No discussion of the Road Glide can occur without the recognition that the frame mounted fairing model is not the bike for everyone. Even the Motor Company says that in their advertising. Clearly the bike is for me. My previous experience with the Touring Family of Harley-Davidson’s has been mostly centered around the traditional batwing fairing models. Having ridden them for about 250,000 miles in all weather and situations, I dig those bikes. There is something about having those instruments and the Infotainment system right up high and directly in front of you. At night on a windy two lane highway with the radio on and your favorite passenger onboard, it is a captivating experience. As I stated in our first blog post about the Road Glide, I had owned a 1991 FLTCU. That’s HD speak for Tour Glide Ultra. I immediately bonded with the Tour Glide’s fairing design. At present, HD has taken that concept to an entirely different level with the new and improved Road Glide.
There are a total of five vents that are each adjustable and can be completely opened or closed with the push of a button. The fairing was located a bit closer to the rider and slightly reduced in size on the newest iteration. Two of those vents are on either side of the Daymaker headlamp system and one on the top of the fairing where it joins with the windshield. The final two are in the fairing lowers that attach to the engine case guards. With all vents fully opened there is a total lack of pressure buildup behind the fairing. With them closed you can feel a slight bit of pressure on the back of your shoulders but very slight. The CVO Road Glide Ultra provided by HDMC has heated seats and heated hand grips. With all vents closed and the seat and grips on their lowest heat setting, Colette and I are very warm on cool to cold days. As a back up Plan B we have HD Gerbing full sleeve heated jacket liners that we can plug in and add warmth to our torso. I’m feeling safe in saying that of all the touring motorcycles I have owned/ridden, the Road Glide Ultra is the warmest for cold weather riding of the group. In hot weather there is a good bit of air flowing but when it is hot it is simply hot regardless of what you are riding. There is more information available out there in full road tests reviews and on HD’s website so I will not expand furher but I would like to talk about the handling and power delivery of this motorcycle.
The CVO Road Glide Ultra has the 110 cu in engine combined with the 6 speed transmission. This power plant never stops pulling. Around town or out on the rural two lanes I find myself easing around at about 2,000 rpm. Torque is available as soon as I twist the grip. It is a bike that can be short shifted even two up and loaded. At Interstate speeds this motorcycle has more than enough power at seemingly any speed. Passing on two lanes and merging on Interstate’s is simply a matter of rolling on a little more throttle and enjoying the intake and exhaust sounds while watching the Speedometer needle climb. Consistent MPG figures for our found trip 2,400 mile journey from Daytona to Kentucky was in the 40 to 45 mpg range.
For me the connection to the motorcycle is the front tire and steering geometry. This is where the Road Glide offered a very special surprise for me. It turns. My best guess is that by mounting the fairing to the frame, the fork and wheel are much lighter thereby making quick left right transitions easy in tight parking lot situations and super light touch on the Interstate. Cross winds and dirty air created by large trucks seems to have little if any effect on the handling or stability of the motorcycle.
The front end feel of this motorcycle is simply the best of any large touring motorcycle I’ve ever ridden. It makes me want to do the police training track we have all seen videos of. What amazes me the most is the unique combination that Harley-Davidson has achieved with the Road Glide chassis. When you consider the high speed stability two up and loaded in dirty air or clean combined with the slow speed handling prowess of the chassis, it is a modern marvel.
The CVO Road Glide Ultra is just shy of $40,000. If you can live with a less chrome and upgraded appearance items and the 103 cu in powerplant as opposed to the 110 cu in then you may want to take a look at the Road Glide Ultra non-CVO. Some riders will be drawn to the black inner fairing and controls. It has a kind of “all business” look that actually appeals to me especially when you consider it can be bought for just under $25,000. That puts it in line with every other manufacture of premium touring machines. Either way, when the day comes and the Road Glide has to be returned to the Motor Company while their truck is in town for Daytona Bike Week 2016, I may be shopping for a Road Glide. The power of the demo ride is going to cost me. Oh and the fact that Colette says it is the best passenger pillion she has ever experienced. Happy wife…happy life!
I’m excited to write about our ride home from Kentucky following the Crosley Brands 150 at Kentucky Speedway. A really cool thing happened on the way home!