Rider’s 2017 Motorcycle of the Year

Rider Magazine's 2017 Motorcycle of the Year.
Rider Magazine’s 2017 Motorcycle of the Year.

It’s hard to believe, but if you count the bikes that are significantly changed, for the 2017 model year the world’s major motorcycle manufacturers added more than 115 new models to their U.S. lineups. Wow! Very few were dropped, too, creating an unprecedented selection of new bikes from which to choose. For adventurous types, BMW, Ducati, Honda, KTM and Suzuki all have new or updated ADV bikes, and this year’s touring and sport-touring motorcycle lineups are better than ever. All six serious sportbike makers have honed their liter-class offerings to a razor’s edge, and a veritable flood of factory retro customs, scramblers and bobbers means there’s something for every fan of new-old machines with classic style and modern performance.

Picking one of these machines for our top honor is usually a difficult decision, but happily one manufacturer simplified the task this year by introducing a game-changing line of bikes that made our vote unanimous. As always Rider chose the Motorcycle of the Year from the list of all new or significantly changed motorcycles designated 2017 models, some of which are included in the contenders section. The winner is usually the one motorcycle we think succeeds best at its intent and lengthens the list of history’s truly great motorcycles…but this year we bent the rules by choosing an entire family of bikes. As you’ll see, it made sense.

Manufacturer production and test bike availability varying as it often does, we may not have had the opportunity to ride every 2017 model before we needed to pick one as the MOTY in time for this issue. And though we may have actually ridden several early-release 2018 models that might be available at your dealer before it’s time to select the MOTY—the BMW K 1600 B, Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and Yamaha Star Venture, for example—since they’re not 2017 models they’re not eligible for this year’s award, though we will include them in next year’s considerations.

No matter who wins, every new bike just means more potential for great rides and adventures. Congratulations to all of the manufacturers for bringing this year’s grand parade of bikes to market. Here are some of the top contenders for Rider’s Motorcycle of the Year, followed by the winner.

The Contenders…

BMW R nineT Scrambler
2017 BMW R nineT Scrambler. Photo courtesy BMW.

BMW R nineT Scrambler (November 2016)

The first of BMW’s R nineT variants takes a simpler, less expensive approach that also cleverly addresses the current retro custom craze with Scrambler style. A higher handlebar, skinnier right-side-up fork and upswept exhaust—and a lower price—distinguish the BMW Scrambler from the standard R nineT, and we love its powerful 1,170cc boxer twin, versatile performance and off-road potential.

Ducati Multistrada 950
2017 Ducati Multistrada 950. Photo by Milagro.

Ducati Multistrada 950 (March 2017)

By taking the Testastretta 11° 937cc L-twin from the Hypermotard and new Supersport and wrapping it in a tighter, simpler adventure-bike package with a 19-inch front wheel, Ducati’s new Multistrada 950 provides a lighter, lower cost alternative to the 1200 DVT that still offers plenty of power and features for sport-adventure touring and even light off-road work.

2017 Honda Rebel 500
2017 Honda Rebel 500. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Honda Rebel 300/500 (July 2017)

Honda’s new Rebels have some big shoes to fill, since the venerable Rebel 250 has taught generations of new riders how to negotiate the mean streets since 1985. Based on the 471cc parallel twin in the CB500F and the 286cc single in the CB300F, the new Rebels are a mix of old- and new-school style that offer new and returning motorcyclists a practical, comfortable and fun entry into street riding.

2017 Indian Roadmaster Classic
2017 Indian Roadmaster Classic. Photo by Barry Hathaway.

Indian Roadmaster Classic (May 2017)

Almost as central to the Indian legacy as those deeply skirted, curvaceous fenders and a big V-twin is the presence of leather. The Roadmaster Classic’s seat and luggage give cowhide a starring role, complete with fringe, conchos and studs. Combined with the bike’s Thunder Stroke 111 torque-monster V-twin and comprehensive Ride Command System infotainment, the Roadmaster Classic epitomizes luxury cruiser touring.

2017 KTM Super Duke 1290
2017 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT. Photo by Kevin Wing.

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT (April 2017)

We loved to dirty dance with KTM’s “Beast,” the 1290 Super Duke R, but the GT is the version we could take home to mama. Higher, wider handlebars, wider, cushier seats, lower footpegs, a bigger tank and a nicely sized adjustable windscreen and hard bags ready the 1290 GT for long days at warp speed, all powered by that stellar 173-horsepower V-twin, which is retuned for better touring manners.

