Harley Davidson’s Deep Roots In Performance
Article By: Rob Keller
Photos By: Nelson & Riles
Originally Published In The March 2013 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Because this edition of Cycle Source is featuring the FXR, I would like to take this opportunity to give my twocent opinion on these fine motorcycles along with a test ride review on the 2013 Harley- Davidson FXDB Street Bob. After the last of the FXRs were discontinued in 1995, Harley- Davidson came out with a few more offerings four years later in the FXR2 and FXR3. Some say that Harley must have had some leftover FXR parts and if that’s the case, I think it was a great idea to bring them back even if it was only for 2 years.
My personal favorite would have to be one of the last production models manufactured in 2000: the FXR4; it was a real eye catcher! This amazing bike came in two colors: Screaming Yellow or Candy Tangerine with Eclipse graphics. This model was offered as part of the new Custom Vehicle Operations (C.V.O.) and was super sweet! While the Softail family was getting the new Twin Cam powerplants, the FXR4s were powered by some of the last remaining 1340 Evolution engines and came with chrome drag bars, a 19 inch laced front wheel and a solid chrome plated rear wheel with sealed bearings, a chrome rear sprocket and dual four piston calipers using floating rotors on the front for excellent stopping power. Other features included billet mirrors, billet wide band foot pegs and billet grips and shifter. The rear suspension had P&A shocks that worked real well. There were only about 970 of these beauties ever manufactured and I was lucky enough to put a few miles on one of them.
The FXRs have made their run and were the best handling motorcycles that Harley offered at that time. The good news is that the Dyna family has been growing and getting better and better since its inception in 1991. Over the years, it seems that Harley has been using the Dyna platform for their testing and development. Some significant changes occurred in the 2006 model year. Dynas were the first to get the 88CI Twin Cam engine with a factory six speed tranny that many people were asking for at the time. That was also the first year that the Motor Co. improved on the front suspension by increasing the 42 millimeter front forks to a larger 49 millimeter. The frame was then redesigned using larger and beefier tubing. Then came a 160mm rear tire mounted on a 17 inch wheel replacing the old 150mm on a 16 inch hoop. All of these upgrades have escalated the Dyna models to the top when it comes to modern day performance and handling. The 2013 model year now features five different Dynas to choose from: Fat Bob, Wide Glide, Super Glide Custom, Switchback and the bike we test road, the Street Bob. The Street Bob comes from the factory with a price tag starting at $12,999.00. The best part about this bike is that this is one of only two models that you can custom order using H-D1 Factory Customization. You can easily build your Street Bob to fit your personality by selecting factory options that are made available through this special program. You can choose paint, genuine H-D engines, wheels, seats, handlebars, foot peg position and security. You can design the bike of your dreams right on the Harley-Davidson Web site at www. harleydavidson.com. Take your plan to your dealer of choice and place your order; it’s that easy. In about 4 weeks your custom build will be delivered to your dealer, ready to ride! The opportunity to create your own bike from the Factory is money in the bank.
Specs First off, the Street Bob has recently been offered as a Dark Custom model. This family of motorcycles has unique characteristics that include blacked-out engines and denim paint features that give them a look all their own. When you see a new motorcycle, we have come to expect gleaming chrome with shiny paint and polished billet hardware. The Dark Customs are the complete opposite. These bikes say ride me first and clean me later, if you have time! With the Build-a- Bike program, you can mix these ideas giving you as much chrome and shine or blacked-out attitude as you desire. Paint options include: Vivid Black, Black Denim, Big Blue Pearl/Vivid Black, 3 Hard Candy colors with eye popping big metal flake, personalized paint options or premium paint with layer after layer of clear coat. You can have the standard option of a 96CI, rubber mounted Twin Cam engine or you can crank it up with a 103CI powerplant that offers more torque, lower cruising R.P.M.s with less vibration and better fuel economy. You can choose to get your engine in black or chrome.
Next is the foot controls. You can have the more aggressive mid mount placement that gives you an option for highway pegs for more rider comfort on the long haul or you can order forward controls for the profiling look that also stretch out your legs if you need the room. The handlebar options offer the laid back ape hanger feel, the more aggressive control of the drag bars or you can go with the pull back style. There are many different seats to choose from. You can go solo or add some comfort for you and your passenger. If you are not sure what options feel the best for you, the good people at your local dealership can help you out with those decisions with the fitment program that lets you try out everything before you make your final decision. The security option also comes with the remarkable antilock braking system. All of the Street Bobs come with a 100/90-19 57H front tire and a 180/70-17 73V on the rear. You will have a 25.5 in. laden seat height after you preload the slammed down adjustable rear shocks.
It is all about the handling when it comes to the 29 degree steering rake with 4.92 inches of ground clearance. This combination adds up to 4.7 inches of trail and offers a 30 degree right side and a 31 degree left lean angle. All of these numbers, put in to simpler terms, add up to a great handling motorcycle.
With all of the different factory options and combinations to choose from, this wasn’t your typical test ride. We had the opportunity to ride several versions. What I can tell you is that the 96CI Twin Cam has plenty of power to pull you and your passenger up the steepest hill. If you want to get to the top of the mountain faster, the 103CI will out run it. The drag bars with the mid controls put you in the most aggressive position allowing you to maneuver the Street Bob effortlessly into the sharpest corners while leaning over to the max. This position also allows for the addition of highway pegs so you can change your rider position for added comfort on long rides. When you throw your leg over the Street Bob with the ape hangers and mid controls, you still have a great handling motorcycle. This position raises your arms and cuts down on the blood flow to your hands on a longer ride, but for some this may feel just right. The bike felt bigger and a little more top heavy, but still handled great. When you ride with forward controls, you can stretch out those longer legs. This puts you in a relaxed position with the drag bar combination, and really stretches out your whole body when you add the mini apes. If you are big and tall, this may be the most comfortable way to ride. You do sacrifice some handling with this combination, but the Dyna Street Bob will still impress you. We would like to thank Harley- Davidson for a fine motorcycle that offers a fantastic Build-a-Bike program. It lets you create the Dyna Street Bob as well as the 1200 Sportster Custom just the way you want. A very special thank you to Jen Hoyer for giving us the opportunity to ride, and Matt King for taking us on a tour of some of the finest twisties in Milwaukee, Wisconsin!