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Street to take over from V-Rod?

2016 Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle air-cooled
V-Rod Muscle

This is the last year for the Harley-Davidson V-Rod models, dealers were told at the recent international conference in Boston.

Now the rumour mill is starting to churn about what will replace the water-cooled muscle machine and we believe it could be the water-cooled Street family.

Harley has successfully returned to the AMA Pro Flat Track championships this season with its XG750R and fellow American Indian Motorcycle will debut their Scout FTR750 at the Santa Rosa race on Sunday, September 25, 2016.

The highly anticipated showdown on the track could lead to new production models from the two American manufacturers; a smaller Scout and a larger Street.

Indian FTR750
Indian FTR750

Currently, Australia only gets the Street 500, not the Street 750, but that could change when the V-Rod disappears from the line-up.

And there could be bigger engine capacities to come in the Street family in future to replace the 1250cc V-Rod, while Indian could feasibly produce a smaller-capacity Scout.

The VRSC V-Rod family was launched in 2002 as the Milwaukee company’s first completely new road model in 50 years.

The bike was developed in conjunction with Porsche, but was not widely appreciated by traditional Harley fans, mainly because it was water-cooled.

While it has never performed well in America, Australia has been one of the biggest markets in the world for the muscle cruiser, attracting a new type of Harley customer.

The Night Rod Special and Muscle models have been particularly popular with younger riders on the Gold Coast and Sydney.

Harley-Davidson Australia marketing director Adam Wright confirms model year 2016 will be the last for the V-Rod family.

“The VRSC family has certainly been an innovative product that has added diversification to our model line up over the years,” he says.

“However we are now focusing our strengths and leadership on delivering powerful cruiser and touring models like the all new Milwaukee Eight to the market place.”

Until a replacement comes for the V-ROd, Adam believes there are several current models that will attract former V-Rod customers.

“We have also recently had some great cruiser motorcycles added to the line-up such as the CVO Pro Street Breakout as well as the all new Dyna Low Rider S model which have been welcomed additions,” he says.

They could also gravitate toward the Fat Boy S and Slim S Softails with the 110 Screamin’ Eagle engine.


  1. So Sad.
    I have been on two wheels for over 50 years and had many bikes in that time.
    The two that impressed me the most were a XS650 Yamaha and a Honda VFR750.
    Both these machines had one thing in common – they were engineered to a very high standard .
    Now I have the pleasure on owning a Street Rod which has joined the two above.
    Really such a well made and reliable machine.

    1. I do not think that you mean that a ‘Street Rod’ has joined your favorites list. The Street Rods can not possibly fill the niche created by the V-rods. In my mind, this is a huge marketing mistake UNLESS Harley simply does not want to build a performance machine. There are many of us who do not want to ride a huge, heavy bagger and want more performance from our HD’s than the Sportster can provide.

  2. The street is a huge POS and has a long way to go to replace the slow selling, but most superior HD!

  3. If Harley think the Street (even in a 750 configuration) would be a replacement for the big (albeit a little heavy) brawny VROD then they are dreaming. i can’t believe ANYONE except total noobs go for the Street anyway. Largely indistuingishable from a Yamazuki HD clone of any sort I find it embarrassing for the poor sod that pulls up next to me at the lights. Think I’d rather be seen on my wife’s Aprilia scooter.

  4. They don’t have anything close to the VROD. The Milwaukee 8 is junk compared to the VRod motor. I have yet to meet a bagger or Dyna that can keep up, hell I could have a passenger and still beat single riders on there 113 or 110 POS.

  5. Harley Davidson is losing me as a customer. The Breakout is the only thing with enough ass to stand up to the V-Rod until you get to 80MPH, after that it’s done. Stick a fork in it. While you shift into 5th or 6th I will be leaving you behind at the top of 2nd. Plus the Breakout is almost twice as much money completely stock. Harley must be getting its reports from the Democrats because there is nothing to take the place of the V-ROD no matter how big you make your OIL COOLER.

  6. yes this is sad. have owned 3 v-rods. night rod. night rod special and the real street rod 2007 model all 3 would run between 145 to 150 mph.. harley has never made anything to hang with these bikes.. the 750 street rod needs a new name!! thanks, dave

    1. I’ve also owned three VRods because the HD liquid cooled engines were built to be low maintenance and hold up to any task. I’ve ridden cross country through desert heat and the high Sierra and off road and in freezing weather.