2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650
2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Suzuki V-Strom 650 (September 2017)

The Wee Strom has always been one of our favorite bikes, and this year’s updates just enhance its cuddly likeability and ADV chops. More horsepower and torque, a new beaked fairing with a vertical stacked headlight, traction control, standard ABS, better ergonomics and optional integrated luggage plus a luggage rack make the comfortable, upright V-twin even more ready for adventure.

2017 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
2017 Triumph Bonneville Bobber. Photo courtesy Triumph.

Triumph Bonneville Bobber (April 2017)

Big kudos to Triumph for having the chutzpah to build a genuine factory Bobber—even more so for nailing the styling, souping up the 1,200cc Bonneville T120 parallel twin to make 10-percent more power and giving it a new frame, suspension, handlebar and fuel tank to create one of the best looking and handling Bonnies in the bunch. The adjustable seat is icing on the cake.

2017 Yamaha FZ-10
2017 Yamaha FZ-10. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Yamaha FZ-10 (July 2017)

We all want the performance and handling of Yamaha’s potent YZF-R1 sportbike, but the racetrack ergonomics, not so much. What happens when you wrap it in a more comfortable, less expensive naked sport-touring package? You get the FZ-10, complete with a 998cc in-line four derived from the R1, standard cruise control, traction control, ABS and styling that won’t be mistaken for anything else.

And the winner is…

2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide
2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight Touring Family

When Harley-Davidson relaunched its Touring family of bikes in 2014 under the Project Rushmore banner with a large dose of customer-driven enhancements and precision liquid-cooling for the Ultra Limited, we were impressed by the bikes’ more powerful engines, nice new features like hydraulic clutches, better lighting and latches and more comfort, and how much cooler its flagship touring machine was between the knees. Little did we know the best was yet to come for 2017 with a new engine for the Touring family, the Milwaukee-Eight. Named for its birthplace and the total number of valves, the ninth generation of Harley’s big twin had to meet a lot of demands, not the least of which are more stringent emissions requirements here and abroad, now and in the future. Competition is also heating up in the touring arena, and Harley’s customers were demanding a new V-twin that has more power, runs cooler, vibrates less at idle and is narrower, yet still has that famous Harley-Davidson iconic look, sound and feel.

Watch our interview with Paul James, Director of Product Planning at Harley-Davidson.

The new four-valve per cylinder Milwaukee-Eight V-twins meet all of these demands and more, yet stay true to that gorgeous traditional style. Bikes without fairing lowers like the Road King, Street Glide and Road King Special get the air/oil-cooled Milwaukee-Eight 107ci engine, and the 107 V-twins in the bikes with lowers like the Road Glide Ultra and Ultra Limited have oil and precision liquid cooling. All get new front and rear Showa suspension as well. At this stage we’ve ridden and dyno tested most of the 10 regular-production Touring models, and can happily say that they make more power and gobs more torque down low, with ample pulling power for two-up touring or just flying down the highway. They also shake less at stops, don’t heat up your legs and are narrower to make it easier to get your feet down at stops. The new suspension helps them handle better than before and improves the ride, too.

The refinement and development timeline that began with a new chassis for the touring bikes in 2009 is now complete, resulting, as we said in our December 2016 issue, in a truly integrated package, one that honors the past, embraces the future, offers more performance and makes the rider’s and passenger’s comfort, safety and enjoyment a top priority.

Congratulations to Harley-Davidson for the Milwaukee-Eight Touring Family, Rider‘s 2017 Motorcycle(s) of the Year!

79 COMMENTS

  1. They really couldnt have picked anything else. HD by leaps and bounds with this new engine.
    Before you knock the pick at least go RIDE one, better yet ride the “dinosaur” 103 AND the new 107.
    I took a 2017 Road Glide out and was very impressed. I can throw it around like a Concours. I then rode a 103 back to back and that was like getting on a bucket of bolts! Warning: If you ride one of these 107s you may very well end up buying one. See for yourself THEN comment on them.

      • No contest. I have Harleys, BMWs and a Honda. The new Harley quality and reliability is far better than anything else I’ve ridden or owned. I tried talking myself into buying a new Indian Chief this year (love the retro styling); however, this bike paled in comparison as far as performance, features and ergonomics, compared to Harley, BMW or Honda.

