2019 Harley-Davidson FLHT Electra Glide Standard | First Ride Review

2019 Harley-Davidson FLHT Electra Glide Standard
With Harley’s iconic batwing fairing, cruising was comfortable on the outskirts of the Ocala National Forest near Daytona Beach, Florida. Photos by Brian J. Nelson.

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.

2019 Harley-Davidson FLHT Electra Glide Standard
No speakers or LCD screen, just four essential gauges.

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.

2019 Harley-Davidson FLHT Electra Glide Standard
The ultra-smooth Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-twin engine is the bike’s biggest selling point.

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.

2019 Harley-Davidson FLHT Electra Glide Standard
The 2019 Harley-Davidson FLHT Electra Glide Standard’s minimalist approach focuses on utility.

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.

2019 Harley-Davidson FLHT Electra Glide Standard
Generous saddlebag capacity is retained, while removing the left saddlebag with one click gives easy access to make quick, toolless preload adjustments.

Kali Kotoski is the Managing Editor of Rider’s sister publication Thunder Press.

12 COMMENTS

  1. This is new?? Maybe returning to the stable, but definitely not new. I’m thinking that it’s a back to basics motorcycle because of the dropping motorcycle sales industry wide. This bike is good, though. I can’t possibly believe that I’m the only rider who doesn’t need all the bells and whistles of the super bloated and ultra expensive touring motorcycles we have now. Forty grand for a bike is, in my scheme of things, ridiculous. This is still expensive for a base model, but when it’s more than $20,000 less (msrp) than H-D’s CVO E.G. STARTING price of $40,000, it’s a relative bargain. There are a lot of us who prefer to hear the engine noise as well as the open air sounds you’ll hear when riding. Long winded comment, I know, but I will say that H-D deserves credit for having the guts to go TRULY retro. Bravo and best of luck with this model.

    • I agree with you. My ‘84 Tour Glide doesn’t have radio or any other fancy stuff to interfere with sheer riding pleasure & the purring if the drivetrain &, like you mentioned, the open air sounds. Just basic carb’d Evo, 5-speed, fairing with 2 lockable storage areas, 2 lockable saddlebags & lockable King Tour Pack.

  2. Design a motorcycle for 400 lb. Riders; They would love to ride a motorcycle like everyone else. Not everyone weighs 98lbs

  3. Hi Kali, why is this bike not for beginners? What about it makes it a challenge for beginners?

    Sincerely curious! Thanks!

    • I’m not Kali but I’ve ridden a lot of miles on a lot of bikes.
      1) This bike is really heavy, which means:
      a) It’s not well suited to learning balancing skills on, because mistakes will have you trying to pick it back up. Having said that… its center of gravity is low, which means it’s not as tippy as some other bike, and it has crash bars which prevent it from falling all the way over. All the same, beginners would likely be best served learning good habits on a lighter bike.
      b) It’s not well suited to learning all those skills about not getting into places you can’t get out of. I remember parking my 400 lb first bike nose first down an incline and having to shove it back up the hill by bouncing the forks and catching the bounce with the brakes. I probably would have had to call a tow on this bike.
      2) This bike is really long and has slow reflexes. You have to a good intuition on how plan your way through curves on long, low bikes because you only have so much ability to react and change course as you go. Smaller more agile bikes are more forgiving to mistakes. It’s immensely satisfying to get a curve right on a cruiser because their safe limits aren’t usually too far above the speed limit, but you only get a few big mistakes over the course of your riding career and heavy slow bikes can commit you to a mistake you might steer out of on something more forgiving.
      3) This bike is expensive. Its a big commitment for a beginner and repairs will be expensive. IMO it is wise to start on a small and cheap bike, so your mistakes will be small and cheap as well.
      Ride safe.

      • FLHT Electra Glide Standard, I do not believe; markets it’s self as an entry level bike. I like the idea of a bike refined for one. Build and equip an individual bike to an individuals WANT. I will trade soon.

  4. Does this have the old standard FLH-bagger suspension or does it still have the slammed suspension like last year’s?

    No reason to have more limited suspension travel than the Road King, etc, not to mention comfort.

  5. I too prefer the non radio HD and for that reason, I opted for a Heritage Softail Classic back in 2015 and it’s been a great bike. I would enjoy the better accessible saddle bags and I wouldn’t mind if it had cruise control to aid my carpal tunnel aggravated right hand. (does it have that at least?) Mine has the 104 engine and I swapped the stock pipes for a set of 2-1 Cobra’s, added a K&N air filter and a tuner so it runs really good and sounds fantastic. But if stock 107 would outrun it and I would think it would, I’d be plenty content to ride it stock. This may be the one I replace my current HD with.

  6. My favorite touring bike bar non and it’s made by Harley-Davidson…… No Radio! No Bluetooth! Great riding position… ride all day long… extremely comfortable…… brilliant design and really good handling for an 800 lb motorcycle…….. it’s why they are chosen by all the police departments

  7. This bike should appeal to me … it has everything that I want, nothing that I don’t. I could even endure the black but why do they put that red Harley sign on the tank? Please, offer some basic color choices: black, silver, green, red … it’s the perfect touring Harley for folks who want the fairing but not the electronics.

  8. Really glad Harley brought this bike back ,I have an 06 , and it has been a great bike, I would definitely give this one a second look.

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