2015 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited Low
Generally speaking, touring bikes have always been ponderous beasts. They’re tall and heavy, making them top-heavy, particularly when loaded with cargo and a passenger. Their bulk leaves little room to move your feet when backing up, and makes pushing one around a parking lot a nightmare, especially for shorter riders. Enter the 2015 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Limited Low (FLHTKL). Engineered with sleeker lines, a lower overall height, lower center of gravity and extra room for footwork, the Ultra Limited Low mitigates many of the factors that make baggers such a handful, while maintaining the cargo capacity and amenities one would expect from a top-of-the-line — and top dollar — touring motorcycle.
2015 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited Low
Engine:Twin-Cooled™ High Output Twin Cam 103™
Displacement:103.1 cubic inches
The tour pack and saddlebags are designed to be unlatched and opened with one gloved hand, which makes it quick and easy to access the storage without shedding any leather.
At a glance, the Ultra Limited Low looks very much like other Harley baggers, but you only has to straddle the bike to appreciate the differences. Blessed with a laden seat height of a mere 25.6 inches, and a reduced-profile primary drive cover and clutch inspection plate, you have a relatively straight shot to the ground for your legs. This allows for stronger footwork and increased control at low speed. The saddle has a very deep scoop that helps cradle and contain your posterior, reducing the possibility that you slide in the seat while shifting through the gears, and the passenger enjoys a deep and sumptuous pocket created by the backrest and armrests. Given the fact that this bike has the quickest 50-to-80 mph acceleration of any H-D bagger to date, being able to keep your backside on the seat is a plus. I owned an ’89 FXRP with the FXRT backrest and tour pack — sans armrests — and my then-girlfriend had a disconcerting habit of falling asleep on the bike on long road trips. I would have dearly loved having the peace of mind of such passenger containment! Speaking of tour packs, the Ultra Low has enough storage space to hold two — count ’em, TWO — full-face helmets, which is a plus if you wear one of those giant helmets that I like to compare to the one worn by Lord Dark Helmet in Spaceballs. The tour pack and saddlebags are designed to be unlatched and opened with one gloved hand, which makes it quick and easy to access the storage without shedding any leather.
Entertainment (as if the ride isn’t enough) is handled by the H-D Infotainment system. Complete with the Boom! Box 6.5GT Radio, Jukebox with USB support, voice-recognition Bluetooth and 5.25-inch front and rear speakers all controlled via a 6.5-inch touchscreen and handlebar controls, you can ride around and share your music with the public — whether they want to hear it or not. So if you are looking for a bike that will allow you to ride around in your own personal music video, look no further.
The bike comes stock in Vivid Black and can be had in optional monochrome paint, two-tone paint or Harley’s custom paint colors — for a price — giving the Low the full spectrum of available choices.
The Reflex system provides excellent control, and reduces the level of rider skill needed to safely handle the bike.
Reduced front fork and rear suspension heights gives the Low its lower profile, and the shorter windshield looks proportional to the rest of the bike, reducing head-buffeting and keeping it from looking like a police riot shield. Pullback handlebars place the rider’s hands closer to their center of effort, and the reduced-reach control levers will be a boon to riders with smaller or weaker hands. Even riders that do not fall into this category will appreciate this because, let’s face it, hand pain from repetitive-motion injuries, sports injuries or other medical conditions can make long rides tiresome, and unlike wine this does not improve with age. I wonder if I can retrofit this feature onto my bike.
Harley’s "Project Rushmore" innovations, which are changes based directly on the feedback and suggestions from H-D owners, give the bike dual-front and single-rear Brembo brakes controlled by the Reflex Linked Brakes with ABS system, so you can forget about performing burnouts, but you can count on superior control in poor road conditions. The Reflex system provides excellent control, and reduces the level of rider skill needed to safely handle the bike. Myself, I prefer the old-school system of separate brakes, but I recognize that some folks (ok, many... ok, all of us) can benefit from this system, and I don’t begrudge anyone wanting as much safety as he can get.
The air-cooled engine is built with the Twin Cool feature that cools the area around the exhaust port in the heads.
The Twin Cam 103-cubic-inch engine generates power for the Low. In its sophomore year, this engine keeps to the well-established heritage of the 45-degree V-twin that Harley is known for, while pushing the performance and ease-of-maintenance envelope further than ever before. The air-cooled engine is built with the Twin Cool feature that cools the area around the exhaust port in the heads. That helps to prevent performance drop-off as the engine temperature comes up, while reducing the heat wash felt by the rider and passenger. I especially like this feature because I live in a very hot and humid part of the country, and there are few things more miserable than broiling alive in my leathers when the air temperature is over 100 degrees in the shade with 90 percent or more humidity.
The engine produces a whopping 105.5 pound-feet of torque at 3,750 rpm, giving it more throttle response at low speed, a better hole-shot and more stump-pulling ability than ever before felt on a Harley tour bike. This is quite useful — read: safer — for those occasions when you need the throttle, not the brakes, to get out of a dicey situation.
