2018 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide

Editor Score: 82.75%
Engine 18.5/20
Suspension/Handling 13.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 7.0/10
Brakes 7.0/10
Instruments/Controls3.75/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 8.0/10
Appearance/Quality 9.0/10
Desirability 9.0/10
Value 7.5/10
Overall Score82.75/100

The recent launching of a completely new Softail platform was somewhat overshadowed by the attendant axing of Harley’s Dyna platform. But after sampling this newest Softail, the Sport Glide, I’d like to add my voice to the chorus of motojournalists who have been effusive in their praise for the comprehensive engineering that has resulted in the best-performing Softails in H-D’s long history. The Sport Glide, the ninth new Softail, might be the best of the bunch.

Harley-Davidson Introduces All-New Softail Line For 2018

“The Softail program gave us the opportunity to reach into new classes,” explained Paul James, H-D’s Manger of Product Portfolio, at the Sport Glide’s riding introduction this week. James, an erstwhile roadracer, says this new Glide hearkens back to the FXRT Sport Glide from the 1980s and the FXDXT T-Sport from 2001. Since then, Harley has also sold bikes similar in concept, like the Dyna Convertible and Switchback.

But all those previous baggers can’t hold a candle to the performance, sleekness and refinement of this new FLSB Sport Glide, with significantly greater chassis rigidity and the new Milwaukee-Eight 107-cubic-inch motor delivering impeccable throttle response and a generous improvement in power production.

Sleek and tastefully executed, the Sport Glide cuts an attractive jib.

The timing of our ride coincided with the bike’s announcement at EICMA this week. The European audience is an important one for Harley, as it expects the Sport Glide might be the MoCo’s best-selling bike in that market. About 40% of Harley’s current sales are in the global market, and it’s aiming to increase that share to 50% in the coming years.

Fun Fact: Although there are but 25 H-D dealers in India, Harley owns the #1 spot in that nation’s 600cc-plus category. Harley operates CKD (Complete Knock Down) factories in India and Brazil to sidestep onerous import duties in those countries.

There are two key elements to the Sport Glide’s concept: First is the addition of modest wind protection from a shrunken version of Harley’s signature batwing fairing; additionally is the inclusion of stowage space via saddlebags, an important consideration for European riders who desire greater functionality from their motorcycles. A stripped-down appearance is available by both elements being quickly detachable without tools.

The mini batwing is the key styling facet of the Sport Glide.

“The Sport Glide offers the thrilling dynamic capability of the new Softail platform with features that make it suited for both commuting and light touring,” explained Dave Latz, senior product planning manager at Harley-Davidson, in a media release.

To test the concept, Harley invited a quartet of journalists to ride the Sport Glide on the roads north of L.A. It would be my first experience with a new Softail, and I came away thinking the Sport Glide might be my favorite Harley of them all.

The Sport Glide’s windscreen and bags can be removed in seconds without tools to reveal the basic cruiser underneath when your tour is headed only as far as the neighborhood coffee shop.

First things first: style. After all, it’s not only MO editors who believe that style is a primary selling point for motorcycles, and that’s especially true for Harleys. Paul James says many of H-D’s customers choose a bike based on the way it looks rather than the dynamic promises intended in their designs. “They view their choices through the lens of style,” James relates.

The Sport Glide visually distinguishes itself by its mini batwing windscreen, which mimics a Street Glide’s iconic fairing but on a much smaller scale: “The Big Twin equivalent of a training bra,” observed Senior Editor John Burns, who will be thrilled to know that cruise control is standard equipment on the SG. Below the screen is Harley’s Daymaker LED headlight framed by a distinctive ring of LEDs. Rear lighting is provided by a clean LED combo that incorporates the brake light into the rear turnsignals.

LEDs light the way for the unexpectedly sporty FLSB.

Other than the fuel tank, fenders and windscreen (available in black, silver or cherry), most of the rest of the Glide Lite is finished in black, with subtle highlights of chrome or polished metal accents on the engine, exhaust system, and new “Mantis” aluminum wheels specific to the Sport Glide. It’s an attractive motorbike, with its only styling flaw to be found with my eyes being the big gap between the front tire and its steel fender.

There’s not many surprises when throwing a leg over the SG, as it retains most of the elements of other Softails, including tank-top instrumentation that features an analog speedo, gear-position indicator, fuel level and a miles-to-empty tripmeter. It also has a numerical tach, but it’s nearly impossible to read while riding. In a nod to modernity, a USB charging port below the frame’s steering neck is provided to power electronic devices.

The Sport Glide’s ergonomics blend a bit of sport into the typical cruiser arrangement.

The ergos are cruiser-rangy with a slight sport set, with a 26.5-inch seat height working with modestly forward-set footpegs (no floorboards) that are a reasonable stretch. Some readers have opined they’d prefer mid-mount pegs, but that would fold legs uncomfortably with the bike’s squat seat height. The Sport Glide features a narrower (0.75 inch) primary case cover on the right side that allows legs a straighter shot at the ground and is likely to be fitted to some future Softail models. I appreciated the handlebar position, which puts a rider in a slight forward lean rather than a vertical posture that sends bump impacts through spinal columns.

The diminutive windscreen is barely visible from the cockpit, and it looks so good that we wonder if many riders will bother taking advantage of its detachable feature. Touring riders in colder climates might think it worthy to invest in the 5.5-inch windshield from H-D accessory catalog ($159.95), which is 4 inches taller than the stock lip.

Pricing for the Sport Glide begins at $18,599 for the Vivid Black version, while Silver Fortune (pictured here) and Twisted Cherry versions retail at $18,999. Each uses a black muffler cover on its two-into-one exhaust system.

The bags are also quickly detachable, but their capacities combine for just 1.9 gallons (7.2 liters) of space. H-D notes they can hold a half-helmet, a laptop and a rainsuit, so they’re designed more for commuting storage than for cross-country travel. An expandable bag setup would be appreciated by those who like to cover longer distances. For additional load capacity, Harley sells a luggage rack and a Tour-Pack mounting rack. A sissy-bar backrest is also available, which I’d recommend if you plan on carrying passengers, as the stock pillion pad has a an uneasy downward slope and a disappointingly low coefficient of traction.

A proximity sensor in the key fob enables convenient keyless ignition, and firing up the blacked-out 107 Milwaukee-Eight reveals a traditional Harley 45-degree V-Twin exhaust note. The 1746cc air/oil-cooled motor is bolted into the chassis without rubber mounts, so it is a stressed member of the frame, which Harley says is 65% more rigid than previous Softails and a massive 90% stiffer than the previous rubber-mount Dyna platform. Dual counterbalancers quell objectionable vibration while retaining an ever-present mechanical presence felt by a rider.

Harley’s 107-inch motor is a strong and refined power unit that also happens to be one of the prettiest engines on the market.

Peak torque arrives at just 2750 rpm, providing plenty of oomph to propel the SG down the road with ease. Harley claims 108 lb-ft of torque when rated at its crankshaft, and it performs so well that wishing for an upgrade to Harley’s 114-cube motor might be a fool’s errand for many. The 107 is a seriously good motor, with flawless throttle response and a strong and even pull through its rev range that provides solid thrust whenever it’s needed. The shift action from its six-speed tranny is more deliberate than slick, but gears are swapped reliably when not rushed.

