Harley’s Project Rushmore
Customer feedback is nothing new, and motorcycle manufacturers have always asked for feedback and comments, but never has the fruits of such feedback been so apparent, until now. Introducing Project Rushmore from Harley-Davidson. The factory talked to thousand of riders the world over, asking what kind of improvements, gadgets and gizmos they would like to see. Then, they took the unusual step of actually engineering and incorporating the best of these ideas into production bikes. The results are remarkable! Project Rushmore innovations make the bikes easier to manage, more comfortable and safer to ride, and more in-tune with today’s entertainment and electronics options. New features, technologies and styling are all part of the Project, and thanks to the ideas – and wish lists – of Harley riders around the world, we can all benefit from their imaginations. Perhaps if Harley had asked me, we would finally have a bike that runs off tap water and folds down into a briefcase at a touch of a button a la George Jetson, but alas, we will have to make do with the following for the time being at least.
Continue reading to learn more.
Control and Safety
Most riders will agree that visibility is synonymous with safety, and few things can equal LED lights in the visibility department. Like a fistful of red lasers, the light shining from your marker lights will grab the attention of even the most oblivious cage-driver, and the 2,136-lumen Daymaker LED headlights punch a 450-foo- deep hole in the darkest night. Dual halogen passing lamps – or pimp lights, for the old school riders – add another 986 lumens to the equation. The 3,000-plus lumen total should definitely make your bike qualify as a source of light pollution all by itself.
Emergency braking situations can create problems of their own. Remembering how much pressure to use on the hand lever and foot pedal while under duress can lead to mistakes with immediate and expensive consequences. The Reflex Linked Brakes with ABS system mitigate these problems by linking the front and rear brakes via electronics to provide optimal braking power and distribution in any conditions. Gone are the days of panic braking, locking up the rear tire and going down for a slide.
Liquid-cooling is one thing, but “partial” liquid cooling with the radiators hidden behind the lower-leg fairings is something else entirely. Harley makes this jump on its Twin Cooled High Output Twin Cam 103 and 110 engines, which circulate coolant through the head around the exhaust valve area to draw off the heat, while leaving the rest of the engine to cool through the cooling fins. Harley bumped compression up to 11:1 with a concurrent increase in power and efficiency, and all without a great big honkin’ radiator out front.
Storage and Convenience
H-D redesigned the Tour-Pak and saddlebags with sleeker lines, while somehow increasing the storage capacity within. Additionally, the reworked latches allow you to open your storage spaces — and the fuel door — with one touch from a gloved hand. No more will you have to shed gear or stage cargo on the ground to wrestle with the lid catches.
As always, Harley espouses the “form follows function” philosophy, but don’t take that to mean that it neglected form with the Rushmore innovations. Sleeker lines help to slim the bike down, and the cut-down front fender and open brake rotors expose more of the sharp-looking front wheel.
The redesigned batwing front fairing with the new Splitstream feature offers greater protection from the wind while reducing the head buffeting commonly associated with fairings and windshields. Harley gives the passenger a deeper, wider and more sumptuous pocket designed with ergonomics firmly in mind. The factory didn’t stop there in the comfort department, but spent many happy hours in the wind tunnel developing the Triple Vent System Jacket, designed to capture and circulate the air where it matters most, which is where the wind actually hits you.
H-D introduces the new Boom! Box 6.5GT radio on their Rushmore bikes. Boasting integrated satellite radio and a USB Jukebox, you can pipe your favorite tunes through the bike’s sound system for all to enjoy.
You can control your music, and other electronic devices, using the 6.5-inch touchscreen system mounted in the inner fairing. As if that wasn’t enough, you can also use the newly redesigned handlebar controls or even the voice-recognition feature to control the aforementioned devices, all without removing your hands from where you need them most. My favorite feature here is a toss-up between the GPS function on the touchscreen — as there have been times I would have traded a body part for a map — or the low-fuel alarm. No explanation needed there!
2015 Models With Project Rushmore Innovations (most are standard, some are available options)
- Street Glide
- Street Glide Special
- Ultra Limited
- Tri Glide Ultra
- Electra Glide Ultra Classic
- CVO Limited
- Road King
I’d like to see other bike manufacturers doing what Harley has done here: a very proactive approach to customer satisfaction, instead of just lip service. Maybe when they see how successful the Rushmore Project has been for HD and its customers, they will.