Touring With Less Vibration And More Power

Harley-Davidson showed the Softail lineup a lot of love this year (and the Dyna family none at all), but its increasingly popular Street Glide expanded its family tree to include the custom blackout Street Glide Special, which sees quite a few updates for 2018, and the 115th Anniversary Edition that pays homage to its long history. The Milwaukee-Eight powerplant makes its sophomore appearance in the touring lineup with 111 pound-feet o’ grunt and vibrations that are easy on both ear and rear. New body details, features and paint schemes abound across the board as Harley focuses on refining its fork-mount fairing baggers as part of its new market strategy. So without further ado, let’s jump right on in and get to it, shall we?

Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Street Glide stable.

Design

2018 Harley-Davidson Street Glide / Street Glide Special
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The sleek Batwing fairing that leaves the bottom of the cyclops headlight exposed like a cheek peeking from under the bottom of a pair of hotpants.

Baggers have been a popular style ever since someone pulled the Tour-Pak off his or her FLHT, chopped down the windshield and grabbed the black paint. The Street Glide fits the boulevard-bruiser mold perfectly with Harley’s sleek Batwing fairing that leaves the bottom of the cyclops headlight exposed like a cheek peeking from under the bottom of a pair of hotpants. Below, the front fender carries the full length coverage needed to control the fling, but the sides are cut back to leave a fairly unimpeded view of the various fancy rims we see throughout the range.

In between, classic beer-can fork shrouds protect the swept area of the fork tubes while lending the front end that beefy look long associated with H-D’s big-frame front forks. Atop the fairing, a cut-down and smoked windshield defines the high point of the upper lines that are kept clean by the inner-fairing mounted mirrors. Moving aft along the six-gallon fuel tank, a chrome console and fuel door conceals the filler cap, but also serves to focus any overhead light into laserbeams to sneak under your shades and lance you in the eyes. I’ve never been a fan of the weaponized chrome, and this instance is no exception.

A deep scoop rider seat puts your butt close to the ground with a 26.1-inch seat height before it rises to the pillion pad. The requisite hard bags add 2.3 cubic-feet of storage to the base model and 115th Anniversary variant, but part of the charm with the Special lies with the new-for-2018 stretched bags that add another 0.2 cubic-feet of storage with a subtle, but cool, dip in the lower lines that give them a definite custom panache. Floorboards and engine guards finish out the look, and while the base Glide and its Anniversary model comes with the usual amount of chrome, both Special variants are pure-D blackout just about everywhere that isn’t covered by the chromatic paint package. All-in-all, the same low, wide and slightly menacing look we’ve come to expect from H-D’s baggers.

Chassis

2018 Harley-Davidson Street Glide / Street Glide Special
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Steering geometry comes set for effortless straightline tracking at speed with a 26-degree rake and 6.7 inches of trail with the obvious trade off of cornering agility.

The good-old, tough-as-balls, welded frame is made up of mild-steel tubing that forms the classic, double-downtube/double-cradle FLH/T framework. Steering geometry comes set for effortless straightline tracking at speed with a 26-degree rake and 6.7 inches of trail with the obvious trade off of cornering agility. Meh, whatever. Not all bikes are meant to be carvers after all, and there’s a lot to be said for easy highway cruising.

You can dial in the preload at the rear shocks with the convenient handwheel to adjust for changing loads, but the front forks take care of themselves, including on this year’s SG Special, with Showa’s Dual Bending Valve technology that delivers a plusher ride than one would normally expect from non-adjustable forks.

The base Glide rolls on the cast-aluminum Enforcer rims with a 19-inch hoop up front and an 18-inch out back, but all other models in the range drop down to a 16-inch rim in back for a nice contrast that enhances the custom appeal and creates the illusion of an oversized front wheel, though it may be a discrepancy since the specs gave conflicting information and I didn’t measure it.

