2016 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Street 500 / Street 750
Powered by a Revolution V-twin engine, the Street 500 and 750 are premium Harley-Davidson even though they’re geared toward the budget-minded, entry-level crowd. Just because the price is low doesn’t mean they skimped on quality. The Street siblings come with a steel teardrop tank and fenders covered in the deep, rich color, and flawless finish that long ago made Harley-Davidson the benchmark for premium paint on a motorcycle. The cherry on top is the chrome tank badge — not a decal, as you might expect in an economy-priced bike, but a three-dimensional tank medallion — as Harley’s pledge to you that you are riding a premium quality machine.
Which motorcycles on sale today give the best mpg?
The beginning of this century saw the world views changing gradually towards climate change and the need to preserve the environment. This, along with stringent policies, has forced the manufacturers to develop motorcycles that can run cleaner fuel and extract the maximum economy from it, sometimes even at the cost of performance.
Bad news for people who seek the element of thrill, but a pretty good one for someone living in urban jungles where folks prefer commuting on a motorcycle rather thank a car for its practicality and frugal fuel-efficiency. Then there are us few who love the idea of putting serious miles on two-wheels and living the adventure.
We here have compiled a list to give you the best available tools for such situations and save some money on gas while at it.
2016 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 883
When Harley-Davidson makes changes to the Iron 883, they stay faithful to at least one important aspect – performance. While XL models have never been known as ’fast’ bikes, they certainly have a well-deserved reputation as ’quick’ bikes. Nothing in the Harley world comes out of the hole like a Sporty, or handles the corners like one, and the Iron 883 maintains that tradition with aplomb. Bikes like this show how the XL line has not only survived, but also thrived in the entry-level and sport-minded American markets.
2016 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight
The Forty-Eight from Harley-Davidson’s Sportster stable has that signature bulldog stance with beefy front forks and fat tires on a narrow frame. The 1,202 cc Evo engine comes blacked out with chrome blings, fed by a ’peanut tank’ that appeared on Sporty’s throughout its history. Low, low seat height and Dark Custom attitude give the Forty-Eight that low-slung, lean, mean look.
2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra
Harley-Davidson’s three-wheeled Tri Glide Ultra moved into the 2017 model year with a handful of improvements and a brand-spanking new engine. The factory powers it with its powerful Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine introduced last year that cranks out over 100 pounds o’ grunt to place it well into the power-cruiser category, even though H-D markets it as a tour bike. Exhaust components rerouting addressed heat problems from prior model-years, and the King of Paint added a couple of new, two-tone paint schemes to the palette for 2017, as well as a 115th Anniversary model for 2018. Harley’s target market for this beast mainly consists of persons who are unwilling or unable to manage one of their admittedly top-heavy, two-wheeled tourers for one reason or another, and I’ve always considered it to be a very laudable thing to try and make sure that anyone who wants bugs in their teeth can have it.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra.
2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide
Harley-Davidson’s Custom Vehicle Operations department puts together what one could call showroom-custom bikes that include many of the features that buyers commonly add on post-sale and borrows much of the Infotainment system used on the big touring models. For 2017, this hot-rod bagger featured a new-and-improved suspension system to the table; and for 2018, it features the with the all-new, 117 cubic-inch, Milwaukee-Eight engine. Power output falls well above the 100 pound-foot mark — not surprising with a CVO machine — so it falls into the power-cruiser/stoplight-burner category. Performance, good looks and barrels of that Harley mystique push the CVO Street Glide over the top in my book, so join me while I check out the details of this vanity-stoking sled.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide.
Harley-Davidson’s Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) program has been hard at work churning out models with the toppest-of-the-shelfestfeatures they can cook up. All that R&D isn’t wasted on the premium models though, as frequently technology pioneered in the CVO program makes its way through the Rushmore bikes and on down the line to the less-expensive models. H-D’s newest CVO release is a direct assault on the American muscle-bike market, and it cuts a mean figure with its raked front end and massive V-Twin engine. Introducing the FXSE CVO Pro Street Breakout, a model packed with CVO and Screamin’ Eagle yummy goodness as it rolls off the floor ready for stoplight-burner action. While Harley markets the V-Rod as its “performance line,” this Breakout definitely qualifies for that category as well, albeit with a more traditional look and DNA that goes back to the classic dragster/gasser era. Join me while I take a gander at this latest creation out of Harley’s CVO division.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson CVO Pro Street Breakout.