      • Don’t need to ride one Jeff, I’ve had 3 HD’s and the last Road Glide was bought back by the dealer as a Lemon Law by back. It had intermittent power loss leaving me stranded numerous times. Each time it was returned with the dealer saying that it was “all set” until the next time it happened.

        Never did figure it out and I never did feel confident touring with it, now I drive something else and I’ve done 3 cross country trips without issue. Going to the Ozarks & New Orleans then on to FL in Oct. and I expect the same reliable operation unlike my Road Glide…

      • Not true at all ??

        Most major manufactures have had multiple valve and spark-plug configurations for years…
        Do your research before you say that something is not true …

        • Including Harley Davidson, introducing a 4 valve per cylinder motor in 1914, and a dual spark plug motor in 1981….but I’m sure you already knew that.

          • I did not know that HD had a 4 valve 2 plug configuration prior to the new M8 engine; that said, why did they wait until 2017 to reintroduce? Also, The number one customer complaint by Harley Davidson owners was excessive heat, many owners found the air cooled engine to be oppressive. Again, why did HD wait 115 years to introduce oil cooled cylinder heads when the Euro machines have had that feature for quite some time, who knows.

            My major gripe with Harley is not that they’re bad bikes but that they offered a product not on par with the competition for many years and charged a premium price for it. I no longer buy motorcycles for status or the image it might project. I look at value for money as the primary motivator, and sadly HD does not meet those requirements. Yes, their resale is good but I buy for the long term where resale or trade-in value is not a major consideration.

            If not for the diehards Harley would be in much worse shape than they find themselves in today, right now their market share is sinking faster than the Titanic with plants being closed and hundreds of people being laid off. And, I hate to say it but they can no longer blame the economy for their falling sales. To make matters worse the boomers are fading fast and the youngsters are not into Harley’s.

            If Harley offered a comparable product, one less than 20 grand, I might buy my fourth Harley. After switching brands I now have a dependable bike that runs strong, has plenty of power and most importantly runs cool for a little more than a quarter of what my friend just paid for his 2017 Road Glide ($40,000). Granted he had a boatload of custom accessories added while my bike was a leftover further reducing the upfront cost. I have no concerns about jumping on my non Harley brand motorcycle and riding across this great country and back, which I’ve done numerous times without incident!

            Ironically, my friends chide me for buying a foreign motorcycle when they drive Subaru’s, Toyota and Nissan pickups. My POV is a 2004 Chevy Silverado that runs like new, so I’m not against American made products, I just base my motorcycle purchases on value for money.

      • Hey Roberto…

        I read and reread your post, you went on and on about your bike, how great and reliable, fun and how you went around the world eighteen times on one tank of gas…!!!

        How come you never said what brand it was..???

        Or the model…???

        I’ll wait…

        2016 CVO Road Glide Ultra

    • Roberto what kind of bike is that you ride now? From what I can see here, you keep mentioning you ride another bike now but never say what it is that you ride.

    • Obviously a rider of the competition. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. You hard core people against Harley Davidson need to get a clue and stop bashing.

  2. Unfortunately, the winner in your competition here has issues with the crankshafts, cases, continued gremlins in the oil leaking/cooling and smaller design of the oil cooler. Include in this the lack of force to which the oil is dispersed throughout the engine causing serious piston issues as well. M-8 needs some tuning up in these areas.

  3. I love to read the comments any time HD gets the nod for something. You can tell most of them are form folks who have never owned a HD and probably never even road one. I’ve had my 2010 FXDC since new and have had ZERO problems with it. No leaks, gremlins or crankshaft issues. It’s a great machine that handles well in it’s category and is just a fun bike to cruise on. For the record I also own a 2016 Multistrada and that has had a multitude of problems. However, it is also fun to ride and I ride them in completely different styles. Each is a dream because of the differences they bring to the table.

    I would recommend readers look for motorcycle reliability ratings, you made be surprised at what you find.

    • I have owned them. There are good bikes for what they are. They are just now offering what other manufacturer’s have already been offering. This is like giving a kid a trophy for coming in last. I would have gone with the Ducati, Indian, KTM or R9T.