Brembo anchors bite dual front discs with Harley’s Reflex Linked-Brake system that electronically shares braking effort between the front- and rear-end calipers for balanced braking effort and a bit of extra stability. ABS comes standard on the Special and Anniversary Special, and can be had on the other two as a factory option as well.

Model:Street GlideStreet Glide Special
Wheels, Front Type: Enforcer Cast Aluminum Black, Talon Cast Aluminum
Wheels, Rear Type: Enforcer Cast Aluminum Black, Talon Cast Aluminum
Brakes, Caliper Type: 32 mm, 4-piston fixed front and rear 32 mm, 4-piston fixed front and rear

Drivetrain

2018 Harley-Davidson Street Glide / Street Glide Special
- image 731488
Harley tamed the vibration a bit, maybe a bit too much according to some, but don't let that fool you 'cause it's still going to pull harder than any factory H-D you've ridden before.

The Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine serves as the beating heart for the entire range. Unlike some of the other touring models, the Mil-8 114 and high-output 117 aren’t offered for this family (yet), but the 1,746 cc version is plenty big enough with enough power to place it firmly in the power-tourer bracket. At just 3,250 rpm, the Mil-8 churns out a solid 111 pound-feet of torque to get its 829-pound bulk moving, and in spite of that great mass the Street Glides enjoy a stronger fifth- and sixth-gear roll-ons than anything that came before.

The slightly undersquare layout runs a 100 mm bore with a 111.1 mm stroke with a relatively mild 10-to-1 compression ratio in the classic, 45-degree V-Twin configuration has retains all the hallmarks of the breed; air-cooling, external-pushrod valve actuation and a modernized version of the old ham-can air cleaner. Harley tamed the vibration a bit, maybe a bit too much according to some, but don’t let that fool you ’cause it’s still going to pull harder than any factory H-D you’ve ridden before. There is no traction control or any other electronic engine controls to be had (and I’m OK with that), but the factory has embraced the slipper-clutch technology and chucked one in between the mill and the six-speed transmission with a quiet and low-maintenance belt drive to make the final connection.

Model:Street GlideStreet Glide Special
Engine: Milwaukee-Eight® 107 Milwaukee-Eight® 107
Displacement: 107 cu in 107 cu in
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1 10.0:1
Engine Torque: 111 ft-lb 111 ft-lb
Engine Torque (rpm): 3,250 3,250
Exhaust: Chrome, 2-1-2 dual exhaust with tapered mufflers Black, 2-1-2 dual exhaust with tapered mufflers

Pricing

2018 Harley-Davidson Street Glide / Street Glide Special
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Planted firmly in the"Premium" price range, the Street Glide stable runs from $20,999 to $28,999 before hitting the accessories catalog.

Harley, as always, bases its prices on the desired color package. The base Street Glide and Special are both available in Vivid Black at $20,999 and $25,999, respectively. Another five Benjamins will buy you a choice from the color palette, while the Hard Candy Custom packages will run you $23,999 and $28,999, respectively. The 115th Anniversary trim package somewhere in the middle at $22,799 for the base Glide and $26,999 on the Special.

Model:Street GlideStreet Glide Special
Color Options: Vivid Black, Black Tempest, Industrial Gray Denim, Wicked Red, Electric Blue, Silver Fortune, HC Shattered Flake, HC Chameleon Flake; Anniversary: Legend Blue/Vivid Black Vivid Black, Twisted Cherry, Bonneville Salt Denim, HC Hot Rod Red Flake; Anniversary: Legend Blue Denim
Price: Vivid Black: $20,999, Color: 21,499, Hard Candy Custom: $23,999, Anniversary Two-tone:$21,999 Vivid Black: $25,999, Color: 26,499, Hard Candy Custom: $28,999, Anniversary Two-tone:$26,999

Competitors

2015 - 2018 Indian Chieftain / Chieftain Dark Horse
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2018 Harley-Davidson Street Glide / Street Glide Special
- image 731511
A solo saddle leaves the Dark Horse looking clean and tough which is cool and all, but since most of us take on a passenger sooner or later, that cool-looking seat is liable to get replaced sooner rather than later.

