Born to glide
It’s a long-distance proposition
as spotlights. And don’t forget the cigarette lighter, although there is no ash tray!
At its heart is the big 1690cc fuel-injected engine which is now used in all Touring, Softail and most Dyna models.
Cruise and basic audio controls are on the handlebars but some of the audio controls such as station presets are on the console, which is a bit of a reach forward for the rider.
There is a ‘‘ nav’’ button on the console, but satnav is only available on CVO models.
The sound system has an auxiliary socket for an MP3 player, but only the CVOS have ipod connectivity. A 12-volt outlet to power an external audio device is under the left weather-proof glovebox.
Styling is polarising. Some may think the nose looks a bit too prominent from the side angle but the twin headlights provide an appealing front-on look.
With a lot of surface area on the bike, especially the fairing, it is a blank canvas crying out for custom paintwork. There are lashings of chrome in the engine, forks, exhaust pipes and protection bars.
There are weatherproof and lockable hard-plastic panniers. The rider gets a full floorboard, while the pillion gets pegs.
The matt-black rubbery surface on the console is claimed to withstand cracking in the summer heat and is a nice contrast to the six silver and chrome instruments, including ambient temperature (in Fahrenheit).
The bars aren’t ape hangers but the riding position is similar with the arms out straight.
All Harleys, except Sportsters, get anti-lock brakes. It is a smooth and effective system that uses light sensors rather than an ugly mechanical ring around the brake disc that would have spoilt the clean look of the five-spoke alloy wheels. The brakes also have powerful Brembo calipers derived from the V-rod family.
The key to the handling is the fairing is attached to the chassis, not the forks, like the other Touring bikes.
Advantages are that the steering is lighter for low-speed manoeuvring and the bike is more stable at high speed. Wind blasts from passing trucks also don’t cause any oscillation through the bars.
The short windscreen can be replaced with a higher screen but I prefer the look-over screen with reduced buffeting. The airflow under the fairing blows engine heat away from your legs. As in all Touring $31,995
2yrs/unlimited km, roadside assist 1600km/8000km 1690cc V-twin
367kg (dry) models it also has an engine cut-out system to switch off the rear cylinder while waiting in traffic so your legs don’t sizzle.
Riding position is comfortable, although shorter people may find the reach to the bars, especially to the front console controls, a little too far. The Road Glide’s prominent nose and twin headlights make a bold statement on the road.
On the practical side, it is a comfortable way for two people to see a lot of Australia.