Riders are adequately sheltered from engine heat, partly due to the oil cooling around the hottest areas of the cylinder heads, says Harley, with heat being shed by the bike’s oil cooler. At a standstill, a rider’s left calf will feel heat emanating from the clutch area.

A braided steel line provides a firm feel from a 4-piston caliper clamping on a 300mm rotor. A few of you have commented that a light-duty sport-tourer like the Sport Glide should be equipped with a dual-disc front brake setup, but Paul James notes that “A double-disc setup doesn’t really improve braking power, it just reduces lever effort.” Indeed, a strong squeeze on the comfortably doglegged brake lever can easily induce howling from the front tire before the standard ABS fully kicks in, and I had no indication of fade even when railing hard down Glendora Mountain Road. A generously sized 292mm rotor and 2-piston caliper slows the rear wheel, combining for a brake setup I’d describe as perfectly adequate for the vast majority of riders.

Just a single-disc front brake setup, but it performs better than you might think.

Harleys aren’t known for exemplary suspension performance, but the company has taken steps forward with the Showa components on the Softail platform. The Sport Glide uses a 43mm inverted cartridge fork fitted with tri-rate springs to support its 5.1 inches of travel. It’s non-adjustable because, professes Harley, research says most riders with adjustable suspensions neglect to hone in on a setup that best suits their weight or riding style and never bother to adjust them, potentially giving a worse setup than a simple non-adjustable suspension. FWIW, the cartridge fork in the Sport Glide (and Fat Bob) is higher-tech design than the dual-bending-valve fork of the other Softails.

What is adjustable is the underseat shock’s preload, handily able to be set via a hand-tunable hydraulic adjuster. For my 150-pound weight, James advised preload to be set at position 2 of 5, and it proved to provide admirable compliance within the rear wheel’s 3.4 inches of travel.

Here’s a motorcycle playground not normally suited to cruisers but in which the Sport Glide acquits itself quite well.

I was pleased with the SG’s overall handling. Although it’s no lightweight (supposedly 698 pounds “in running order”), the new Softail chassis gives the bike a solid structure that feels much more composed than previous Harley Big Twins. A 30.0-degree rake and 150mm of trail results in steering characteristics that aren’t quick, but a deliberate shove on the bars delivers immediate responses without the flex associated with previous chassis.

Cornering clearance, always a bugaboo with cruisers, is decent if not bounteous, allowing a fairly rapid pace while devouring curvy mountain roads. Watching a pack of Harleys banking over in twisty corners made me think of a big airplane like a B-17 doing aerobatics, rewarding deliberate but smooth arcs. It can keep up a surprisingly swift pace on a canyon road, delivering more fun in corners than I had expected.

Keep your boot heels up and you can carry decent corner speed.

Harley’s Fat Bob has 2-degree sharper rake angle (28 degrees) and dual-disc brakes, as well as a longer shock (which can be fitted to a Sport Glide) that increases cornering clearance. Perhaps a hybrid Fat Glide might one day be in the cards.

Other details? Mirrors are located inconspicuously but are nicely useful for checking your six, and self-cancelling turnsignals mean you never look like a forgetful octogenarian. A two-piece clutch cable enables easy accessorizing, such as fitting a taller handlebar. The seamless 5-gallon fuel tank should enable more than 200 miles between fills. Like all Harleys, the Sport Glide has a two-year unlimited-mileage warranty.

Sport-touring, Harley style.

Conclusion

The Sport Glide turns out to be perhaps the most appealing bike in Harley’s lineup, at least for my tastes. It builds on the estimable refinement of the new Softail platform and boasts added versatility from its onboard storage, modest wind protection, cruise control, and the convertible nature from its detachable touring elements. Add in faultless power from the 107-inch motor, secure handling and attractive styling, and the Sport Glide will doubtlessly appeal to a new slice of the market which desires a Harley that is usable for more than just looking nice down at the Burger Barn.

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  • DickRuble

    Wow.. after riding the HP4 this must have given you a whiplash..

    • Kevin Duke

      I had a lot of fun riding the SG, but its excitement factor came up a bit short compared to the Beemer… 🙂

  • JMDGT

    What is it with Harley and their insistence on equipping their bike with $hytty brakes? It must have something to do with the price of naked chicks in China. Well maybe not.

    • Kevin Duke

      They actually aren’t shitty brakes. I’m sure I hammered on them far more than most SG riders would, and they weren’t a problem.

      • Born to Ride

        How do they compare to the twin radial brembos on the California 1400?

        • Gabriel Owens

          Seriously?……ssseerioussslyyy??

          • StripleStrom

            uh, no.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            lol

        • Kevin Duke

          I prefer the Guzzi’s, of course. But it would be a falsehood to say the SG’s brake is underpowered, as its power can easily exceed what’s available in traction from the front tire.

          • Born to Ride

            I’ve found this to be the case with the brakes on the Guzzi as well. Both ends trip the ABS quite easily, but the fronts have tons of feel and no fade. That’s important too. Having double the disks doesn’t mean having double the power, and even if it did it doesn’t mean you’re going to stop twice as fast. I think Ducati made the right decision when they gave the scrambler one monoblock caliper and a nice 320mm disk, rather than put a pair of cheapos with 286mm disks like my SV.

      • JMDGT

        On a lighter less expensive machine a single disk makes sense. On a heavy twenty thousand dollar bike why not go with a dual setup? Then again who am I to blow against the wind. I like this engine though. I really am trying to understand the appeal of this type of bike. Everyone has their own preference. That is probably all I need to know.

        • Gabriel Owens

          Absolutely love the looks of the thing. Absolutely hate the price, lack of storage, and lack of lean angle. Brakes seem scarey considering 700 lbs. Idk harley, its like a really pretty girl that says she dont give blow jobs.

          • spiff

            Unfortunately they are the ones that can get away without doing it. 🙁

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            “its like a really pretty any girl that says she dont give blow jobs.”

            Fixed that for you.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          If you don’t like cruisers, you don’t have to understand their appeal. Single front disc brakes have nothing to do with the price or weight of the bike. They have to do with the looks of the bike and the intended use. As HD’s product manager said in the article, “many of H-D’s customers choose a bike based on the way it looks”. That is a major reason I bought two Softails in the last 30 years. If you look at the right side of the bike, you see the beautiful “Mantis” aluminum wheel in front. Now imagine a large disc rotor in front of it. Most of the wheel will be hidden behind the rotor (just like the rear wheel is). This is more important to potential buyers of this bike than how quickly it stops. And Harley understands their customers perfectly. That is the secret of their success for so many years. People who want two front disc brakes are not the ones who will be buying this bike.

          • JMDGT

            Aesthetics are indeed an important part of a motorcycles appeal. If critical thinking isn’t part of the decision process it makes more sense. Custom choppers don’t add up for me either. Everyone is different and there is no accounting for taste. The same goes for sports cars. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. People buy things for different reasons. That is interesting to me. I don’t need to like something to want to understand its appeal. Single disk brakes up front seem unsafe but over all I’m sure they are at the very least adequate. As far as not liking cruisers I like plenty of them. The Moto Guzzi California as an example. I have ridden a few. I find them heavy hard to turn hard to stop and underperforming but hey that is just my opinion. Foot forward controls are a good thing Why? To each his own mon amie. Ride safe.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            When you ride a cruiser, you use both the front and rear brakes, so the total braking power is perfectly adequate to stop the bike as Kevin found in his test ride.