    • Spot on Homerjay. I’ve owned multiple bikes from a number of manufacturers and to be honest I have not had a problem with any of them they have all been solid bikes. That said I have always stayed away from Harley for the reasons you read above – cost, reliability, heat etc. I rented Harley’s (Road Kings) when we rode out west and those bikes were fine but hot. When the 17’s came out the changes were enough to get me in there and test ride a Road Glide which I always wanted. The bike was totally different than previous models. A lot of people talk about the engine and it’s improvements which are legit but the suspension and brakes are just as improved as the engine. I sold my Kawasaki Nomad and bought the Glide. Haven’t looked back since. My Glide runs just as cool as my liquid cooled Nomad and the Glide has far superior suspension and electronics. I can honestly say every time I see this bike in my garage it puts a huge smile on my face. I’m averaging a 1000 miles a month, riding in total comfort with my feet on the hwy pegs, jamming tunes in total comfort. People can ride what they want this is America but this award from Rider is legit.

  4. Really…iff it aint broken dont fix it…next ..will be the harley lap top , harley app..harley picnic basket with umbrella…..stick with my 94 ultra anyday..for the love of driving & equally the maintenance to go with it..true biking ..

  5. Test rode one back in September of 16 traded the 07 ultra in was on the 17 ultra classic buy the 15th . An as of July 27 it has 15098 miles on it such a great new bike all around. ( all but the radio/ intercom is shit) 5 stars for the rest of the bike.

  6. It is not an easy task to pick one bike as the winner, it would be difficult to pick one in each segment. Congratulations to HD, and all the contenders.
    The great thing about this is the number of new offerings, and the ones that have yet to be launched.

  7. Ive worked for HD For 17ys ,,,The new M8 IS AWESOME!!!!!!! HD did their homework on the pkg … It awesome …Thanks Rider Magazine and all who supported

    • Just the comment I’d expect from a die hard HD guy; I had shovel heads (3) that needed rebuilds every other year. I had the first gen evolution engine, another hunk of junk that just ran like crap.

      Now they’re out with an engine design that’s at least a decade or more behind the competition and somehow everybody is supposed to be excited about it. The company provided a lackluster product for years which in and of itself is not that big a deal but think of what other much smaller manufacturers with a fraction of the R&D budgets were able to design and build years ago.

      Harley sells more bikes in one week than Ducati and Moto Guzzi sell in a year or years yet they were able to provide multi valve efficient engines that meet Euro standards without all the fanfare and the huge R&D budgets.

      Are the new HD’s nice bikes?? Yes, but way past long overdue! Factor in that the company has huge profits for their corporate masters but has provided a lackluster product for their loyal customers made me look elsewhere. They’ve relied upon customer loyalty way too long.

      In fact, my current European touring bike (leftover pricing) with year-end factory rebate along with a dealer discount cost me about half of what a new Harley would have.

      There you have it, sorry for the rant but I can’t justify throwing 20% of my yearly income on a bike that’s only recently entered the 21st century.

      • If your Happy with your Bike God Bless you… I would never ride a Metric …. Concerning the shovels ? Come on man thats apples and oranges compared to todays HD..Not to mention it appears to me that you werent the one rebuilding them and if you were then maybe you are better off with your Metrics Being a builder of many Bikes over the decades I wouldnt think of owning anything else ..Except maybe a old Norton …God Bless & Ride safe brother

      • I’ve got a first generation Evo in my 1984 Tour Glide Classic (with enclosed chain final drive) & it’s not perfect but has needed very little work in the 19 years or so I’ve owned it. Replaced nose cone oil seal, clutch plates, primary chain, charging system, but otherwise engine is OEM (never been opened up to my knowledge, & I’m 3rd owner). Bought with 45,000 km on it way back when & now has 145,000 km. Yeah, it’s not oil tight (I figure top end weeping is mostly MY fault for riding years ago in sub-zero temps during winter) & I figure valve guide seals may be going ’cause when it starts idling rough I’ll know it’s time to clean / change the plugs. But keep the oil topped up, tire air pressure up, & ride gently & it gets 70+ mpg (Imperial). I had a 75 Super Glide for a couple of years but sold it after a rubber mount failed, battery shorted to oil tank & wiring & seat damaged. Sold it & new owner kept me up to date on how previous owners had cracked gearbox & put grease fitting in drain plug & used grease rather than gear lube, plus they’d done backyard spark plug thread fix that wasn’t compression tight. But was a fun bike to ride while I had it. Have test ridden Twinkie H-D’s, including Road Glides, but still prefer my old Tour Glide. Less electronics & bells & whistles to act up / break down.

