While I find most Harley-Davidson motorcycles extremely fun to ride anywhere I’d like to go, there are definitely a few models from The Motor Company that seem focused on style over substance.With a rubber-mounted motor, and skinny steel handlebars rubber-mounted to the triple clamps, handling can best be described as vague on the 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Bob. It may have fat Michelin Scorcher 31 rubber that offers a good contact patch, but the feedback from the tires is tamped down. The engine moves around in the twin-shock chassis, so that’s another confidence inhibitor when cornering.
[Visit 2017 Motorcycle Previews]Braking is also suspect on the Street Bob. The single front disc is in no particular hurry to slow you down, and the short brake pedal is awkward to actuate. ABS is optional, but the motivation to spend the $795 isn’t overwhelming.Feel free to try to hustle the bike through corners, if you like. The Street Bob has more cornering clearance than any other Dyna (save the Fat Bob, which has equal numbers) thanks to a 19-inch/17-inch wheel combo.So, we’ve established that the Street Bob is not the choice of riders who frequent the twisties. However, that still leaves plenty of riders in areas where canyons are scarce and most riding is done in straight lines in town or between hamlets.For that, the Street Bob is certainly a worth machine, as those flexy rubber-mounted bars do a good job of providing a bit of protection from the inconsistencies of rough roads, just so long as you aren’t changing direction.Suspension is also decent on the Street Bob; the 49mm forks have five inches of travel, and the dual shocks are good for three inches of rear axle movement. That’s more than adequate for most usages.The 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Bob is definitely H-D’s entry level Dyna—being the least expensive of the line, the lightest, and the last holdout with the standard Twin Cam 103 motor (other Dynas have the High Output version, or the newer Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110). That’s not a problem in town, as the standard Twin Cam 103 still puts out a muscular 94 ft/lbs of torque at 3750 rpm—that’s more than enough to establish the Street Bob on the street.[Read about Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight Engines]The 6-Speed Cruise Drive transmission keeps the revs low on the highway, and there’s always the right ratio in town. While the Street Bob is more than capable of freeway speeds, the mini ape-hanger bars turn your arms into sails, discouraging long-distance excursions. Regardless, the Street Bob is fully satisfactory for short freeway jaunts within the city limits.With the least-powerful Twin Cam 103 available, you won’t be enticed to drag race anyone on a Street Bob—unless it’s an older 96 or smaller H-D. The ergonomics are designed to give you an impressive profile, not a competitive assertiveness. The mini-apes are there for the hands-in-the-wind attitude, and the mid-position footpegs favor shorter inseam riders. That’s consistent, as the 26.8-inch seat height is as low as any Dyna, and accessible to almost any rider.There’s no doubt about it—the 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Bob exudes confidence from a visual standpoint, even if it doesn’t back it up with raw performance.Justifying the bobber name is a purposeful solo seat, rims with traditional wire spokes, a side-mounted license plate, combined stop/rear/tail lights, bobbed fenders, and a small recessed headlight. Oh, and the staggered dual chromed shorty exhausts have the expected meaty tone.You won’t have to fiddle with a key unless you want to, as the barrel key doesn’t stay in the bike—it’s only used to lock or unlock the three-position tank-mounted ignition switch. Harley-Davidson’s Smart Security System is optional ($395), and uses a proximity-based fob. As with other Harley-Davidsons, it has a cool scrollable LCD display on the single clock, but the positioning limits its usefulness.All motorcycles have their purposes and audiences. In the case of the 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Bob, you have a machine that appeals to the budget-minded buyer who wants a big-inch bike, along with an aggressive variety of bobber styling. As long as most of the riding is of the urban flavor, Street Bob owners will undoubtedly be unquestionably satisfied. Action photography by Kelly Callan
Our first segment introduces you to the new Arch 1s. This latest, slightly more sporting American V-twin, adds to the original KRGT1 coming from the boutique manufacturer based in Hawthorne, Southern California. Senior Editor Nic de Sena rode through Malibu with Gard Hollinger, who co-founded Arch Motorcycle with his friend, Keanu Reeves. The 1s is a unique ride for sure, and Nic explains what makes the bike really stand out.
For the entertaining story behind Arch Motorcycle from Gard Hollinger himself, you must listen to his podcast episode on Motos & Friends HERE
The guest segment of Motos and Friends is brought to you by the faster and most technologically advanced, 2023 Suzuki Hayabusa—visit your local dealer or suzukicycles.com to learn more.
In our second segment, Associate Editor Teejay Adams chats with multiple Emmy award-winning writer, Producer, Director, and actor, Thom Beers. the former Chairman & CEO of Fremantle Media North America, responsible for American Idol and America’s Got Talent.
Thom’s fertile imagination led to most of the really big reality TV shows such as ‘Deadliest Catch’ (now in its 17th season!), and many others. Of course for us in the motorcycle world, you’ll be interested to hear the genesis and story of how he started the first real fabrication reality show ‘Monster Garage’, that showcased Jesse James, and then how that led to ‘Biker Build Off’ and the ‘Zombie Choppers’ movie.
You’d imagine that most of Thom’s time is spent sitting behind a desk and on his phone. Not so. His intense stories of capturing much of the content for these shows make for some hair-raising listening.