Harley-Davidson's new baby twins

NEW BOY: Harley-Davidson's new smaller displacement street motorcycle.
NEW BOY: Harley-Davidson's new smaller displacement street motorcycle.

Introducing the Harley-Davidson Street 500 motorcycle – the first all-new platform from Harley-Davidson in the 14 years since the mighty V-Rod.

It's  built for urban environments with all-new liquid-cooled Revolution X belt-drive powertrains, adding nimbleness and agility to a sound and look that lets everyone know it's a Harley-Davidson.

The Harley-Davidson Street 500 will be rolling into New Zealand dealerships in 2015. In some markets the 500 will be partnered with a 750 version, but so far only the smaller of the two models is being mantioned for New Zealand and Australia.

The last time Harley-Davidson had a range of smaller motorcycles was when it took over the Italian bike maker Aermacchi in 1960, importing its horizontal singles as the Harley-Davidson Sprint series from 1969. Some two stroke versions also came in the 70s, but the Aernmacchi partnership was eventually dissolved and from that point the smallest road-going Harley has been the 883cc Sportster, though the KR750 falt-track racer is available over the counter.

''This is the newest motorcycle to join our Dark Custom line-up, which helped make us the number-one selling brand to young adults in the US for the past five years,'' said Matt Levatich, the company's president and chief operating officer.

''The Street 500 was designed with thousands of hours of input from young adults in cities around the world. This input guided both the attitude and capabilities of these motorcycles. They are proof that being customer-led continues to be a core driver of our product development process.''

The new, Revolution X engine is designed to match the demands of stop-and-go traffic while delivering instant throttle response to escape city gridlock.
The engine is wrapped around by a new, lean, narrow chassis built for agility, with a super-low seat height, new suspension and broad handlebar sweep that Harley says provides confidence and manoeuvrability when managing tight turns and fast moves.

The signature Dark Custom motorcycle features a premium, minimalist style that serves as a blank canvas for riders to customize.

''This new bike is leaner, yet still has a mean streak – it's the real deal, made of real steel.'' said Mark-Hans Richer, senior cice president and chief marketing officer.

''It’s designed to handle the abuses of urban environments and provide authentic opportunities to customise.''