The oh-so-desirable big, bad cruiser

K Shivraj
Saturday, 17 June 2017

An interesting touring machine, the new Harley Davidson Street Glide has a better engine, suspension upgrade and emulsion rear shock absorbers

Street Glide is one of the big, bad cruisers that Harley Davidson offers. As part of the touring model line-up, the bike gets a new Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine that displaces 1745cc. Best-selling model from Harley Davidson in its home market — USA, the Street Glide in India has come to occupy a near cult status. At Rs 31.25 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, not many are able to afford it. However, the image and desirability of the Street Glide continues to ride high, especially because of the legacy this one bike from the Harley stables has been able to build. Apart from the engine, which has led to improvement in performance and refinement, the bike gets suspension upgrade with dual bending valves at the front and emulsion rear shock absorbers. 

The ubiquitous bat-wing fairing draws attention. It does look a touch bigger than expected, but is all-encompassing, and goes well with the lines that carve out the various other bits. The lines slope rearward to form a shape that is long and flowing. On either side are two saddlebags. The old bag mounting system has been updated with levers that provide a positive feedback. The riding position is comfortable with a slight reach to the grips extending the elbows a little. The seat is firm but not hard, and the feet reside on floorboards in a forward but not stretched-out position. 

The heel-toe shifter is within easy reach, and the brake pedal calls for a fair bend of the ankle with the heel resting on the floorboard. The wind protection is free of buffeting at speeds, and the rider’s legs are out in the open. This calls for the wearing of weather protection gear against rain, cold or any other natural condition. 

The 6.5-inch full-colour touchscreen infotainment system has dual speakers, and produces good sound, and is heard even at good speeds.

Not exactly easy, the assist clutch offers good feel. The transmission feels a shade more refined, shifting up and down smoothly. Feeling less constrained and more responsive, the Street Glide exerts a nice, strong pull. The wide handlebars and the dimensions make for a careful manoeuvre through crowded streets. The engine noise helps, but an amount of physical effort is called for with that bar mounted fairing. Improvement in heat management has ensured that not much heat is carried to the rider’s feet giving him that sense of them being ‘cooked’; not in the warm summer either, and at low speeds, which speaks well.  

With the injection system delivering a smooth throttle transition throughout, and a linear feel to the way power is delivered out on the highway, the Street Glide makes an interesting touring machine as it gathers speed quickly and almost relentlessly. Some more reduction in vibrations would do wonders, the throaty exhaust note making for a pleasurable ride. 

The reflex-linked Brembo brakes with ABS exert a strong bite. With upgraded suspension, the Street Glide feels more planted. The front provides a better turn-in, responds firmly to the shift in weight, and feels grippy. Considerable undulations have little effect on the front and the rear gives a feeling of being a bit soft as compared to the front.  


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