Harley-Davidson Road Glide touring bike returns meaner, more modern

The motorcycle line-up freshening continues

Published: August 01, 2014 03:30 PM

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At the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally mega-event in South Dakota, Harley-Davidson revealed an updated Road Glide and Road Glide Special, continuing the dramatic freshening of the storied brand's motorcycle line up.

The Road Glide was absent from the Harley portfolio in 2014, while the company freshened other models as part of a customer-focused development effort dubbed Project Rushmore. As a result, Harley made updates across the board last year that bring more power, improved aerodynamics, enhanced braking, modern infotainment systems, and mild styling updates to many of its models. Now that approach has been given to the Road Glide.

The most overt change is the redesigned, frame-mounted fairing crafted to reduce head wind-buffeting while providing ample airflow around the rider, aided by vents that open and close to equalize pressure. It features LED headlamps that promise stronger, wider illumination. 

Learn more about the latest bikes and riding in our motorcycle hubbuying guide, and in our reliability and owner satisfaction report.

Behind the fairing is a new handlebar that moves the grips 5.5-inches closer to the rider. Center stage is a touch-screen infotainment system. The Road Glide gets a 4.3-inch version, while the Road Glide Special gains a larger 6.5-inch screen with navigation. When riding, the modern stereo can be operated via joysticks on the handlebars.

Antilock brakes are standard on the Road Glide Special and optional on the base version. Studies have shown that ABS on a motorcycle can be a tremendous safety aid, and we heartily recommend it on this or any other bike. The Special also has an adjustable rear suspension.

The powerplant for both versions is the high-output twin-cam 103 used in other heavy Harleys. Specs haven't been released, but on the already updated Ultra Limited and Tri Glide, the 103 engine boasts 10-percent more torque and improved cooling to help with the heavy loads over the previous engine. Expect pricing to start near $20,000.

The Road Glide will arrive at Harley dealerships by August 26th, at about which time the bar-and-shield company promises to reveal the rest of its 2015 line up.

Also see the Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric and the Street 500/750.

Jeff Bartlett

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