Is the Road Glide Special really special?

Since I’m a proud owner of a 2010 Harley Davidson Dyna Fatbob, I’ve always wanted to test a Harley Davidson Touring model. I also appreciate attempts to move away from the norm in design and almost everything else I do, so I’ve always been inclined towards the Road Glide. After taking it out for a day, I have to admit, it truly is something special.

Harley Davidson Road Glide Special in Velocity Red

Some would say it’s an oddball in the Harley Davidson family, with that huge fixed fairing. You’ll probably hear comments from critics comparing its face to that of a squashed car mounted to a motorcycle. I do enjoy the aesthetics of the machine though, something you will never see among other manufacturers, where you will often see attempts at Street Glide-ish designs, (but thats not a bad thing either) safe in aesthetics albeit with each manufacturer adding their own twists to define it as a separate entity and one of its own. The twin LED headlamps also look sexy trick.

Twin Headlamps on the Harley Davidson Road Glide

That being said, how would I describe the Road Glide Special? It has PRESENCE. That’s for sure. The sheer size and width of the machine means you’ll never go unnoticed on any street and true to that wherever I went, the bike received the ever elusive nod of approval and attention of opportunistic photographers. It shimmers day and night with generous supplies of chrome from Harley Davidson, while  Harley Davidson’s 6.5GT Boombox speaker system provides good acoustics throughout the ride. I connected my phone via the onboard Bluetooth system and rolled out of the dealership blasting Jimi Hendrix, stopped to take photos like the feature one above and then rolled back in, rocking to the sounds of Def Leppard. That sound system covers you even up to highway speeds of 90km/hr and above. The fairing, windshields and split stream vent on the fairing kept the wind blast of my face and noise out of my ears so the music was clear.

Infotainment System on the Harley Davidson Street Glide Special

The Road Glide offers a smooth ride, while delivering feedback to the rider, inspiring confidence in its handling. You can feel the traction and grip from the tyres, something not many bikes can do well, leaving the rider feeling disengaged from the bike, but not this one. It bonds with you and tells you what it is doing all the time.

While the 103 cubic inch power plant purrs at any speed. Characteristic of Harley Davidson power plants, it loves short shifts and rewards you with bursts of torque while that 103 engine vibrates between your legs, telling you it can do so much more. Overtaking is definitely not a problem. This being a High Output Twin Cam 103, just one of Harley Davidson’s Project Rushmore improvements trickled down to its production models, the engine has truck loads of torque to deliver, all depending on how much throttle you give it.

The intimidating bulk of the machine never really disappears once you start rolling. But it is a good thing. How does it make you feel? Like royalty. The seating position is literally spot on for comfort. I’m a 5 foot 11″ frame with a 32 inch in-seam. That fairing in front housing all the instruments never lets you forget that you are riding a tank. Albeit a very well balanced one. Don’t let it’s size put you off handling. It has perfect road manners, taking turns like a champ. Have confidence to lean it into a corner and it rewards you with assuring, smooth lines. Be daring enough to take this bike around the twisties and you can even scrape floor boards but still feel like you’re just cruising around. It turns and weaves around bends with ease. Cruise down any strip and you feel invincible, like nothing can take you on. It feels almost like you can stop by a bar somewhere, anywhere, walk in and sock the biggest baddest guy in the place right in the kisser, knock him out and then hop back on and ride off into the sunset. Yes, like the hero in spaghetti westerns.

The  features from Harley Davidson’s Project Rushmore include one touch side cases, easy to open and spacious enough for considerable luggage. Harley Davidson carries lots more touring luggage options if you plan to take the bike on longer distance rides. The infotainment system is also easy to use, allowing you to either use the handlebar mounted controls or touch screen features, all easily within reach. The screen is also crystal clear, letting you read GPS maps even under direct sunlight. Reflex linked brakes help you distribute braking pressure evenly even if your only grabbing the front or stomping the rear brakes, maximizing your brake and effectively stopping you in the shortest distance possible.

Crystal clear display on Harley Davidson Street Glide Special

Left hand side switches on the Street GlideRight hand side switches on the Street Glide

It even comes with insurance against drops when parked. The side stand has an extension that fits in a catch, prevent it from accidentally moving and coming off the stand. Very unexpected but very thoughtful.

Side stand catch and floorboard on the Street Glide

And yes, the speakers are waterproof. =)

The Road Glide retails at $48,500 excluding COE and insurance, you can contact James (82226656) or Vall (83993797) at the Harley Davidson of Singapore Dealership for test rides or to express your interest in the bike.

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