2012 Harley-Davidson Night Rod SpecialHarley Davidson | January 6, 2012
We’ve seen some brawny looking tough, nasty Harley Davidson in the past, but no one comes closer to the 2012 Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special. The Night Rod Special boasts Pro Stock lineage, black-x-infinity color design and drag strip stance, which gives it the nastiest look we’ve seen in any Harley Davidson in recent times. But that’s not it that separates the Night Rod Special from all its stablemates there’s a lot more than that. Unlike the air-cooled models, which hare more talk than business, from the Milwaukee manufacturer this V-Rod is a liquid-cooled model and delivers the essential performance punch. With its Revolution V-twin 1250 cc engine cranking up an estimated 125-bhp and a stout, rear tire of 240-width for transferring the power to pavement, this V-Rod enters the market with a clear intention of hammering. For the people who hate Harley and thinks that the company doesn’t know what performance means in a bike, this new Night Rod Special is Harley’s answer saying shut the heck up.
The advanced V-Rod offering from Harley Davidson in general is overshadowed by the more traditional models from the company, but still the V-Rod lineup sells decently. Particularly the Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special, which appeals the young buyers. Right from the beginning the H-D engineers were clear in their mind about their aim of luring the young buyers and diverting them from going for the rivaling models, and hence they gave the 2012 Night Rod Special improved handling, sharp styling and a lot more comfy aesthetics which makes this black knight appeal a wider array of buyers in the market.
The 2012 Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special is the first aesthetical update for 2012 V-Rod right from the time it was introduced in the market a decade back. The initial whale tail of the bike has been replaced by a flat track-stimulated “fastback” for showing off a lot of that stout rear Michelin Scorcher tire. In addition to this there also is one another highlight in the form of DOT-defying discreet taillight design of Harley-Davidson and advert with a peeled-down license plate hook. On the frontage there is a remolded headlight, which has been capped by a postal stamp-sized tempo screen and it comes in place of the previous small-bullet fairing. Each and every piece of the trim has been covered in black except for the fleecy-steel muffler sleeves. As a result of that you gets a quicker, slimmer and lighter looking muscle bike.
There also is a brand new upturned fork from Showa, which gives it a heavy, broad-bearer appearance, and a somewhat abridged rake angle tucks for the wheels in front in blitzed for a hostile, snub-nosed posture. Though the overall looks of the bike makes it look a lot stronger, but overall the brand new Night Rod Special is a lot more compact and easy for handling than initially. The c-clamp ride position of the previous Harley-Davidson NRS gave it a tougher look, but at the same time made it comfortable for limited number of rider, who actually can fit in the bike. But this time around the low drag bar back has been pulled back by 3-in, and the footpegs have also been moved around an inch close to the rider, and that’s what makes the new Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special reachable for the average-sized riders. And in case you can not deal with the standard, feet-onward cruiser position, you can go for the Ducati Diavel-manner mid-build up foot controls.
The more compact riding position also lets riders make better use of body positioning to steer the bike, making it easier to exploit this year’s stiffer fork and other chassis updates. These include new split 5-spoke cast aluminum wheels that slash rotating weight by almost 9 pounds, making the Night Rod Special more responsive to steering inputs and quicker to accelerate than ever before. Handling is credible for a sport cruiser, though excessive compression damping in the retuned rear shocks makes hard hits a bit jarring. Harley-Davidson would benefit from benchmarking the 17-inch-diameter, 240-series rear tire Ducati uses on its Diavel power cruiser, which isn’t nearly as bossy as the flatter-profile, 18-inch 240 fit to the Night Rod Special. The Harley’s low-speed handling is high-effort, and a slight self-righting tendency demands constant bar pressure to keep the bike turning on the desired trajectory at elevated velocities.
The 2012 Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special performs exceedingly well during long stretches and that actually is when you actually start enjoying the DOHC, 1250cc, 4-valve V-twin engine. The Revolution engine of Night Rod Special might not deliver overwhelming torque as you might get from the conventional, V-twin long-stroke cruiser engine, which trades the low-rev dive in favor of a racy, revvy nature, which actually comes to life on the higher half of the tach. The professional riders will get the feel right at home on their V-Rod. Run it down in every gear and you’ll feel the unpredictably quick speeding up for a bike which weighs almost around 700-lbs, and a sound, which actually is worth of a Superbike. The 5-speed gearbox here is not as good as its engine, however.
Finally we’d say that the 2012 Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special not only delivers exceedingly well performance and menacing styling in comparison to any other model in the otherwise retro-minded Harley lineup. It also is one of the most reasonably priced non-Sportster models available in the market.
- Price: $15,609 colors/$15,299 black
- Engine: 1250cc, DOHC, 8v, l-c 60-deg. V-twin
- Bore x stroke: 105.0 mm x 72.0 mm
- Compression: 11.5:1
- Fuel system: EFI
- Clutch: Wet, multi-plate slipper
- Transmission: 5-speed
- Estimated horsepower: 125 bhp at rated 8250 rpm
- Estimated torque: 85 lb.-ft. at rated 7000 rpm
- Frame: Tubular steel double cradle
- Front Suspension: 56 mm Showa fork
- Rear suspension: Twin Showa shocks having modifiable spring preload
- Front brake: Dual Brembo four-piston calipers, 300mm discs, optional ABS
- Rear brake: Brembo 4-piston caliper, 300 mm disc, elective ABS
- Front tire: 120/70ZR-19 Michelin Scorcher
- Rear tire: 240/40R-18 Michelin Scorcher
- Rake/trail: 34o/5.6 in.
- Seat height: 26.7 in.
- Wheelbase: 67 in.
- Fuel capacity: 5.0 gal.
- Estimated curb weight: 670 lbs.
- Color: Vivid Black, Black Denim and Sedona Orange
- Availability: Now
- Warranty: 24 mo., unlimited mi.