The Seasoned Wrench


Harley Davidson Street 500 Problems: Too Much To Handle?

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harley davidson street 500 problems infographic

Step into the world of biking and you’ll find that Harley Davidson Street 500 is a name that pops up frequently.

This motorcycle, revered for its gritty performance and timelessly cool aesthetic, is a popular choice among biking enthusiasts globally. However, even the most revered brands are not without their flaws.

This article pulls back the curtain and takes a closer look at the most common Harley Davidson Street 500 problems.

From mechanical hiccups to design drawbacks, we’ll delve into the issues that sometimes sour this ride’s sweet allure. So, buckle up and let’s embark on this journey of understanding the challenges that come with owning and riding a Harley Davidson Street 500.

I’ll go into more detail on each issue below, but first I recommend checking out this overview table:

Hard StartingDifficulty in starting the Harley Davidson Street 500 engine.
Engine OverheatingThe engine temperature rises excessively during operation.
Oil LeaksOil leaking from various engine components or gaskets.
VibrationsExcessive vibrations felt while riding the motorcycle.
Electrical ProblemsIssues with lights, battery, or other electrical components.
Clutch SlippingClutch fails to engage properly, resulting in power loss.
Brake ProblemsBrake performance issues, such as sponginess or squealing.
Gear Shifting IssuesDifficulty in shifting gears smoothly.
Suspension TroublesProblems with the bike’s suspension system.
Poor Fuel EfficiencyLow mileage and excessive fuel consumption.

Mechanically Related Issues

Mechanically related issues are problems that directly affect the performance and functionality of the bike. These are often the most serious issues and often result in the bike being taken off the road until they can be fixed. Let’s explore some of these problems.

Clutch Problems

One of the primary mechanical issues with the Harley Davidson Street 500 is clutch-related. The clutch mechanism is essential, allowing the engine to be disengaged from the powertrain and transmission system, which in turn grants increased control over the rear wheel and facilitates gear shifting.

However, some riders have reported issues with the clutch, such as gas-like bubbles forming when the clutch is pushed. This issue can be detrimental to the clutch and can prevent the engine from disconnecting from the transmission, leading to gear shifting problems.


Early detection and consultation with a professional mechanic or the manufacturer can alleviate these issues. The manufacturer would handle this if it’s a production fault, but if the issue is detected late, it’s advisable to call a technician.

Brake Failure

Brake failure is another significant mechanical concern with the Harley Davidson Street 500. This problem arises due to the corrosion of the caliper piston, causing the brake pads to stick to the disc and wear out prematurely. In severe cases, the brake pads may continue to contact the disc after the brake lever has been released, posing a safety threat.


In such cases, it’s recommended to consult a mechanic who can troubleshoot the brake problems and carry out necessary repairs. Regularly flushing the old DOT 4 brake fluid and replacing it with fresh fluid can also help fix this issue.

Fuel Pump Problems

Fuel pump issues can also arise in the Harley Davidson Street 500, especially when the fuel level remains low, and the fuel pump sealant becomes loose. This can cause resistance to fuel delivery during acceleration, which could potentially lead to hazardous situations if not addressed promptly.


In such scenarios, it’s best to consult a technician. However, you can also mitigate this problem by driving with a full tank of gas and not exceeding 160 km per tank.

Related: Bad Gas In Motorcycle Symptoms

Harley Davidson Street 500 Ownership Problems Video

Quality of Life Issues

Quality of life issues are those that may not directly impact the bike’s performance but can still affect the overall riding experience. These include problems with the bike’s design, accessories, or additional features.

Side Mirrors Unavailable

One of the quality of life issues with the Harley Davidson Street 500 is the unavailability of side mirrors. Side mirrors are crucial for the rider’s safety as they provide visibility of vehicles approaching from behind. Unfortunately, some models of the Street 500 were produced without side mirrors, increasing the risk of accidents.

