The V Rod from Harley gained a lot of popularity in its time and there was an immense craze everywhere when it was first launched in 2001. At first glance, the appearance had changed for Harley lovers since it was not a traditional design of Harley, however, people accepted it.
It had a 1250cc engine capacity, aimed to produce a thrilling range of 115 horsepower and 75 ft-lbs easily in its torque. This revolutionary engine had amazing test figures, but it ultimately led to many failures. Except for a few fixes, the motorcycle was plagued by several problems.
And, we will address all major Harley Davidson V Rod problems so you can find whether or not this bike can fulfill your needs.
Harley V Rod Problems
The common Harley V Rod problems are excessive overheating, failure of electronics and electrical components, handling issues, emission problems, improper performance output, unconventional seating, compromised comfort, fuel system issues, and resale problems.
1. Overheating and Electrical Issues
Jumping towards the most frustrating problem with this machine. Overheating remains the most notable problem on Harley V Rod and it affected almost every second owner with a frequency of happening. Also, there are different reasons and points for this failure here.
Sometimes, the motorcycle might overheat while you are just parked at a signal or moving around the countryside. Other times, it becomes an issue when you are on a city tour.
However, it can fail even when you are on a wide and fast highway, as per the owner’s reports.
The issue occurs when the radiator fan fails and stops working. As a result, the radiator keeps getting hotter and hotter while the liquid fluid starts boiling, depending upon several conditions, such as the engine’s temperature and temperature in the environment or surroundings.
The fan stops working because the fuse is blown. Of course, the fix is simple as you just need to replace its blown fuse and it will start working again. But, you always need to have the proper tools all the time because its fuse and fan can malfunction anytime.
Generally, overheating occurs due to malfunctioning of the coolant pump, radiator clog, and blown gaskets. However, in this machine, this failure is a bit different.
Since Harley attempted to revolutionize certain things in this motorcycle, this problem is due to a failed attempt to transition from air-cooled to liquid-cooled. It almost is an unpredictable problem in this motorcycle, however, you still need to make sure things are going well.
There are a few other electrical and electronics related failures too. But, failure of fuses remains on top of the list. Otherwise, the ECU, speedometer, and malfunctioning lights also happen on Harley V Rod.
This usually occurs due to design limitations and the placement of the battery position in it.
2. Improper Performance
Well, this is a little long but of course the most important one.
Harley invited Porsche to work together on this machine so they could build an impeccable product with enormous power and absolute performance.
However, what if this machine still fails to perform despite all the efforts being put into its engineering, designing, and making? Your heart will be broken!
Unfortunately, the same has continued to happen with this motorcycle almost since day one. Primarily, the 2003 models are the most affected as they lacked proper performance since some issues led to improper output and performance.
The first reason for this problem is the design flaw of its motor, leading to failures and compromised performance output, most of the time.
And, this design flaw was all the result of Harley’s attempt at revolutionization of some components in the Harley V Rod.
Of course, the intention was positive and real, but it all was miscalculations and some bad luck for Harley. Inconsistent performance of the motor leads to ineffective working of this motorcycle leading to poor torque, poor output, a slow start, and emission issues.
The motor used to have issues almost every 15000 miles before you can fix it. It also reduces the lifespan and overall health of the engine causing trouble in the long run for the motorcycle.
The motor sometimes does not properly or timely sync with the other components of the engine, leading to improper power and torque output. You can use synthetic oil to fix a few of these.
Another option would be to upgrade its ignition system, which is undoubtedly expensive, but it can fix many of the issues if done correctly by a professional and experienced Harley mechanic.
Otherwise, you need to adjust many of its components to fix these annoying issues.
3. Comfort and Handling Issues
Coming to the next series of issues, we will talk about comfort and handling problems we have with this motorcycle. First of all, this might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
The reason for that? It has a kind of awkward riding position due to an unconventional and nontraditional Harley design. As a result, you might find it difficult to sit on long rides, especially if it’s on highways.
This issue was further elevated due to an unconventional handlebar and wrong peg position. Both these things make the issue worse and put your body in an ultimate fatigue for hours long rides.
As for city rides and short tours, it’s still pretty much bearable and a little bit comfortable.
To deal with its comfort, you can replace its seat by upgrading it. However, there are not many options in the market for its replacement.
To some extent, these comfort related issues affect the handling of this motorcycle, but suspension, braking, and stability issues have more to do with its handling department.
Harley V Rod comes with ABS braking, but it might lose effectiveness in the long run, or unless you keep taking a look at it in its every scheduled maintenance.
The brake rotor and pads are prone to wear out and malfunction quickly, so you need to put some extra focus on this area.
4. Fuel, Carb, and Resale Issues
We are not done yet with the Harley V Rod problems because there are still a couple of them left. These problems are primarily related to fuel and carburetor problems as well as resale issues.
Malfunctioning of the fuel flange leads to many problems. But, first of all, it causes instant fuel cut-off or at least immediate power loss if the flange malfunctions while you are on a ride.
The drop in performance occurs because flange failure triggers the malfunctioning of the carburetor.
When the carburetor fails in a Harley V Rod, the problem gets worse because you will now experience a compromised power input to output ratio, and the same for the fuel-to-air ratio which is going to rise every second until you find a way to fix it.
Both these issues together can lead to starting issues as well as many other issues. However, these issues are still fixable as you will need to figure it out.
First thing, you can try cleaning the carburetor as well as its fuel flange to see if that does something positive or not.
If it does not, try repositioning the fuel flange as its angle might be interrupting the flow of fuel. Now, even if the repositioning does not work, it’s time to replace your old fuel flange and get a new one to install it. It will solve the problem in minutes.
However, it has a specific procedure to follow when you are replacing its fuel flange. First of all, you need to empty its fuel tank till its last drop. Once it’s done, disconnect the fuel lines so you can access the fuel pump and replace it.
Remove the old fuel flange/pump, place and install the new one you just got. Now do the same steps in reverse. I mean, recheck all the lines and make sure they are proper.
Now, reconnect these fuel lines and refill the same fuel in the tank, but make sure to have a fuel filter in it.
Other than all its technical and nontechnical problems, there’s another economic factor as well. It’s expensive to maintain a motorcycle because it is not very common in the market.
The reason again consists of various problems but primarily some design flaws causing trust and reliability issues in the minds of owners. Later, V Rod went off sale and discontinued in 2018.
The lack of trust leads to its poor resale and bad market position. Most owners prefer to sell their motorcycles once it’s been discontinued by the manufacturer. This is why V Rods are not common but still expensive, nearly available for $9,000 to $13,000.
However, the resale is bad as well as expensive for its maintenance, you might regret it if you purchase it without thinking properly.
It can still be seen but only in a few states and on roads.
Harley V Rod User Reviews:
“I never believe media reviews on anything. Someone else’s preconceived opinion and negative bias. The Vrod offers character in bucketloads with more than enough performance on our heavily congested speed-restricted pot-holed roads.” Source: motorcyclenews.com
“Harley must be cutting costs with the V-Rod series. There are hardly any custom parts you can get for the Muscle in particular. Very disappointing in that regard. Fun ride but not worth the price.” Source: motorcyclenews.com
Usama Ansari is a passionate writer interested in bikes and automotive vehicles. With years of experience and expertise in the field, he is quite familiar with many vehicles. His knowledge and love for everything related to bikes and automobiles have shaped his career, making him a trusted source of information and insights. Twitter | Facebook