at reasonable speeds and blasting out. Seems to be a little more theraputic than the sportbike....maybe I'm just getting old.

Anonymous said...

Traded my wife's 05 VRSFB in for the new 09 Muscle. Love everything about it except when will H-D offer a pull back handlebar? I can have the seat recovered with padding to nove her butt up an inch or two, but that doesn't fix the riding posture. We're both 6' tall and we both have to lean forward as if it's a crotch rocket. It's not a bike I would take on a long ride. I'll stick with my softail.
I may have to look into getting one fabricated for it.

Anonymous said...

I have owned a VRod Muscle for about a year and love it!
the things that could be improved:
-Shocks! I'm older and those bumps rattle my bones.
- Handlebars could extend back about 4 more inches. I am 5'9" and it is a little bit of a stretch.
- A slightly softer (more cushey)seat.
Why do I love it:
- My back used to get sore on my previous bikes after a couple of hours but I can ride all day on the muscle with no back pain.
- It is fast!
- Being liquid cooled is a criteria for any bike for me.
- The look is unique and after a year I still like just looking at it ( and so don't a lot of people in just passing comments).
- Specific stuff that I still love: The rear tire, the signal lights, that silver color and the flat black, the drag pipes.

You always second guess yourself (at least I do)when buying a bike but I took a year to decide and owned it a year have looked at MANY makes and models (including a VMAX which is unbelieveably fast but equally unattractive) and gotta say I would buy a VRod Muscle again today.

Anonymous said...

I wanted this thing so bad, that i just decided to go buy one to a dealer (we all know we can get them cheaper than that, and yes i do mean legally )
1st-i noticed it, in the corner of the shop, apparently they just cleaned it up. (for me) i was thinking.. still super excited at this point.
2nd-i'm taking my sweet time, i've never done business this way, never just walked to a dealer and said-this is what i want and i wanna take it Today. Enjoying every minute of being a high roller...:)
3rd- it's time to try it on, i sit down and i felt like i got hit with a big hammer that said SOBER UP DREAM IS OVER, the bike is way too small :((( i'm 6'6" 250 lbs and i looked like i was sitting on a toy. I was PISSED and still am whenever i see this thing of beauty parade itself on pictures just like these, what a beautiful piece of art



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