Oxford (23 October 2013) - First shown in America and then quickly followed up with special reveal evenings at all official Harley-Davidson® dealers, the new Touring range of bikes – developed under the auspicious title of Project Rushmore – have certainly impressed the media and Harley® fans alike. The new Road King® Classic, Street Glide®, Electra Glide® Ultra Classic™ and top of the range Electra Glide® Ultra Limited have now been ridden by the majority of the mainstream press and the compliments have not stopped coming.
Following on from a one-day UK riding event that saw a selection of major motorcycle press taking in the roads of Warwickshire, Northants and Cambridgeshire, Andy Hornsby of American-V magazine dedicated nine glossy pages to the Project Rushmore bikes. This figure doesn’t include the front cover and a stunning centrefold pull-out poster, both of which feature the classic lines and glorious paint schemes of the latest Ultra Limited.
One area American-V commented on in detail was the new Reflex™ Linked Brakes with ABS that Mr Hornsby sampled on the Ultra Limited. Of course, nobody likes change for change sake and motorcyclists are particularly loathsome of anything that intrudes on personal control of their bike. However, Mr Hornsby puts the addition of the Reflex system into perspective with technical and personal views: “But if you grab a handful of front brake – a more likely scenario on this side of the pond – you’ll activate both front calipers and the electronic brain will chat with the rear speed sensor, look up the equation and apply the rear if necessary. The situation is being measured continually, and rebalanced – continuing down below 25mph when slowing down – and it does feel very competent with no excessive dive because the balance is that good, which is ‘a good thing’.
“It is going to scare the pants off people who are mistrustful of technology, and annoy those who like to set up for a corner with the back brake, but it will protect Mr O I Neverusemybackbrake from himself, and will be easier to understand for drivers who are new to motorcycles and don’t understand the need for separate brakes.”
While all of the media (print and online) continue to wax lyrical about the new Twin-Cooled™ High Output Twin Cam 103™ engine – justifiably so – praise is also being spread across the latest chassis updates. Monthly publication Bike magazine said of the Street Glide’s new front end set up: “On the road with the Street Glide, the chassis changes are the biggest bonus. The new front end is a world improved from old. New 49mm stanchions and stiffer yokes are only half the story, the 19-inch front wheel now running a low-pro 130/60 Dunlop makes turning this big rig far easier. It holds a line better over all bar vicious bumps and is way more stable on the strong brakes. Through tight up and downhills and faster, more open turns it’s a great improvement.” Those same new telescopic forks and accompanying clamps figure throughout the Touring range.
Continuing the theme of new is better, Roland Brown writing for The Telegraph Motoring section summed up his review of the new Electra Glide range with praise of the highest order: “The Electra Glide has long been the emotional choice for touring due to its comfort and traditional style, although lacking the sophistication to justify its price. No longer. It’s far from cheap, but this most comprehensive (if least visible) of updates has turned Harley’s flagship into a logical long-distance option.”
Bike Trader was one of the first online media to report back on its riding impressions of the 2014 Touring range. Of course, we expected a fair and balanced report but got more. Its reporter, Dan Tye, for the UK press launch weighed up his feelings of the new tourers with: “A day of riding two of the updated models in the Touring range has convinced us that the 2014 MY bikes are going to be extremely well sought after. In the UK, H-D is number two in sales for bikes above 600cc (yes, I couldn't quite believe that either) which shows there’s a growing appetite for the brand in the UK.
“I'll get to ride the other two models in the Touring range (the Road King £17,595 and the Electra Glide Ultra Classic £20,495) later on in the year but for now, the Street Glide and Ultra Limited have given us a flavour of what's been achieved – and Harley is now making bikes that handle well and brake hard too.”
On 14 September, H-D dealers across, up and down the UK held a Reveal event where many of us got our first look at the new Touring range in the flesh and can continue to do so. But let’s not forget there are also some other great new model year 2014 bikes to check out at your local Harley-Davidson® dealership.
The latest Sportster® models have undergone major revisions for next year. ABS is now a standard addition on all models with the exception of Iron 883™, which is available with or without ABS. The Sportster models also feature uprated front brakes and switchgear and also Harley’s admired keyless ignition system – a feature that other manufacturers are only just getting to grips with.
Last but not least is the new Fat Bob®. With sleek twin-ring LED tail lamp, new slotted black wheels with engraved graphics and a lot more style tweaks than you can shake a helmet at, the Fat Bob takes the expression ‘muscular street rod’ to a new level. To find out more about the new and existing range of bikes visit your local Harley-Davidson dealer or www.harley-davidson.co.uk.