26 July 2018
For Vanessa, better known by her Instagram handle of @thegirlonabike, her journey to be free(er) began following a car accident in 2014. During her long and ongoing recovery process, when her beloved adventure sports were no longer feasible, she began riding a motorcycle and biking quickly became her greatest form of escape.
When freedom is the goal, there can be no other machine than a Harley-Davidson® and Vanessa is keen to stress that more people should try a Harley® before deciding they’re not for them. She now owns a Sportster Forty-Eight® and a Dyna Street Bob®. But when planning a tour of almost 3,000 miles around the best mountain roads in the Alps with Tour1, the intrepid adventurer knew it was time to try a bigger motorcycle – the 2018 Softail Sport Glide™.
Here is her review of the bike in her own words…
“The 2018 Sport Glide has definitely won my heart and as so many have asked what I think, here's my review on this new breed of Harley-Davidson:
The Sport Glide offers a big bike in a small package with the new 107 Milwaukee engine (1745cc) laying down 83bhp prior to any upgrades. The power is on tap and delivers plentiful torque for passing on hairpins and being able to deal with whatever the journey throws at you. I always felt like she had so much to give!
Despite the size, weighing in at 317kg, Harley have done a superb job of distributing the load. The bike feels light and agile, especially compared to my similar weight 2015 Street Bob®, the load is low making for a really nimble ride. Easy for smaller riders to handle yet big enough for everyone. The light feel means it's easy to push round corners for some peg scraping enjoyment and the V-twin motor drives out of bends and past dawdling motorists with ease.
The ride comfort is like no Harley I've ridden, smooth and refined. Two balance shafts are calibrated to perfection giving a super smooth ride but with just the right amount of energy to keep its Harley soul as you potato-potato along. Character and comfort perfectly refined. With the mileage we did on alpine roads I have to say I was super content. The riding position and forward controls just felt perfect equipped with the new suspension that sucks up the terrain. And considering we did some cobbled mountain passes and Italy’s rather pothole riddled roads, I was very pleased with the suspension.
The craftsmanship is fantastic, tidy welds, extensive use of steel, deep gloss paint and the beautifully engineered panniers; it just screams quality and worth a good chunk of change.
When it comes to design she's definitely a head turner too. Elegant lines combined with a stocky road presence. The clever quick release panniers, luggage rack and fairing mean you can quickly go from touring to cruising mode too. I really do think it looks fantastic and was rather tickled by how much attention she received.
I could see myself happily commuting with its practical luggage, while being a head turner for cruising and yet also offering great comfort for the longer tours. With 2,714 miles together, I can vouch first hand. This motorcycle is a beast.
Vanessa conducted her Sport Glide review on a road trip with Tour1, an authorised Harley-Davidson® tour operator called Altitudes with Attitude. The trip starting from the UK headed across 9 European countries and some of the top mountain roads in the Alps and Dolomites; completing over 35 mountain passes with terrain including motorway, winding roads and more hairpins than you can shake a stick at.