  8. I bought a new limited 17 had the steering neck was 35 ft lb to loose I’m at 5500 on it now running grate every time I gas up I use less gas than the 14 15 16 on the same ride I can get above 260 out of a tank gas not to bad

    • Chad, it felt like my entire fork was coming loose at 4,500 miles. Not covered under warranty. The “tech” could not find anything wrong even though the whole bike felt loose. I had to spend over $200.00 for them to disassemble the front end and tighten the nut that should have never left the factory that way .The factory did not care either because I called to complain. I told the “tech” to ride it after they tightened so he knows what an Ultra is supposed to ride like.

  9. I love HD bikes not so much for the quality or easy ownership but for what HD stands for. I road the BMW and loved the bike. It would have been my winner. That or the Indian. If you are comparing the two big american V-twins I cannot see the HD winning that head to head. Yes, I have ridden both bikes.

  10. Well I have a true life story about the new 2017 Road Glide on July 3 I was in Black Hill Harley Davidson SD to pick up a tee shirt and got talking to a sales men about the all new road glide . I my self was in the possess of traveling cross country from NY on my 2012 Fat boy bagger. So to make it short the trade was right and I bought the bike . Now the true test of this new bike was on its way . From the roads of Wyoming, Montana ,Washington, Oragon, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, ECT I put this bike to the test . 115deg. temps ,switch backs. hours of none stop travel just about every scenario there is and this bike held up like a champ 8,550 miles in 20 days hows that for a test . between the comfortable suspension to the all new 107 this was quite the ride on a reliable bike I just love this bike Great Job Harley Davidson You deserve Bike of the Year.

  11. After riding a Gold Wing for almost twenty years I couldn’t be happier with my new 2017 Ultra Limited. When it was time to sell my Wing with 175K miles, I studied my choices and made the difficult decision to go Harley. Yes, Harley’s lackluster reputation for reliability and performance over the years did’t compare to Honda’s highly regarded premier tour bike. I was afraid to make the switch. But because Honda sat on its laurels for the past 15 years, unlike Harley which improved it’s touring line with its latest M-8 family of bikes, I took the plunge. No regrets. My bike has plenty of power, has a better sound/GPS system, ABS comes standard, and has that Harley “cool factor.” Plus, the price was more or less equal to what Honda wants for its fully loaded Wing. I am happy to learn that my decision was validated by the Rider award, and it is no coincidence for me that the Honda Gold Wing didn’t get an honorable mention.

  12. Harley has always had a contradictory design policy, (modern anachronism), however all the technical issues mentioned above are 2 motor design generations past. Pre EVO.
    On the newest engine they have excused a loose balancing specs by saying “some vibration was needed to keep the Harley faithful happy. Now that they’ve increased the rpm capabilities of this big engine they should have tighter balancing specs. While the new engine still has a knife and fork 45 degree engine design which has its own motion at idle, (potato potato potato) it should have minimal vibration once in normal RPM operating range.
    Significantly improving the suspension/handling, and engine performance, electrical output at all engine speeds, while maintaining the “Harley” style is clearly a marketing win. Harley’s fit and finish remain second to none.
    I think this is a wise choice in that HD is vastly improved within the seemingly stagnant cruiser/heavyweight cruiser niche.

  13. I have read some great opinions and Congrats to Harley on the award.

    I have ridden and owned several metrics over the years including three Kawasaki’s and two Honda’s. As a kid I was always fascinated by the Police Model Road Kings they were the dream bike for me. I eventually bought my first Harley in 2004 the 05 Road King Classic which was a fun bike to ride. I segued into the 2006 Street Glide. I love the style and look but It was beset with small little issues but it road nicely. The fit and finish was average at best. Since then I have had 20011 and 2014 Street glides. The bikes in general on each model received refinements, engine modifications and minor upgrades to the frame, suspensions and braking. But all in all the were pretty minor.