          • JMDGT

            When you ride any motorcycle you use both the front and rear brakes.

          • Born to Ride

            The rear brake on my multistrada is only good for sliding the rear end when coming to a stop obnoxiously. Fronts do 95% of the work.

          • JMDGT

            When I learned to ride my first dirt bike after the friction point of the clutch and throttle control using both brakes was explained as the most important part of riding. I think some of the old cruisers didn’t have front brakes. Maybe that’s where the idea of barely adequate brakes comes from.

          • Born to Ride

            Yeah you should definitely use Both brakes, but especially on a dirt bike there are instances where one should be used and not the other. I drag a little front brake when I’m cornering and on the throttle, and only use the rear brake on super steep descents. On the street I drag the rear when slipping the clutch in tight traffic, use both when I am full panic stopping, and only use the front when coming to a leisurely stop or trail braking a turn.

          • JMDGT

            I use trail braking on some of the corners that permit it when I ride on the street. Or at least I attempt to. When riding in the dirt I would sometimes use only the rear to slide to a stop. It looked cool. When it comes to really wanting to stop I always uses both brakes. It was drilled into me from day one.I also use downshifting to scrub off speed going into a corner. Sometimes I get a little wheel hop if I am to agressive but not enough to throw me off target. Modern slipper clutches sure are nice. I didn’t even have a bike with abs until I bought my RT in 2015. I rate my riding ability as average. I cannot emergency brake better than the abs systems on either of my bikes that have abs on them. It is doubtful I could do a stoppy unless by accident. Same thing for popping a wheelie. Duke is a wheelie master. I definitely respect guys like Marquez and Rossi who have probably forgotten more about breaking than I will ever know.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Sometimes wheelies are involuntary. I did it twice yesterday after getting a new rear tire on my KTM 1190 R and being a little too frisky with the throttle. Sustained wheelies are for the masters.

          • JMDGT

            I use to ride the Ortega highway on my CBR600 back in the 90’s with a buddy of mine. One of us would take the lead and the other would follow behind. Kind of a chase after the other guy to Elsinore and back. At lunch he remarked that he happened to look back at me coming out of a corner and my front wheel came off the ground. I didn’t even realize that it happened. Other than dirt bikes as a kid it was the only wheelie I generated that I knew about. It happens I guess.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            If you find you are turning the handlebar but the bike is still going straight, you are doing a wheelie.

          • JMDGT

            My goal has always been to be smooth enough on the throttle that my forward momentum isn’t inhibited and my stability isn’t compromised. Momentum is your friend especially in the dirt. That idea seems to work best.

          • mikstr

            braking power is overrated anyhow…. much more important to “look good” (well, up until you slam into something from a lack of stopping power, anyhow)

          • Douglas

            You are in the minority of H-D denizens if you use both brakes….see my other remark

          • Born to Ride

            I have found when riding a normal cruiser, the rear brake actually does more work than the front does, even when the bike has a nice set of dual 4 pistons up front like my dad’s T-Bird 1700. The California so far is the only big cruiser I’ve ridden that stops happily with two fingers on the lever, which suits me just fine since I have a sportbike bias in my motorcycle operation brain function anyways.

          • Fast2win

            That’s why so many people plow into the object in front of them. All due respect please learn to use your front brake. No matter which style bike you ride it is the the brake with the overwhelming power to stop the bike. I suggest you conduct a test from any speed, say even as low as 30 as to be safe and use the rear only and again with front only. Your stopping distance will be drastically different. I seen many riders crash because they are rear brake heavy riders.

          • Born to Ride

            What? Did you even read my post? I am a front brake reliant rider that isn’t comfortable with the diminished effectiveness of the front brake on cruisers due to the rearward weigh bias and rake on the forks. I specifically said that my California 1400 stops happily with 2 fingers on the lever, do you operate your rear brake with your fingers?

          • Fast2win

            I have found when riding a normal cruiser, the rear brake actually does more work than the front does, even when the bike has a nice set of dual 4 pistons up front like my dad’s T-Bird 1700. That comment seemed to suggest you used a lot of rear brake when on a cruiser. But I am glad to see that is not the case.

          • Born to Ride

            When I ride a cruiser other than my own, I am forced to use the rear brake extensively because the front is significantly less effective. That’s what my post said. I’d actually like to hop on the t-bird and try some 60-0 stopping distances with only front and only rear. I’d be willing to bet they’d be really close.

          • Fast2win

            I’m really wanting a California tourer. A used one will turn up sooner or later. I got my money on the front. I know on an Indian or big Harley it not close.

          • Born to Ride

            The Cali is a wonderful bike. The engine is flexible and torquey like a standard, it stops and turns like a standard, but you get that authentic big twin cruiser feel from it. I just need to send in my shocks and have them revalved and resprung because it’s set up for a leprechaun right now and the previous owner didn’t give the dealership the stockers.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            The front Brembos on my KTM 1190 R will throw you over the handlebar if used too aggressively. The rear brake is softer but is useful for dragging the rear wheel while sliding downhill on gravel. Traction control must be turned off to do that.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            I think Sayyed is a dude.

          • JMDGT

            Not everyone knows the difference between Mon’Amie and Mon’Ami.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Merci.

          • Fast2win

            My problem with this bike is, it’s supposed to be their sport tourer and it’s not in their sportiest Softail chassis and lacks decent wind protection and luggage space. The last time they built one was the FXRT. Until they reincarnat that bike they will not succeed with that segment of the market.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Since both the windshield and bags are easily detachable, they can be swapped for larger versions if desired.

          • Fast2win

            Nobody buys a sport touring bike just to turn around and replace the fairing and bags. LMAO

          • mikstr

            you forgot to add after spending $19K for said bike….. Funny how Hardley guys can rationalize spending all kinds of money (replace body parts, get the engine tuned so it can pull the wings off a fruitfly,….) after having spent far too much on their bike to begin with… Have to hand it to Hardley management, they have managed to brainwash millions of people into thinking that such ridiculous and wasteful spending practices are ok…

          • Alaskan18724

            Nope. Just the exhaust, front brake, shock and fork. Peace.

          • badluckbill

            Sayyed Bashir says: “Most of the wheel will be hidden behind the rotor (just like the rear wheel is).” Good point! An unobstructed view of the seat, tank, pegs, and engine would be ruined if a rider climbed aboard.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            That’s right. Cruisers are more about style than performance. They are meant for cruising the boulevard. As someone else said, Harleys are a work or art. Who wants to spoil the picture with a ugly brake rotor?

          • badluckbill

            ….or a loud, obnoxious exhaust?

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I have the original factory exhaust on my bike. You can’t paint everyone with the same brush. And its not just Harleys with loud exhausts.

          • badluckbill
          • Rocky Stonepebble

            You can’t paint everyone with the same brush, like all Americans do.

          • badluckbill

            Rocky, great definition of “IRONY,” or maybe hypocrisy, or maybe humor?

