Raw and bare, stripped of all the arguably distracting bells and whistles that Bluetooth-connected, GPS-dependent riders have been coddled with, Harley’s new FLHT Electra Glide Standard is the epitome of simplicity. As a mid-year release, the bike signifies a back-to-basics, cut-the-fat approach geared to attract riders at a reasonable $18,999. Compared to the Electra Glide Ultra’s $24,589 or the Street Glide’s $21,289, the Standard is the lowest-priced offering in H-D’s touring line.
Described as a dressed down dresser, the Electra Glide Standard does away with the radio and instead depends on the ultra-smooth Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-twin to set the tempo. Importantly, the iconic batwing fairing with a clear, mid-height windshield and a single halogen headlight are retained, though its foam-covered speaker holes are empty as is the gaping slot for the LCD screen, which now serves as a phone or glove holder during pit stops.
The dished solo seat sits at 26.1 inches, which made it extremely comfortable for my 6-foot-3 build. With a minimalist amount of chrome, the bike maintains a sleek and intimidating look that will still turn heads with the purity of its black paint job (and it only comes in Vivid Black).
The Electra Glide Standard comes with large One Touch saddlebags. spacious floorboards and a standard shift lever in place of the usual heel-toe shifter. Its naked front fender covers a 17-inch black machined Impeller wheel that is accented by chrome fork skirts.
Handling was impressive at all speeds during a daylong press ride through Florida’s swampland near Daytona Beach. The fat 130/80 front tire meant I had to put a little more effort into steering it, but the still-nimble, 820-pound bike felt firmly connected to the asphalt. With 26 degrees of rake and 6.7 inches of trail, it provides stable, comfortable cruising for days, especially with the Showa Dual Bending Valve front fork and dual emulsion shocks in the back.
This no-frills bike is not for beginners, nor is it billed as such. It is an attractive and attractively priced piece of American iron that will appeal to a wide swath of financially conscious riders. It gives a rider the basics that matter to get them out on the open road or into a dealership. And it is prepped to be incrementally customized as riding seasons pass–a deliberate Harley marketing plan.
The streamlined beauty and Milwaukee-Eight power should hopefully make the Electra Glide Standard a lasting hit in Harley’s touring line.
Kali Kotoski is the Managing Editor of Rider’s sister publication Thunder Press.