  7. I just can’t believe that they are stopping v rod. Gosh that was my dream bike. Had been waiting to buy the v rod this years been planning for couple of years. Shame on Harley for letting it go. Now am confused what next I should think about buying. May I know what was the real reason for them to stop production on v rod.

  8. Harley Davidson is making a huge mistake, I ride a Night Rod special, been riding for 41 years, it’s the best bike I’ve ever been on. This made me a Harley supporter. I rode a GSXR 1000 Suzuki before the Night Rod and have never missed my superbike while riding the Harley. Surely they don’t think anything else they sell can match the Night Rod. If they do then they’ve lost touch with reality. This bike caters for a part of the market that will move on to something else. Maybe Harley only wants the slow and noisy riders which is sad, Harley used to race before most bikes even existed. They have forgotten their roots, where they come from and that loyalty should be part of their legacy.

  9. Harley Davidson biggest and best move ever was the collaboration with Porche in developing the V-Rod series of motorcycles.My first HD was an 1980 FXWG 80cu in,it was an improvement on the AMF-Harley Davidsons but still required improvements in the handling,braking and performance areas an extra cost for an already expensive motorcycle.My next HD was an 1990 Heritage Softail,a brilliant bike and an improvement in leaps and bounds over anything that came prior.Then in 2007 I purchased my Night Rod and in my opinion the best engineered and most well developed motorcycle they ever had the wisdom to manufacture.Now we hear that the Night Rod and Muscle will not be part of the 2018 range of HDs.The only drawback with the V Rod series is its touring capabilities in regard to carrying of luggage,a minor inconvenience when one considers just how brilliant these machines are.HD can bring out Eight Valve,Oil Cooled 45°Big Twins but from my point of view it is just a rehash of the same old bike that will attract the 50/60 odd year old riders that haven’t ridden a bike since they 18years of age who will strut about with their leather vests,johnny reb boots and the biggest belt buckle they can buy and don’t know shit from clay,BAD MOVE HARLEY DAVIDSON

  10. I have owned a Sportster, a Softail Custom and a 2012 Nightrod Special. There is no comparison, the Nightrod is the best Harley I have ever owned or ridden. I believe that HD is making a big mistake taking this bike out of their line-up. I live in Malaysia now and ride in the mountains outside of Kuala Lumpur, this is not typical ‘Harley Country’ but my Nightrod has no problem with taking any and all roads which previously were the domain of the sportbikes here.

    Furthermore, I cannot count the times that people have asked to be photographed with the bike or people come up to it an cannot believe it is a Harley.

    If the ‘old school’ Harley crowd doesn’t like the bike, that is fine, but Harley successfully made a bike that brought it into the 21st century. If sales (in the US) were unremarkable, I can only assume that this was a marketing failure as the bike sells well in Europe and Australia.

    When my Nightrod wears out, I will not even look for a new bike, I will simply do what it takes to rebuild my Nightrod.

  11. I live in Brazil and I have the same problem of many people, I have a Night Rod 2012 and I simply do not have an option to replace it. Breakout is the closest but impossible to compare. Please HD do not kill this amazing project.

  12. A couple of comments that I have seen here and take issue with are
    1.The reason the V-Rod is being dropped from the 2018 line-up is because it can’t reach specified emission levels.Surely this cannot be correct,we are talking about a modern fuel injected and liquid cooled engine.
    2.The V-Rod is only popular with the younger riders who like to ride hard.Well I have been riding since a young age and am now in my 60s and ride my Night Rod how it was built to be ridden,hard and fast.On a recent outing the speedo registered an easy obtainable 250kph with the “air sock” effect being the only limiting factor.

  13. I agree with Douglas. Unless HD is going to redesign the Vrod and are keeping it under raps for now they are making a Huge mistake. The street series are way under powered and too small not to mention to ugly to replace the Vrod. As for the special series, noneof them are water cooled and I understand they’ve been dropped for 2018.

    HD is gambling and will lose if they completely kill off the Vrod. They will loose customers to the Indian Scouts.

    My least favorite bikes are the Street Series. I had planned to add a new Vrod to my flss and 48 in a couple of years. Now, I will consider the Scout Bobber. HD Your Fffing up!

  14. Right! I’ve been dreaming of owning a V-Rod for over 4 years and was finally able to get a new 2016 Muscle a few years ago. Having first rode the Night Rod at a dealership doing a flyby for a second spin because I couldn’t believe how fast that bike was. They could hear me yahoo’n a mile away. Harley gotta come out strong to replace the V-Rod.
    I turn my own wrenches and have done all services except warranty and tire installs and will be buying all the spare parts I can. This is a keeper for life!