Baggers have an attitude all their own, and nothing drives that home quite like the blackout treatment on the Street Glide Special. With that in mind, I decided the Chieftain Dark Horse from Indian Motorcycle matches Harley’s mood quite nicely, and since it’s the only bona fide home-grown competitor available, here we go.

Indian hit the nail on the head here with all the right details in all the right places. The front fender, fairing and windshield cut a similar figure though Indian’s fairing has more of a dome shape than Harley’s Batwing, but at least it left that ugly chrome panel on the shelf. The Dark Horse sports a solo saddle behind the fuel tank, and bless them guys and gals in the design department, they left the chrome alone and used a blackout console that is sure to spare your eyes from the sunlight that comes back up at you. A solo saddle leaves the Dark Horse looking clean and tough which is cool and all, but since most of us take on a passenger sooner or later. that cool-looking seat is liable to get replaced sooner rather than later.

Neither get very sophisticated with the suspension. Indians 46 mm front forks are plain vanilla against Harley’s DBV stems, but the air-adjustable rear shock delivers a ride as soft or firm as you like. Indian doesn’t mess around with the brakes, and it sends the Chieftain out loaded for bear with all-around, 300 mm discs and dual, four-pot calipers up front, but it lacks ABS even as an option. Not a huge deal, but there it is. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether it’s a deal breaker, ’cause me personally, I couldn’t care less about ABS on my ride.

The 1,811 cc Indian Thunder Stroke 111 outpunches the Mil-8 engine with a total of 119 pound-feet of torque at a low 3,000 rpm against Harley’s 111 pounds o’ twist for a razor-thin advantage in the powerplant even if it isn’t likely to register on any but the most sensitive heinie-dyno. Air-cooled V-twins rule the day in this sector, and both mills fit the bill nicely with Indian going the extra mile by giving its engine design cues meant to bring to mind the old side-valve motors from back in the day. Nostalgia sells.

Indian also matches Harley in the Infotainment department, so you can take that off the table as an excuse to go straight for the Milwaukee iron. Indian sneaks in a minor win at the checkout with a $23,999 base MSRP on its Thunder Black Smoke Chieftain DH versus the $25,999 tag on the Vivid Black Street Glide Special.

He Said

"Gotta say, I’m digging the 2018 lineup and this bagger is definitely one of my favorites. I also like that it comes with a two-up seat instead of a solo like the DH, and the stretched bags are a nice touch too. Although the touring lineup didn’t get as heavily modified as the Softails this year, I’m definitely feeling what H-D is trying to do over there. The real question is; how will the market receive it? We’ll see.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "Anyone who’s ever ridden a Harley in the past should get out and test ride one with the Milwaukee-Eight engine. It’s just day-and-night in comparison. I know the Street Glide had the Mil-8 last year, but it bears mentioning again. The Street Glide Special got some goodies this year and has all that lovely black-out loveliness, but it seems a bit pricey at a $5-grand spread from the base model.

