2009 Harley-Davidson VRSCF V-Rod Muscle Review

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2009 Harley-Davidson VRSCF V-Rod Muscle Review

Post by ganahsokmo on Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:00 pm

Like the new, robust chassis on
Harley-Davidson’s touring machines, news about a brand new V-Rod is only
weeks old, but like the touring bikes, our time at the recent ‘09 H-D
model launch presented an opportunity to cop a ride on the new V-Rod
Muscle.


The long, low and clean look of this latest VRSC family member
strikes a familiar pose to that of the other two V-Rods, the
intimidating blacked-out (and now Dark Custom member) Night Rod Special
and the more simple but classic-looking V-Rod.

Flexing some new muscle
2009
Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle
The LED
stop/turn/tail-light integrated into the rear fender is a brilliant
design feature. Also note here, and in other photos, the slightly more
angular shapes of some of the bodywork.
The Muscle is primarily a styling exercise. Rather than the more
rounded shapes of the other ‘Rods, this new guy adopts slightly more
angular shapes, especially in the faux fuel tank/air-box cover, wide
side air-intake covers and squared-off low and cushy saddle with a rear
support designed to hold the rider in place during powerful bursts of
acceleration on tap from the same super-smooth 60-degree liquid-cooled
DOHC, eight-valve, Revolution 1250cc V-Twin that powers all ’Rods. The
Muscle comes in a 121 hp/85 ft-lbs flavor.

Also new is the radiator shroud and minimalist rear fender with
incredibly tasteful and smartly-integrated stop/turn/taillight. The
further one gets from the rear of this bike, the thinner the fender
looks, yet safety isn’t impacted thanks to the powerfully-bright LED
lighting. In another stroke of design genius, front LED turn indicators
are blended to near invisibleness in the mirror stalks.
The front fender also deserves styling kudos with its rear half
wearing a matte-black finish in order to disappear visually, leaving the
first impression that only a simple, chopped fender covers the 5-spoke
cast-aluminum 19-inch front wheel.

The mirrors themselves, along with the meaty angular bars,
internally-wired cast bar riser and simple triple gauges with
sportbike-gauge-inspired looks all add to the block o’ billet appearance
of the bike.

Finally, the most distinct item setting the Muscle apart from its
mates is the wide, long and low dual-exhaust. A muscle-car look was the
goal with a single exhaust pipe per side instead of the dual over-under
set up on both the Night Rod Special and V-Rod. The satiny finish of the
exhaust works especially well on the Brilliant Silver color scheme.

LED turn
signals integrated into the stalks of the stylish mirrors is a nice
match to the LED light combo at the rear.
The rider
triangle may get a bit stretched for those standing less than 5-feet
10-inches, but once the new V-Rod is in the curvy parts of the road the
reach to the bars seems to disappear as does the heavy steering the bike
exhibits at slower speeds.
The
60-degree liquid-cooled Revolution 1250cc looks like a solid piece of
billet, appearing jewel-like in the newest V-Rod.

The Muscle
flexes its strength on the street or the strip.
Looks are one thing, a cooked inner calf, melted boot rubber or fried
leather are another. I can’t deny the designer’s success at harkening
to the muscle-car appeal with the Muscle’s exhaust, but the exhaust
shape and placement forces a wide stance when putting a foot down at a
light and when straddling the bike.

We had the opportunity to hammer the Muscle down the dragstrip (look
for more on that in an upcoming story) at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma
County, CA, which revealed the obtrusiveness of the exhaust system. The
area just past the point where the head pipes meet the mufflers became
darkened and sticky with the melted plastic of roadrace boots, as the
smell of hot leather was present and color transfer from leather suits
or pants was clearly evident on the exhaust.

They look good, these pipes, but they get hot. More than once during
our street ride did I get that sharp jolt of hot flesh as my
jeans-covered leg got too close to the exhaust during a stop or paddle
maneuver. Pillions may be in jeopardy too of burning some leg hair. Hot
stuff, meng!
'I was genuinely surprised at how nimble
the bike felt and how easily it transitioned left to right, back and
forth, despite the big 240mm rear tire...'