    The Rushmore Street Glide was a great bike with all of the rider enhancements. The cosmetic and comfort changes were fantastic. I love tech stuff so those appealed to me. But man did that bike run hot. Customizing the exhaust and cutting out the CAT did very little. Even the shields did not really help. In April this year I test rode a 2017 Mil 8 road glide and was very impressed. The fixed mounted fairing was a whole new ride and feel for me. Out of the box the low end torque on the 2017 was amazing. The bike also felt tight and solid and was fast too. I laid the money down. The handling, the comfort and power not to mention the other Rushmore improvements from previous years have made this a truly complete bike. I think the Motor Company could have achieved all this in the Rushmore release and the motor upgrade was long overdue. But I believe they have really tied the rider enhancements and mechanics together quite nicely with the M8. I totally agree that Harley Davidson’s lackluster efforts over the years were definitely the company sitting on their laurels. In the end I am very pleased with my decision.

    There is one issue that kind of irked me though. I get how the Ultra’s with lower fairings probably need it more but liquid cooling should have been applied to the whole touring line not just models two models. As the engines get bigger and bigger and the air hotter and hotter air cooled is really something to be consider as past its prime.

  14. The only reason Harley finally provided a better power plant is because they have real competition that is eating their lunch. If Indian hadn’t come out with that wonderful 111, HD would still be peddling that 30th century, paint shaking bucket of bolts.
    Harley was shamed into competing with a far better product.
    And now all their loyal following is stuck with antiquated, bikes with a rapidly sinking trade in value.
    Where’s the “mystique now?

    • Actually Dave,
      It wasn’t Indian that pushed Harley to improve it’s power plant it was the EPA and the European Union. In addition, you might want to do your research before trumpeting Indian’s air cooled engine. Unless Polaris makes a major investment to that engine it too will go the way of the Twin Cam because it won’t meet EPA or European emission standards.
      One thing most of the Harley naysayer don’t realize or fail to acknowledge is that the Harley mystique is as much a part of the motorcycle as the engineering that goes into it. While BMW can introduce engineering innovation every year without its customer base batting an eye Harley Davidson has invested a great deal into it heritage and its customers expect a piece of that in every product that rolls off the assembly line. We can argue all day whether this a good or bad thing but in the end it doesn’t matter because it is what it is. HD has met the challenge placed before it by the new emission requirements and has done so in a way that does not offends its customer base, maintains the HD mystique and has impressed the motorcycle industry as a whole.
      I have owned may Harley’s Dave and I will continue to do so. But I have also other motorcycles as well such as a BMW and Moto Guzzi. Both of which were fine examples of engineering. The difference here Dave is that the BMW and Moto Guzzi transported me while the Harley Davidson moves me.
      Ride safe!

      • Bill, A very well written commentary, I have also owned a number of Harley’s and at that time and place a Harley seemed appropriate and as you stated, they moved me.

        But, as I got a little older running with the crowd seemed less important so I gravitated to the Guzzi. To say that the Guzzi is just transportation doesn’t do the historic brand justice. But as they like to say, they’ve been going out of business since 1921 …

        Also, you accurately stated Harley did not developed their new engine that’s a decade behind the rest of the motorcycle world because they wanted to give their loyal customers a modern efficient and reliable engine, they did so only because they wouldn’t be able to sell their bikes in the EU when the Euro 4 standards were implemented. If there was no Euro4 they would continue to sell their bikes to the faithful and there would have been no new engine.

        Many say the Guzzi engine is outdated and is an anachronism in today’s world, but a recent review at motorcycle.com titled “The Baggers Brawl” says the Guzzi has more power, runs cooler than the Victory, Indian or the new Harley.

        In fact the Milwaukee 8 engine performed the worst of the bunch with the reviewers stating it felt underpowered. The Guzzi with some 400 cc’s less than the pack was the best performer in the bunch. The reviewers all stated that the MGX gave off the least heat and “blew away” the Indian, Victory and the Harley. All this from an outdated power plant from a company that sells fewer bikes in one year than Harley does in one week.

        I have to give Harley credit though, till recently they sold an overpriced bike with an outdated engine and the customers drank the koolaid, essentially they wrapped their bikes in the flag along with a dose of heritage, I guess it’s what you call mystique and they sold.

        Harley is all about profits for the corporate masters who only care about the bottom line, if that wasn’t the case they’d have engineered a modern engine for their customers without losing the mystique long before they were forced to.

  15. The EPA obviously was a big part of the new engine as well as the better motors from Indian and other manufactures. Harley Davidson is a lifestyle more than anything else. A typical buyer doesn’t marvel at HD engineering or the lack of it, they are just rebelling against society similar to some japanese car buyers. They are looking to standout, bring attention to themselves, or consider it a status symbol.