          • Rocky Stonepebble
          • Alaskan18724

            Best post of the decade. Two thumbs up and a gold star.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            I’m usually a fan of more subtle jokes, but …
            😉

          • Alaskan18724

            Right there with you. Don’t like loud, don’t like to have to “fix” a brand new bike. If I don’t like the can, I don’t buy the bike—a philosophy that metaphorically extends into other big life decisions.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Rubbish bins?

          • mikstr

            “Who wants to spoil the picture with a ugly brake rotor?”

            reflections of a superficial poser who cannot comprehend the very real issue that stopping his 700 lb will be compromised to the point that it may possibly cost him his life in a panic stop situation….

            thanks for proving my long-held point 🙂 Harleys are posercycles

          • Martin Buck

            As was once pointed out to me by a Police Officer, it is only safe to ride at a speed at which you can stop in half the road visible in front of you. We also have the “2 second Rule” (pick a roadside object, time yourself after the car in front, if it takes less than 2 seconds to pass the aforesaid object, you’re going too fast and/or riding too close to the car in front). Only ride as fast as the conditions allow. That includes the weight of rider/passenger. The street is not a racetrack, a Harley is the wrong choice for that. Your choice. Your life (and any others you crash into).

          • mikstr

            who said anything about a racetrack; your reply spews typical cruiser nonsense… . I have to wonder how long you’ve been riding to give such an asinine reply. Ever had someone backing out of a driveway? how about turning left in front of you at an intersection? what about cutting you off during a lane change? all the chrome in the world won’t save your ass, but being able to stop on a dime will…..

          • Max Wellian

            Yer missin the point on this one. It wasn’t built for the faithful. They want pizza cutter wheels or Tonka truck wheels. This is a very metric looking wheel. That coupled with “sport” in the name kinda gives away their target audience.
            Why they didn’t plop the 114 and dual discs ala Fat Bob confounds me. The FB’s front brakes felt great.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I think you are missing the point. This is a sport bike for the Harley faithful. That is why it is called a Sport Glide. The real sport bike crowd is never going to buy it. This is not a sport bike in the true sense of the word. That is not Harley’s market. The sport bike market is well served by the Japanese and Europeans.

          • Fast2win

            This bike is not going to get new buyers. It fails in basic functions for sport touring. If Harley wants new customers they need to fix this lame horse. And the “Harley Fathfull” as you call them will buy Street Glides, not this thing

          • Born to Ride

            Road kings, not street glides. That’s their full on tourer.

          • Max Wellian

            Sayyed:
            Not the 20 year olds on sport bikes, but older guys who appreciate bikes that handle well and are looking for something more comfortable when they’ve tired of humping the turtle.
            Victory drew a bunch of us. These new Harleys are essentially Victories with their ability to handle well, absorb bumps, and breath above 4k rpm.
            Read a Vic forum sometime and you’ll see a bunch of people yanked at Polaris. They don’t care for Indians. They see that as the same thing as older Harleys i.e. nothing more than a platform for which to bolt shiny trinkets, ride slowly, and show your friends all the pebbles in the road with your toes.
            Harley has never been successful with a sporty model because none of them were worth a crap and the faithful could care less about that style of riding.
            The new Harleys ride well enough to interest a lot of us riders accustomed to proper sporty bikes.

          • Born to Ride

            This is what confounds me and frustrates me about this bike. It was like it was purpose built to appeal to a non-harley rider, and then they stripped it of key features that attracted us to their other new bikes. At least you CAN put it the longer shock, but for the money, this thing shoulda been bangin from the factory.

        • spiff

          Sigle disk saves weight!

        • RyYYZ

          I’m not sure that, other than maybe the really heavy, and often heavily-loaded touring rigs, these bikes really need dual front disks. The reason a bike would need dual disks is to absorb and dissipate the heat generated by braking, repeatedly. Like when riding a sportbike hard in the twisties, or in racing. I suppose I can imagine some situation coming down a very long and steep mountain descent that one could overheat the brakes on one of these things, although it seems unlikely.

          • JMDGT

            The bottom line for me is a two disk setup works better than a single.

        • TheMarvelous1310

          The single disc is strong enough to make the front tire lock up coming from 60-0,that seems like enough brakes for anything. Dual discs don’t actually increase the braking power, just the braking effort… But I would like to see Harley-Davidson embrace the perimeter brakes Buell loved so much.

          • JMDGT

            I really would like to understand the logic of a single disk setup. You state that breaking power is not increased only the effort,if true why would anyone have anything other than a single disk? Semantics aside wouldn’t a dual disk setup have twice the stopping ability than a single. Yes, I am substituting ability for power. Doesn’t a dual disk setup retard momentum mo betta than a single? Double the amount of surface area increase the calipers ability to slow the wheel. Right? If we look at as a linear journey providing the caliper assemblies are the same a one brake setup stops at x from 60 and a two brake setup stops at y at 60. Are x and y the same? I am not an engineer or a lawyer. My real world riding experience tells me that a two disk setup stops better than a single meaning quicker. It also works better than the old drum setup. It might be less expensive and fall into the catagory of adequate braking but the evidence suggests two disk brakes are better able to slow momentum faster. Here is a good paper on Buells use of a peripheral braking system. It clears up a lot of things. http://www.ijamejournals.com/pdf/rpa161140.pdf

          • Kevin Duke

            “wouldn’t a dual disk setup have twice the stopping ability than a single?” No, not actually, as stopping ability is limited to the amount of grip from the front tire; once that is exceeded, additional braking power does nothing to slow the bike quicker.

            What a dual-disc setup will do is be better able to absorb heat and keep their power instead of fading. I rode the SG as hard as I could, and I didn’t experience fade.

          • JMDGT

            I have been reading about this all afternoon. The brake fade thing makes sense. It has been driving me crazy. Good to know. Thanks.

          • TheMarvelous1310

            Once again, if a bike can lock up the front tire, it has achieved more than the maximum amount of adhesion possible and adding another brake system would only make said lockup easier. Ever locked a front brake on a motorcycle? Would you want that to be easier to do? That’s why cruisers are so bullish on the rear brake in general, there’s too much weight for endos so lockups happen.

  • Chris Weiler

    $18k ouch! For that I wouldn’t pay more than $8k, look what your really getting….

    • Gabriel Owens

      7 liters of storage and 28 degrees of lean angle.

    • Gabriel Owens

      Geez actually 19k plus ttl. Thatll be a 20k+ bike easily.

      • StripleStrom

        As someone else said, why would you buy this over something from the touring line? Makes no sense whatsoever.

        • Gabriel Owens

          To save some dollars but dang, 1.7l bags makes me wanna punch a kitten on the face.

        • Kevin Duke

          Cuz it’s around 130 lbs lighter?

  • SRMark

    Stick a ztl disc up front

  • Born to Ride

    I think this is my favorite Harley Davidson stock exhaust. Nice bike, price is way out of line though. I wonder if you can stuff the shock from the fat bob in it and reclaim your lost inch of rear travel.

    • StripleStrom

      I like the 2 into 1 look as well.

    • Kevin Duke

      Yep, Harley says the Fat Bob’s shock will fit.

      • Born to Ride

        That’s good to hear!