With a 67-inch wheelbase, slow-speed steering requires effort at the
bars and the bike feels generally cumbersome. But that effort melts from
your mind once up to speed, and the good leverage from the aggressive
bend in the moderately wide handlebars is your friend when hustling this
long boy through the tighter and narrower roads on your travels.

It wasn’t until the last 30 miles of the day when an opportunity
allowed me to wind up the quick-revving Twin and start flicking the
Muscle through the tight stuff. I was genuinely surprised at how nimble
the bike felt and how easily it transitioned left to right, back and
forth, despite the big 240mm rear tire, now standard on all VRSC models.

This impromptu route gave the bike a chance to reveal a quick
handling, stable and very fun characteristic that I didn’t think existed
in the machine prior to this point on my ride. The effort required to
initiate and then complete a tight radius turn was gone and in its place
was a willing participant in my peg-grinding silliness.

Ride quality from the 43mm inverted fork is very good, offering the
sensation of a very taut package all around. Only the sharpest angled
bumps are a pain, literally, in the rear.
Indeed, the V-Rod is still a cruiser at heart, and has the forward
controls to prove it. If there’s another inherent flaw on this ’Rod,
aside from the blistering exhausts, it’s the limited lean angle. But, if
you’re willing to carry the bike higher, or farther out, in the turn in
order to limit the amount of lean needed to complete the turn, you can
reduce a good portion of the metal-on-asphalt sound.

Whatever your turning prowess, one thing we can all enjoy is the
mill. Acceleration is ferocious from roughly 6,000 rpm all the way to
redline; generally, the engine pulls in a very confident and linear
manner in any gear and almost any engine speed. Reeling in this silver
bullet is cake with the potent dual Brembos made all the more effective
when coupled with the optional ABS.
The V-Rod Muscle easily flexes its might with the incredibly smooth
and powerful engine and tranny, good ride quality and excellent brakes.
If you’re tall enough or content enough to look beyond the stretched
ergos to enjoy the bike on the flat, you’ll be doubly rewarded for your
endurance when you get this new tuff kid in the corners, or on the
’strip.

The new V-Rod Muscle has a starting suggested MSRP of $17,199 and
comes in Vivid Black, Brilliant Silver, Dark Blue Denim and Red Hot
Sunglo.
Four
flavorful colors are available for the 2009 VRSCF.



2009 Street Bob gets fresh
Weighing in with a number of cosmetic changes for this year, the
venerable Dyna Street Bob is graced with black and silver powder-coated
engine treatment that forsakes shiny cooling fins. Gloss-black steel
laced wheels are shown off by a low profile front fender. A chopped rear
fender with exposed supports is adorned with an old-style LED
taillight, and turn indicators also function as stop- and tail-lights, a
la the Sportster Nightster.
2009 Dyna
Street Bob gets an old-style LED taillight, and turn indicators also
function as stop- and tail-lights as part of its styling updates for
’09.



2009 Sportster news
Suspension upgrades on the 883C, 1200L and 1200C include new springs
and recalibrated damping rates for improved ride comfort. New
low-profile front fenders are now on all models, and the 883 and 1200
Custom models now ride on a solid-disc silver cast-aluminum rear wheel
and a chrome cast-aluminum slotted-disc rear wheel, respectively.




Here’s some Sportster owner data that you might find interesting: 94%
of all Sporty owners will buy another Harley. Start ‘em out on a Harley
and it looks like they’ll always be on a Harley.

Related Reading
2009
Harley-Davidson Touring Models Review
2009
Harley-Davidson CVO Models Review
2009
Harley-Davidson Model Line-up
All
Harley-Davidson on Motorcycle.com

ganahsokmo

Join date : 16/01/2010
Age : 35

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