USA Motorcycles

2018 Street Glide Special full and detailed review

December 4, 2018

2018 Street Glide review and specs

A blacked-out Milwaukee-Eight® 107 engine sits at the heart of dark finishes that flow from headlight to exhaust. A new 19-inch Talon front wheel and 18-inch rear wheel. Stretched saddlebags that accentuate the long, low profile of the bike. Blacked-out front forks, handlebars, tank console and exhaust for an aggressive, modern look. And a premium audio system featuring Stage I BOOM!™ speakers.

Want top-end touring technology, infotainment, and unruly stripped-down bagger style? We vote yes.

Harley-Davidson Touring Story – Long haul comfort. No restraints.

Harley-Davidson® Touring models feature long haul comfort combined with power that will unleash your soul. Spanning decades of heritage and nostalgia, Touring bikes began their lineage in 1936 when the Motor Company introduced a new engine design nicknamed the Knucklehead. From that heritage grew the powerful Milwaukee Eight® engine with more power, comfort, and handling to go the distance, making piling up the miles
rewarding and comfortable for both rider and passenger.

◾Dark finishes stretch from headlight to exhaust with new 19-inch (483 mm) front and 18-inch (457 mm) rear Talon wheels.
◾Dripping in black are the engine guard, front forks, handlebars and hand controls, mirrors, turn signals, tank console, engine covers, air cleaner cover, mufflers and exhaust shields.
◾Custom touches that create an aggressive, modern look include the stretched saddlebags that accentuate the bike’s long, low profile and painted inner fairings.
◾Hand-adjustable emulsion-technology rear shock absorbers offer 15% more preload adjustment than previous low-profile touring shocks.
◾Front suspension features dual-bending valve suspension technology that delivers the damping performance of a racing-style cartridge fork with linear damping characteristics and reduced weight.
◾Reflex™ linked Brembo® brakes with ABS and the Harley-Davidson Smart Security System are standard equipment.
◾The all-black Milwaukee-Eight® 107 (1746 cc) engine offers quicker throttle response, more passing power, purer sound, a smoother ride and more of the feeling riders want from a Harley-Davidson Touring motorcycle engine.
◾Each Milwaukee-Eight engine produces 10% more torque*. The Milwaukee-Eight 107 accelerates 11 percent quicker from 0-60mph, equal to a two-to-three bike length improvement, and 11% quicker from 60-80 mph in top gear, equal to a one-to-two bike length improvement*. The Milwaukee-Eight engine offers improved rider and passenger thermal comfort due to reduced heat absorption, increased heat rejection and a redesigned exhaust system.
◾For improved fit a new, slimmer primary drive cover and the low-profile shape of the air cleaner cover provide improved rider legroom around the engine and an easier reach to the ground for many riders.
◾All Milwaukee-Eight powered models are fitted with an assist and slip clutch with improved hydraulic actuation and 7% less clutch lever effort.

What I didn’t like

The electronics package as a whole did not work as easily as I had hoped. I had trouble getting my iPhone to integrate with the system. There were a few times where I was rolling down the road serenading Lemmy with my best Bon Scott impersonation and singing along to AC/DC's "Sin City" when the audio would cut off. The phone was plugged in directly to the bike's USB port as opposed to utilizing a Bluetooth connection. As I had none of these problems with the radio, it didn’t seem to be a problem with the stereo itself.

In addition to iPhone integration, I didn’t like the GPS system at all. In fairness, I much prefer to use Google Maps on my phone over a traditional GPS to begin with. Harley’s system did nothing to change my mind. It seemed to have trouble showing the correct orientation of the map and inputting coordinates was a pain. If you’re a hardcore GPS user you might find this to be more functional than I did.

The stock seat held me in one position and didn’t leave me with much comfort or room to move around. In addition, it put a tremendous amount of pressure on my crotch, which caused a special type of discomfort. Swapping out the seat with a Saddlemen Explorer Seat solved this problem. While the Saddlemen seat didn’t help me with the issue of being locked in one place, it adds comfort for you and your passenger. It’s the seat we use when shooting bike reviews to give our cameraman a bit of relief when he is operating from the pillion.

While the engine provided arm-wrenching torque, I found the fueling to be spotty in certain areas. It was especially noticeable right off of the line in the lower rpms, but I had a few stumbles when cranking the revs up, as well. I have never personally played around with a Vance & Hines FP3 on a bike, but Lem has and he tells me great things. I would love the opportunity to install one on the Street Glide to see if a slightly richer fuel-to-air mixture would solve some of the inconsistencies in the fueling.

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