It’s the smooth throttle response and stump-pulling torque you expect from a premium bagger

Harley-Davidson updated its sharknosed Road Glide in 2017 and replaced the little-loved Twin Cam engine with its new Milwaukee-Eight powerplant, a combination that persists into model-year 2020. There were a handful of aesthetic adjustments made over that span, but the model remains pretty much as it was when it hit the showroom floors in MY17. On the current-year model, top-shelf infotainment capabilities join with a plush suspension system and a half-dozen paint packages to deliver the comfort and style H-D riders expect, and the Mil-8 107 engine turns out the torque that we demand.

  • 2017 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide
  • Year:
    2017- 2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Milwaukee-Eight 107
  • Displacement:
    1746 cc
  • Top Speed:
    105 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    21699
  • Price:

Harley-Davidson Road Glide Design

  • LED lighting
  • Frame-mounted fairing
  • Boom! Box 4.3 infotainment system
  • Full-color TFT display
2017 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide
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2017 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide
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2017 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide
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For the longest time, fans of H-D’s FL family of tourbikes had to choose between the old fork-mount barn door fairing or an outsized windshield for protection, but that changed with the advent of the wide, frame-mount fairing dubbed the sharknose. The benefits are obvious. Wind pressure on the fairing still pushes the bike around a bit, but the forces are transferred directly to the bones of the beast rather than the forks, and that makes for very low-stress highway miles in blustery conditions.

A full-length, half-valence fender leads the way, and the deep sides help contain the front-wheel fling in wet conditions. Chrome beer can skirts top the forks to hide/protect the inner fork tubes and dress up the front end with a classic touch. The fixed fairing dominates the front end with a pair of Daymaker headlights recessed in the mouth of the sharknose and come complete with running lights, all in LED tech for maximum, two-way visibility.

Chrome bullet-housings carry flat-lens front blinkers to finish up the forward lighting. Up top, a smoked flyscreen extends the coverage upward just a skosh and a vent reduces the head-buffet effect. Driven by the Boom! Box 4.3 infotainment system, a pair of 5.25-inch speakers in the outboard ears of the inner fairing deliver your tunes, and instrumentation comes in four, round-face analog gauges with indicator lamps to cover the basics.

It’s the full-color TFT interface that is the real star of the show here. It lets you pinch, drag, and swipe your way through the menus with real-time weather, navigation, and music-input options. Plus, it rocks a Bluetooth wireless connection that networks with your smartphone so you can field hands-free phonecalls under way. To wrap up the electrical wizardry, a 12-volt power port provides you with an array of tertiary electronic possibilities and recharging capabilities for your mobile devices.

A six-gallon fuel tank defines the flyline aft of the fairing with a chrome console and round fuel door where we would find the speedometer on older machines. It establishes a downward angle sending the flyline to the deep-scoop saddle that slings your butt at 25.9 inches off the ground – providing you have at least 180 pounds of body weight to compress the rear suspension. The Mustang-style seat tapers down at the p-pad for a sort-of-solo look, and there’s a pair of fold-up footpegs and a grabstrap for your passenger’s security and comfort.

Hard-side, color-matched saddlebags come with easy-to manage locks and provide 2.3 cubic-feet of dry storage space. A split taillight doubles as the back turn signals on the rear fender with a plate light and holder to finish out the gear in the rear.

Harley-Davidson Road Glide Chassis

  • Enforcer II wheels
  • Stable, rock-solid tracking
  • Showa’s Dual Bending Valve technology
  • Handwheel-adjustable rear suspension
2017 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide
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2017 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide
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2017 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide
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The FL family rides on a double-downtube/double-cradle frame made of welded, mild-steel tubing. A large, rectangular cross-section backbone and cast-and-forged junctions on the Road Glide form up a heavy and strong structure.

At the steering head, the angle is set at 26 degrees, but an offset in the tripletree kicks the forks out for an effective rake of 29.25 degrees. This couples with the long 6.8 inches of trail to lend the Road Glide some stability that makes for comfortable, low-stress cruising at speed and rock-solid tracking throughout the speed range.