  16. So go ahead, sissies, ride your Jap crap and feel PROUD……give your money to Japan who killed and tortured many Americans during WW2 and then laughed at us as we built their economy so that they could EFF us in the early 60s s, and since then, tarting with cheap electronics and then cars and motorcycles. I would NEVER ride a Jap bike. And Harleys DO rule, dudes.

  17. Hey Roberto. I’ve read several extended rants about Harley vice your Guzzi. Why are you arguing so hard, this seems like inadequacy to me, just saying…..

  18. I have a 2013 Street Glide. I bought it new and it still runs like a dream after 40k miles. It handles great and has plenty of power. If I wanted a crotch rocket touring bike, I would probably go with the Triumph Rocket 3. But, I don’t need or necessarily want a bike with that much power. I get from 0 to 90 fast enough. I like the new Street Glides as well but I don’t need a lot of gizmos such as the big screen on the console. I’ve considered the Hayabusa for fun. But, I’m having plenty of fun on the Street Glide. It’s comfortable and looks awesome. I’ve never had a single problem except for maybe going through plenty of tires. I had to change the clutch plates (Baker Racing clutch kit) around 37k. But, that’s it. And, the kit I put it in makes it feel better than when I got it. Harley is expensive. But, there’s also a certain level of quality associated with it. You can buy a Ducati, but I hear those break down a lot. You can buy a Triumph, but those break down as well. And, there’s a Harley dealership practically every where you look if you can’t fix it yourself. I like all motorcycles but I love my Harley!

  19. For the record, I own a 2000 Heritage Classic Softail. Air aspirated and it’s the greatest… Not one issue and almost 40K miles… I also own a 2016 Road Glide Ultra and have made many cross country trips without a single issue. It is a little rough ideling and gets a little warm between the legs when parked at a red light foe to long but it rides so nice that my wife is constantly falling asleep on the back…

  20. Interesting to read all the critics who believe the nonsense about oil leaks and issues with the 107 and Harley Davidson motorcycles in general. I’ve owned Suzukis, Yamahas, Hondas, a Ducati and they’re all good bikes but they are nothing like my 2017 Harley. Anyone who says it’s just a lifestyle or compensating for something are upset because they can’t afford one. Every other bike in this competition with the exception of Indian, do just one thing well. They go fast. I’m the kind of rider who wants more than just speed. I want lots of power, but I also want range (Los Angeles to Laughlin on one tank of gas), storage for overnight trips, tech like Nav, great stereo system, bluetooth connectivity, and handling and so I bought the 114 CVO. This bike has no peer on the road. It’s powerful, handles like a much smaller bike, especially at low speeds and gets gawkers everywhere I park it. I’m a veteran who served in harms way so you bet I fly a flag on it.

  21. My first bike at 59 is my 2017 Road Glide Special. It fit me like a glove right out of the crate. I absolutely love everything about it. I have nothing to compare it to. I need nothing else. I do not envy or hate other bikes. I’m blissfully ignorant in a heavenly sort of way. Congrats HD.

  22. I’ve been riding motorcycles for 45 years on the street and disparaging HD for much of that time. It was always easy to find superior motorcycles for a lot less money than what was offered with a Bar and Shield attached. I worked in a motorcycle dealership and I’ve owned offerings from Honda, Triumph, BMW, Kawasaki and most recently Moto Guzzi. This year I bought a Road King 107 and it is a very good motorcycle.

  23. I have a ’17 Road King and agree with the article above except for the improved ride comments. I don’t think the ride is improved. What would help the ride immensely is more available rear end travel than the current 3 inches or so. That relatively short distance has to cover a complete range of rider weight and add on gear in a much too short stroke. Yeah, it handles well at the expense of better ride. The high point of the package is the engine. That alone is worth trading bikes to get if you are into HD. One of the most interesting features is the EIMTS system. It’s entertaining when this system activates and that big twin goes into a mode that resembles an antique John Deere in feel and sound. Another high is the cruise control. It is the best I have ever used on a motorcycle.

  24. Harley or European or Japanese, I don’t care. As long as it has two wheels and an engine, I’m happy. Currently on a Y2K Sportster Custom that I bought for cheap so I can mod it. If you drive around (I mean around) speed limits, a Sportster is more than enough.

  25. Great engine upgrade, Milwaukee eighth less vibration, lots of power, my personal choice Harley Davidson Limited, 2017. Sorry HD cut the cb on the standard radio, and the rear bumper led light! Overall 9.5.