Specifications

Model:Street GlideStreet Glide Special
Engine:
Engine: Milwaukee-Eight® 107 Milwaukee-Eight® 107
Bore: 3.937 in. 3.937 in.
Stroke: 4.375 in. 4.375 in.
Displacement: 107 cu in 107 cu in
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1 10.0:1
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Exhaust: Chrome, 2-1-2 dual exhaust with tapered mufflers Black, 2-1-2 dual exhaust with tapered mufflers
Dimensions :
Length: 96.5 in. 96.5 in.
Seat Height, Laden: 26.1 in. 26.1 in.
Seat Height, Unladen: 27.4 in. 27.2 in.
Ground Clearance: 5.3 in. 4.9 in.
Rake (steering head) (deg): 26 26
Trail: 6.7 in. 6.8 in.
Wheelbase: 64 in. 64 in.
Tires, Front Specification: 130/60B19 61H 130/60B19 61H
Tires, Rear Specification: BW 180/55B18 81H BW 180/65B16 81H
Fuel Capacity: 6 gal. 6 gal.
Oil Capacity (w/filter): 5.2 qt. 5.2 qt.
Weight, As Shipped: 796 lb. 798 lb.
Weight, In Running Order: 829 lb. 836 lb.
Luggage Capacity -Volume: 2.3 cu ft 2.5 cu ft
Performance:
Engine Torque Testing Method: J1349 J1349
Engine Torque: 111 ft-lb 111 ft-lb
Engine Torque (rpm): 3,250 3,250
Lean Angle, Right (deg.): 31 32
Lean Angle, Left (deg.): 29 31
Fuel Economy: Estimated City/Hwy: 45 mpg 45 mpg
Drivetrain:
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio Chain, 34/46 ratio
Gear Ratios (overall) 1st : 9.593 9.593
Gear Ratios (overall) 2nd: 6.65 6.65
Gear Ratios (overall) 3rd: 4.938 4.938
Gear Ratios (overall) 4th: 4 4
Gear Ratios (overall) 5th: 3.407 3.407
Gear Ratios (overall) 6th: 2.875 2.875
Chassis :
Wheels, Front Type: Enforcer Cast Aluminum Black, Talon Cast Aluminum
Wheels, Rear Type: Enforcer Cast Aluminum Black, Talon Cast Aluminum
Brakes, Caliper Type: 32 mm, 4-piston fixed front and rear 32 mm, 4-piston fixed front and rear
Electric :
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 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. Gauges styled to complement each vehicle. Display features odometer, trip A, trip B, range to empty and gear indicator; and larger tell-tale indicators.
INFOTAINMENT :
Infotainment system: Boom!™ Box 4.3 - standard / Boom!™ Box 6.5GT - optional Boom!™ Box 6.5
Type: Color Color
Watts Per Channel: 25 25
Speakers: 2 2
Speaker Size: 5.25 inch standard 6.5 inch standard
Headset Specifications (if equipped): 16-64 ohms 16-64 ohms
AM/FM: Standard Standard
Weather Band (WB): Standard Standard
SD Card, Flash Drive and MP3 - via USB Connection: Supported Supported
SiriusXM Presets: 20 - P&A Upgrade (USA & Canada only) 20 - P&A Upgrade (USA & Canada only)
Lauguages: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese
Hands-free Mobile Phone - via Bluetooth: Standard Standard
Voice Recognition Languages: Phone functions only: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese 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 English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese
Rider/Passenger Intercom: Standard Standard
Vehicle Information Screen (Air temperature, oil pressure and EITMS): Standard Standard
Text-to-Speech (TTS) Languages: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese
USB: USB/MTP/iPod/iPhone USB/MTP/iPod/iPhone
Bluetooth: Phone/Media Supported Phone/Media Supported
Color Options: Vivid Black, Black Tempest, Industrial Gray Denim, Wicked Red, Electric Blue, Silver Fortune, HC Shattered Flake, HC Chameleon Flake; Anniversary: Legend Blue/Vivid Black Vivid Black, Twisted Cherry, Bonneville Salt Denim, HC Hot Rod Red Flake; Anniversary: Legend Blue Denim
Price: Vivid Black: $20,999, Color: 21,499, Hard Candy Custom: $23,999, Anniversary Two-tone:$21,999 Vivid Black: $25,999, Color: 26,499, Hard Candy Custom: $28,999, Anniversary Two-tone:$26,999

References

2015 - 2018 Indian Chieftain / Chieftain Dark Horse
- image 731483

See our review of the Indian Chieftain Dark Horse.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: harley-davidson.com, indianmotorcycle.com

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