Oxford (09 September 2013) - Barely 48 hours after Harley-Davidson released details of its new and upgraded 2014 bike range, select members of the international motorcycle press were ogling the bikes in Colorado, America. Details of the new Dyna® Fat Bob® and revised Sportster® models had created huge global interest and under the sun of mid-west Denver their glorious paint schemes looked even more enticing. But there were other bikes topping the bill: the new Touring range.
After years of research, which included talking with and riding alongside customers to find out what they want from their Touring motorcycle and how we can make the ride even better, a group of fully dressed and half-faired new machines held the journalists’ gaze. Although the iconic looks of the new Road King® Classic, Street Glide®, Electra Glide® Ultra Classic™ and top of the range Electra Glide® Ultra Limited have been retained, the released specifications and details told another story. The promise of new levels of comfort, linked braking and much more new technology such as the Twin-Cooled™ High Output Twin Cam 103™ engine had everyone chomping at the bit to clamber aboard and ride.
While the basic silhouette of all the new models remains the same, surface changes and under-the-paint components have been revamped in one of the biggest model updates in the 110 years of Harley-Davidson. With over 100 detail changes to pour over, a morning of detailed explanation by Harley staff was welcomed but didn’t satisfy the urge to get riding.
Later that afternoon, riding commenced with UK journalists getting to grips with the Electra Glides and Street Glides as they rode out from Denver along Interstate-70 to the skiing resort of Beaver Creek. It was perfectly timed for the riders to arrive in the evening to make use of the new LED Daymaker™ and dual halogen headlights. The 90-mile ride was complemented with a further 160 miles the following day across the mountainous scenery of Colorado. In all an excellent introduction to the new Touring models.
Other points that make such a difference to the riding situation abound on the new bikes even if they appear small compared to the extra overtaking stomp delivered by the 103 engine. Yes, even the switchgear has come of age, which Tony Carter, Editor of Motorcycle Sport and Leisure particularly liked: “The result is that this switchgear, with its knurls just right, feels like it’s an extension of your hand.” If you want to talk about suspension and chassis matters especially the new front suspension legs, MSL adds fire to the debate with: “The front end really talks to you when cornering – the whole chassis may only be mild steel, but it’s one of the best H-D has ever produced when combined with the less-weight, more strength add-ons.”
Overall, MSL gave the big tourers a massive ‘thumbs up’ at the end of six pages with this gem about the new Electra Glides: “What we have here is the next wave. It’s the next phase of Harley-Davidson and they’ve got much of this bike so, so right. It’s really quite amazing how different it feels to ride. More focused without becoming another try-too-hard big bike.”
MotorCycle News also graced the arrival of the new Touring range via six pages and highlighted the fact that even though the latest 103 engine has a water-cooling system, Harley purists need not be alarmed: “Heading west on the I-70, past the ski Meccas of Vail and Beaver Creek, all money-dripping, chalet-style mega hotels and manicured ski slopes, there was nothing else I’d rather have been on. The ‘potato-potato’ was as it should be, the ride and handling familiar, the reflected glory of That Badge incomparable and the new toys and improved brakes, comfort and practicality welcome.” Monthly motorcycle titles Bike and RiDE magazine completed the line up of attending Denver-based Project RUSHMORE launch UK and we eagerly await their first ride comments on the new generation Touring family.
Back home in Blighty, Harley-Davidson UK and Ireland presented the remaining UK motorcycle press with its own version of the Denver experience. Although Warwickshire and its surrounding roads leading into Cambridgeshire may not have the same appeal as Colorado, the one-day UK event starting with the impressively stately charm of Coombe Abbey was just as big a draw with seven major motorcycle media outlets all vying for a place on the 140-mile road ride.
Once again the Project RUSHMORE bikes of Street Glide and the top-of-the-range Electra Glide Ultra Limited were presented and ridden with relish. First away from the review blocks with an online appraisal was motorcycle journalist and famed author Geoff Hill for online biking resource www.bikesocial.co.uk. His story was to the point and tailed with: “Other nice details are one-touch operation for everything from the panniers to a sat nav and Harmon Kardon entertainment system so good that you may well want to consider selling your house and living in the top box. Particularly since it’s now larger, but thanks to clever redesign, and possibly a sprinkling of magic Tardis dust, looks smaller.
“Apart from a fairing here and a fender there, the styling remains the same, since Harley owners said they liked it just as it is, down to the batwing fairing which dates back to 1969, although it now comes with a clever vent that directs air over the helmet of even taller riders to prevent buffeting. And another thing that hasn’t changed, and hopefully never will, is that gloriously syncopated soundtrack of a big V-twin.”
More praise is expected to follow from the other attendees and will surely marry up with the global praise of Project RUSHMORE seen so far and the resulting new bikes it has delivered. But why wait to see what is being said when you can see for yourself what Harley-Davidson has delivered?
From 14 to 16 September there’s a chance to take a first look at the stunning new range of 2014 Harley-Davidson® motorcycles at your local Harley-Davidson® dealership. Dealers will throw open their doors to all riders and enthusiasts for the weekend for a special event dedicated to showing off the latest machines that the iconic brand has to offer.
Visit www.harley-davidson.co.uk for more information about the new bikes or click here to locate your nearest dealership.