  • Max Wellian

    Beautiful LED headlamp. Ditto rear brake light/turn signals. And then incandescent bulbs for the front signals?
    I want one with a 114 (power cam would be nice too), with the Fat Bob’s plush, longer travel shock, and in some color that doesn’t remind me I live in the rust belt. I’d also like to see the price drop about $5k.
    It’s a nice bike and I wouldn’t even mind paying a small premium for one, but these HD prices are clinically insane.

    • Born to Ride

      14 grand. 14 grand as it sits would be a reasonable price. A thousand for a nicely tuned aftermarket shock, and another couple grand for a wheel and front brake conversion would put it somewhere in the 17 range and it would be fixed.

  • SerSamsquamsh

    This is obviously a devious retail tactic designed to move people over to the touring section. It looks awesome, of course but it’s virtually the same price as a Road King which has way better touring features and bigger brakes. 7L bags? that’s a small backpack!

    • Max Wellian

      It’s also over a hundred pounds heavier, still has a quaky rubber mounted engine, and bags can’t be removed for everyday jaunts with revealing a whole lot of ugly. Doesn’t look very sporty either. That said, it’d make a whole lot better touring bike. Depends what you’re looking for. I’m happy to see the options.

      • SerSamsquamsh

        You got me there:)

  • An nice-looking center-point design, but the skimpy saddlebags come up surprisingly short. As presented and explained, the other design/performance compromises all make sense for H-D’s market, even the price, but the saddlebag design over function decision seems like a slip. Slippery pillion could be taken as a win, I suppose, depending… Good read, K.

    • Rocky Stonepebble

      I only read your post because I thought it would be about surfing!

      • Old MOron

        Do you hear Misirlou in the background when you see his profile pic?
        https://youtu.be/-y3h9p_c5-M

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          You. Are. A. God™!

          Eye Ell Oh Vee surf rock.

          But, in answer to your question, I was more in the mind of The Chantays, or maybe, some Shadows. Or better yet?

          https://youtu.be/aQSPivbWwuY?t=12

          • Old MOron

            Don’t think I’ve heard that version before. I like it!

            And a curious thing happened. As I listened to this Hawaii Five-0, I was reminded of the theme song from The Munsters. Guess what, they basically used surf music for their TV show! (Maybe it’s obvious, but I hadn’t made the connection before.)

            https://youtu.be/HM0riizU8Ls

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Keith Moon was mad for surf rock.

          • Old MOron

            Moon the Loon? Mad for surf rock, or just mad?

            Wikipedia has this choice bit:

            “His art teacher said in a report: ‘Retarded artistically. Idiotic in other respects’. His music teacher wrote that Moon ‘has great ability, but must guard against a tendency to show off.'”

            That does it. I’m going to listen to The Who when I get home.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            He often said he based his style on that of drummers from surf bands. AND, he was a heck of a drinker!

          • Old MOron

            That’s because he was English, as opposed to merely British.

          • spiff

            He was so efficient that in The Who’s early years he could make a 20 minute set last 15. Tough if you only have so many songs.

          • Alaskan18724

            Keith Moon was the greatest Keith Moon-style drummer in the world.

          • Kevin Duke

            An early band of mine used to have this song in our set. 🙂

          • Kevin Duke

            Cool! I never new Springsteen’s (not Jay) drummer was in the Ventures!

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            He’s not. He’s sitting in with Taylor.

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          FYI (just in case it was lost on you) Bruce Brown is the name of a sort of famous documentary film maker known for his surf films, such as “Endless Summer”.

          • Old MOron

            Cheers, mate! It was lost on me. Makes the whole connection even stronger.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            And, now, for the motorbike content! He also made the film (I hope) we have all seen and love:
            On Any Sunday

          • Yeah, got into a party in the summer of ’66 because the drunk hostess asked me if it was my movie. Of course I said yes, and went on in.

            Plus that orange movie poster was the only decoration on my now (and for 47 years) wife’s college dorm room. Otherwise she wouldn’t have accepted the blind date to go out with some guy with a 250cc Suzuki Hustler.

            So that’s another moto tie-in.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/991c9d3bb4105638e4d447f07788d75e8ce1979717533dbfb72117c2d9b4fcd1.jpg

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            I can’t believe no one else here has caught on.

          • Martin Buck

            I had a Suzuki 250 Hustler! I left grooves all over the Rimutaka Hill road from the fixed footpegs. BTW, I once saw a Triumph Trophy crash at the Paeroa races. He slid on his side, then spun around like a top with the fixed footpeg as the axis. The rider stood up bemused but unhurt. Whoda thunkit?

          • Did yours look like this one? Mine was a ’70, yellow. Here’s a shot of some sleazy-looking guy sitting on it with the woman who later became my wife. Not sure who he is, but he doesn’t look very trustworthy, nor is he dressed to ride!
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9888e38df04628af2bcdf8d81f5576b050b93f4b0c17afbccc51d5caabaca5bc.jpg

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            G-r-o-o-v-y

  • kenneth_moore

    Harley Davidson promised 100 new models over the next ten years. But how meaningful is that promise when they really build only three bikes? (XL, FLH, FLS). How different can this “sport tourer” be from, say, the Low Rider, when both bikes have the same frame, swingarm, and rear suspension? And probably the same engine.

    As far as I can tell they’re playing Barbie: dressing up the same doll with different outfits and accessories. I’m glad the new Softail is a good bike, but don’t tell me sticking a Memphis Shades mini-batwing and a couple of small saddlebags on one makes a “new” sport-touring bike. See “H2-GT” for that.

    • StripleStrom

      I tend to agree with you. Why they don’t make one more platform with frame dimensions that are more standard than cruiser is beyond me. Keep the looks, add mid mount pegs and an upright or slightly forward riding position. Who cares if it’s heavy and not full-on sport performance. Given the character they offer in their motorcycles and the classic looks, it would open a lot of doors for people who admire them from a distance but don’t particularly care for the cruiser riding position. As it is, those people are left to look at Bonnevilles and Guzzis.

      • michael32853hutson@yahoo.com

        i agree- i tend to look at H-D’s with mid mount pegs-you can always mount a highway bar for long distance cruising

      • Max Wellian

        You need to ride a new one. I only have a 29″ inseam and the forward pegs are very comfortably placed. I’ve read people 6’3″ make the same comment, so those apparently fit a wide range.
        The mid mounts on the new one are awful. Force my knees to ride up over my hips. And the farm tiller bars they put on the Low Rider are beyond ridiculous.
        This SG has very good ergos.

        • michael32853hutson@yahoo.com

          really! very interesting- i wear 38″-30″ jeans(i’m 5′ 10″) but always was more comfortable with my feet beneath me-not that having highway pegs for distance rides is a bad thing…maybe i will have to check out the “new” ones!

        • Born to Ride

          I wish they’d make a new Softtail with a 30” seat height, mid controls, chest height bars, suspension and brakes off the fat bob, and the 5 gallon tank and aesthetics of the Low Rider S. I would buy one… eventually…

          • Alaskan18724

            They got the Lowrider S…just right. I want to park one in the living room next to the Steinway.

          • Born to Ride

            I want the monoshock rear end and inverted forks dammit. Can’t I have both?

