Everybody’s on a bully’s back these days and it’s gotta be getting tough to be a bully anymore. When you conjure up a potential Harley-Davidson version of a motorcycle bully, possibly the last thing you’d think of would be Harley’s still-so-new Street especially in the 500cc configuration. But, just like being a bully, it’s all in the head, well at least as far as the folks at The Garage At Ray Price are concerned. The Garage is a sorta custom sub-division of Ray Price Harley-Davidson in Raleigh, North Carolina, that likes to tinker with Harleys regardless of whether they’re air-cooled or water-cooled. In this case, the TGRP team consisting of Bruce Downs, Jason Clement, Brice “Bacon” Terry and Brad Whitfield, decided to take on Harley’s opening volley in the line, the 500cc Revolution X V-twin Street, and bring it up the coolness ladder to a much loftier height and then some.
What TGRP ended up with is a pretty heavily modified Street XG500 they call Street-Bully that still has the bones of the stocker, but an appearance that makes you look twice to see exactly what it is. Right up front, I’d have to say mission accomplished. It looks like a Street that’s been working out a lot lately and has the beef to match. When I say “beef” I’m referring to looks, handling, and stopping as the 500cc engine hasn’t been bored and stroked out to 1000cc and supercharged or anything like that. TGRP did do the old and always satisfying intake and exhaust mods with a Screamin’ Eagle air cleaner kit to breathe better and their own custom 2-into-1 header exhaling through a Screamin’ Eagle Nightstick Muffler. That’ll add a bit of pep to its step and sound more like it means it and sometimes that’s all that’s necessary to satisfy a new rider or even an inner-city hipster as Harley would love to do. TGRP got a good chunk more performance outta the new XG500 engine via a roundabout route ─ the old method of weight loss equals more performance.
Giving this Street a new identity entailed ditching the heavy stock mags and brakes for the Piranha wheels and perimeter front brake off what I’d guess is a Buell 1125CR. And, if you’re using a perimeter front brake, you gotta have a way to mount it, so out went the stock forks with a conventional caliper mount and a set of Buell inverted forks were slipped in. Let’s see, light-weight wheels, better braking, and better handling along with a zippy new look that also includes the stock tiny Buell fender ─ a win-win on every count. Out back another Buell wheel featuring TGRP’s handiwork with a custom rear rotor replaces the stock 15-inch mag with a sportier 17-inch allowing for more tire choices. Getting all this to fit inside the Street swingarm necessitated a narrower Zipper’s Performance chain drive conversion which also made dialing in the final drive ratio for the larger diameter rear wheel much, much easier than changing belts and pulleys. Plus it just looks a hell of a lot cooler too.
Oh, there’s one more thing that’s also a plus-plus for the suspension both front and rear. Jacking up the back of the bike to give a little more ground clearance and loading up the front end for better steering involved a new set of longer shocks. Progressive Suspension’s 14.25-inch rear shocks not only did the job, but the shocks are a step up in performance too. Yup, one more mod that performs better than stock along with a change of attitude as well as altitude. It just looks meaner hunkering over the front end a bit. I never thought I’d ever use the word “meaner” or anything like it with a Street 500 in mind, but it does.
Body-wise, the stock tank and frame covers survive basically intact, but the tail section, seat, and bikini fairing were put out to pasture. TGRP built a new single seat tail section that adds racy style to the mix with a tidy stitch-up and comfy-looking seat by Keith Maschinot of Keith’s Custom Seats. The end result of the rear transformation just looks lighter and sexier than OEM and lighter and sexier are always a good thing in my book. The bikini fairing and headlight found a new home somewhere else while the TGRP crew went for a whole new look. A bit of imaginative use of Harley’s Daymaker Fog Lamps mounted not only vertically and not to a crash bar of a touring bike kept the mounting stalks inside, not outside the forks for a different look to say the least. A bit of a hooligan thing going on here and that’s more than okay for something named Street-Bully.
One thing that definitely looks different is the thing that drives a lot of Harley freaks insane ─ the huge stock radiator shroud that probably does a lot of good, but sure as hell shouts, “Hey, I got a radiator in here!” Without it, the radiator disappears into the frame’s double downtubes. Break out the flat black for that and I’m not even sure people would notice it was water-cooled at first or even second glance. Anything that would get over the water-cooling objection visually and mentally is a good thing especially for new riders who’ve already got enough on their minds.
The curtain call came after the bodywork and wheels spent some time with painter Kyle Morley of XecutionStyle in Elmer, New Jersey, who’s painted quite a few Barnett’s Magazine Online feature bikes built by various builders as well as his own feature bikes. The lovely blue-of-many tones mit black panel paintjob has a lot going on the closer you get and the contrast to the nuclear yellow wheels puts it a bit over the top, but again it’s a bit of a hooligan thing. Might not be your choice and that’s why they make so many paint colors. I like its brashness.
Time to give a thumbs up to TGRP’s main men ─ Bruce Downs, Jason Clement, Brice “Bacon” Terry and Brad Whitfield for taking a Street from meek to bully without wrecking the basic goodness of the stock package in any way. It may not be for everybody, but if you’ve got a Street 500 or 750, it should get you thinking. No Harley likes to stay stock.
For more info on The Garage at Ray Price, visit http://www.thegarageatrayprice.com.
For more than 30 years, Ray Price Harley-Davidson has served as the center of motorcycle culture in Raleigh, N.C., and among the Southeast’s top motorcycle dealerships. Home to Hall-of-Fame racing legend Ray Price, dealership staff have centuries of combined Harley riding experience to provide award-winning customer service and education programs for beginners-to-expert riders. Ray Price was again named a 2014 Dealernews Top 100 business, as well as a Powersports Business Power 50 Dealer. The team actively supports area charities through a wide range of philanthropy projects. Ray Price Racing won the National Hot Rod Association’s (NHRA) Top Fuel Harley Championship in 2014 and 2015.