Harley Davidson V Rod Limited Edition – They say opposites attract, and aside from a historic reliance on air-cooled engines, Porsche and Harley-Davidson couldn’t be more apples and oranges. In the 1990s, Porsche was the most important name in German performance engineering, while Harley’s offerings had been decidedly stagnant since the mid-1980s. The result of this unlikely partnership was the Harley-Davidson V-Rod, a bike that Not only would it break Harley’s air-cooled mold, it would also usher in a new era of OEM performance cruisers.
The Evolution engine has long been considered the engine that saved Harley-Davidson, but the Sportster, Dyna and big twin models have yet to challenge the performance and variety of foreign offerings. Harley needed a more powerful option, with a completely new image, and to do so it rekindled an old relationship with Porsche.
Harley Davidson V Rod Limited Edition
Porsche and Harley first teamed up in the 1980s for Project Nova, which could have produced some revolutionary water-cooled V4 and V6 engines, had it come to fruition. For their second collaboration, a group of H-D engineers traveled to the Porsche Engineering facility in Germany to design a new road-going V-twin.
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The Revolution engine, as it would come to be known, was not a design from scratch. The project began with the water-cooled 60-degree V-twin from the Harley VR1000 superbike, which already had quad cams and fuel injection, and was capable of reaching over 10,000 rpm.
Clearly, the race-only mill needed to be detuned for street use, and the displacement was increased to 1,131 cc since it would no longer be used for AMA Superbike racing (where displacement was limited to 1,000 cc for twins). Its controversial liquid cooling opened the door to greater power and rpm, and when it debuted in 2001, the Revolution engine had 115 hp at 8,250 rpm, with a top limit of 9,000 rpm.
Porsche’s participation in the project began and ended with the Revolution engine, but Harley had some tricks of its own in developing the rest of the VRSC (V-twin Racing Street Custom, or V-Rod). The hydroformed chassis was a Harley innovation, and the split backbone wraps around the engine and tank like sportbikes of the time. The fuel tank was placed under the seat to lower the center of gravity, and the conventional false tank hid the air box.
To complete the “racing street custom” look, the HD’s designers equipped it with solid disc wheels, a wide 240-section rear tire and a shallow 34-degree rake. The radiator and other cooling components have been simplified and hidden wherever possible, and the swept exhausts have been tuned to achieve the signature Harley V-twin sound.
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Over its 15 years of production, the V-Rod was offered in many different configurations and tested the market for some of Harley’s most radical ideas. The VRSCR Street Rod model, for example, was equipped with inverted forks, a steeper 30-degree rake, Brembo brakes and mid-mounted controls, clearly expanding H-D’s definition of a global cruiser bike.
By the end of the V-Rod’s time in 2017, the Revolution engine had grown to 1,247 cc and reached 125 hp at the crank. In addition to proving its worth on the street, Harley developed the track-only VRXSE Destroyer, which was capable of covering a quarter mile in less than 10 seconds.
Sporty and high-revving, the V-Rod provides a unique experience in the saddle. It runs smoothly from idle to redline and doesn’t rattle its teeth like some of its stablemates. Although Harley’s V-twins have a reputation for low-end grunt, the V-Rod pulls hard above 6,000 rpm and lights up the rear tire on a whim. It will outperform the original Evo Sportys and big twins in a straight line, as well as in corners, due to its low center of gravity.
Although often ignored by Harley’s air-cooled faithful, the V-Rod has managed to bring new faces into the orange and black fold. Love it or hate it, the Harley-Davidson V-Rod not only paved the way for modern liquid-cooled HDs, it also ushered in the OEM performance cruiser market that remains popular to this day. has been around since 2001, and the new Muscle is… it’s just another styling exercise to bolster what is arguably a tired range. The Muscle is essentially a V-Rod reworked with design touches (muscular, fluid lines) to present it as a serious avenue stoplight detonator. Except he’s not that muscular – 12.25 seconds standing, anyone?