  15. I have owned many bikes, currently have four in my garage, I love my 1990 ZZR1100, but I have to say my Night Rod is spectacular. On the road it can live with most sports bikes, except on real twisty bends, and when parked it attracts so much attention. Its combination of looks and performance are unrivalled.
    Unless Harley have a secret plan then this is surely a big mistake.

  16. Max
    Ive been on two wheels since 85, Owned numerous bikes to many to list. (Harleys that is).
    Every time i go in for WOF service while my bikes are being worked on i test ride diffrent models. Brought the first Vrod that came out then the 08 nightrod special and have been on the 2012 nightrod ever since.
    In my books they are without doubt amongst the finest best handling harleys ever created.

    1. I do similar at service time, it’s fun riding other models but I only want to be taking my Night Rod home. Can’t see myself changing it soon but I do hope Harley have an equivalent in the pipeline.

  17. Harley Davidson cancelled the VROD because it’s to much of a high tech engine for their low tech mechanics to work on. Harley mechanics don’t make enough money as it is. Gotta bring my VROD to Jap motorcycle mechanics to work on it. Best motorcycle HD ever made, now they’re canceling it? Just plain stupid!

  18. Sad Truth! It took HD over six years to develop a bike that was only ground breaking for HD! They got in trouble trying to put a $50,000 (at the time) race engine into a production bike that could never have been street worthy or affordable and had to run to Porsche to be bailed out! Any motorcycle company that routinely took 6 years to develop a bike that was already not competitive after it’s release would be out of business. It looked cool and outran and outperformed any other HD made, but HD proved to be incapable to be competitive or market the bike. In the beginning HD’s were cutting edge, not a relic manufacturer. But they have been selling nostalgia for so long HD is incapable of being cutting edge anymore and they know it. My V-rod had over 24 warranty issues over it’s 2 year warranty period. And I was hanging around the dealership enough to know how many other HD owners with brand new bikes where in the shops with problems! And I was shocked to see how many knew they had to buy expensive extended warranties! That tells you they did not trust HD reliability! HD is heading for big financial trouble. There is too many companies trying to grab to few customers. The emergence of Indian and now Royal Enfield is going to knock them out if HD doesn’t get it together. I loved my V-rod but the many Japanese bikes I owned were bullet proof. And technology and true innovation should never be your enemy! The V-max is a prime example: Yamaha came out with a ground breaking motorcycle, but then they label it a CRUISER and that gives them an excuse to milk the design and not make updates to keep up with the market place? That has been HD’s business model for years now. Motorcycles are a recreational vehicle for most people and reliability and innovation and safety at a competitive price should be at the top of any mfr’s list first and foremost. Let nostalgia and the museums take care of themselves. HD can’t sell V-rods in the US but now they are going to try to sell the electric Live Wire motorcycle? That says it all! The best part of owning a HD to me was the HD owners and gatherings.

  19. I recently bought a03 vrod I must say it is the most awesome bike I’ve ever owned and people are attracted to it I couldn’t even count the number of wows I’ve got from this bike I like it so much I named her Farrah after Farrah fawcett my childhood dream girl and I’ve had several chances to sell her and I tell people I’m not selling this one boys I’ve found the love of my life in my vrod I’m 55 and think this is the last bike I will ever own plannning a big bore upgrade just to increase the wow factor I’m truly sad there will be no more vrods it’s a sad time in motorcycle history ps. I sold my ultra classic cause my Farrah is the only bike I need

    1. Similar age with other bikes, nothing compares with my 2016 Night Rod, it is truly awesome.

  20. I had a 2001 Road King for many years and finally the problems just became too much. Wife called it the bottomless pit. Oil leaks, big end failure, constant repairs and useless advice from HD mechanics that cost me big time finally convinced me to never buy a Harley again. Then I test rode a VRSCAW. What a hoot! Bought it and have never looked back. Like many of the respondents to this article, I have owned quite a few motorcycles, but this is the best and will never be sold until I can ride no longer. Have travelled from Melbourne to SA, NSW and far East Victoria. Not quite the same fuel consumption economics as the King, but far more reliable than the “tractor”. HD nostalgia is what has kept HD alive …. until now. The Milwaukee 8 is just another oblique mechanical marketing ploy. 118ci Soft Tail was no match for my bike, which is completely original, apart from heated grips, necessary in Melbourne. Great bike … stupid decision.

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