          • Max Wellian

            Remember the old Street Rod?
            https://imgur.com/6fJaaKW
            They couldn’t give them away.
            I’m fine with Harley sticking with cruisers. If I want a hot standard I’d get the Duc Scambler 1100, or a Triumph Classic (which I own), or a Kaw Z900RS. A mild steel HD monster ain’t going to cut it in that class.
            I’m short and have a bad leg from an encounter with a deer. I like bikes I can throw my leg over without having to lift it with my arm. The 27″ Fat Boy meets that criteria.
            It also still has the low COG that makes well built cruisers handle so well given all their mass.
            Aside from the small gas tank, the lack of clear coat and nice colors, and balloon tires (which admittedly work really well), I’m rather enamored with the Fat Bob.
            Then they have to bring this one out, fix the wheel size, fix the tank and lose the suspension, the 114, and the braking and still offer a rather boring selection of colors.
            There’s always next year. Besides, that new Duc Scrambler is smaller and may just fit into what little garage space is left…

          • Born to Ride

            Well the bike I was describing wouldn’t exactly compete with the nakeds. It would still be 100% softtail, but it would be ergonomically set up for a rider that doesn’t like the ass-on-the-floor feet-forward riding position. Threw in the Low Rider S aesthetics because that’s my favorite bike that they have produced. I wouldn’t mind taking that V-rod for a spin though.

          • Max Wellian

            Are you referring to the Street Rod? V-rod has feet WAY forward. With my stubby legs, my right leg fried on the exhaust like an egg in a skillet. A determined mule would be easier to steer.
            The V-rod did have excellent brakes, engine, and even a really good suspension.
            I find feet forward to be the most comfortable position if my heels are supported with a board or stirrup peg. And there’s a big difference in a mild forward rest as if you’re sitting in a chair vs old Dynas with forwards so far away I could barely get my toes on the pegs.
            My old Vic Cross Roads was the most comfortable bike I’ve ever owned/ridden. And I’ve been on a bunch. It’s low CoG also made carving effortless. The easiest bike I’ve ever taken thru Deals Gap. I would surf the floorboards, but they bent up enough that it was never unnerving and they let me know before the hard bits started removing the rear tire from the road.
            I did run an Air Hawk on that one which lifted me up a tad and kept my butt dry.

          • Born to Ride

            I should just buy an XR1200 lol

      • Born to Ride

        I recently stumbled onto this beauty that never made it to American shores. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fc9e5172b6db2542c1e16766face5283908c9e739c48fa20ceac839aef9ec850.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1e000e4b798b0a6ead3856f111d4c82e6d294c7c49b1e6b116086d5624332505.jpg

        Imagine if Harley built a bike like that with the V-Rod engine. I would buy one tomorrow. If I could buy one of these I would also buy one tomorrow. lol

        • StripleStrom

          That’s the idea. The V is going the wrong direction, unless you’re a Guzzi fan.

        • TheMarvelous1310

          What you imagine is what the next Sportster should be, except with exposed shocks. You know, for the look.

          • Born to Ride

            Exposed shocks would kill it for me. Unless it was an exposed mono shock with linkage ala Panigale

          • TheMarvelous1310

            Monoshocks are played out, I like the industrial feel you get from exposed doubles.

          • Born to Ride

            I like the look of twin coil overs, but my ass demands a mono, preferably with linkage

    • TC

      The Harley marketing dept is going to build the 100 new models with advertising campaigns,

      • Pamela

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      • Erin

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    • WalterFeldman

      Need some cheese to go with your whine?

    • Tanner

      four bikes +XG

      but anyway, how do you know they won’t add more frames/engines?

      • kenneth_moore

        I don’t know they won’t, but it seems unlikely given that they’ve discontinued the Dyna and the V-Rod model series. Dropping the VRSC wasn’t too big a surprise, but the Dynas? Dynas go back to the origins of HD, and discontinuing them was a pretty drastic move. Maybe they’ll finally start building LiveWire electric bikes.

        You’re right, the XG is their fourth model series. They’re just easy to forget.

    • mikstr

      local Hog-o-phile Sayyed can explain this to us. Bear in mind, he chastised Indian for doing the same thing, but apparently it’s different when Milwaukee Inc. does it….. can’t wait 🙂

    • lusmm niha
    • Jerry Gaona

      You missed the Street lineup, but I have to agree that this Sport Glide is a Lowrider with a new outfit. Still it is not much different from other manufacturers who do the same by removing fairing from their sport bikes, changing a few components and calling it a naked. I think Harley is doing what it has to do to get new blood into their dealerships and still satisfy the old faithful.

  • Rocky Stonepebble

    There’s two things I won’t ride: Men, and Harleys.

    • mikeinkamloops

      Who cares? And feel free to come out of the closet anytime.

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        Are you coming on to me?

        Can’t say I’m not flattered, and maybe a bit curious, but the answer is no.

    • Goose

      Way TMI

    • TheMarvelous1310

      I’ve never understood why people need to go out of their way to tell the world how much they don’t like something. The effort it takes to click on this article, scroll down to the comments, write that and post it is about equivalent to the effort needed to smear a pile of dog poop three feet with your non-dominant foot.

      That said, I hope you feel better having that off your chest.

  • Goose

    I can accept the price, 5 gallons is (just) enough fuel, the bike is stunning and yes, the M-8 107 is a great engine. The bags were 1.9 cubic feet, that was minimal but might work for some but 1.9 gallons is a sad joke, maybe her purse and a spare pair of heavy gloves plus a small matchbook.

    The brake thing is more interesting to me than the bike. People who can’t have even seen the bike are telling someone who has ridden it about the brakes, weird.

    I think the brake thing is more of a human issue than an engineering issue. Some people perceive the single disk as cheap, low end and inappropriate for an expensive (and heavy/ powerful) bike. Others see dual discs and ugly and unneeded.

    For what my opinion is worth I think Harley is actually spending too much time on focus groups of people who already own Harleys. Even with Harley’s amazing success they are missing people like JMDGT and even people like me who own and love Harleys but want to blend in a little more “foreign” and a bit more practicality with our classic American riding experience. Build most of your bikes for the faithful but throw us a bone too. Dual discs, more suspension travel and closer to a standard riding position and, yes, bags big enough to hold my stuff.

    • khc

      Yes, “the brake thing.” Someone, below, feels the brakes would be “scary,” without ever riding the bike, contrary to what Kevin (whose opinions, most of us would dare say, we trust) describes as perfectly adequate for most riders. As the H-D product developer said, the single disc, up front, only increases the required effort to stop, not the stopping distance. Also, no one seems to be aware that an extra front disc increases gyroscopic forces, making turn-in harder. I’ve never experienced a problem with the single disc of my Bonnie (as long as the disc is well-cleaned).
      As far as riding position, I owned a mid-sized Honda cruiser in the early 2000s, and found myself always trying to fully extend my legs beyond the mid-set pegs, finally deciding they should be either underneath the rider (with a raised seat height) or fully extended. If the pegs are too-forward to stand on, anyway, they might as well be further forward for leg/hip comfort.
      It seems strange, the number of commenters who endlessly take great joy in knocking anything Harley-Davidson produces, kind of like what we old-timers used to describe as “a broken record,” seemingly discounting whatever the reviewer says about improvements and strong points, even toward a well-known and trusted group as the core MO writers.

