Harley-Davidson has ambitious plans for the 2020 model year, releasing a number of concept teasers today for new motorcycles. These plans include an adventure-touring model, some electric models including e-bikes, a new roadster “custom”, and perhaps our favorite, a streetfighter model.
Based around the same modular engine design, which will have a variety of displacements (500cc to 1,250cc), the Harley-Davidson Streetfighter will get the 975cc version of the liquid-cooled v-twin engine.
Perhaps the most lithe machine we have seen from the Bar & Shield brand, the Harley-Davidson Streetfighter looks the part, albeit in a very Harley-Davidson way.
We say this because the big v-twin engine sits load and proud in the chassis, like it is on display and there to remind everyone that this bike comes from Milwaukee. The exhaust look like a cruiser exhaust too, almost parallel to the ground and slash-cut.
But, there are strong performance pieces here as well. Radial brakes clamp a dual-set of rotors on the front wheel, which looks to be 17″ in diameter.
The rest of the Streetfighter’s ergonomics and design are very sporty, in Harley-Davidson’s use of the word, and draw a clear line back to the company’s cruiser-heavy (or is that heavy cruiser?) lineup.
Of note is the fact that Harley-Davidson is using a belt drive for its Streetfighter model, which is surely going to be a turnoff for most sport-minded people, who would prefer a chain drive on their machines. We don’t see it as a deal-breaker though.
What we do take issue with is the rest of the bike, which looks a bit lost-in-translation in cruiser-speak to sport-biker.
The first thing that caught our eye is how short the swingarm looks, and this could be one of two issues.
First, it could just be the angle of the two photos that Harley-Davidson provided us, which don’t give a great glimpse of the machine. Or, the massive v-twin engine sits quite far back in the chassis, requiring a short swingarm to keep the wheelbase reasonable.
Zooming in on the high-resolution photos (go ahead and click them, we spared no pixels), we can see that a 180/55 rear tire from Michelin is used on the concept, which is smaller than what you would expect in this segment, but is inline with Harley-Davidson’s “middleweight” designation for this bike.
Continuing that thought, the most interesting feature on the Harley-Davidson Streetfighter is actually an omission, as we see no wheel-speed sensor on the rear wheel, which leaves us to wonder if the Bar & Shield brand will be bringing any electronic rider aids to the model, like traction control or ABS.
Or if like the Motus it competes with, the 2020 Harley-Davidson Streetfighter will be old school and analog. Will that be a hit or a miss for this new Streetfighter? Time will certainly tell.
For now, it’s clear that Harley-Davidson is getting out of its comfort zone, and exploring new ideas. Expect to see the Harley-Davidson Streetfighter debut for the 2020 model year.