Power is funneled to the rear tire through the Six-Speed Cruise Drive transmission, and the Isolated Drive System helps smooth out the engine power-pulses and makes acceleration feel smooth and controlled. The top-gear overall drive ratio is a close 2.875, giving the bike the long highway legs and relaxed cruising rpm demanded by today’s tour-bike rider.
|Engine||Twin-Cooled™ High Output Twin Cam 103™|
|Displacement||103.1 cubic inches|
|Fuel System||Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)|
|Engine Torque Testing Method||J1349|
|Engine Torque||105.5 pound-feet|
|Engine Torque (rpm)||3,750|
|Lean Angle, Right (deg.)||27.8|
|Lean Angle, Left (deg.)||28.6|
|Fuel Economy: Combined City/Hwy||42 mpg|
|Primary Drive||Chain, 34/46 ratio|
|Gear Ratios (overall) 1st||9.593|
|Gear Ratios (overall) 2nd||6.65|
|Gear Ratios (overall) 3rd||4.938|
|Gear Ratios (overall) 4th||4.0|
|Gear Ratios (overall) 5th||3.407|
|Gear Ratios (overall) 6th||2.875|
|Exhaust||Chrome, 2-1-2 dual exhaust with tapered mufflers|
|Wheels, Front Type||Contrast Chrome Impeller Cast Aluminum|
|Wheels, Rear Type||Contrast Chrome Impeller Cast Aluminum|
|Brakes, Caliper Type||32 mm, 4-piston fixed front and rear|
|Seat Height, Laden||25.6 inches|
|Seat Height, Unladen||27 inches|
|Ground Clearance||4.6 inches|
|Rake (steering head) (deg)||26|
|Tires, Front Specification||BW 130/80B17 65H|
|Tires, Rear Specification||BW 180/65B16 81H|
|Fuel Capacity||6 gallons|
|Oil Capacity (w/filter)||4 quarts|
|Weight, As Shipped||861 pounds|
|Weight, In Running Order||896 pounds|
|Luggage Capacity -Volume||4.7 cubic feet|
|Infotainment||BOOM! BOX™ 6.5GT|
|Color Choices||Orange (default), Blue, Brown, Green, Gray, Purple, Red|
|Watts Per Channel||25|
|Speaker Size||5.25 inch/6.5 inch - P&A Upgrade|
|Bass Port Rear Speakers||Standard|
|Distortion (THD)||1 percent|
|External Amp||P&A Upgrade|
|Headset Specifications (if equipped)||16-64 ohms|
|Weather Band (WB)||Standard|
|MP3 - USB Connection||Supported|
|SD Card - via USB Connection||Supported|
|Flash Drive - via USB Connection||Supported|
|Pod Device Presets||20.0|
|USB-Storage Device Presets||20.0|
|Media Player Device Presets||20|
|Global Presets||Selectable, up to 20 presets|
|Favorites||1 FAV hardkey plus 6 favorites|
|Interface Languages:||English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese|
|Hands-free Mobile Phone - via Bluetooth||Standard|
|Voice Recognition Languages: Phone functions only||English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese|
|Voice Recognition Languages: Tuner/Media/Navigation||English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese|
|"Vehicle Information Screen (Air temperature, oil pressure and engine temperature)" StandardSoftware Update via USB interface||Standard|
|Text-to-Speech (TTS) Languages|
|USB||USB/MTP/iPod/iPhoneBluetooth Phone/Media Supported|
|Lights (as per country regulation), Indicator||Lamps High beam, running lights, front fender running lights, directional lights, neutral, low oil pressure, engine diagnostics, accessory, speakers, turn signals, security system, gear indication, battery, low fuel warning, cruise control, ABS, fog/aux lamp indicator|
|Gauges||New from MY2014 gauges: 10 percent larger speedometer and tachometer with 68 percent wider numbers; 28 percent larger fuel and volt gauges with 30 percent wider numbers; display features odometer, trip A, trip B, range to empty, and gear indicator; and larger telltale indicators.|
The stock Vivid Black paint package is available for the everyday low price of $26,999 with various color options available up through $28,299. This is admittedly a lot for a non-primary vehicle that won’t even keep the rain off you, and in my opinion puts the Limited Low squarely into the mid-life crises bracket. That said, it is not the most expensive sled available from Harley, and if you are looking for features such as these, you probably won’t lose any sleep from sticker-shock.
|Vivid Black $26,999|
|Color Option $27,599|
|Two-Tone Option $28,049|
|Custom Color Option $28,299|
At the risk of sounding like a cheerleader for Harley, I find little to fault with this bike, other than the price (cheaper by the dozen, maybe?), and I can’t help but lust just a little after a Low of my own. Harley seems to have addressed most, if not all, of the complaints I have had with past bagger models, and have added improvements far beyond simply fixing those complaints.
My wife and fellow writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "When riding pillion, I like the fact that the bike won’t drive out from under me. It certainly has the power to leave my backside in the dirt, which is surprising when you consider that it’s a touring bike through and through. It’s a high-priced ride with all the amenities that I’d expect for the money.