2014 Enhancements to Harley-Davidson Motorcycles

Celebrating its 110th anniversary, Harley stays true to heritage with evolutionary enhancements

Published: August 23, 2013 03:00 PM

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Photo: benedict campbell

For 2014, Harley-Davidson celebrates its 110th anniversary with the most comprehensive update to its line in history. Lead by a development program codenamed Project Rushmore, the updates are notable for a company known for product evolution at a pace akin to that national monument’s erosion.

Perhaps in a nod to increasing competition from big bike brands like Victory and recently reborn Indian, Harley has made updates across the board that bring more power, improved aerodynamics, enhanced braking, modern infotainment systems, and mild styling updates to many of its models. What it doesn’t bring are any truly new models or significant reinvention. These are still Harleys, just better.

A benefit to the commonality among the myriad bikes is that upgrades spread widely. The Twin Cam 103 engine has begotten two new variations, each tuned for more torque. The High Output Twin Cam 103 delivers five-percent more torque in a touring configuration and Harley cites a "dramatic improvement" in roll-on acceleration at highway speeds. A new airbox improves leg room.  The Twin-Cool High Output Twin Cam 103 used on the mighty Ultra Limited and Tri Glide boasts 10-percent more torque and improved cooling to help with the heavy loads.

Other bright ideas include new lighting. So-called "Daymaker" LED headlights and fog lamps promise increased visibility on 2014 Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Ultra Limited, and Tri Glide Ultra models. Dual halogen lights offer even more reach than the Daymakers on the Road King, Street Glide, and Street Glide Special. (See how Harley-Davidson measures up in motorcycle reliability and owner satisfaction.)

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2014 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob
Photo: Kevin Netz - Kevin Netz Photography

Additional model range highlights include:

The entry point into the HD line-up is the long-lived Sportster—a "small" bike with an 883cc engine and $8,249 starting price. Familiar models carry forward, including the SuperLow, Iron 883, Forty-Eight, Seventy-Two, and larger 1200XL. For the new model year, Sportsters benefit from improved braking, with larger front rotors, larger dual-piston calipers, revised brake hand control, and the availability of antilock brakes—a welcomed addition on a bike targeted toward less-experienced riders. The Sporties also come with a new electrical system that brings a redesigned analog speedometer, more ergonomic hand controls, restyled side cover and oil tank, and an updated exhaust system.

At the mid-range, a standout is the Fat Bob. For 2014, the Fat Bob is treated to a Dark Custom makeover that brings numerous cosmetic details to make this machine look even more menacing.  The Twin Cam 103 engine is finished in black powdercoat, and the blackout treatment continues to several other elements, such as shock covers, battery box, and wheels. Other tweaks include a slash-cut rear fender, LED tail lamps, slim seat, and a stripe on the five-gallon fuel tank. The Fat Bob starts at $15,699. The Dyna line begins with the Street Bob at $13,349, which is upgraded to the Twin Cam 103 for the new model year.

Most of the updates are to be found on the big Touring bikes.  All Touring models gain new front suspension components, with fatter forks and retuned damping. Further, they also benefit from a linked brake system with ABS that optimizes front and rear brake force distribution above 20 mph. At lower speeds, the front and rear brakes work independently.

Select touring models feature Harley’s new infotainment system, known as Boom! Box. Offered with a 4.3- or 6.5-inch screen, the system is naturally tailored to motorcycle riders, with Bluetooth-connectivity, voice control, integrated iPod controls, electronic gauges, and USB port. All functions are controlled through thumb-operated joysticks, located on the left and right handle bar, which sounds potentially distracting. The version with the larger touchscreen also includes navigation and is satellite radio ready.  

These highway-eating models are further distinguished with new fairing, fenders, saddle bags, luggage box, and wheels.

Jeff Bartlett

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Photo: Ryan Messier

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