ROADTESTS, I LOVE ‘EM!
We motorcycle riders live in a great time…There’s an affordability price point for everyone. There’s a riding style design for every 2-wheeler and 3-wheeler out there. The marketplace is flush with pre-owned bikes and the new bikes are technologically outstanding. Choices have never been better. Yes, it’s a wonderful time to be a motorcycle enthusiast/biker.
My latest adventure put me on a new 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special. What a great way to end another spectacular year on 2-wheels.
Imagine if you will…
…riding a new Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special with a brand new 45-degree V-Twin engine from the Motor Company. The first new engine design since the world famous Twin Cam motor of 1999.
The Milwaukee Eight is the most powerful Harley-Davidson engine ever put out by the craftsmen and craftswomen at the factory. The 107ci Milwaukee Eight motor is one impressive engine as you will see in this post.
P.S. There’s also a 114ci version (1,870cc) but that’s for a CVO model blog post in the future.
First things first…let’s talk big new motor.
The Milwaukee Eight is a totally new motor from Harley-Davidson. Here are my observations.
Faster Throttle Response. Faster and super smooth. Quick to the touch with crisp throttle action. Very impressive rev ranges too.
Cooler-running engine. In fact, engine coolness operation exceeded my expectations. Significantly less heat transmitted from the heads and exhaust components. Excellent heat management away from the rider.
More power. 92.5 hp out of the factory! More torque at 111 ft.pd…10% more torque than the Twin Cam 103 and 110. Displacement is serious at 1,750cc. Lots of power…can easily handle two-up riding.
Better sound. You’ll notice less mechanical noise from the internal components of this new motor and a much crisper, richer exhaust note out of the pipes.
More speed. Harley-Davidson engineers claim 3-bike lengths faster from 0-60, 2-bike lengths quicker in top gear 60-80 mph. I was very impressed by the acceleration and speed of this bagger.
Easy Gear Shiftin’. Smooth gearing, easy shifter feel…And, easy to get into Neutral.
Rubber mounted & counter balanced. Engine vibration is minimal on the Milwaukee Eight but there’s enough to keep the “Harley feel” of vibration alive.
Harley-Davidson uses a single counter-rotating internal balancer that literally cancels 75% of the engine’s primary shake. The genius of HD manufacturing here is that the “Harley shakin'” while subdued, can still be felt…love this!
RPM at idle. This was one of the first things I noticed when I picked up the Street Glide. Idle rpm has been cut from the normal/regular 1000 rpm down to 850 rpm. Makes for less heat at idle.
“Overall Feel”. In summary, this is a powerhouse motor. The Milwaukee Eight provides faster throttle response, more torque, better sound, runs cooler and it is smooth…really, really smooth.
Chassis, Suspension and Braking Observations
If ever there was a world-class feel to a motorcycle ride, the 2017 Street Glide Special offers it.
Front and rear suspension are all new. Control is felt directly throughout your body no matter the acceleration, speed or road condition. Ride is considered “sporty bagger plush” in my opinion.
Harley-Davidson uses dual bending valve fork technology in the new 49mm forks on this Street Glide. Fork travel is 4.6 inches so there’s plenty of room for the unanticipated pot hole.
The front suspension is by Showa. The rear suspension features dual shock absorbers with 15% to 30% more pre-load adjustment than on prior Street Glide models. Shocks are hydraulically adjustable with a single knob – no tools necessary.
Superb Brakes. Harley-Davidson teamed up with Brembo Brakes to bring to life a superb, stopping response experience.
These high-end brakes work excellently in corners and work to help you stop quicker whenever you want to.
The braking system on the Street Glide Special is the best I’ve felt to date from Harley-Davidson. The Brembo calipers, stainless steel discs and braking components are world class. The braking with ABS, is responsive and just plain tight.
Overall, the new chassis, suspension design and brakes means better control at low speeds and a better highway grip sensation at higher speeds. Quite the impressive riding technology combination I must say. Very good rider control and very comfortable.
Honorable Mention…the InfoSystem…GPS & Boom Box
For those of you that like to listen to music while riding or to follow GPS directions when out on the road, you are gonna like this “Boom Box” infosystem. We are talking big, full color touch screen navigation that is easy to use…big ass speakers for big sound and switches/controls that are located where you intuitively expect them to be.
The music sound system is impressive. In fact, it’s better sounding than my home theater system. The Boom Box Owner’s Manual is a must read however in order to learn how to work it all to your liking.
My bottom line…
Run to your nearest Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Dealer to schedule a test ride. The Street Glide Special is an awesome, hot-rod looking, sporty bagger that handles really well. It’s got massive torque and more power than you expect. If you live in SoCal, visit San Diego Harley-Davidson…they’ll take good care of you.
Ride Safe Out There.
About Harley-Davidson Motor Company – Since 1903, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company has fulfilled dreams of personal freedom with cruiser, touring and custom motorcycles, riding experiences, biker events and everything in between. For more information, visit www.h-d.com.
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.
About Motorcycle Marc – I’m a just a motoblogger, some say a motorcycle industry influencer. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, dedicated following of gearheads, motorheads, biker-wannabes and 2-wheeled adventurers who love motorcycles and everything motorcycle-related. Welcome to my world – Marc J. Beaulieu (MJB)
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