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Harley-Davidson Street Glide review, test ride

Harley-Davidson’s Project Rushmore has been in the pipeline since the past couple of years, aiming to improve H-D’s bike line-up based primarily on customer feedback. We’ve been riding with Harley around parts of Malaysia astride the spanking new, 2014 model Street Glide from H-D’s touring family, finding out just how much better the new bike is?
The Street Glide feels comfortable, a burly bike that’s completely at ease hammering down the broad, fast moving highways in and around Sepang.

The 2014 Street Glide retains classic styling, with copious amounts of chrome shining through in typical Harley fashion. The hefty bike never fails to grab attention wherever it goes. The Project Rushmore Street Glide comes with a new headlight, with dual element halogen bulb coupled to fog lamps on either side. There’s revised switchgear that is repositioned, along with dished, textured switches that add to comfort. The Street Glides extensive dashboard gets revised instrumentation, and infotainment system, comprising an LCD screen, two speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, radio, voice recognition and a USB adapter that supports mp3 devices.

 The Street Glide also packs in cruise control, which when hooked up, made thundering down long straight stretches of highway that much more comfortable. Cruise control takes a little getting used to on a motorcycle, but once over with, works like a dream, being operated via a small joystick on the big Harley’s switchgear. Beyond its fuel-tank, the Street Glide shows off classic, smoothly flowing lines all the way back to its tail. At rear, colour coded panniers offer four percent more storage. The Street Glides new 5-spoke alloy wheels add to its appeal.

The 2014 Street Glide gets Harley-Davidson’s latest ‘high output’, 1690cc, V-twin, air-cooled and twin camshaft engine. The new powerplant is good for 14.07kgm of peak torque, delivered at 3500rpm and is tuned for strong bottom end, having experienced which we can vouch for. Overtaking is a breeze at virtually any speed, with only minor throttle inputs called for. The new 103 engine comes with a revised air-box as well. The Street Glide uses a Harley typical, slightly clunky 6-speed gearbox, shifted in a one-down and five-up pattern. Harley-Davidson has done away a cable operated clutch, replacing it with a superior hydraulic unit. We seldom required the clutch on the highway, cruising effortlessly along in sixth, however did note, like all Harley’s the Street Glide clutch feels heavy. The Street Glide can cruise at 120kph slotted in top-gear all day long, providing its rider a thoroughly smooth, vibe and strain free ride. On long straight highways, when sporadically pushing harder, we found the bike easily capable of breaching 160kph in fifth, with plenty in reserve. The Street Glide accelerates with gusto, never requiring for the rider to rev the long stroke engine hard.

The brawny Street Glide is held together by a rigid backbone frame and weighs in at a hefty 372kg. There’s 49mm inverted fork suspension in front, with a set of adjustable shock absorbers at the rear. The motorcycle seat is large and accommodating for both, rider and pillion. The Street Glide panniers are located lower and further behind so as not to interfere with the pillion. The Street Glide rider sits in a laid back riding position, arms extending out to the handlebars, and feet set close to the front wheel, just right for long hours in the saddle. Good ride quality is a given, ironing out all road undulations. Meanwhile, the Street Glide does handle well for a cruiser, offering decent manoeuvrability and a rock solid stability when flying around corners. The Street Glide uses good tyres that offered ample grip throughout our ride. Powerful twin brake discs in front are linked to the rear brake system, enabling balanced braking at all times. The system also incorporates ABS, that worked well throughout our experience.

The Street Glide feels an exotic, thoroughbred touring bike from the word go and performs well in this sphere. The big new Harley is getting set to enter Indian showrooms sometime in November 2013, coming to us via the more expensive CBU route, so really expect premium pricing. 

Fact File

TypeV-twin, four-stroke, Air-cooled, 1690cc
Bore/stroke98.4mm x 111.1mm
Torque14.07kgm at 3500rpm
Type6-speed, 1-down, 5-up
Chassis & Body
Tyres130/ 70 x 18 inches (front), 180/ 65 x 16 inches (rear)
Front49mm inverted forks
RearTwin adjustable shock absorbers
FrontTwin discs (ABS, linked)
RearSingle-disc (ABS, linked)
Tank size22.7 litres


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