Motorcycle Review of the 2016 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra

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SEASON 27 | EPISODE 6

Dave Hatch | Host 

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2016 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra Motorcycle Review

2016-harley-davidson-touring-road-glide-ultra4“Times have never been better for the riders who put on the highest miles.” – Harley-Davidson

 

Behold, Harley-Davidson’s Ultimate tribute to state of the art touring, the Road Glide Ultra. Now, if you’ve been around Harley-Davidson products the last couple of years then you’ll know that their recent Project Rushmore overhaul has really impacted the motor corp’s most recent batch of touring machines. Thanks to that three year long customer led development study, last fall Harley delivered the road glide Ultra replete with a pile of refinements. Some are small and less noticeable, like one touch latches and vents, and more intuitive hand control switches. While other big impact items include the one hundred watt colour touch screen boom box six point five infotainment system with built-in blue tooth and GPS. Powering the road Glide Ultra is Harley’s very latest, twin-cooled, high output, one oh three cubic inch V-Twin with its six speed transmission and belt final drive. But added to the secret sauce is a new linked ABS braking system, air adjustable rear suspension and a re designed frame mounted fairing with new triple split screen vents designed to improve airflow while reducing buffeting. The new Road Glide Ultra is, without a doubt, a striking piece. But how does it work on the open road, well, here’s this week’s guest road tester Blair Smith.

 

Dave

Holy smokes, I can’t tell you the difficulty we had getting this off the truck. It is such a big motorcycle. That was my first impression, what was yours.

 

Blair

Well the same. I, when I first walked up to it and looked at it, I though, wow, that’s a really heavy bike and the fact that you’re not pulling the fairing around with you when you’re steering, with the frame out and the fairing out like that, it steers a lot lighter than you think and this thing weighs in somewhere within nine hundred pounds it sure doesn’t feel like that in the bars.

 

Dave

How did you like the one oh three?

 

Blair

Wow, that’s a really nice moving machine, it has… it pulls hard, it doesn’t matter what gear you’re in, the roll on is there, it’s really responsive, very nice moving engine all the way up, and you know, I really like the sound of it too, just these pipes, it’s a nice throat, it’s a really nice, really rich tone. I mean all the way through the whole throttle range it’s just a nice tone to the motorcycle. It pulls hard all the time.

 

Dave

This bike also represents a lot of work in terms of that Project Rushmore including things like now linked brakes, how did you like the stopping power.

 

Blair

Well, you know, it’s almost like power brakes. It’s very soft, progressive application of brakes and it comes to a stop. I mean with the discs in the front it’s comes to a stop in a big hurry, but what I like with the linked down at parking lot speed the link is disconnected so there’s no real danger in having the parking lot turn which is kind of a scary place.

 

Dave

What did you think of the riding position and the floorboards and just the pegs, seat, handle bar ratio.

 

Blair

Well I know they changed this year with the bikes, that they brought this back in, they put a rise to these handlebars, about two inches maybe. I actually found them too high initially and it could be just the way it’s set up. Obviously I would set it up different for myself – the bars a little bit farther forward but I found that the bars were a little high. My wrists and my hands were above my elbows and that kind of makes for kind an uncomfortable place for my shoulders. So yeah I think the bars might be a little… because they lowered the seat as well so with the combination of the inch or two lowered seat and an inch or two added to the bars it really changes the position. It’s a comfortable riding position in terms of seat legroom and all that, I just found that the bars were a little bit high for me.

 

Dave

Harley’s really proud of this boom box infotainment centre, did you get a chance to play around with that at all?

 

Blair

Well I played with it a little as we were cruising between sites along the day and you know there’s a lot of things going on with the toggle switches on both sides. There’s thumbs… I mean everything is literally at your fingertips. You don’t have to take your fingers off the grips at all, you’ve got control of the navigation system, the information system, the whole media intercom everything right there at your fingertips.

 

Dave

Who would you recommend this bike to?

 

Blair

Well you know what? I’m a big believer that anyone can really ride anything, it’s a matter of technique. If you can put your foot on the ground and hold the weight of the bike… I think though that this is not really a starter bike because it is big, it is heavy and there’s a lot of power in that one oh three so I think the rider should have a couple years road experience first before they get on a bike as big and powerful as this one. More experience is safer and I’m all about safety…

 

Dave

For sure, for sure…

 

Blair

… in motorcycling.

 

Dave

Well, it looks like it will take you anywhere.

 

Blair

You bet, this kind of bike I think… this is not too big a bike to be your everyday rider but certainly if you want to do some long miles, this is your machine.

 

Dave

Very nice, nice job Blair.

 

Blair

Thank-you very much. It was really great to have a great motorcycle experience.

 

Dave

Nice. Well done.

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