Street Glide ™
by Kirk Johnson
as tested $18,999
About the Street Glide™
Street Glide ™ Specs
Mounted 96 cu. or 1584cc HD Motor
ft. lbs. @ 3,500 rpm*
sequential Port Fuel Injection
New Carbon Fiber Belt
Rear 180/70B16 77H
|*They never quote HP. I
find the *92.6 ft. lbs a stretch. That reading is more
than likely at the crankshaft. If you put these bikes
on a Dyno – you will not see any numbers like these
at the rear wheel. The numbers are from the Harley-Davidson
At first glance, the all new Street Glide and
all motorcycles in the touring lineup, appears very similar to
the 2008 models, but the changes lurking beneath the surface
are massive. The frame and swingarm have been completely redesigned
to make them much stiffer and stronger. These bikes can now support
much higher passenger and luggage loads. The way the engine is
mounted in the new touring chassis has also been revised slightly
to reduce vibration at idle.
Except for the Road King Classic, which continues to feature
a 16 inch front wheel (that permits the wide white sidewall),
all sport the new 17 inch front wheels for 2009 with lower profile
rubber. The rear wheel on these models is now much wider to accept
a 180/65-16 tire. The wider rear tire not only adds visual impact,
it contributes to the handling improvement brought about by the
stiffer frame and swingarm. Suspension has been re-tuned to work
with the new chassis, wheels and tires.
The exhaust, a new 2-1-2 exhaust system with a one-piece front
exhaust shield, has been re-routed to reduce heat exposure to
both the rider and passenger, and all the bikes receive a lower
final drive ratio to improve acceleration.
The rear end of the touring bikes was slightly redesigned to
accommodate the much wider rear wheel and tire. While designing
a wider rear fender, Harley decided to clean up the look by eliminating
the rear "hoop" visible on models not equipped with
The fly-by-wire throttle and isolated drive system from last
year were included as standard equipment; the optional ABS brakes
were not included on this motorcycle.
One thing that sets the Street Glide™ apart from the rest of the Touring
models is the short smoked windshield on the fork mounted Batwing fairing. This
is a great way to protect you from the wind and provide the engine, fuel, speed
and tach information at a glance while not obstruction your view. Included in
this cluster is also an am-fm stereo and cruise control. What more could you
The street Glide has always been one of my favorite rides from the Harley line.
Now it just got better. I rode two other Harleys today and as I now climb on
the Street Glide; I could not get over how nimble it felt as I put the parking
lot in the mirror. I try to be objective when test riding motorcycles, sometimes
the relationship is blurred when your base line evaluation is disturbed. Having
just ridden the Rocker, with the extended forks and a wheel base that is 6 inches
longer then this Street Glide, it felt more like a Sportster. Slight exaggeration,
but you can see where I’m going.
I can’t believe there is that much improvement with the 2009 Street Glide,
but this was a killer ride. The solid little 96 inch V Twin rubber mounted engine
is and always has been a smooth and quiet power plant. It doesn’t vibrate
as much at idle now, as it did in the past, because of the four motor mounts
as opposed to last year’s three motor mount configuration. When underway,
this V-Twin is very smooth and solid.
Mingling with traffic was a breeze. This Street Glide’s ability to change
lanes in traffic and scoot around slower moving cars fun and exciting. Now with
the lower gearing, it seemed a little more responsive. I could not believe this
was a touring bike that crosses the scales wet at 810 pounds.
Equally fun was riding around some of the long smooth corners on back desert
roads. I found the Street Glide predictable and exciting. I never even scraped
a floor board. Dips, bumps and pot holes in the road were easy to power over
With the deep pockets of torque, it was fun powering around corners. It was about
as stable as any ride that I have been on, with the exception of maybe the V-rod
or Sportster in the Harley lineup. No, it was not meant to carve out canyons,
but with the casual ride through the canyons, you feel very comfortable. Braking
was as expected, smooth, solid and dependable without any surprises.
Exercising the V-Twin as I headed down the on-ramp to the interstate was fun.
It had plenty of pep to get you to the merge area at just about any speed you
want. After you find a comfortable speed, it is nice to grab number six and settle
in for a very smooth low RPM cruise. I would have no problem spending a day or
a week on this fine machine.
While cruising down the highway you get great protection from the wind with the
friendly and informative Batwing fairing. Included along with all of the protection
is a full set of gauges that provide all of the pertinent information needed
to check engine, speed and battery functions with an ease and at the same time
provide you with the stereo music you desire. What more could you want?
It’s hard to imagine, but the all new frame, motor mounts and lower gearing
made this Street Glide a more fun machine to ride. I can’t say enough about
the improvements to an already great motorcycle, while at the same time not distracting
from the cruising and touring assets that it already possessed. If you like the
big bikes in the Harley lineup, don’t, miss this great find. You will not