    • Gruf Rude

      Cruisers often stop as well as sport bikes and don’t need dual front discs because their weight distribution and wheelbase favors the fat rear tire for stopping. I know nothing about this bike in particular, but it would be interesting to test its 60 – 0 stopping distance.

      • Goose

        Yes, truth. My XR1200 (sort of a sport cruiser) has recorded 60 to 0 stops in less than 110 feet. A slight caveat, stopping once with a lightweight, highly skilled rider and slowing two red blooded ‘Mericans with luggage on a long, steep downhill (I always thing of CA SR 120 coming out of Yosemite’s eastern portal to Lee Vining) is not exactly the same thing.

        However, what I was trying to say above is that this is not compleatly about function, it is about the perception of function.

        • Douglas

          Well, dual discs, single discs up front is of little matter, ’cause “real Harley riders” wouldn’t be caught dead (or would they?) using “that squeeze front brake”…..”too metric-like!” ‘Course, many Hogs, with the 18-20″ apes, the rider probably couldn’t get a grip on the lever anyway….

          I bet if many of the front pads on a “true Hogger’s bike” were examined after a few years of disuse, they’d likely be petrified.

          • Goose

            Gee, troll much?

        • Born to Ride

          The XR1200 has twin 4-pot calipers up front that MO described as “mercilessly crushing” its brake rotors. Hardly the standard braking setup for a Harley of that era, and on a bike that had a much more forward weight bias.

          • Goose

            My Road Glide has exactly the same discs as my XR along with 4 pot (I believe Brembo) calipers up front. Sadly, the XR’s weight distribution is virtually identical to any Sportster of recent vintage.

          • Born to Ride

            Are you sure? Even with the rear end jacked up 4” and a ton less rake?

          • Goose

            The stock XR1200 has 29 degrees of rake, not much different than a run of the mill Sportster. The back end isn’t that much higher than any other Sportster. Most XR riders (me included) put on longer shocks but nothing like 4″. My bike sits 30 MM (about 1.25″) higher than it did stock.
            FWIW, my big objection to the XR is Harley didn’t make enough changes from the standard Sporty. The excessive rake, 18″front wheel, crazy heavy frame, standard HD brakes (with a different leverage ratio so they require a less powerful squeeze), way too many cruiser parts in a “sport” bike.

          • Born to Ride

            Yeah, someone else on here postulated that the next generation of Sportster might be a V-rod powered monoshock frame bike. I’d love to see Harley produce something that lived up to the name.

      • Born to Ride

        Yeah a lot of people don’t realize how well the rear brake works on a cruiser. I remember the first big cruiser I rode was a Victory Judge. It was a heavy bike with a single disk up front but I didn’t give it much thought. Our group ride was exiting the freeway and as we came around the corner on the offramp the traffic was backed up and stopped. No problem, two fingers on the front brake. Nothing. Oh shit. Four fingers on the front brake. I hear the ZZZZZ but I am not slowing anywhere near what I need. I’m going to wreck this thing. Clutch in, stomped the pedal, full panic stop. The bike lurched under the load and stopped in time, barely. Didn’t hardly touch the front brake for the rest of the ride. Didn’t need to.

  • gjw1992

    Nice try. But no: a K1600B if you want a bit of style and performance with your mile muncher and have 20k to spare.

  • michael32853hutson@yahoo.com

    nice looking bike! maybe the best looking of the current Harley crop(i still want a Sportster!)

    • Martin Buck

      Wait till they give the Sportster the new Softail treatment. New engine with twin balancers, fixed engine mounts, monoshock suspension, LED everything, actual ground clearance and good ergos, I guarantee this is on the design boards as we speak. Otherwise the Harley management need a serious spanking.

      • michael32853hutson@yahoo.com

        i kind of hope not-except maybe for that monoshock -just curious, why fixed engine mounts? they did away with metal to metal in 2004

        • Born to Ride

          When you have an engine that is balanced properly, you don’t need rubber mounts. When you don’t use rubber mounts, you can use the engine as a stressed member of your chassis. When your chassis is stiffer and it doesn’t have a 250lb mass oscillating inside of it, your bike handles better. Praise for the softtail handling improvements over the dyna has been universal.

      • Alaskan18724

        Can I watch?

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          LOLOLOLOLOL !!!

      • Fast2win

        I’m going to bust a guy laughing. A new Sportster is coming, but I doubt its that extreme of a change.

  • JustaTexan

    Ugggh. I get it. Harley’s in financial trouble. The motorcycling press is inundating us with story after story about how they have improved the bikes and just how awesome they are, (all things being relative). The boomers are dying off and the next generation is only a fad or a tip-over away from a new hobby. They are trying very hard to cut costs and lure millennials into their showrooms but continue to ignore half the motor-biking public. HD sticks to their design brief like bugs to a hot radiator. They make bikes that are so heavy, so lacking in braking, proper ergonomics and cornering clearance that they seem exciting in the 20 to 60 mph spectrum. That’s fine, but why limit it to that? Forget that a lot of the millennials they are hoping to interest in their bikes are a long way away from being able to splash for a $25K toy and the entry level HDs are lacking when compared within their price point. They must ignore aluminum, radial brakes, actual suspension travel, lightweight 17 inch wheels/tires, o-ring chains and other modern frippery. Any overt embracing of modern performance developments would be seen as traitorous to the faithful HD shirt wearing, helmetless and frowning outlaw RUBs. As always, HD can not see the forest for the trees. There’s thousands of enthusiastic customers out there, but HD has spent decades disrespecting them. The Motor Company has not only, historically ignored (except the Aermacchi era) the non-cruiser segment the have actively participated in the alienation of them as well. We’re rice burners and Jap Crap and we ride motorcycles sold by companies that make lawnmowers. That’s the main reason Buell failed. Did you ever walk into a HD dealer that actively promoted or encouraged riders to experience the Buell bikes. Nope, they were treated like weird hybrids just taking up space that could be more Super Glide parking. If they did sell them it was just usually to some customer as a novelty. No sport touring or sporting riders have ever been welcomed into the HD sanctuaries and no HD has ever been designed with them in mind. Have you known many HD riders that gave a single poop about any other motorcycle? They are out there but they are rare. How about HD riders that enjoy road racing or motocross, etc. Nope, once again, they are out there but rare. For the most part, it’s HD and HD all the time. One of HD’s biggest failings is understanding riders outside their core audience. They think we don’t buy their bikes because were aren’t tough enough or experienced enough but in reality, their bikes just aren’t good enough.

    • John A. Smith

      Pretty much. HD has made a couple of steps in the right direction to attract new customers. The Street series, the Fat Bob, and even this one are interesting — but nothing special. And as much as I like the looks of some of the stuff they’re doing lately (the Fat Bob, in particular, is gorgeous) are overweight and overpriced for what they deliver. The Sport Glide is a great looking bike, but other than the name, it doesn’t offer anything over its competition.

      • JustaTexan

        I look at HD like this. It’s like Chevrolet decided the 58 Impala was the pinnacle of car design and that was the only car they would make going forward. Now, they will sell you one in any color and they will make fancy ones and base models. They will sell you 58 Impalas as 2 doors and 4 doors, convertibles and even station wagons. Every ten years or so, they will update their 58 Impala to include luxuries like electric windows or leather wrapped steering wheels, fuel injection or keyless entry, but they are sticking with the 58. If you don’t like the 58 Impala, well you just don’t know cars.

