HARLEY-DAVIDSON V-ROD (2001-on) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"The first of Harley's VRSC high tech, water-cooled 'Rod' family"

Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Riding

"The first of Harley's VRSC high tech, water-cooled 'Rod' family"

  • At a glance
  • 1131cc  -  115 bhp
  • 42 mpg  -  130 miles range
  • Low seat height (660mm)
  • £11,995

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

Harley goes high-tech after decades of just updating their lovable antiques. The Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod was the first of Harley’s VRSC ‘Rod’ family. The Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod's water cooling, loads of power, handling that could embarrass a badly ridden sportsbike and brakes that stop fast were totally novel on a Harley. Diehards refuse to accept them but the Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod's a tempting package.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

The Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod's modern tyres and modern suspension allied to a modern chassis give … wait for it… modern handling. Which is great on left hand bends. Take a right hander at any pace and the exhaust decks out disappointingly soon. It’s a real shame. The Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod's brakes are very capable and the suspension manages to balance sport and comfort nicely.

Engine 4 out of 5

More power than a Ducati 916 or early Fireblade and far smoother than Harleys of old. The Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod's injected V-twin is just chuggy enough but pleasingly torquey at low revs. But as the needle sweeps into the top third of the tacho the exhaust note changes and it lays down some serious power. Tuned Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rods are competitive on the drag strip – and the long, low styling echoes that.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Lots of time’s gone into designing the Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod and there’s no serious glitches in terms of reliability. The finish on the Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod is better than the air cooled Harleys but if you do let it corrode, it’ll not do the second hand value any favours at all – but most Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rods are sunny weekend toys not winter sluggers anyway.

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

The Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod is savagely pricey when new compared to similar Japanese capacity cruises – but none of them offer the same experience or such power. Running costs aren’t cheap either but few owners do enormous mileages. Depreciation is low. Harley’s own Street Rod is a grand cheaper and arguably a better bike than the Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod. Find a Harley-Davidson V-Rod for sale.

Insurance group: 17 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 2 out of 5

Few frills on the standard Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod and a small fuel tank. The riding position’s not like any other bike: The seat’s low, as are the bars, and the pegs extremely far forward. It’s not a comfy position for most people but at least you can dip into the enormous range of accessories, both official and unofficial get the Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod's ergonomics closer to what you need.

Owners' Reviews

1 owner has reviewed their HARLEY-DAVIDSON V-ROD (2001-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

vrscb 04

27 June 2007 by fazers123

very quick for a cruiser,handles and stops well,strong engine not good value at £12000 Read more

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
Read all 1 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2001
Year discontinued -
New price £11,995
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 17 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 115 bhp
Max torque 77 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.5 secs
Average fuel consumption 42 mpg
Tank range 130 miles
Specification
Engine size 1131cc
Engine type 8v V-twin, 5 gears
Frame type Tubular steel cradle
Fuel capacity 14 litres
Seat height 660mm
Bike weight 275kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Twin 300mm discs
Rear brake 300mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 19
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 18

History & Versions

Model history

2001: Original Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod launched.
2006: Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod gets optional 240mm rear tyre.

Other versions

Harley-Davidson VRSCB V-Rod: launched in 2003 – black frame and rear shocks plus other minor colour changes about £1000 cheaper than the Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod.

Photo Gallery

  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Engine
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Engine
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Engine
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Engine
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod motorcycle review - Side view