Harley-Davidson’s Softail line made a huge leap forward for 2018, getting the Milwaukee-Eight Big Twin that was introduced last year on Touring models, an all-new chassis with a lighter, stronger frame and Showa suspension, and fresh styling. The shocker for traditionalists was the demise of the Dyna line, with most models folded into the Softail family. When Harley-Davidson made the announcement last August, there were eight new Softails sharing a common, flexible architecture.
Read our 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail first ride review
One of the Dyna models that didn’t make the cut for the 2018 Softail team is the Wide Glide. But the Motor Company has just announced a ninth Softail model, the all-new Sport Glide, a factory custom that Harley calls a “quick-change artist” because its small fairing and saddlebags can be removed, transforming it from light-duty tourer to a boulevard cruiser.
Like other Softails, the Sport Glide is build around an all-new steel frame with a rigid-mounted, dual-counterbalanced, air-cooled Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-Twin. Inspired by the classic batwing, the shapely fairing is designed to deflect wind away from the rider’s chest while keeping the helmet in open air. For those wanting more protection, the standard 1.5-inch-high windscreen can be replaced with an accessory screen that’s 4 inches taller. The fairing secures to the fork tubes with quick-release clamps for no-hassle removal or installation.
Read our 2018 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic road test review
Lockable, rigid saddlebags with 53.8 liters (1.9 cubic feet) of capacity have clamshell design, making them easy to load and unload, and a damping device in the lids ensures smooth operation. Removing the quick-release bags leaves mounting points that are barely visible. Accessories can provide additional luggage capacity, including a sissy bar upright, a luggage rack or a Tour-Pak mounting rack, each with the new HoldFast Detachable latch system for Softails that allows them to be removed or installed quickly.
The Sport Glide has a low, 25.7-inch seat height and forward-mounted foot controls. A Daymaker LED headlight with an LED accent ring leads the way and is complemented by an LED tail/brake lamp and LED rear turn signals. A USB charging port, keyless ignition and the Smart Security System are standard equipment.
The Sport Glide has a 43mm upside-down cartridge fork, a single rear shock with remote hydraulic preload adjustment and standard ABS. It rolls on new Mantis cast-aluminum wheels, 18-inch front and 16-inch rear, shod with Michelin Scorcher 31 performance tires.
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide is offered in three solid colors: Vivid Black, Twisted Cherry and Silver Fortune. Pricing starts at $18,599.
Not sure where the “sport” comes in here. The Sport Glide has close to the least cornering clearance of any of the Softail models.
I could really go for a Sport Glide with the full batwing fairing of the Street Glide with the Softail’s low frame.