By Marissa Baecker
The sun began its descent to the West and turned the sky that beautiful orange glow as my love affair with Street Bob began to flourish – the 2014 Harley-Davidson Street Bob that is – and it was love at first ride.
I admit, I was skeptical to return to the bars of a Dyna after having my heart broken by the vibration issues with the Switchback some six months earlier but decided to get back in the Harley saddle and try to find love again. Just looking at it reminded me of a previous love I had several years earlier with the Cross Bones.
No surprise I was drawn to it – a muscly ‘bare bones street custom’ with a blacked out powertrain with textured covers. The Street Bob was refined where it needed to be yet rough around the edges. Add some styling attitude with gun metal tank medallions in classic iconic fonts, a hint of chrome, dual, straight cut, shorty, chrome mufflers and chopped rear fender and this bobber was a looker with bad boy charm. If this relationship was going to go anywhere however, Street Bob would have to offer more than just good looks.
I have always had an affinity for the bad boys but I quickly discovered that Street Bob had a deep, dark soul. With an air-cooled, Twin Cam 103.1 cubic inch, rubber mounted, V-Twin (1690 cc) producing 98.8 ft pounds of low end torque, being spontaneous was a non-issue. Any whimsical thought could be realized with a simple twist of the wrist and paired with a six-speed transmission, he was ready to travel and capable of a more meaningful relationship than just coffee dates around town.
I wrapped my hands around the grips of the mini-ape hangers and headed West for as far as the 4.7gl/17.8l fuel tank would take me and with 43 MPG, I set my sights on the beach for a romantic sunset. Rubber mounted risers absorb any unwanted bar vibration thereby lessening arm fatigue over time. The evening air was riddled with flying insects and I could feel them hit my visor over and over again. A windshield would be a welcomed long distance addition, especially if you are a shorty helmet wearer but as I am a girl who likes protection, my full face Shoei Qwest was just fine.
Mile after mile, my perfectly sun-painted silhouette roared over the black top dancing in and out of sight with every slight change of direction. The black, steel laced wheels housing the 31″ Michelin scorchers – slim 100/90 in the front and beefier 160/70 in the rear – beautifully rounded out my visual work of pavement art.
The rear coil shocks with about 3″ of travel paired with the aluminum 49mm fork fronts with 5″ of travel absorbed enough bumps for a comfortable yet still rugged ride. The wide saddle, at a seat height of only 25″, sits low in the steel tubular frame and offers easy access to the maintenance free 12V below should you need it.
Mid-mounted controls with brake and gear levers are equally low as ground clearance is a minimal 4.7″ – not ideal for a heavy load. As I intended to keep Street Bob all to myself, this suited me just fine. Even though I prefer a monogamous relationship, not all riders feel the same. “A solo seat,” gasped one admirer. “How am I supposed to pick up chics with only one seat?”
The 4-piston fixed front brakes paired with the 2-piston torque free floating rear are OK but if you want more confidence bringing this low rider to a halt, ABS brakes are available.
Over time I learned that Street Bob’s boyish charm attracted a lot of unwanted attention no matter where we went. My insecurities were subdued somewhat with the Smart Security System that activated when the key fob in my pocket and I were distant from the bike. If anyone tried to move in on Bob when I wasn’t around, the ignition was disabled and the alarm activated. If someone tried to tamper with the ignition switch or attempted to move the motorcycle, the alarm would immobilize.
After a two week whirlwind romance, things with Bob began feeling a little cramped. I needed space. My rider triangle (bars-seat-pegs) needed a few more inches to accommodate my size in order to maintain a long term relationship. I decided to see other Harleys. Street Bob and I parted ways.
The good news is Harley-Davidson offers personalization options through the H-D1 Factory Customization program including forward controls for the longer-legged and dual seat options for that guy where ‘picking up chics’ was important.
MSRP for vivid black is $13, 349. Charcoal Pearl and Black Denim will run at $13,749 and Hard Candy Custom Voodoo Purple Flake is $14,079.