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For the uninitiated, muscle bikes are large-capacity machines dressed in street cruiser clothing that produce massive amounts of torque and power. The mix of chrome, wide bars and tires bolted to a long-wheelbase chassis command a huge road presence, although the bold styling means they’re often mistaken for two-wheeled bags for asthmatics. Big mistake!
The Porsche-designed 1246cc engine has had a bit of work to do to raise the lower limit for this 2009 version, but even so, its claimed 85 ft. lb. is below the competition from the Yamaha VMAX and Triumph Rocket III. The actual power delivery is a mystery. Investigate the bike’s specs and you’ll end up with zero because Harley doesn’t quote a hp figure.
Harley-Davidson’s V-Rod line turned 10 years old in 2012 and to celebrate this milestone Harley reintroduced the Brilliant Silver Pearl color first seen on the original V-Rod in 2002. This limited edition bike also carried the year’s logo ’10’ on engine cases, as per all 2012 V-Rod models (Night-Rod Special and Muscle).
The Harley-Davidson Muscle could be so called because the awkward seating position on the seat, forward position and high feet along with wide, flat bars hurt the hip joints and the fleshy parts attached to them. Over time the human body will adapt, I am informed.
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You have to remember that the bike performs in a straight line and curves get in the way of the pedals and exhausts. People with short legs will find the position of the bar and stretch their feet, an effort that strains the hips.
The length, weight and steep forks conspire to cause understeer in faster corners, but who cares when the sun is out, the roads are dry and you’re not in a rush with your cut-off jeans blowing in the wind…
A water-cooled V-twin with 120 hp and a houseful of torque is not to be sniffed at. But when it’s anchored by 307kg of metals and plastics, it’s hard not to wonder where it all went? Never mind. The engine is super smooth, with precise acceleration everywhere. And the gearbox isn’t too clumsy. In short, a relaxed-type muscle cruiser.
So what’s it like trying to harness all that power and torque in a straight line, at top speed? I took the bike to Bruntingthorpe airfield to find out.
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Think of it as the water-cooled Harley being a happy fellow eager to put a smile on your face with a fast-revving engine and an easy-to-shift gearbox. But for racing with the lights and illuminating the rear tire, this seating position seems totally wrong. It’s a long way to drag a supporting leg forward and upward with your eyes looking straight ahead, whether it’s the two crows flying toward your crosshairs or the tack in your face.
Step on the accelerator; the expected response from Rorty power is grim. A heavily muted exhaust dilutes any expectations of pulling your arms out of their sockets and breaking your neck. Muscle? Not exactly.
Modern fuel injection and ignition systems are good. Forget running clean, just give me an instant connection between the throttle and the tire, which is what should happen. Except there is a short circuit in the connection. Achieving perfect driving with little wheel spin and a quick takeoff is shit, with a capital B.
The clutch is light, slow to respond, but doesn’t disappear as you gear up. Remember where the right pedal is placed; Balance the bike with the tip of your right foot, close the visor and don’t forget not to breathe too hard – but don’t stop breathing. Here goes…
Just Sharing My Vrod.
A genuine 109 hp measured by the dynamometer at the rear wheel is released according to plan A guidelines: with 3,000 rpm showing on the tachometer, release the clutch lever. The Muscle jumps forward and then bogs down. Nonsense. Start again. More revs equal uneven skidding and smoking tires. This is fun, but it’s a case of double wrong…. Less revs, more clutch slip and it’s a clean getaway, but slow, very slow, and you can feel it. Try again.
Back to plan A. Just a slight slowing of movement before the muscle kicks in with 77.2 ft lbs of torque to propel you forward. Thrusting forward while lifting your booted foot back onto the right peg is misery because the speed is increasing and second gear is calling.
60 mph is clocked in 3.93 seconds. Another gear, but which one? The wind noise coming from all the frontal protection is starting to interfere with the senses. The adrenaline is rising because of man’s natural pattern of wanting to win. Another gear. Hips are now hurting like hell.
These wide bars are now a rudder that steers an oil tanker. The front end is getting lighter with forced air passing underneath, causing the
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