2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide - Street Glide Special
Harley-Davidson updates its popular Street Glide family for MY17 with a few much-needed tweaks that make it as suitable for the superslab as it is for the boulevard. The earlier generation suffered from lack of power, uninspired suspension and a definite heat-to-rider transfer problem to boot. Harley addressed these problems to make the Street Glide into the bike it always should have been. Dual Bending Valve Forks and rear emulsion shocks take care of the suspension problems, while the Milwaukee-Eight engine brings 6.7 additional pounds of torque to help it push that front fairing into the wind comfortably at highway speeds and above. Adjustments made to manage the heat problem results in a whole new animal in the bagger stable. So, let’s check out the new models and try to act like we’re seeing the family for the first time, because in a way we are.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Street Glide and Street Glide Special.
Harley-Davidson Recalls 2017 Touring Bikes
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a recall on some 45,000 Harley-Davidson touring models. A clamp on the oil cooler could detach resulting in the loss of engine oil containment. If that isn’t bad enough, the oil could path to the rear wheel, and you don’t need to ride a motorcycle to know that oil on the rear wheel is a bad thing. The recall includes 2017 FLH and FLT models, which include the Electra Glide, Road King, Road Glide, and Street Glide families that were manufactured between July 2016 and May 2017. The recall is slated to begin June 6.
Continue reading for more on the Harley recall.
The Road King has long been an alternative for Harley-Davidson riders who want a tour-capable bike sans barn-door fairing. It keeps getting better in the 2017 model year with the new Milwaukee-Eight engine and a special trim package called — wait for it — the Road King Special. Updated looks and performance are the main selling points here, over and above the usual litany of reasons to consider the Road King, and the recent demise of Victory Motorcycles makes this ride even more important to H-D in the long run.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Road King and Road King Special.
Back in 2001, Harley-Davidson introduced its VRSC “V-Rod” to the motorcycle world to compete with both imported and domestic (U.S.) muscle bikes. The factory teamed up with Porsche to design the aptly-named “Revolution” engine to power this new drag bike, and the evolution of the “Revolution” has continued ever since.
One needs to look no further than the V-Rod Muscle to appreciate how the Vehicle and Powertrain Operations factory in Kansas City, Missouri, has spent the last 14 years. This drag bike maintains the design concepts of the original VRSC, with the subtle improvements that one expects given the popularity of the bike and the ever-increasing strides in technology over the past decade and a half.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle.
Back in 2001, Harley-Davidson branched off into a sector I’d never thought to see, that of street performance machines. Sure enough, The Motor Company has had a hand in racing for years, from the old board trackers to the flat tack and the big hill-climbing events, but this isn’t quite the same thing as street-drags, and success in one sector does not necessarily guarantee success in another. H-D looked to broaden its range into the streets with the original VRSC, and the family has continued to evolve over the years.
Enter the 2017 Harley-Davidson V-Rod “Night Rod Special”, the low, dark and sinister branch on the V-Rod family tree. Given that the sportbike market is as competitive as ever, and the burgeoning “power-cruiser” sector is starting to elbow its way in as well, “stoplight burners” like this have an uphill battle to gain any real ground, especially for companies that are showing up late for the party. (Cough, H-D, cough cough.) Still to be fair, Harley has made some significant inroads thus far, and this latest variant looks to expand the VRSC footprint a bit further. Let’s see how they did.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special.
When you’ve been making motorcycles for over a century, you accumulate plenty of grist for your creative mill, and Harley-Davidson has made a business model out of revisiting past designs. Harley fans typically have an appreciation for historical references and tribute bikes, a fact H-D takes to the bank over and over again. They’re now trying to score with that concept once again with the FLSTN Softail Deluxe. This ride comes absolutely dripping with nostalgic touches that come backed up by modern technology — just not too modern if you know what I mean — and it plugs a small hole in Harley’s lineup. With that in mind, I want to take a look at this ride and try to pick out all the little touches that reach back in time and make the Deluxe such a special ride.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe.
Harley certainly loves historical references, and that comes naturally since they helped to define those eras. The factory picked the 1950s as the targeted period for the FLS Softail Slim, specifically the minimalist “bobber” niche known for trimming off anything that didn’t directly contribute to performance.
Bobber enthusiasts back in the day were fixated on one thing only — the need for speed — and Harley was not remiss in this regard. The factory keeps sticking more powerful engines into each successive model, so this ride is not meant for the all-show/no-go category. Let’s take a look and see how the details pan out.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Softail Slim and Softail Slim S.
