JACK OF ALL HARLEYS
movie star. Although the release of The Bar and Shield’s first electric motorcycle — possibly a road going version of 2014’s Project Livewire — is scheduled for next year, it’s bikes like the very cool and highly versatile Sport Glide that are going to keep the brand relevant.
When it comes to Harley’s big twin engines, the Milwaukee-eight is a gem, as it should be considering the R&D that went into producing it.
I’ve recently ridden 114cu incarnations in the form of the Fat Bob and Fat Boy but the Sport Glide comes with the smaller 107cu version of Harley’s latest and greatest engine. And you know what? I think it’s the better pick of the two after riding the Sport Glide. Although the 114 is an absolute torque monster, ready and devastatingly able to smoke rear tyres at will, the 107 — especially in the Sport Glide — feels like a much more sporting choice. I did notice low down in the revs at town speeds — roughly 2200rpm and below — that the bike wasn’t particularly happy off the throttle, but as soon as you got about 2500rpm, the Milwaukeeeight comes alive and heads at full noise to the rev limiter.
It feels genuinely sporty, befitting a bike with a name such as Sport Glide.
A good move by Harley as I doubt prospective riders would be lenient if the Sport Glide didn’t have that sporty feel to it.
The Glide aspect, of course, comes from the new Softail family chassis, which when combined with a thin — by Harley-davidson standards — 180-section rear tyre really makes for a bike that is as easy to tip in as it is to sit on and look cool.
Sure, it is still a foot-forward American cruiser — meaning cornering clearance dries up much faster than a bike with centralised pegs — but that is what you buy into when you opt for the image associated with those forward controls.
With about 28 degrees of lean each side, you’ve still got more than enough to truly hustle the Sport Glide about, even on our more twisty routes.
But it isn’t its handling or the engine that makes the Sport Glide special in the Softail range, or the entire Harley-davidson family. It’s the bike’s ability to rapidly switch between personalities at a seemingly impossible speed. $29,495 1745cc Milwaukee-eight 107
● Looks good, rides well,
plenty of features
● Only comes in 107cu engine configuration, you’ll need somewhere safe to store removable luggage and fairing.
SPORT GLIDE PRICE: ENGINE:
The trick to it is in its mini-fairing — well, that’s what Harley call it — and saddlebags. While detachable saddlebags are nothing new, a detachable fairing isn’t something we’re used to, but all it takes is undoing two clamps on the big USD forks and it pops right off exposing the traditional cool that is an exposed circular headlight.
Once the rather cool “Mantis” wheels start rolling, you can almost forget you’re riding a Harley. It truly does straddle more classes than any of the other machines in the stable and will continue to do so until, hopefully, the rebirth of the Buell Ulysses in some form as part of the plan for 100 new models before 2027. Until then, if you want a Harley that can comfortably do a bit of everything out on the road, the Sport Glide is you’re after.