Harley-Davidson’s plans to expand and evolve with the times were divulged last year when the brand revealed prototypes of its upcoming streetfighter, adventure bike, custom model, and electric offerings. We saw the patents, and when people discovered that H-D registered the name “Bronx,” many assumed that name would be applied to the streetfighter. They were right. The new prototype of the Harley-Davidson Bronx was just unveiled at EICMA 2019, and while it is production-ready some features on the definitive model may change.
H-D’s direction toward making non-cruiser V-twins also shared something in common: the Revolution Max engine — the company’s all-new liquid-cooled DOHC 60° V-twin, derived from DNA that can be traced back to the original Revolution, the similar V-twin co-designed by Porsche. The arrangement makes space for downdraft throttle bodies. The first 1,131 cc Revolution engine was derived from the engine off Harley-Davidson’s VR1000 superbike for placement in the V-Rod. The Revolution would also later birth babies in the form of the Revolution X found in the Street 750 and 500.
It is powered by the 975 cc Revolution Max V-twin which claims to make 116.6 PS and 95 Nm of torque. Unlike the Pan America adventure bike, the Bronx appears to be belt-driven. To prevent a huge departure from H-D’s classic image, the Bronx gets a round headlamp, round indicators, and round digital dash. The modernity and performance is present in the LED lighting, inverted front forks, and buttons on the left handlebar which will control the dash’s menu, riding modes, features, etc. H-D also collaborated with Brembo for the brakes and Michelin for the rubber.
The Harley-Davidson Bronx is a pretty good-looking motorcycle with a retro simplicity that’s both important to the H-D brand and ambiguous to place. The lines are almost reminiscent of design features found on popular bikes from the ‘80s all the way to the early 2000s. While the Bronx doesn't have sport bike origins as streetfighters are known for, H-D and the public still call it one because that’s what the brand had in mind for its design. It's built to resemble a sport naked — the kind of versatile, naked street bike that H-D knows many non-cruiser riders around the world appreciate. While the V-Rod was made to compete with Japanese muscle bikes, the Bronx will compete with sporty standards.
It will face some competition in that regard, even in the market of folks who desire the uniqueness of a V-twin powered naked. It’d be interesting if H-D gave the Bronx the bigger 1,250 cc mill of the Pan America. After all, there’s the Indian FTR1200 (which will get more variants) and H-D’s past XR1200 — both street trackers. There’s also the old Buell lineup and Yamaha’s discontinued, muscular 1,670 cc MT-01. Even if they are not completely comparable, we can also mention the likes of the Suzuki SVs, Honda NTs and VTRs, and the high-performance, beastly Italian twins that have come out of Aprilia and Ducati. The H-D Bronx will appeal to those who want to ride a versatile, sporty standard with the rumble and sound of H-D’s modernized American V-twin… And custom bike builders will have something new to play with.
Buell tried to power sport and adventure bikes with American V-twins before H-D shuttered the subsidiary. The Revolution Max engine’s DNA can also be traced back to the aforementioned VR1000 which Erik Buell helped develop. Buell, however, went for crazy engineering (fuel in the frame, oil in the swingarm, etc.) and H-D is keeping things simple. If H-D wasn’t ready back then, it’s finally ready now to invest hundreds of millions and effort into a serious global push for the next few years. The times call for it. Harley-Davidson plans to offer around nine middleweight, standard roadsters by 2022. Additional specs, details, and prices of the Bronx have yet to be announced, but it will hit showrooms in late 2020.