By Heath “The Chief”
The wind is screaming through your helmet for 500 hundred straight hours on Germany’s infamous Autobahn, at the same time you ride it for 80,000 miles and on top of that you’re riding a Porsche and it’s not like anything you have ever ridden before. Did I fail to mention you’re riding a superbike also? Well, you could say those things, and all of them are true; underneath you is the very unique, custom designed 2015 Harley-Davidson V-Rod Special.
As always I have to put in my 2 cents and when I was told I was going to pick up a V-Rod to test, my first thought was, “Is that the really strange looking spaceship, jet-fighter looking bike?” All jokes aside, yes, the V-rod is not all that inviting to me. But, after throwing my leg over the bike and heading down the open freeway to get home after picking it up, I was smiling ear to ear with some wind tears flowing back into my helmet. My first thoughts… THIS BIKE IS FAST!!!!. I happily have had this bike for almost a month (sorry Harley-Davidson Press Fleet); I had fun on this bike.
The engine is a completely unique design that was a combination of love from Harley-Davison’s VR1000 Superbike motor, and with a little love from Porsche they spawned the liquid cooled 125HP, 1250cc speed generator called the “Revolution” motor. Ultimately you have the look of a somewhat traditional Harley-Davidson motor with the intense performance and technology of a high performance street bike. This motor is the highest revving motorcycle they have ever made. With the redline starting at 9,000rpm, it gives you TONS of power before the rev limiter kicks in! I have to let you know that between 6,000-8,000 rpm, this bike is VERY VERY FUN to ride. The torque just unloads so much power to the rear wheel, it shoots the bike down the road with that roller coaster launch feeling. I had a blast riding this bike over and over within that range just to get my blood pumping and fulfill my adrenalin rush for the day. Not only is this a super powerhouse, but also this motor had been tested for 6 years, 80,000 miles, 500 straight hours on the Autobahn – the famous “Dusseldorf Test “. The bottom line – this motor is FAST and RELIABLE. The motor makes this bike.
Ok, well, there actually is a lot more about the bike that is unique in the Harley-Davidson line up and I have to say the first time I pulled up to the gas station, I had to double check. “Umm, where does the gas go?” I thought there was some secret compartment in the tank that I didn’t see, I was chanting magic words to see if something would pop up, then just by chance, I flipped up the seat to behold the first ever Harley-Davidson under the seat injected molded fuel tank. I also was a little hesitant to put gas in at first with all the electrical connections I saw, I had to double check and make sure I was doing this right. Ahh ha… when full of gas, the overall ride improved and really helped keep the balance centered. The usual gas tank area is really a housing for the air Intake and some other electronics. It gives the bike a very sleek and clean look also completely unique for the line up. The gas tank holds 5 gallons of gas and will get you about 170 miles to a full tank depending on how many 7,000-8,000 rpms you hold up for long periods of time.
Another unique feature on this bike is the race inspired 43mm inverted low-rake forks. With a bike that can handle a good amount of speed it had to have strong suspension to support the performance of the bike, and Harley-Davidson did not fail here. I never had any issues at any speeds with the suspension. The rear suspension is adjustable and is pre-set at a good position right out of the gate. Of course, with such a wide 240mm rear, wheel turning tight takes a bit of effort but as you might have guessed, this bike is not designed for a jam down the canyon anyway. So just leave the full suit leathers at home buddy.
This V-Rod motorcycle has yet another stand-alone cherry on the top of its perpetual chocolate lava cake, a “SLIPPER CLUTCH”. Yes, I know you don’t put a cherry on lava cake, but you do put a slipper clutch on this hi-performance package! It’s a slip and assist clutch that provides you with smoother, high-power handling in turns or whenever you downshift. By reducing clutch friction, the slipper clutch helps keep your rear wheel at a controlled clip. Realistically, slipper clutches are designed as a safety and performance feature to partially disengage or “slip” when the rear wheel tries to drive the engine faster than it would run under its own power – Slipper Clutch 101.
The bike is very comfortable to ride and with the forward controls you have a bit more of ground clearance for turns. The seat is very soft and keeps you held in place when shooting down the open road. Not that I pushed this bike in any turns, but I think it was the first Harley-Davidson I did not scrape pegs or floorboards with on every turn. Honestly, I did not scrape this bike in any turns at all. My mind was too excited about going fast in a straight line anyway! I almost forgot to mention the dual Brembo front brakes that come stock with ABS. With a bike this fast and heavy at an evil 666 lbs. running weight, you bet your ass they got you covered.
My final note for this BLUE ANGEL Jet Fighter is, I’m going to miss her. If you are fond of the historic Harley-Davidson brand, which has been innovating motorcycling for over 111 years, then you better get yourself to a dealership and set up a test ride. You have to feel the power and technology this bike has to offer.