There’s a reason why the Street Glide is one of the Motor Company’s best sellers.
Story by Jessica Kline
Photos by: Alessio Barbanti
As I cruised down some backcountry roads in the middle of Croatia, Bryan Adams’ song “Open Road” randomly started playing on the Boom! Box 6.5GT Infotainment System of the 2018 Harley-Davidson Street Glide I was riding. While belting out the familiar lyrics, “Let the engines roar . . . who knows where I’m going . . .” I giggled in my helmet while smiling and nearly tearing up at the irony of the situation I was in.
It’s not often I get an invite to travel to Croatia to test out new metal, and yet here I was on a beast of a machine with no idea where I was going, yet at the same time not really caring. I was free; it was just the wide open road, epic scenery and the familiar rumble of the V-twin engine of my bike and my fellow riders’ bikes who accompanied me on the adventure of a lifetime. There was no missing the torquey feeling of the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine on that bike, along with a throaty sound that followed through the dual exhaust pipes.
While I’ll admit touring bikes are not my favourite type of motorcycle to ride due to the sheer size and weight of them, I was impressed by the smooth handling and power of the Street Glide. It makes for a solid touring bike thanks to its comfort, and additional features like hand-adjustable rear shock absorbers for increased preload adjustment. I tested out this model in pretty varied terrain, consisting of rolling hills and mountains with sharp switchbacks, twists and turns in addition to straight back roads, busy city streets and, of course, beautiful roads sweeping alongside the Adriatic Sea. The life of a biker sure is a tough one sometimes.
My personal preference is sportier bikes that I can really lean into a corner with, usually with more centred foot controls versus forward controls. Either way, I was still able to navigate this bike through some pretty gnarly turns, and was also able to manoeuvre it fairly easily through a bit of construction and stopped traffic. In Croatia, lane splitting is common, and rather than struggle with the clutch and sit in the 26 C heat, I carefully cruised through lanes of traffic to get to our final destination, Le Méridien Lav, located in the city of Split.
Built for the Masses
This bike is relatively unchanged for 2018, aside from additional colour options. After major improvements made last year, I suppose the old adage “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” applies here. This sleek bike features a fork-mounted batwing fairing, hard saddlebags and enforcer cast-aluminum wheels. It’s an all-around attractive, modern machine that commands attention on the road. Check out the 2018 Street Glide Special if you want additional features that include blacked-out engine, forks, handlebars and hand controls, mirrors, tank console, exhaust, air-cleaner cover and more, plus those sexy black front and rear Talon wheels.
The Street Glide is no longer an old man’s bike. Harley-Davidson has worked hard to create a bike that suits a variety of riders, from the younger generation to middle-aged and beyond. For those women who enjoy a solid mid-weight bagger, and enjoy cruising highway or backcountry roads, then this bike is a solid option and worth a test ride to check it out further.
The introduction of the Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-twin in 2017 was a game changer for Harley-Davidson. With 1,746 cc to play with, this four-valves-per-cylinder V-twin engine adds additional torque and faster acceleration compared to its predecessors. It was also designed to reduce the heat being emitted from the engine, so despite wearing all black in hot weather, the engine heat wasn’t causing me to overheat. The increased power was noticeable as we passed slower-moving vehicles on those narrow Croatian roads. Following big tour buses on twisty roads was truly painful, so I was able to accelerate and pass quickly, smoothly and safely. The newer engine was designed to also keep in mind emissions compliancy and fuel…