The 49 mm front forks are non-adjustable, but they use Showa’s Dual Bending Valve technology that delivers event-specific variable damping for a plush ride that far outperforms plain vanilla stems. Emulsion shocks support the rear with a remote handwheel that lets you dial in the spring preload in response to changing cargo/passenger loads for the only adjustment in the suspension.

The 2020 rolls on Enforcer II wheels in a 19-inch and 18-inch diameter, front and rear, but the previous year’s model came with Black Talon wheels and the two years prior to that came in the first generation of Enforcer wheels, both in a 19/16 diameter. This represents the most notable change in hardware across the last four model-years. The brake rotors are 300 mm all around with dual four-piston calipers up front to provide the bulk of the stopping power, and ABS protection is part of the stock equipment package.

Frame: Mild steel; tubular frame; two-piece stamped and welded backbone; cast and forged junctions; twin downtubes; bolt-on rear frame with forged fender supports; MIG welded
Swingarm: Mild steel; two-piece drawn and welded section; forged junctions; MIG welded
Front Forks: 49 mm Dual Bending Valve
Rear Shocks: Premium low hand-adjustable rear suspension
Suspension Travel: Front Wheel: 4.6 in. (117 mm), Rear Wheel: 2.13 in. (54 mm)
Rake: 26°
Trail: 6.8 in.
Lean Angle, Right/Left: 31°/29°
Brakes, Front: Dual 300 mm floating rotors, 32 mm, 4-piston fixed calipers
Brakes, Rear: 300 mm fixed rotor, 32 mm, 4-piston fixed caliper
Anti-Lock Braking System: Standard
Wheels: Enforcer II Cast Aluminum
Wheel, Front: 19 in. x 3.5 in. (483 mm x 89 mm)
Wheel, Rear: 18 in. x 5 in. (457 mm x 127 mm)
Tire, Front: 130/60B19 61H
Tire, Rear: BW 180/55B18 80H

Harley-Davidson Road Glide Drivetrain

  • Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine
  • Stump-pulling torque low in the range
  • Optional Reflex Defensive Rider System (RDRS)
  • Roll-on anywhere in the rev range
2017 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide
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2017 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide
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2017 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide
- image 886383

Harley-Davidson’s newest generation of powerplants is the Milwaukee-Eight, and the 107 cubic-inch version (smallest of the range) powers the Road Glide models from MY17 through MY20. It marks a return to the unicam nosecone design and old-school pushrod geometry that the Twin Cam abandoned.

The air-cooled, 45-degree V-Twin sports four valves per head, which is where the “Eight” component in its name comes from, and there’s an oil cooler up between the downtubes to protect the engine’s lifeblood. Bore and stroke mike out at 100 mm and 111 mm respectively for a total displacement of 1,746 cc and 10-to-1 compression ratio.

Induction control is handled by a single throttle body that plugs into the two-way intake manifold, but the Road Glide rolls without any of the electronic fandanglery we see on some of the more noble models as part of the stock equipment. However, for an extra grand you can add the optional Reflex Defensive Rider System that adds traction control, power modes, and corner-sensitive ABS to the mix.

As for the power, this new mill puts up some impressive numbers with 111 pound-feet of torque on tap at a low 3,250 rpm, and after that grunt washes through the six-speed transmixxer and belt-type final drive it will push this beast to speeds around 105 mph, though individual results may vary.

Engine: Milwaukee-Eight® 107: Pushrod-operated, overhead valves with hydraulic, self-adjusting lifters; four valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 3.937 in. x 4.375 in. (100 mm x 111 mm)
Displacement: 107 cu in (1,746 cc)
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Exhaust: Chrome, 2-1-2 dual exhaust with tapered mufflers
Engine Torque (J1349): 111 ft-lb @ 3,250 rpm
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio
Transmission: 6-speed Cruise Drive®
Gear Ratios (Overall): 1st: 9.593, 2nd: 6.65, 3rd: 4.938, 4th: 4, 5th: 3.407, 6th: 2.875

Harley-Davidson Road Glide Pricing

2017 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide
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2017 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide
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2017 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide
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As always, the MoCo breaks its pricing down along the paint packages. At the bottom of the totem pole for the Road Glide is the Vivid Black model with a $21,699 MSRP. Next up is the “Color” package at $22,199, and at the top of the range is the Custom Color option at $22,899.

