THE ELECTRA GLIDE…ONE OF MY FAVORITE BIKES — Back in 2004, I bought a brand new Electra Glide Classic from San Diego Harley-Davidson. Me and “the Glide” as I named it, have explored a lot of North America over the years. No problem rain or shine, wind or hail, hot or cold…My experienced conclusion, the Electra Glide model is one heck of a reliable workhorse touring machine.
Forward to 2017, Christmas Week, in the dead of winter in San Diego, California. My brother, Roch Beaulieu, the other half of the Beaulieu Brothers Ride Team, and I picked up an Electra Glide Ultra from Eagle Rider Motorcycle Rentals located at San Diego Harley-Davidson. We purchased the “other rider” insurance option from Eagle Rider so that we could both ride this Ultra throughout San Diego county for several days.
Riding conditions: 75 degrees Fahrenheit, sunny blue skies, little to no wind, curvy back country roads and miles on SoCal’s famous freeways. Darn near perfect riding conditions.
Here are our riding observations.
The Milwaukee Eight Engine – 107ci of power pleasure.
There’s a lot of power out of this 1754cc motor. It’s perfect for two-up riding no matter the highway terrain and it’s a really cool-running/heat managing motor. Throttle response is crisp and acceleration is quick. No problem passing or getting out of traffic trouble with this powerplant.
The 6-speed transmission is smooth and easy. And, unlike many other brands, you can actually find Neutral with just a minor flick of the big toe.
I wrote about the new Milwaukee Eight motor when it first came to the market in late 2016…click here for a quick review of that post. I was very impressed with the motor then and continue to consider it one of the best V-Twin engines on the market today.
Handling, Control and Comfort
Suspension on the 2017 Ultra is tight and solid making the handling of this 894 pound bagger relatively easy for the experienced rider. As noted earlier, there’s a lot of passing power. The front and rear suspension is very responsive. Braking from the ABS Brembo brakes offers superior stopping control.
The two-up seat has a deep bucket and narrow neck saddle to provide rider back support and a wide passenger area with back and armrests for comfort on longer rides. We did note that the seating position and leg room was comfortable for six footers like us but found the rider’s saddle a little too deep and ball-crunching-tight-fitting for our big biker butts.
The Batwing fairing and fairing leg protectors offered excellent protection from wind and flying road grit. The lower fairings are vented which provided us with welcomed cooling during our sunny rides.
The TourPak offers plenty of cargo space. In fact, cargo capacity is one of the largest available on any Tourer at 4.7 cubic feet (133.1 liters, 35.2 U.S. gallons). You can easily fit two full-face helmets, chaps, jackets and more in the trunk and saddlebags. This is a big deal for long-distance adventure road warriors like my brother and me. The new Honda Goldwing for example, offers only 110.0 liters of cargo space (29.1 U.S. gallons, 3.9 cubic feet) according to press reports.
Dashboard View and Usability
We’ve always liked the clean, easy-to-see dashboard design of Harley-Davidson’s Batwing fairing with one exception…the standard 4.3 inch touchscreen.
There’s an optional 6.5 inch touchscreen available and we recommend you request this option in order to more easily view all the excellent screen features. The infotainment system, BOOM Box included, is impressive in its overall offering but we both found the standard touchscreen just a tad too small.
The Harley-Davidson Ultra —it’s a Classic alright.
I’ve been riding and owning Harley’s since the mid 1980s. Yes, a lot of competition has come and gone over the years and yes, they are expensive out the dealership door given all the many riding options and financial challenges/responsibilities facing riders today. However, there’s never been a better built, better handling and more powerful Harley-Davidson ride out there. You can even get a 114ci or 117ci if you so desire. Click on the image below for more information.
The Bottom Line
The Electra Glide Ultra is your classic Harley-Davidson touring motorcycle…lots of power, great handling and beautiful looks fender to fender. At MSRP $24,249 for the new 2018 model, it offers one of the best overall price-out-the-door to ride experience values on the market.
The Ultra is appropriately named…it is an ultra comfortable, fully-loaded Tourer. One of the best handling big bikes on the road today and perfect for racking up the miles. Make sure you ride one soon.
Ride Safe Out There,
EagleRider Motorcycle Rentals is the world’s largest motorcycle rental company renting an estimated 100,000 motorcycles per year. The company has rental offices in 68 cities around the world. EagleRider formed a new partnership with Harley-Davidson Motorcycles in 2017. The new arrangement prioritizes the rental of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and offers rental pickup and drop-off points at some of Harley’s 700+ dealerships.
Consider joining Club EagleRider to access special riding deals and other membership advantages. Note that Motorcycle Marc’s Blog has an affiliated relationship with EagleRider where commission may be paid on motorcycle rentals.
About Harley-Davidson in San Diego, California
SDHD began operations in 1915. New York Myke Shelby bought the dealership in 1993 and over the years, turned it into one of the top rider destinations in southern California. Today, Ty Miller & and NY Myke’s daughter, Jen Milller, run the place keeping customers at the forefront of everything they do. Under their leadership, SDHD has become one of the biggest, baddest and best Harley-Davidson dealerships in the world.
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