Quick Read: 2018 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra

Harley Road Glide Ultra
2018 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra. Photos by Kevin Wing.

Editor’s Note: This Quick Read is part of our Luxury Touring Bike Comparison, which you can read here.

As we’ve reported in previous road tests and comparisons, Harley-Davidson’s Touring family has been steadily improved and refined over the past several years. The evolution began with the 2014 model year, when Project Rushmore brought performance upgrades, infotainment systems, ergonomic improvements and more to Harley’s long-haul lineup. And hell didn’t freeze over when The Motor Company snuck in precision liquid cooling on several models, with twin radiators tucked into the fairing lowers and the plumbing well hidden to maintain a traditional look.

Harley Road Glide Ultra
Rider and passenger seats are plush but lack electric heating. Trunk and saddlebags are easy to open with one hand, but they must be manually locked.

Another leap forward came with the 2017 model year, when Harley introduced the Milwaukee-Eight engine platform—the ninth generation of the Big Twin, named after its birthplace and number of valves—which offers faster throttle response, more torque, better sound, improved fuel economy and a smoother ride than the Twin Cam engine. Touring models also got new Showa suspension—a dual bending valve fork and emulsion rear shocks with a remote preload adjuster—that enhance ride control and quality. Together, these improvements earned the entire Touring family Rider’s Motorcycle of the Year award for 2017.

Harley Road Glide Ultra
The Harley’s V-twin may be the smallest here, but it still packs a punch and is the only one with partial liquid cooling, making bothersome engine heat a thing of the past.

The Road Glide Ultra has an air/liquid-cooled 1,746cc (107ci) V-twin, a 6-speed transmission, a hydraulic assist-and-slipper clutch and linked ABS brakes. Standard equipment includes a heel/toe shifter, height-adjustable passenger floorboards, the Boom! Box 6.5GT infotainment system (with a 6.5-inch color touchscreen, voice recognition, navigation, intercom, CB, Bluetooth, SiriusXM satellite radio and more), a Daymaker LED dual headlight, cruise control, the Smart Security System with hands-free fob, a luggage rack, two 12V sockets and a USB port.

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Harley Road Glide Ultra
The Harley’s infotainment system has the smallest screen, the least intuitive interface and limited vehicle information.

2018 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra Specs

Base Price: $26,399
Price as Tested: $27,499 (two-tone)
Warranty: 2 yrs., unltd. miles
Website: harley-davidson.com

Engine

Type: Air/liquid-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: ESPFI w/ 55mm throttle body
Lubrication System: Dry sump, 5.2-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated wet 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/6.7 in.
Seat Height: 29 in.
Suspension, Front: 49mm stanchions, no adj., 4.6-in. travel
Rear: Dual shocks, adj. preload w/ remote knob, 3.0-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 300mm floating discs w/ opposed 4-piston calipers, fully linked & ABS
Rear: Single 300mm fixed disc w/ opposed 4-piston caliper, fully linked & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.00 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast, 5.00 x 16 in.
Tires, Front: 130/80-B17
Rear: 180/65-B16
Wet Weight: 925 lbs.
Load Capacity: 435 lbs.
GVWR: 1,360 lbs.

Performance

Fuel Capacity: 6.0 gals., last 1.0 gal. warning light on
MPG: 91 PON min. (low/avg/high) 37.9/38.2/38.6
Estimated Range: 229 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 2,300

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