Introduced in 2006, the Dyna Street Bob (FXDB) was the first “Dark Custom” designed for Harley-Davidson ’s Dyna family. The Street Bob originally came with an 88.5 cubic-inch (1,450 cc) engine and graduated to 96.7 cubes (1,584 cc) in 2007. After the release of the Twin Cam 103 in the 2012, Harley dropped it into the Street Bob starting in 2014.
In the modern bobber style, the 2017 Street Bob is minimal: solo seat, no windshield, cut-down fenders, mid-mount controls and retro-style air cleaner cover. Minimal doesn’t mean lack of comfort, though. The Street Bob is very comfortable — comfortable enough for all-day riding. With bags and a windshield, it would make a nice casual tourer— better than a Softail would.
Minimal also doesn’t mean lack of quality. The Street Bob holds to the same standard of quality that Harley is known for and pledges that to you in a cast 3-D fuel tankmedallion, not some econo graphic sticker.
Drag bars were part of the early bobber style. Mini-apes came in a bit later when the chopper customizations were popular. The Street Bob carries that post-war retro look with mini ape-hangers kept neat by running the wires inside the pipes. This gives a cleanlook and keeps things simple for customization.
Even with rubber-insulated handlebars to reduce vibration, there’s still some in the bars when standing still, but that disappears while underway. Shifting is smooth and handling is quite nimble. The Street Bob feels like a lightweight bike and it’s responsive with plenty of grunt in the low-to-mid range so you don’t have to do a lot of downshifting.
Retro-style bullet taillights do triple duty as brake lights, running lights, and turn signals, freeing the rear end from sporting a big taillight can and the Christmas tree of other lights on the backend.
The Street Bob’s “Dark Custom” DNA is evident in the textured blacked-out, tank-mounted console. Instrumentation is basic and includes LED indicator lights, electronic speedometer and tach as well as engine diagnostics, a clock, trip-meter and gear/rpm indicator. The black-out console saves you from the laser eye blast of reflected sun off shiny chrome.
As part of the standard-equipment package for 2017, the folks at the factory include a battery tender harness for those of you that have to put your bike into storage a few months out of the year.
The Dyna frame is similar to the big FL models, and is more conventional than, say, the Softails. Built as a replacement for the old FXR frames, the Dyna uses a dual, rubber motor-mount system to support the engine within the double-cradle frame. The steering head is set at 29 degrees for 4.7 inches of rake, just right for a stable, straight-line ride.
As with most FX models, the FXDB Street Bob comes with the smaller-diameter fork tubes arranged in the traditional right-side-up fashion, set in a skinny, Sportster-style triple-tree. A pair of external, low-profile, coil-over shocks link swingarm to frame at the root of the fender struts, and their chrome finish kind of makes them part of the bling and not just a piece of equipment. The shocks come with a spanner to adjust the spring preload, so you don’t mar that nice chrome finish when setting up for a passenger.
A four-pot caliper binds the single, front disc brake, and a twin-pot binds the rear. At 670 pounds wet, this Dyna has a spongy feel in the brake lever and is a definite candidate for dual front brakes, but at least Harley offers ABS as an option if you are into that sort of thing so you can milk the most out of what brakes there are. Chrome spokes lace the polished hub and black-out rim together, a detail that ties right into the black-out fork sliders.
The 25.5-inch laden seat height makes for a short trip to the ground when you need to dab, and the mid-mount controls keep the rider triangle nice and compact. If you walk around in the nosebleed section, don’t despair; throw a set of forward controls on there and you are set to stretch out as much as you need.
Harley’s powerful air-cooled, 103.1-cubic-inch, Twin-Cam engine serves as the beating heart, and it looks like an exercise in understatement with its polished cooling fins over black-out jugs and cases. The round chrome air cleaner forms a historical tie to its namesake, the old-school bobbers, and it comes stamped with the company logo for another classy — if subtle — touch.
The 3.875-inch bore and 4.375-inch stroke make it a long-stroke engine, which is where Harley has always developed its torque, and in this case leaves us with 98.8 pound-feet at 3 grand. That is plenty of grunt to pull this cruiser around, and the electronic fuel injection helps deliver this power at 43 mpg, combined.
Harley’s typical chain-drive primary sends power from the compensator sprocket to the six-speed transmission through a multi-disc wet clutch, and the quiet, low-maintenance belt drive makes the final connection to the rear wheel.
MSRP on the 2016 Dyna Street Bob is $13,699 for Vivid Black, $14,099 for color options, $14,449 for two-tone colorways and for Hard Candy colors. Add about $150 to those prices for 2017 MSRP; and don’t forget to check out all the additional color choices in the customization lineup. With a plethora of choices for paint and wheels with H-D1™ Factory Customization, you can get your Street Bob delivered in about a month.
Pondering my competitor for the Street Bob, a candidate very quickly floated to the top as I considered the overall design features. I picked the High-Ball for my head-to-head as a bike that will appeal to a similar crowd.
