Rider Test: 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide

The 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide receives new Showa suspension, an Assist and Slip Clutch and--most importantly--the new Milwaukee-Eight engine. (Photos: Riles & Nelson)
The 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide receives new Showa suspension, an Assist and Slip Clutch and–most importantly–the new Milwaukee-Eight engine. (Photos: Riles & Nelson)

With its batwing fairing and angular saddlebags, Harley-Davidson’s Street Glide—its top-selling Touring model in the U.S.—cuts an iconic profile. It was overhauled for 2014 as part of Project Rushmore, including a High Output Twin Cam 103 V-twin with more torque, a redesigned batwing fairing with a new Splitstream vent, a hydraulic clutch, a beefier fork, optional Reflex Linked Brakes with ABS, dual halogen headlights, a new audio system, redesigned saddlebags, One-Touch latches and ergonomic switches, fresh styling and more. For 2017, the Twin Cam 103 has been replaced by the air/oil-cooled Milwaukee-Eight 107 and, like all bikes in the Touring line, it gets all-new Showa suspension and an Assist and Slip Clutch.

VIDEO: We interview Paul James, Director of Motorcycle Product Planning at Harley-Davidson.

To improve passenger comfort, the rear exhaust header was repositioned and the catalytic converter was moved. Overall, the air/oil-cooled Milwaukee-Eight 107 runs much cooler than the Twin Cam 103.
To improve passenger comfort, the rear exhaust header was repositioned and the catalytic converter was moved. Overall, the air/oil-cooled Milwaukee-Eight 107 runs much cooler than the Twin Cam 103.

When we last tested the fully loaded Street Glide Special back in 2014 (Rider, February), we liked the 103’s torque output and quick off-the-line acceleration, the linked brakes, the various Project Rushmore improvements and, of course, the styling. But we said the rear suspension, which offers just 2.1 inches of travel, “beats you up on a bumpy road regardless of setting.” That test was done in winter; when we tested a Road King with the same air-cooled 103 during the heat of the summer (September 2016), the engine “roasted our legs.”

Read our First Ride Review of the Harley-Davidson Low Rider S.

The Splitstream vent below the tinted windscreen helps smooth airflow into the cockpit.
The Splitstream vent below the tinted windscreen helps smooth airflow into the cockpit.

Unless your sharp eye notices the new rocker and air cleaner covers and the “Milwaukee-Eight 107” badge on the engine, you might not see many differences between the 2016 and 2017 versions of the Street Glide if they were parked side-by-side. Other than new colors, the new bike looks a lot like its predecessor. Same bodywork and wheels, same compact seating position with a plush seat and modest reach to the bars, same Boom! Box 4.3 audio system behind the fairing. But fire them up and the 2017’s counterbalanced Milwaukee-Eight 107 chugs along with a mellow idle while the 2016’s Twin Cam 103 bounces around in the frame like a Mexican jumping bean. Thanks to the 107’s boost in torque throughout the rev range, the 2017 Street Glide pulls harder in all gears at all throttle openings. It runs smoother and it runs cooler; engine heat was never a problem, even when idling in traffic on a hot day.

The new 107 makes much more torque below 3,000 rpm than the previous 103.
The new 107 makes much more torque below 3,000 rpm than the previous 103.

With the heavy batwing fairing mounted to the fork, bikes so equipped have always had more sluggish steering than those with frame-mounted fairings, such as the Road Glide. The fairing is still heavy, but the new Showa fork is much lighter, which reduces unsprung weight and lightens steering feel. Not only that, but the responsiveness of the new Showa fork and rear shocks greatly improves the Street Glide’s handling. Even though suspension travel is unchanged, the new setup is better at absorbing big hits and keeping everything feeling smooth and under control. Triple-disc brakes, with 300mm rotors and 4-piston calipers all around, are powerful and the optional linked setup with ABS is a big plus.

Refinement. That’s the major take-away from the new Street Glide as well as the rest of Harley’s 2017 Touring lineup. It started with Project Rushmore and has leaped forward with the Milwaukee-Eight and new Showa suspension. Well done.

Removing the left saddlebag reveals the preload adjuster knob on the new "set and forget" Showa rear shocks.
Removing the left saddlebag reveals the preload adjuster knob on the new “set and forget” Showa rear shocks.

 

The Street Glide is equipped with the Boom! Box 4.3 audio system and Jukebox media compartment with USB port.
The Street Glide is equipped with the Boom! Box 4.3 audio system and Jukebox media compartment with USB port.

 

A low-profile fender wraps around a 19-inch Enforcer cast wheel. Reflex Linked Brakes with ABS are optional.
A low-profile fender wraps around a 19-inch Enforcer cast wheel. Reflex Linked Brakes with ABS are optional.

2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Specs

Base Price: $20,999

Price as Tested: $22,294 (color, ABS)

Warranty: 2 yrs., unltd. miles

Website: harley-davidson.com

Engine

Type: Air/oil-cooled, transverse
45-degree V-twin

Displacement: 1,746cc (107ci)

Bore x Stroke: 100.0 x 111.1mm

Compression Ratio: 10.0:1

Valve Train: OHV, 4 valves per cyl.

Valve Insp. Interval: NA

Fuel Delivery: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection

Lubrication System: Dry sump,
5.2-qt. cap.

Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated assist-and-slipper clutch

Final Drive: Belt

Electrical

Ignition: Electronic

Charging Output: 625 watts max.

Battery: 12V 28AH

Chassis

Frame: Tubular-steel double cradle w/ two-piece backbone, steel
swingarm

Wheelbase: 64.0 in.

Rake/Trail: 26 degrees/6.8 in.

Seat Height: 27.0 in.

Suspension, Front: 49mm stanchions, no adj., 4.6-in. travel

Rear: Dual shocks, adj. preload w/ remote knob, 2.1-in. travel

Brakes, Front: Dual 300mm floating discs w/ opposed 4-piston calipers, fully linked & ABS (as tested)

Rear: Single 300mm fixed disc w/ opposed 4-piston caliper, fully linked & ABS  (as tested)

Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.50 x 19 in.

Rear: Cast, 5.00 x 16 in.

Tires, Front: 130/60-B19

Rear: 180/65-B16

Wet Weight: 823 lbs. (as tested)

Load Capacity: 537 lbs. (as tested)

GVWR: 1,360 lbs.

Performance

Fuel Capacity: 6.0 gals., last 1.0 gal. warning light on

MPG: 91 PON min. (low/avg/high) 36.6/36.9/37.3

Estimated Range: 222 miles

Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 2,300

1 COMMENT

  1. Nice to see Harley finally addressing the suspension on Street Glides. I considered selling mine when it was stock but ended up adding Ohlins 159s (13″) to the rear and Harley’s cartridge kit with thin 5 wt fork oil to the front to get my 2015 Street Glide Special to ride nice. The additional 1″ of rear suspension travel is welcome and the bike is now a pleasure on a country road. BTW, anyone looking for a cam should check out Cycle Rama’s 575. Great torque (105 @ 2800 RPM, 90+ horsepower @ 5500 on the dyno), and instantaneous power from idle to redline. For mufflers, Full Sac’s 1.75″ are deep but not loud and do not drone on the highway. I now love my 2015 and wouldn’t consider trading it for a Milwaukee 8 or CVO.

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