I recently needed to drop off my bike (Electra Glide Standard) to the Local Harley Dealer for a new tyre and brakes. They so kindly offered me a replacement bike to use till mine was ready.
Stop Press: Thank you Craig at Harley Davidson of Blacktown.
Big deal you say?… Well they gave me an almost new Ultra Limited (Project Rushmore) as a replacement. So I thought to myself this is the perfect opportunity to do a ‘Ride Review’ on this bike.
One of the first things you notice when approaching the bike are the lights. They are the new ‘Daymaker’ LED head light and driving lights. These were reinforced by the LED running lights on the tip of the front fender and also on the rear of the top-box.
Starting at the front… the bike is fitted with Brembo (r) brakes and has the all new ABS system that senses braking between front and rear. It does not operate under 25kmh and if you brake normally you will not notice any difference. However if you ram on the brakes in an emergency it will take over and assist you.
The minute you jump on the bike and turn on the ignition you are faced with a 6.5″ LCD screen displaying an animation of a Harley logo on fire. What the hell is this? It’s Harley’s Boom Box 6.5 Infotainment System. It’s a touch screen Radio, Media Player, Bluetooth and GPS all in one system. What can you do with it? Well it’s a GPS so you can find your way around. It has a handy flap that contains a USB port to connect a thumb drive containing music or video. Or just charge your phone. The Bluetooth can connect to your ‘in helmet headset’, phone or whatever you need. The Radio is not just for music but also communication between rider and/or other bikes. What’s more you ask… it’s all voice activated. The Voice Recognition will ‘call the office’ or ‘find where’s the next gas station’ and it does your bidding. The usual control buttons are on the handle bars also for your convenience. Cruise control is also included. But wait… it has hand grip warmers for you cold blooded types (like me).
Next… they have a new wind shield that is designed to reduce buffeting in high wind conditions. I didn’t get a chance to prove it, but another great feature is the closable vent above the dials that let’s you get some ‘air’ on hot days.
Okay now for the engine. Well it’s 103 cubes of “Twin-Cooled – High Output – Twin Cam” Rushmore goodness. At the centre of the Rushmore Project is a liquid cooling system that keeps the heads cool allowing the engine to have higher compression and rev better. The hot fluid exits the heads and passes through steel and also rubber tubes into the lower fairing body into a radiator then circulates to another radiator on the other lower fairing body before returning to the heads. The pump is tucked under the voltage regulator and both radiators have electric fans to assist if the bike is stationary. So… that gives us more low-end torque, more passing power and perhaps also a better exhaust note as well. They say “It’s got the fastest 95kmh to 125kmh 5th gear roll on in the history of Harley Davidson”. I think it may be true.
What’s more they have redesigned the ‘panniers’ by placing a new latch on them and avoiding the ‘flip-pull-lift’ system of old. The panniers and drop bars have been redesigned to allow for more ‘foot room’ and ‘seat room’ for passenger. The top-box also has a new single latch system. Gone is the steel wire cable holding the top-box lid open. It now has a braided nylon retractable system.
Oh yes… Apparently they have included a battery charger connector under the left side-cover. Handy for those snowy months in the Northern Hemisphere.
In summary: I think it’s brilliant. However I would argue if they needed to produce a liquid cooled bike. I know everybody says I want more torque and more power but that is just a knee-jerk emotional thought. That same thinking sunk Buell when they did some market research (which I attended) and a bunch of dropkicks said we want more power. Of course they did. You could put a Cummins Diesel in a bike frame and they’ll still want more power. Buell switched from the Harley engines to the Rotax engines. At that moment Buell lost it’s soul and the rest is history. Sadly I did own a Buell and traded it for the 2009 Electra Glide. Do you really truly need more power and torque? The old 2009 Electra Glide gives me enough enjoyment as is. Also the liquid cooling system adds more that can go wrong with the bike. The LED lights I feel are needed and brilliant (they can stay). The Boom Box is okay for ‘those peeps’ who are into electronic gadgets (like me). However over 50’s peeps (also like me) will have difficulty figuring it out and will need to make instructions on post-it notes and plaster them all over the dash. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone asked me to ‘pair their phone to their car radio’. Thank you Harley Davidson you have just made my life so much more difficult.
Finally would I own one… YES… now please someone buy this for me!