The two share many common features – black-out paint schemes, solo seat, apes and laced wheels – so much so that they look like brothers from another mother. Even the big, V-twin engines toe the same line, so the main visual differences lie in the Nessy flow on the Victory, which seems more subtle than other models, versus the attractive, but typical, design of the Harley. It all comes down to taste.
Likewise, the engines are more or less a wash. The High-Ball comes with Victory’s Freedom 106/6 V-Twin that displaces 1,731 cc and cranks out 106 pound-feet of torque, and the Street Bob runs on the Twin-Cam 103 at 1,690 cc and 98.8 pound-feet. Since both are air-cooled, you can’t even use the radiator for a yea-or-nay item.
There’s not much to choose between the stickers, either. You can get the High-Ball in any color you want, as long as you want black, for $13,349. A Vivid-Black Street Bob will set you back $13,849, or you can opt for some of Harley’s alternative colors for a few hundred more.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to preferences; either the fairly old-school Harley, or the progressive yet still old-school-ish Victory. Decisions, decisions.
My husband and fellow writer, TJ Hinton, says, “I never have been a huge fan of the Dyna family, mainly ’cause I used to own an FXR, and I don’t see what was wrong with that system. Plus, the early Dynas weren’t nearly as comfortable as the FXR, either. It seems that the family has had time to mature, and I’m liking this particular Dyna a lot more than the old ones. I really like some of the custom looks you can get right from the factory with its H-D1 Factory Customization program, but I shudder at the potential sticker if I were to build a bike on paper like that!”
“I’ve heard this referred to as a ’girl’s bike,’ because it’s low and relatively small. Seriously, though, the Street Bob is a fun ride. It’s nicely balanced, so it is nimble and quick and really comfortable to ride. Yes, the gals like a low seat height and mid-mount controls. But the Street Bob is so much more than that.”
|Engine:||Four-cycle, 45-degree V-Twin Air-cooled, Twin Cam 103™|
|Displacement:||103.1 cubic inches (1,690 cc)|
|Bore:||3.875 inches (98.4 mm)|
|Stroke:||4.375 inches (111.1 mm)|
|Engine Torque Testing Method:||J1349|
|Engine Torque:||98.8 Pound-Feet at 3,000 rpm|
|Fuel System:||Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)|
|Lubrication system:||Pressurized, dry sump|
|Transmission:||Six-Speed, Constant mesh, foot shift|
|Primary Drive:||Chain, 34/46 ratio|
|Gear Ratios (overall) :||1st: 9.311, 2nd: 6.454, 3rd: 4.793, 4th: 3.882, 5th: 3.307, 6th: 2.79|
|Exhaust:||Chrome, staggered, shorty exhaust with dual tapered mufflers|
|Brakes, Front:||Four-piston fixed front|
|Brakes, Rear:||Two-piston torque-free floating rear|
|Wheel, Front:||19-inch Black laced steel wheels and stainless steel spokes|
|Wheel, Rear:||17-inch Black laced steel wheels and stainless steel spokes|
|Tire, Front:||Michelin® Scorcher™ “31” 100/90B19 57H|
|Tire, Rear:||Michelin® Scorcher™ “31” 160/70B17 73V|
|Lean Angle, Right:||30 degrees|
|Lean Angle, Left:||31 degrees|
|Seat Height, Laden:||25.5 inches|
|Seat Height, Unladen:||26.8 inches|
|Ground Clearance:||4.7 inches|
|Lights (as per country regulation), Indicator Lamps:||High beam, directional light bar, neutral, low oil pressure, engine diagnostics, turn signals, security system (optional), Six-speed, low fuel warnings|
|Gauges:||Tank-mounted electronic speedometer with odometer, time-of-day clock on odometer, dual tripmeter, RPM/Gear display, fuel gauge with low fuel warning light and countdown feature, low oil pressure indicator light, engine diagnostics readout, LED indicator lights, Six-speed indicator light|
|Fuel Capacity:||4.7 gallons|
|Fuel Reserve:||0.9 Gallons|
|Recommended Fuel:||Premium Unleaded|
|Fuel Economy: Combined City/Hwy:||43 mpg|
|Oil Capacity (w/filter) :||3 Quarts|
|Dry Weight:||637 Pounds|
|Wet Weight:||670 Pounds|
|Maximum Payload:||415 Pounds|
|GAWR:||Front: 390 Pounds, Rear: 695 Pounds|
|2016:||Vivid Black, Charcoal Pearl, Black Denim, Velocity Red Sunglo, Crushed Ice Pearl, Billet Silver/Vivid Black, Hard Candy Cancun Blue Flame, Olive Gold|
|2017:||Vivid Black, Black Denim, Olive Gold, Charcoal Denim/Black Denim, Hard Candy Hot Rod Red Flake|
|2016:||Vivid Black $13,699, Color Option $14,099, Two-Tone Option $14,449, Hard Candy Color Option $14,449|
|2017:||Vivid Black $13,849, Color Option $14,249, Two-Tone Option $14,599, Hard Candy Color Option $14,599|