Exhaust Pipe Mis-Aligned

Another common issue with the Street 500 is the misalignment of the exhaust pipe. The continuous combustion in the engine produces heat, which the pipe absorbs, causing it to become excessively hot during extended rides. The mis-alignment can create unexpected contacts with the exhaust pipe, which can result in burns or injuries to the rider’s legs.


Installing an external forward control can help resolve this problem. Forward controls replace the original pedals and lever, shifting them forward and allowing riders to extend their legs without coming into contact with the hot exhaust pipe.

Front Fender Mounting Issues

Some riders have reported issues with the front fender’s mounting in the Harley Davidson Street 500. The problem arises due to the voltage regulator’s position, which comes into contact with the fender during operation. This issue can limit the bike’s steering ability and can pose safety concerns.

Interested in the big brother’s problems? Check this out: Dreaded Harley-Davidson Street 750 Problems: Far Too Many?

Community Complaints

Beyond mechanical and quality of life issues, there are a few other problems that have been reported by the biking community. These include:

Saddlebag Detachments

Saddlebag detachment is a common issue reported by Harley Davidson Street 500 riders. The saddlebags are secured with a spring wire, which over time can weaken and fail to hold the saddlebag securely, causing it to detach unexpectedly while riding.


Riders can mitigate this issue by reducing the items carried in the saddlebag or riding without a saddlebag when it’s not necessary. If the bike is still under warranty, the dealer might provide a free repair.

Front Tire Problems

Many riders have reported front tire problems with the Harley Davidson Street 500. The front tires can wear out prematurely or become damaged due to improper inflation or alignment.


Regular inspection and maintenance can help prevent these issues. If required, replacing the old front tire with a new one can also resolve this problem.

Street 500 Recalls

Here's a screenshot from Sabrina Giacomini from It details the recalls that were issued for the 500 and 750 street models.

Snippet courtesy of

In addition to individual problems faced by riders, there have also been recalls of the Harley Davidson Street 500. These recalls were primarily due to issues such as a lack of rear reflectors and clutch and transmission problems. It’s advisable for all Street 500 owners to stay updated with these recalls to ensure their bikes remain safe and operational.

Street related: Complete Harley Davidson Headlight Problems Overview

Do They Still Make Street 500?

As of my last update, Harley-Davidson discontinued the production of the Street 500 model. The Street 500, along with its sibling model Street 750, was phased out as part of Harley-Davidson’s restructuring plan.

Why Did Harley Stop Making Street 500?

Harley-Davidson stopped making the Street 500 as part of a broader business strategy called ‘The Rewire’, aimed at streamlining their product portfolio and focusing on their core models and markets. This decision was also influenced by shifting market demands and the company’s focus on higher-margin products.

What is the Recall on the Street 500?

One notable recall for the Harley-Davidson Street 500 involved potential issues with the brake calipers. The recall was due to the possibility of the brake calipers corroding under certain environmental conditions, potentially leading to reduced brake performance. Owners of affected models were advised to have their motorcycles inspected and repaired by authorized Harley-Davidson dealers.

What Engine is in a Street 500?

The Harley-Davidson Street 500 is equipped with a 494cc liquid-cooled, Revolution X™ V-Twin engine. This engine was designed to offer smooth power and torque delivery, suitable for urban riding conditions.

Where are Street 500 Made?

The Harley-Davidson Street 500 was manufactured in Harley-Davidson’s Kansas City, Missouri plant for the U.S. market. Additionally, they were produced in Bawal, India, for other global markets. The production in multiple locations was part of Harley-Davidson’s strategy to make the model more accessible to a global audience.


While the Harley Davidson Street 500 is a popular choice for riders due to its accessibility and unique blend of classic Harley design with modern performance, it isn’t without its share of problems. From mechanical issues like clutch and fuel pump problems to quality of life concerns such as the absence of side mirrors, several issues can affect the riding experience.