Model ID: FLTRX
Standard Equipped: ABS Option, Security System Option, Cruise Control Option
Options: Reflex™ Defensive Rider System (RDRS): $995, Premium Radio Option: $895
Warranty: 24 months (unlimited mileage)
Colors: Vivid Black, Barracuda Silver, River Rock Gray Denim, Spruce, Stiletto Red, Tahitian Teal
Price: Vivid Black: $21,699, Color: $22,199, Custom Color: $22,899

Harley-Davidson Road Glide Competitors

2020 Indian Challenger
- image 868875
2017 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide
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The obvious competitor for this fixed-fairing H-D bagger is [Indian’s=>rub662] Challenger, and whether you love it or hate it, it’s the best bike for this head-to-head.

Indian Challenger

2020 Indian Challenger
- image 868878

There seems to be a lot of butthurt going around about how much the Challenger looks like the Road Glide, and while they are similar, I don’t find them overly so. The fixed front fairing has a different shape and relies on a single headlight to split the night, and to Indian’s credit, the turn signals are incorporated with the fairing rather than looking like an afterthought.

Indian draws on its deep roots for the war bonnet fender ornament up front, but immediately swings into contemporary equipment with an inverted front fork. Unfortunately, the Challenger mill is water cooled so it has a radiator assembly that is impossible to miss, and that hurts the aesthetics somewhat in my humble opinion.

Indian’s infotainment system matches H-D tit-for-tat to break even there, but the stock Challenger rocks a trio of rider modes to get a leg up on Harley. Power comes from the all-new PowerPlus V-twin that mikes out at 108 cubic-inches and puts out 128 pound-feet of torque against H-D’s 111 pounds o’ grunt for a difference that’ll certainly register on the old heinie-dyno.

The stickers are also very similar as the Challenger rolls for $21,999 to land in the middle of the Road Glide’s range, which means at the end of the day, brand loyalty or the lackthereof, will be the deciding metric for many prospective buyers.

Read our full review of the Indian Challenger.

He Said

“As loathe as I am to be shallow, I just do not like the look of the sharknose. I’m not opposed to fixed fairings – my old FXRP had one as well – but these things are just plain ugly as a mud fence. That goes for the Challenger, too. That said, the bike brings all the usual features to the table and is really a blank canvas for would-be customizers out there, plus it has great utility as a casual tourer or serious commuter/grocery-getter with its stock equipment.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The Road Glide fairing was redesigned in 2015, and while I’m still not a fan of how it looks, I’ll readily admit that while you’re riding on it, you’re not looking at it. It’s been wind-tunnel tuned, and the vent goes a long way to reduce that wearisome head buffeting you got with the old style fairing. If you rode a Road Glide in the past and weren’t impressed, try it again. It’s a much nicer ride than it used to be.