When old Arnie jumped his “borrowed” Fat Boy into the drainage sluice in Terminator 2back in ’91, he cemented the Fat Boy’s place in American pop culture for all time. Harley has stayed true to the original look, and they’ve continually refined the Fat Boy in the interim to bring us the newest range of models built on the FLSTF platform.
We have the traditional-looking Fat Boy as a base model with the blackout Fat Boy Lo as sort of a side-grade model. The factory included the Fat Boy in its “S-series” program that sees existing bikes souped up with Harley’s biggest production engines and decked out with Screamin’ Eagle performance parts. Join me while I take a look at the specific upgrades H-D sprinkled across the range.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy, Fat Boy Lo and Fat Boy S.
The 2017 Harley-Davidson Road King brings classic, FL design elements and the MoCo’s newest engine — the Milwaukee-Eight — together for this new generation of the touring king. Not only is the engine all new, but Harley finally got out of its suspension rut and threw on something other than its usual vanilla components. Is it enough, and can it compete with other established cruise/tour models out there? What else has Harley hidden away in there? Join me as I take a good look at the new FLHR and check out what all the factory tucked in there to stay relevant in an ever more demanding market.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Road King.
When the original FXS Low Rider hit showroom floors back in ’77, it was immediately popular and dominated Harley-Davidson sales. Based on the FX Super Glide, which was essentially a mishmash of parts from the big-frame FL and smaller XL (Sportster) models, the FXS was the first attempt by the factory (under the blighted AMF banner) to emulate the look of the home-job customs that were popular at the time.
Since then, the FXS changed from the original, hard-mount frame to the rubber-mount, FXR frame in the early eighties, and has been built on the new, hybrid Dyna frame (FXDL) since ’91. Fast forward to 2017, and you can see The Motor Company hard at it to further improve and refine the Low Rider, and these latest versions are certainly the best yet. Read on to find out why.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider and Low Rider S.
Introduced in 2006, the Dyna Street Bob (FXDB) was the first "Dark Custom" designed for Harley-Davidson’s Dyna family. The Street Bob originally came with an 88.5 cubic-inch (1,450 cc) engine and graduated to 96.7 cubes (1,584 cc) in 2007. After the release of the Twin Cam 103 in the 2012, Harley dropped it into the Street Bob starting in 2014.
In the modern bobber style, the 2017 Street Bob is minimal: solo seat, no windshield, cut-down fenders, mid-mount controls and retro-style air cleaner cover. Minimal doesn’t mean lack of comfort, though. The Street Bob is very comfortable — comfortable enough for all-day riding. With bags and a windshield, it would make a nice casual tourer — better than a Softail would.
Minimal also doesn’t mean lack of quality. The Street Bob holds to the same standard of quality that Harley is known for and pledges that to you in a cast 3-D fuel tank medallion, not some econo graphic sticker.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Street Bob.
Add saddlebags, a detachable windshield and a 4.5-gallon fuel tank to a Sportster and you have a mini-tourer — that happy balance between an around-town bar-hopper and a hit-the-interstate pocket-bagger. It’s been a long time — over 10 years — since Harley did away with the vibration-’o-plenty hard-mount engine. The SuperLow 1200T enjoys the benefits of the rubber-mounted Evolution engine with a smoother ride and better rider comfort for long miles in the saddle.
Departing from the traditional Sportster peanut tank, the SuperLow 1200T comes with a teardrop fuel belly and the quick release windshield lets you go bare for an around-town ride or pop it on the bike for trips up the highway.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson SuperLow 1200T.
When it comes to American touring machines, Harley-Davidson finds itself in an enviable position indeed. As the domestic manufacturer with the longest uninterrupted production run, The MoCo has helped to shape and define what “tourbike” means to us, which is quite different from the rest of the world, to put it mildly.
U.S. Tourbikes, for several decades now, have been all about getting as much storage, comfort and luxe features packed onto the frame as possible, and the H-D Ultra Limited and Ultra Limited Low represents its top-of-the-line touring model without getting into the CVO division. Although this pair doesn’t get the sexy, 110-inch CVO motor, they do sport a whole host of Project Rushmore features, so we wind up with some of Harley’s top-shelf, rider-inspired gadgets that turn this line into something of a national opus.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, Project Rushmore is a campaign by Harley to gather ideas from its customer base and actively develop and impliment them on production models — sort of a suggestions box on steroids — so can one argue that these bikes are built by the people, for the people? OK, that may be going it a bit high, but join me anyway while I take a look at the Ultra Limited and Ultra Limited Low.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited and Ultra Limited Low.