  26. I ride a 2001 SE Road Glide – 266,000+ Kms, on the bike – a lot of upgrades over the years. Just got back from 12 days riding in Utah (4200 kms). Love the Road Glide and Harley must like Ducati as well, because I believe they bought the company…..as long as you can ride, it does not matter what make, however I’m Harley – tried – tested and true. Ride Hard or Stay Home…. Pete.

  27. Poor Roberto…not! Sour grapes or what?! Get over it, move on and get a life! The new Harley touring bikes are awesome! The problems you had with a previous design are utterly irrelevant! Your previous Harley doesn’t even compare to the new touring bikes. <Period!

  28. I would not trade my 2017 road king for any other bike. .It’s an amazing machine …the best looking bike on any road…All other bikes look alike… nothing looks and sounds like a Harley!! It’s called pride of ownership..AND..POTATO…POTATO. POTATO.. .YES!!!!$

  29. Love & loyal to the H-D brand BUT… the machines are getting waaay too blended… water cooling…complicated tuning…(ya change a lightbulb & the damn engine needs to be retuned ???,,,, If this continues …look for the “purist” Old Schoolers to start cranking out their own rides & H-D will be left with the weekend wannabees

  30. Add some valves …take away some chrome….At the end of the day all that matters is that ya have a big cubic inch V-Twin power plant
    that peels out & sounds good

  31. Harley Davidson yet again interested in profit, not their customers, proof is they introduce a new range of 2018 CVO Street and Road Glides WITHOUT the superior twin cooled engine saving them big money in production costs. The result is them having to increase the cubes to 117 to match the previous Twin cooled power output [check the data] but then only at ambient temperatures and with less power with the effect of heat, The result of the Twin cooled engine is/was sustained power and increased torque. Inexplicably Harley then hike the price $2000+ for less rather than reduce the price. That must be for the extra two $10 speakers. Harley buyers must be totally dumb, well Harley must think so.
    The specific heat of water or water/glycol is about twice that of oil, water dissipates heat MUCH more efficiently. So a given volume of water may absorb more engine heat than can the same volume of oil. Therefore, water may be a better coolant if an engine is permanently producing large amounts of heat, making it better for high-performance engines.
    Oil/Air cooled engines are low cost to buy and maintaine. Almost N0 special maintenance required. Water cooling gives you better heat transfer and keeps engine in peak performance all the time but require separate maintenance.

    Conclusion
    Oil cooling is a term used by manufactures for Oil Assisted Air cooled engines, and provides inferior cooling effect than that of water.

  32. This Roberto sounds like he’s trying to justify to everyone why he no longer rides Harley’s! Fact is, no body else gives a s
    hit. Be honest man, if you could afford it, you’d ride a Harley!

  33. I just bought a 2017 Road King Hard Candy Custom Red Metalflake. I road-tested the Indians and the BMWs, and they were not anywhere as nice to ride or the Harleys. I love the looks of the Indian, but despite what the magazines say, the ride and handling and acceleration of the Indians was poor compared to the Harleys. The BMW is an anachronism. The Road Glide and Ultras are just too heavy and I like the Road King look better.

  34. Coke – Pepsi, Ford – Chevy, Harley – Indian… It doesn’t matter what you drink, drive or ride, as long as you enjoy it. I never read movie reviews, car reviews or motorcycle reviews, why? Because I don’t care what other people’s opinions are, I like what I like and that is all that matters.

    BTW… Coke, Cadillac, and Harley

  35. I rode a low mileage older version Road King the same day as a new 2017 M8 Road King and not just a short test ride, I rented the 2017 for an entire day of riding. Everything they say that is better on the new Road King is true. That said I bought a 850 mile like new 2013 Gold Wing F6B for less than 1/2 the price and its better in every way and not just by a little bit. Cornering, power, braking, shifting, comfort with less heat and vibration on the rider and passenger. The Harley might be the most improved bike but it isn’t even close to being a better overall motorcycle the the Gold Wing platform bike.

  36. Let the haters hate. They’re not on a Harley any more and that’s that !!! I’ll bet they bitch and moan on all the rides as well. “The Teton’s aren’t tall enough. The PCH is not pretty enough. Yellowstone is not big enough” Etc…………..
    Ride whatever you want. Mine is an HD and it will always be that way !!!

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