Nowadays, it is very hard towards impossible to come up with brand new, 100 per cent original cruising/touring motorcycle and no manufacturer knows that better than Harley-Davidson. So we’re guessing that engineers and designers came up to the simple conclusion that their new project didn’t necessarily had to be a motorcycle, but something that would take the best of the motorcycle world and add enough carrying capacity to keep a couple on the highways all year round…something like a trike.
The 2009 Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra Classic is the latest addition to the Touring family and addresses to the kind of rider that would have bought the two-wheeled version and turn it into his own. So is it legitimate to suppose that owners themselves inspired Harley on this one?
Harley-Davidson brings original-equipment design, quality and service to the three-wheel motorcycle segment with the introduction of the 2009 Tri Glide Ultra Classic motorcycle. Based on a new chassis designed specifically for this three-wheel application, the Tri Glide offers the classic styling and popular touring features of the Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide in a vehicle that is sold and serviced by the network of Harley-Davidson dealers and covered by a two-year Harley-Davidson limited warranty.
Harley-Davidson launched a “wheels-up” strategy in the development of the Tri Glide, and has created a frame and associated chassis structure that is engineered specifically to handle the loads generated by the steering forces and weight of a three-wheel vehicle. Changes to the front-end geometry enhance steering control by reducing steering effort up to 25 percent. The forks have been lengthened by 1.775 inches compared to the regular Touring motorcycle, and rake is increased from 29.25 degrees to 32.00 degrees. A steer damper controls coast-down wobble, and minimizes bumps and other road inputs during turning events.
Harley-Davidson has designed a new rear-axle assembly for the Tri Glide that utilizes an aluminum center section with steel axle tubes. The Tri Glide retains the high-strength and low-maintenance advantages of belt final drive, and the smooth operation of a rubber-cushioned, compensated rear drive. The rear suspension features dual air-adjustable rear shock absorbers.
The Tri Glide is powered by a Twin Cam 103 V-Twin engine with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI), rated at 101 ft. lbs. of torque. It retains the 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission used on Harley-Davidson Touring motorcycles, but adds an optional electric reverse ($1,195) integrated with the rear differential assembly that is engaged with a handlebar-mounted reverse module. The Tri Glide has dual front disc brakes and a Hayes Brake dual-disc rear brake system with a lever-actuated, integrated park brake.
The Harley-Davidson styling department gave the new body components of the Tri Glide clean lines that integrate with the existing Ultra bodywork, especially the Tour Pak luggage compartment and the passenger seating area. The new bodywork is painted with the same quality OEM paint and process used on all Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and is a perfect color match for the tank and front fender. The composite rear fenders complement the lines of the front fender. Because the rear fenders are each a separate piece from the rest of the rear bodywork, they can be removed individually for repair or replacement, or when required to service the Tri Glide.
The molded-composite trunk provides 4.5 cubic feet of storage space and can be accessed through a rear hatch. The trunk and Tour Pak have a combined capacity of 6.56 cubic feet and are rated to carry up to 80 pounds. A single key handles all luggage locking functions, and activates the ignition. Dual mufflers with tapered end caps exit below the trunk. Brake/tail/turn lights are located on each fender, and the Tri Glide retains the Tour Pak lighting used on the Ultra Classic, including the LED side running lights. Matching front and rear black and machined split seven-spoke cast aluminum wheels provide the Tri Glide with its integrated and true, factory-built look. The 16-inch front wheel is three inches wide and carries a MT90B16 motorcycle tire, while the 15-inch rear wheels are five inches wide and are fitted with P205/65R15 tires.
Forward of the rear wheels, the Tri Glide retains the style and features of the Ultra Classic Electra Glide, including the distinctive “bat wing” fairing, auxiliary driving lamps, and deep-skirted front fender. A low-profile chrome console tops a six-gallon fuel tank. The fairing holds complete instrumentation and the 80-watt Advanced Audio System with CB radio and passenger intercom system. Adjustable air deflectors on the fairing and vented fairing lowers allow the rider to control wind flow for comfort in warm or cool weather. Cruise control is standard equipment.
The Tri Glide Ultra Classic is offered three colors: Vivid Black, Dark Blue Pearl, and Red Hot Sunglo.
The Tri Glide has an MSRP of $29,999 if Black is the color of choice and of $30,799 for any of the other two colors.
Harley-Davidson is supposed to have created the Tri Glide as a safer, more visible and imposing three-wheeled alternative to the equally comfortable and refined 2009 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide. We haven’t yet ridden the first production American trike in Harley’s recent history so that we can confirm that, but we have a feeling that there’s even more to it that what is claimed.
Engine and Transmission
Displacement: 103.00 cu. in.
Type: Air-cooled, Twin Cam 103™
Bore x Stroke: 3.875 in. x 4.375 in.
Engine Torque: 101.00 ft. lbs / 3500 rpm
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Compression Ratio: 9.6:1
Miles per Gallon: 48.00 hwy / 33.00 city
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio
Gear Ratio (overall)
Chassis and Dimensions
Brakes: 4 piston fixed front, 31.75mm single piston floating rear
Parking Brake: Lever actuated dual parking brake.
Lean Angle (per SAEJ1168): N/A
Exhaust System: Chrome, cross-over exhaust with dual mufflers and taper end caps.
Front Wheel: Black 7-Spoke Cast Aluminum
Rear WheeL Black 7-Spoke Cast Aluminum
Wheel Option: N/A
Front Tire: MT90B16 72H
Rear Tire: P205/65R15
Length: 105.80 in.
Seat Height: 27.50 in. (laden) / 29.60 in. (unladen)
Ground Clearance: 4.70 in.
Rake Steering Head/Trail: 26° / 3.94 in.
Wheelbase: 66.65 in
Track Width: 43.88 in.
Fuel Capacity: 6.00 gal.
Oil Capacity: 4.00 qt.
Dry Weight: 1139.60 lbs.
Running Order: 1174.20 lbs
Luggage Capacity: 6.56 cu ft. (volume) / 80.00 lbs. (weight)
Instruments: Electronic speedometer with odometer; fairing-mounted; time-of-day clock on odometer; dual resettable tripmeter; fuel range countdown feature; low fuel indicator light; low oil pressure indicator light; engine diagnostic readout; LED lights; tachometer; hazard warning integrated into turn signal controls; 6-speed Indicator Light; Cruise Control
Indicator Lamps: High Beam, running lights, front fender running lights, directional light bar, low oil pressure, engine diagnostics, cruise control, speakers, accessory, security system (optional), 6 speed, low fuel warning, reverse enabled (optional)
Reverse Function: Electric reverse actuated by handlebar mounted hand controls (optional).