First Look: 2018 Harley-Davidson FLSB Sport Glide
Mini-batwing plus bags equals H-D's new sports-tourer
Eight new Softails weren’t enough, so here’s one more in Harley’s march toward 100 new motorcycles by 2027 – the FLSB Sport Glide makes it nine. Harley-Davidson pictures this one as “a quick-change artist, an aggressive factory-custom cruiser outfitted with a detachable fairing and saddlebags ideally suited for touring, cruising or commuting.”
The mini-batwing fairing might be the most novel thing going on here; the bike’s designers wanted to hit a sweet spot between protection and style, and it looks like they erred on the side of style. It’s supposed to keep the wind off your chest while it leaves your head in the breeze. You have the option to exchange the standard 1.5-inch-high windshield for a 5.5-inch light smoke.
Harley-Davidson Bringing Back the Sport Glide
Other Harleys have bikini fairings, but this is the first use of the shrunken batwing. H-D thinks it might cause the Sport Glide be a gateway to riders who kind of gravitate FL but aren’t quite ready for the full touring rig quite yet – the Big Twin equivalent of a training bra. The Sport Glide represents Harley’s idea of a sport-tourer, really, and as such Harley’s Product Planner Paul James thinks it will have great appeal in Europe. I think he’s right, especially now that it’s packing Harley’s Milwaukee 8 107 V-Twin. Also because electronic cruise control is standard on this one.
That smooth and powerful dual-counterbalanced engine sits in the common frame it shares with the other eight new Softails, differing from most of them in that it gets a 43mm inverted fork – and a remote-preload adjustable shock out back controlling its narrow swingarm and 16-inch rear wheel. Though it’s called Sport Glide, the H-D people say its lean angle is really no sportier than the other new Softails, all of which are vastly better at leaning over than the previous generation. Suspension travel is 5.1 and 3.4 inches, F and R.
A narrower left-side primary cover adds to the sportiness also, making for an easier reach to the pavement for your left leg. On the other side, there’s a sporty two-into-one exhaust system.
At Harley, not low is a no-go, and the Sport Glide seat is said to be a mere 26.5 inches before you sit on it and reach down to adjust your ride height with the remote preload adjuster, which will be nice after you add the optional sissy bar, Tour Pak, and hot mama.
Everything else is in place already, including standard ABS and like I already mentioned twice, cruise control. You’ll have to come up with $18,599 for a black Sport Glide, and a bit more for a Twisted Cherry or Silver Fortune one. They should be in dealers very shortly, says H-D. In fact there’s already at least one in SoCal, which Duke Danger is probably riding while you’re reading this. Keep an eye peeled for his First Ride ASAP.
And here's the review of the Sport Glide!