The Harley-Davidson Street 750, a bike created to bring new riders into HD’s aging ownership group, just failed a very basic braking test conducted by a major riding magazine. The magnitude of this braking failure could call into question the safety of every Street 750 on the road.
This news comes to us Germany’s Motorrad, Europe’s largest, most well-regarded and well-informed motorcycle magazine. The were trying to compare the Street 750 with the Kawasaki Vulcan S and Honda CTX 700 for their entry level cruiser comparison test when it came time to do a 100-0 km/h (60-0 mph) test to evaluate the brakes.
The Harley did fine on the first test but, even after being given some time to cool, showed significant fading during the second test. Then, on the third test, the brakes failed completely.
Just so we’re clear, by “failed completely,” I mean they wouldn’t grab, possibly warped, smoked, and forced the rider to brake using the rear brake and engine braking - on just the third test.
Here’s what the reported, and forgive the clunky English from Google Translate:
The first measurement was due to a very high hand forces, pasty tactile and lack ABS tricky, but experienced testers paws brought into existence very respectable 9.6 m / s average delay. Already in the second measurement, however (after turning operation and renewed acceleration and thus some cooling) showed significant fading. In the third attempt then the brakes failed the Harley-Davidson Street 750 completely.
In case you don’t know, a motorcycle’s brakes operate individually (only a select few of the newest latest and greatest have linked braking systems) and the front brake provides the bulk (like 80 percent) of the stopping power.
This would be one thing if someone racing a Street 750 had their brakes fail, but three 60-0 tests are completely within the limit of normal riding. Imagine riding down a mountain pass or just having a panic braking situation or two on a hot day.
I know what you’re thinking. They got a bad model and we’re just picking on Harley because I’m a dick. But this isn’t the first time the Street 750’s front binder have gotten a negative report card either. Even my good friend and RevZilla’s resident Harley guy/cruiser lover Lemmy had issues:
I mentioned earlier that the brakes are wonky. To be more specific, the back brake is super-strong, but the front is a mush-fest. I was unable to lock the front brakes under 40 mph. I crushed the lever right to the bar in my big old ham-fist, and it would… not… lock. Inappropriate. I’m not sure who spec’d these pieces, but I would have given up the fairing or fork gaiters or some other frippery to get more stopping power. - Common Tread
I reached out to the Motor Company for comment, and they said that the Street 750 underwent braking tests in accordance with European Commission’s guidelines and that it passed without any noted issues. They also said that the bike used in the Motorrad test was found free from defects.
I should mention as we did in this article about the 2016 Harley-Davidson model lineup that HD has improved the front brake on the Street 500 and Street 750 by giving them both a 300 mm single disc with 34 mm dual pistons and are now using a new aluminum master cylinder and “improved brake lines.”
Hopefully the new additions have solved the issue, but it’s definitely something we think you need to be aware of if you’re looking at making a purchase in this category soon. For those who are, the CTX 700 won Motorrad’s comparison, and I think the Vulcan S is a wonderful little cruiser.
After all of last weeks Harley and cruiser talk, I plan on getting time with some of their bikes in the next few weeks. To their credit, HD hasn’t tried to skew any of the information I presented to them and they’ve been very prompt in responding to my questions. They’ve made the very fair request that I get on some bikes and see for myself, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
Any Harley-Davidson Street 750 owners out there that want to chime in on their experiences?