Harley-Davidson’s Road Glide first appeared in 1980. The new touring motorcycle featured a fixed faring, meaning that it was mounted to the bike’s frame and did not move with the handlebars, the first bike of its kind from Harley. It proved a popular model with its distinctive “shark-nose” front faring with dual headlight, spacious saddlebags, large windshield and creature comforts like radios and CBs. It was designed for long rides on the open road, with ample storage for the rider’s needs along the way and evoked the imagination and spirit of the west, miles and miles of open road and self-sufficiency.
For Harley-Davidson to even think about changing its signature Twin-Cam engine is quite surprising, but Harley has never been a company to stay stagnant for long. Re-designing the engine was a brave move and it’s improved the touring line in many ways. Harley’s brand-new Milwaukee-Eight is taking the company to a new rider market while still leaving enough familiarity for the die-hard Harley-Davidson fans. This is a delicate balancing act, but the company has succeeded exceedingly well.
To those that are not familiar with the Twin-Cam, Harley’s big touring bikes will not seem any different. However, to those that are knowledgeable, the differences are big. Both of these viewpoints are good things. Harley’s tried and true reputation for big, powerful motorcycles with a nice, loud growl has not been altered, meaning it’s still recognizable, but much improved.
To the eye, the engine appears to have kept most of its signature shape, but with added muscle as well as curves. The Road Glide also looks the same profile-wise: same futurist-looking “shark nose” front faring; deep, comfortable seat; bodywork and wheels.
Where things get interesting is when the bike is fired up. Firstly, it will start smoothly and powerfully right away, without the chugging of the Twin-Cam. The Milwaukee-Eight is an air/oil cooled, four-valve engine with considerable torque, but less vibration. The ride-by-wire throttle is extremely responsive and tight. The heat distribution has also been changed, so that the rider no longer suffers from intense heat coming off the engine even in hot weather.
The 2017 Road Glide is equipped with emulsion shocks that deliver immense comfort and stability, much appreciated on a heavy touring bike. Despite its 929-lb. curb weight, the Road Glide is remarkably maneuverable, dipping into corners and mountain roads with grace and agility. The bike feels solid and robust, as a Harley should. Shifting is improved also, with a new slip-assist clutch that allows for smoother downshifting. Brembo calipers are supported with linked braking and ABS, making stopping this bike quickly and smoothly a sure thing.
Comfort is greatly improved with rear emulsion shocks with easy-to-adjust spring preload coupled with a new Showa Dual Bending Valve fork. The saddlebags have a one-touch latch system and are easily removable, which allows for quick and easy rear preload adjustments while on the road. The low seat height (just 25.9”) allows even shorter riders to get both feet on the ground and feel confident that the large bike is under their control.
The ride is also enhanced by a top of the line sound system, the BOOM! 6.5GT, that is easy to operate even with gloved fingers (or with the left-hand controls). The 6.6-inch touchscreen also features a GPS function that can be easily seen even in direct sunlight.
With the 2017 Touring models, Harley-Davidson has once again proven that they are the leaders in big bike comfort, handling, power and function, not to mention beauty.
• 1753cc engine
• 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission
• 929-lb. curb weight
• 6-gallon fuel capacity tank
• Showa 49mm Duel Bending valve front suspension, emulsion shock in rear
• Brembo brake system with ABS
• New Milwaukee-Eight air/oil-cooled, four-valve engine
• 25.9-inch seat height
Come by OC Motorcycle and take the all new Road Glide out for a long weekend ride and see for yourself how hard Harley has worked to bring their motorcycles into the twenty-first century while still retaining all of the tradition of the brand.
OC Motorcycle is your premiere source for rentals, service and sales in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Corona Del Mar, Huntington Beach and all of Orange County! OC Motorcycle is an authorized Moto Guzzi and MV Agusta dealership in addition to already offering the most diverse line of used motorcycles including Harley-Davidson, BMW, Ducati, Triumph, Honda, Kawasaki and more.