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          Testify!

        • spiff

          I want a new 65 Impala convertible.

        • Alaskan18724

          Ah. A Chevy is a Volvo 240.

          • RyYYZ

            I’d actually love a brand new Volvo 240 wagon if I could buy one, although I’d like it to have one of the more modern Volvo engines, not the 95HP B21 that my parents’ ’79 came with.

  • tom

    Price. That’s the problem here for me–everything else is cool as there are zillions of HD OEM and aftermarket things to make it just the way I’d like it (for a price of course). Staying with my Vic (RIP Victory) till it dies but I kinda dig the new SG. As for all the sport bike riders who bitch and moan about how cruisers suck – Why, why, why do you even bother to read these articles? Just don’t anymore ok? It’s great to hear from riders who are open minded and interested in all kinds of bikes, but the anti-cruiser thing gets outta control. Take a break, stroke your plastic fenders, lube your chain, and save up for the chiropractor bills (kidding! some are nakeds). Ok, that was just as bad, couldn’t help myself. Seriously though, not everybody thinks sport bikes and standards are the greatest things on two wheels. Not everybody needs or wants that kind of performance or even thinks it’s cool. And that’s ok too. Personally, I dig two wheelers of all kinds.

    • JustaTexan

      Hmm, that’s sorta one of my points. Maybe if HD could see another market besides just cruisers they might find a whole new group of customers, and possibly solve their current financial crisis. Motorcycling doesn’t have to be the Harley Cruiser Camp and everyone else. A modern HD motorcycle available for non cruiser types wouldn’t actually diminish the HD legacy. You tell me it’s great to “dig” two wheelers of all kinds, but discourage my reading and commenting about your proudly underperforming segment. BTW, modern performance is not just the ability to go fast safely, it covers a lot of aspects of motorcycle design like ergonomics and usability. Your basic middleweight naked is far superior to almost every cruiser in any measurable objective catagory.

      • spiff

        Harley did offer the bikes you are looking for. They were called “Buell”. Dealerships didn’t know how to deal with them, that is why the exercise failed. I am interested in seeing if Polaris give this a go with Indian. They are racing, and there is potential for a street model. Indian, if you are listening it should be called the Indian “Tracker”, not the “Scout”.

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          You mean like the VR1000? The Harley that was as slow as it was ugly.

          • spiff

            Which side was ugly, the orange or black side? 😉

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Yes.

        • Fast2win

          I think that custom FTR1200 chassis could do just that for Scouts. I’m thinking a S3T type of bike off that chassis to go with a flat tracker.

      • tom

        I agree with expanding HD’s market. They are trying but not too successful yet (and by the way, I’m no Harley promoter…nice bikes but overpriced). Unfortunately too many people make bike ownership about, like you say “camps.” However when browsing forums like this related to the cruiser crowd specifically you don’t find the sheer negativity toward sport bikes (“squids” to assign labels equal to RUBs), sport tourers, etc. I don’t discourage reading just negativity and with some people ridiculous comments. In the last sentence you say “Your basic middleweight naked is far superior to almost every cruiser in any measurable objective catagory.” That’s my point exactly. Superior to what? Who cares if it’s faster and turns quicker, etc. Some people don’t like basic middleweight nakeds. Some don’t like Harley’s. So what? doesn’t mean one is “superior” to the other. In MY perfect world I’d have my Victory (or the new SG if it died?), a Triumph Bonneville Bobber, the new Honda CB1100EX, and an old Honda CX500. So my “camp” is pretty varied. What a relief that manufactures don’t build bikes on purely objective categories. Those would be some pretty dull machines.

        • JustaTexan

          I was only stating my opinions. You don’t have to agree with them and I don’t need your blessing. You enjoy motorcycles how it works best for you and so will I. There’s not really a wrong or right here, and I don’t care what bikes you like or what your camp is. I was just commenting with my opinion.

          • Max Wellian

            You need to ride a Fat Bob. It does everything well. It may take a few rides to get used to mildly forward pegs, but it is very comfortable and after your muscles get used to sending your feet out there when you take off it’s no big deal.
            I’ve never owned a Harley because even though I liked the styling on some, functionally they lacked a lot. Ain’t the case no more. They don’t make track bikes, but that Fat Bob makes a darn fine street bike.

          • JustaTexan

            I appreciate the suggestion but after riding on and off road for 49 years I’ve got a pretty good handle on what works for me/I prefer. A life changing get off on a cross country track (5th gear KTM 400MXC) did a number on my lower back and that completely rules out forward controls, beside the fact that they don’t allow you to control the bike with your legs. Including off road and bikes I’ve bought for my two boys, I’m over 60 bikes now and the thought of buying a HD/cruiser has never even crossed my mind. Just not my kind of riding. Cheers

      • Alaskan18724

        Why not do justice to the term “factory custom” and let buyers order what they want, within reason? You can order custom paint from the factory. Why can’t you choose the fork you want, the shock, the brake, the bar, the saddle? These days that ought to be almost as simple as replying to this post. Use your thumb. Check a box. That’s what engineers are for.

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          Too complicated. Would cost too much, and require more emissions certification.

          Also, that would be entering the twentieth century. Bad precedent for a company that sells air-cooled 45 degree! v-twins.

  • Dean Hewitt

    This is the craziness of HD. I weigh 150 lbs. and going on 70. Handling a 700 lb. sounds like a disaster for me. I have a BMW at 500 and because of seat height it’s a chore. I probably going to a Moto Guzzi at 430 lbs for their Bobber. If you don’t make a bike for me, can’t buy it. You’re not getting a lot of women at 130 lbs buying it either.

    • JMDGT

      I was in London a couple years ago and visited the Ace Cafe on Italian bike day. I spoke with a number of the enthusiasts there and almost every one of the older guys said that they had traded off their bigger machines for smaller versions. It made me rethink my next bike purchase. This year I downsized and bought a Street Triple RS to use on my Sunday morning fun rides. I still have my big bikes but being older riding a machine that weighs in at four hundred pounds is quick as snot super fast handles like a dream and stops on a dime is heaven. The Street’s geometry is more than comfortable and the RS version is equipped with world class components. The fit and finish are stellar. A midsize machine is they way to go for an older guy like me.

  • Buzz

    Have to agree on the front fender but H-D makes one fender to fit 18,19 and 21 inch rims.

    I really like this model but I would have my local customizer slam that fender down for me.

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  • Paragon Lost

    MO needs to always have at least two reviewers of a motorcycle. Kevin Duke who weighs 150 pounds and is what probably 5’6″? Experiences a very different ride from a guy who’s 6’2″ and weighs around 230.

    One of the reasons I appreciate Lemmy over at Revzilla is he’s larger guy who when he reviews a bike I can take into account that he’s closer to my weight and height and not my daughter’s weight and height.

  • RyYYZ

    I’m still trying to figure out what sport the “sport” in this thing’s name refers to. Is that “sport” as in a Ford Explorer SportTrac? As in “Sport” utility vehicle? Maybe it’s like when you cal a person a good sport? All I know is that it surely has nothing to do with any form of motorcycle sport that I’m familiar with.

  • Luca Manni