Street Glide Special

Tex with his Street Glide Special

Tex with his Street Glide Special

Surprise, after only a couple years and 45,000kms, I upgraded my 2016 Ultra Limited to a 2018 Street Glide Special in Twisted Cherry red. I loved my Limited and it was the perfect bike with many more trouble-free riding years ahead of her.

But I made the mistake of riding a demo 2017 Street Glide while my Limited was being serviced. Don’t do that if you are not planning on buying a new Milwaukee-Eight with its fantastic new Showa Dual Bending Valve fork and easily adjustable emulsion rear shocks. That’s the big thing for me. Compared to the 2014-16 Rushmore Limited, the new Street Glides are 34kg lighter and the seat is 50mm lower making the centre of gravity much lower too.

In fighter pilot talk, the Special has a quicker roll rate that lets you change directions faster at both high speed and even in a tight roundabout. Simply put the new Street Glide handles similar to the new Softails but with more comfort.

Two Street Glide Specials Down Under

The running gear is essentially the same on both the 2017 and 2018 Street Glides with a few exceptions. We now have two Street Glide models in Australia/NZ, like in the USA. The Street Glide Special is all blacked out where as the Street Glide (Standard) is all chromed up like our 2017 Street Glide Special. With a higher price the 2018 Special has several premium parts off the CVO Street Glide: Stretched Saddlebags, bigger 19/18in Talon wheels, Turbine Floating Brake Rotors, and performance tyres.

The Special also has Boom! Audio Stage I High Performance 6.5in Fairing Speakers with a nice metal grill while the Standard has the 5.25in speakers.

Also, the instruments are black on the Special and white on the Standard.

The Milwaukee-Eight engine

The rubber mounted, single counterbalanced Touring M8 engine is mechanically quieter and smoother than the Twin Cam 103 and even the Softail 107 and 114 from my personal experience. I’d even have to say the stock Heritage 107 at idle sounded and shook like my mother’s 1950s Maytag washing machine.

Sound-wise, the bone stock Street Glide’s exhaust system is a bit louder than the 2016 Touring system and sounds like a Harley that your neighbours and I like.

Finally, a little thing I love is being able to set the cruise control in 2nd gear and at 40 kph; rather than the old Twin Cam in 3rd and 50 kph.

Funny isn’t it that the M8 107 is the only factory installed engine available on any Touring model with the exception of the 117s being standard on the CVOs. Even the great “little” Softail Heritage touring bike can be had with a factory installed 114 engine straight from Kansas City. That begs the question, when will the 114s be available on the Touring models and Softail Sport Glide tourer?

Kansas City Frame

First and foremost, I’d like to see Harley replace the 10 year old Touring frame with a modern one like the Softails. Single shock with the adjustment knob on the outside. Hey Harley, Touring bikes often carry one, two and even fully loaded two-up in a single day. The new frame can copy the neat new Sport Glide saddlebag single knob release system.

Importantly, I think they should keep the rubber mounted M8 engine and adopt whatever they did that makes the hairy Fat Bob bike’s transmission so smooth shifting and even finding neutral.

That said, get rid of the old fashion head stem bearing ignition switch and frame lock. Again the Softail shows the right way to do it. Surprisingly, the 2018 Street Glides don’t come with an LED Signature headlamp but the PR department slipped-up in its press video that is has one.

Next year! Finally, there is one really annoying thing. Replace the ADR fake key lock on the fuel door with a black or chromed push button one like on the USA bikes.

Thomas Edison’s Infotainment System

Okay, the 2013 Boom! Box Infotainment System is a dinosaur. Enough said.

Just ask the competitors where they got their full Bluetooth, stereo, handsfree social media, navigation systems or just do like many cars: let me use my smartphone to voice control all the displays on the dash.

Keep it simple, affordable and sync with any Bluetooth standard. Finally, why do all Street Glides and Road Kings have the old yellow Dual Bulb Halogen Headlamps?

7 Reasons to Trade In Now

While I’m at it, let me make a sales pitch for Harley and all motorcycle manufacturers. This is the right time to buy a new or even a used Harley. For me the decision to trade in my two year old Limited was made simple by the great deals that are out there.

Dealers actually want clean low mileage used bikes because those are the ones they can sell to a new first-time customer, one they will hopefully sell a new Harley to in a couple or three years.

Don’t ask the dealer how much the new bike costs or how much they will give you on your trade in. Ask what the changeover price is. Believe me, Harley and all the manufacturers want to keep the cash flow going. They want to make you a brand-loyal customer for life.

Here are some of the figures I used to calculate my decision to trade in “Now” on a new Special:

1. My Harley Assist was running out – $111.

2. I needed a major service in several thousand kilometres – $500+.

3. I need two new tyres sooner rather than later – $500.

4. It is the summer riding season.

5. My bike was becoming a generation older and would have less resale value in another year.

6. When motorcycle sales take off again, The Motor Company will raise prices.

7. The Australian dollar could fall if the world industrial nations slowed in buying our main export, natural resources.

Finally, with full disclosure, I feel confident that the new Bronx Sportster replacement will be announced on 20 August at the San Diego Dealer Meeting. In another two or three years the Touring bikes will get the cheaper to manufacture frame in 2020. The Kansas City plant will close with the consolidation of all US bikes assembled in York.


My Street Glide Special

Dark & Black

The Completion in Heavy 1,600+ cc Touring bikes: Honda Gold Wing, Indian Chieftain , BMW K1600, and Yamaha Star Venture & Eluder. 

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Harley Boom! Box Infotainment System

Harley branded Sena 20S Bluetooth Headset is only compatible with Harley-Davidson Original Equipment 6.5GT Boom! Box radio when equipped with Wireless Headset Interface Module P/N 76000768. Headset software update may be required for use with Wireless Headset Interface Module P/N 76000768.


LED Signature Headlamp

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Download the Parts and Accessories Online Store

Online 2018 USA Harley Street Glide Special Parts and Accessories

Saddlebags Stretched 

Turbine Floating Brake Rotors

Compare all the models three at a time at the Australia/NZ 

Harley-Davidson Touring 'Front & Rear Suspension

Totally re-engineered dual bending valve front and rear suspension with easily-adjustable emulsion shocks. The new rear shocks give you 15 to 30% more pre-load. They adjust with the turn of a single knob, no tools required. New, bigger pistons have more area than before for improved damping performance over the range of the suspension travel. This new fork technology improves the ride, especially over the harshest bumps, and reacts faster to keep the wheel planted for confident braking and handling. *Compared to the 2016 Touring Model engines

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San Diego Harley Davidson Annual Dealer Meeting 20 Aug 2018