Harley-Davidson Road Glide Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Milwaukee-Eight® 107: Pushrod-operated, overhead valves with hydraulic, self-adjusting lifters; four valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 3.937 in. x 4.375 in. (100 mm x 111 mm)
Displacement: 107 cu in (1,746 cc)
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Exhaust: Chrome, 2-1-2 dual exhaust with tapered mufflers
Engine Torque (J1349): 111 ft-lb @ 3,250 rpm
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio
Transmission: 6-speed Cruise Drive®
Gear Ratios (Overall): 1st: 9.593, 2nd: 6.65, 3rd: 4.938, 4th: 4, 5th: 3.407, 6th: 2.875
Chassis:
Frame: Mild steel; tubular frame; two-piece stamped and welded backbone; cast and forged junctions; twin downtubes; bolt-on rear frame with forged fender supports; MIG welded
Swingarm: Mild steel; two-piece drawn and welded section; forged junctions; MIG welded
Front Forks: 49 mm Dual Bending Valve
Rear Shocks: Premium low hand-adjustable rear suspension
Suspension Travel: Front Wheel: 4.6 in. (117 mm), Rear Wheel: 2.13 in. (54 mm)
Rake: 26°
Trail: 6.8 in.
Lean Angle, Right/Left: 31°/29°
Brakes, Front: Dual 300 mm floating rotors, 32 mm, 4-piston fixed calipers
Brakes, Rear: 300 mm fixed rotor, 32 mm, 4-piston fixed caliper
Anti-Lock Braking System: Standard
Wheels: Enforcer II Cast Aluminum
Wheel, Front: 19 in. x 3.5 in. (483 mm x 89 mm)
Wheel, Rear: 18 in. x 5 in. (457 mm x 127 mm)
Tire, Front: 130/60B19 61H
Tire, Rear: BW 180/55B18 80H
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length: 95.7 in.
Seat Height, Laden: 25.9 in.
Ground Clearance: 5.5 in.
Wheelbase: 64 in.
Fuel Capacity: 6 gal.
Fuel Economy: 45 mpg
Oil Capacity (w/Filter): 5.2 qt.
Dry Weight: 820 lb.
Curb Weight: 855 lb.
Luggage Capacity: 2.3 cu ft
Electric:
Battery (per Battery Council International Rating): Sealed, maintenance-free, 12V, 28-amp/hour, 405 cca
Charging: Three-phase, 48-amp system (600W @ 13V, 2000 rpm, 625W max power @ 13V)
Starting: 1.6 kW electric with solenoid shift starter motor engagement
Lights (as per country regulation), Indicator Lamps: High beam, running lights, directional lights, low oil pressure, neutral, engine diagnostics, battery, cruise control, speakers, accessory, security system, gear indication, low fuel warning, ABS, miles to empty display, fog/aux lamp indicator
Gauges: Gauges styled to complement each vehicle. Display features odometer, trip A, trip B, range to empty and gear indicator; and larger tell-tale indicators.
Electric Power Outlet: Electric power accessory port in fairing
Infotainment:
Infotainment System: Boom!™ Box 4.3
Type: Color
Watts Per Channel: 25
Speakers: 2
Speaker Size: 5.25 inch standard
Headset Specifications (If Equipped): 16-64 ohms
AM/FM/Weather Band (WB): Standard
Sd Card, Flash Drive and MP3 - via USB Connection: Supported
Siriusxm Presets: 20 - P&A Upgrade for Boom! Box GTS (USA & Canada only)
Languages: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, Portuguese (Portugal/Brazil), Russian, Czech, Polish, Dutch, Turkish, Japanese
Hands-Free Mobile Phone - Via Bluetooth: Standard
Voice Recognition Languages: Phone Functions Only: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, Portuguese (Portugal/Brazil), Russian, Czech, Polish, Dutch, Turkish, Japanese
Voice Recognition Languages: Tuner/Media/Navigation: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, Portuguese (Portugal/Brazil), Russian, Czech, Polish, Dutch, Turkish, Japanese
Text-To-Speech (TTS) Languages: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, Portuguese (Portugal/Brazil), Russian, Czech, Polish, Dutch, Turkish, Japanese
Vehicle Information Screen (Air Temperature, Oil Pressure And EITMS): Standard
USB: USB/MTP/iPod/iPhone
Bluetooth: Phone/Media Supported
Details:
Model ID: FLTRX
Standard Equipped: ABS Option, Security System Option, Cruise Control Option
Options: Reflex™ Defensive Rider System (RDRS): $995, Premium Radio Option: $895
Warranty: 24 months (unlimited mileage)
Colors: Vivid Black, Barracuda Silver, River Rock Gray Denim, Spruce, Stiletto Red, Tahitian Teal
Price: Vivid Black: $21,699, Color: $22,199, Custom Color: $22,899

Further Reading

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TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read More
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All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: harley-davidson.com, indianmotorcycles.com

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