Custom – Long-distance test: 1400 km in duet with the Road Glide Ultra – Road Glide Ultra test: practical aspects

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Long-distance test: 1400 km in duet with the Road Glide Ultra

Custom - Long-distance test: 1400 km in duet with the Road Glide Ultra - Road Glide Ultra test: practical aspects

Reintroduced in France last year, the Harley-Davidson Road Glide with its shark nose went to Ultra in 2016 for long, comfortable journeys. What is this motorcycle close to the luxurious Electra in duo worth and loaded ?

Answers after 1400 km of testing.

Road Glide Ultra test: practical aspects

In terms of protection, the Road Glide Ultra does not have much to envy its "cousin" Electra Glide Ultra Limited, with a few details: its windshield – with a height of 34 cm on this version "Ultra" – ensures flawless deflection of the driver’s chest, helmet and shoulders.

Eddies and other turbulence are perfectly controlled thanks to openings at the bottom of the bubble and "tunnels" on either side of the headlights. No thrust phenomenon in the back is to be deplored, even at very high speed. Mention very well for the upper body … with the exception of the hands, totally exposed.

The legs are properly protected, but not enough to get through a short downpour without having the outside of the thighs soaked, unlike some bikes in this class like the. Likewise, the deflectors placed at the bottom of the fork crown do not completely protect the knees..

The passenger enjoys overall the same satisfactory level of protection, although slight turbulence appears on expressways at 130 km / h (just above 3000 rpm in 6th gear) depending on its size. The outside of his legs, spread around the pilot, is also at the same time more exposed. In cold or rainy weather, the guest will be the first to request a stop to put on rain gear !

In terms of practicality, the Road Glide Ultra puts the small dishes in the big ones: 12 V socket under the left storage compartment and in the top case, USB cable in the right storage compartment to recharge most electronic devices , regulator, keyless start (transponder), complete "Ultra" instrumentation including, among other things, the gear engaged, the fuel gauge, two trips, the time, the air temperature … All to scroll from the handlebars (see the complete list of information on page 4).

As standard, the American is equipped with the latest generation of multimedia platform, including the enormous 16.25 cm color screen – a real tablet! – displays data from the GPS and the on-board sound system. Very easy to use thanks to the joysticks placed on each switch, this "Boom Box" can be connected by Bluetooth to a Smartphone, to scroll through your musical playlists but also your list of contacts on the dashboard. !

As in a car equipped with a hands-free device, making or receiving a phone call or dictating a text message becomes childishly simple … preferably when stationary in the humble opinion of MNC even if it is possible while driving. We would prefer – by far! – activate the function of automatically sending a text message to people seeking to reach you, to warn them that you are on the handlebars !

As during our tests of the Electra Ultra Ltd and the three-wheeler, MNC remains stunned by the qualities of this sophisticated installation, which shines by its overall intuitive operation but also the power delivered by its speakers (2 to the front, 2 rear).

The tones of the music remain perfectly audible up to 100 km / h, which is far from being the case with other sound systems on the market. On the other hand, if the available power covers aerodynamic noise above 110/120 km / h, the sound loses too much clarity to remain pleasantly audible. The Electra and the Tri Glide did better in this area, undoubtedly benefited by their protection a notch higher.

Note, however, that this excellent system is not free from possible misfires: on our test bike, the radio did not work – impossible to change the frequencies – and the GPS displayed incomplete data (no display of the mileage or the journey time), even contradictory. Thus, the first route configured without a motorway (in a somewhat tedious way, via the sub-menus) took us directly … to the motorway !

In addition, the sound adjustment function according to the speed was faulty, while that dealing with the automatic management of the brightness was not very responsive. Not able to correct all these bugs before our departure, Harley-Davidson France assured us that they were due to a need for an update…

All these functions being adjustable via the touch screen and the handlebars, the stems are quite "loaded". As such, MNC regrets a certain lack of logic at the origin of certain boondoggles. The most striking example concerns the headlight control, identical in shape and appearance to that of the horn located next to it..

At night, honk loudly – a barge is more discreet! – by wanting to switch from code to headlight or vice versa is common … Backlit controls, as on some Ducati or KTM, would have been indicated to improve the identification of these buttons in night driving. A good hearer…

On the right side, it is the same thing between the contact switch and the warnings, similar and side by side: be careful not to reverse them in traffic jams! The "problem" is known since H-D France told us that some owners – yet experienced – had already cut the engine by wanting to trigger the warnings on the device! Hello, the stress stroke…

Finally, last detail "ergonomic-practical": if one appreciates the presence of a double-branch selector for changing gears, the lack of spacing adjustment on the brake and clutch levers is detrimental. Especially since both are relatively far from the handlebars and hard to operate … Strength sessions guaranteed for small hands !

Take the superfluous, in addition to the essentials !

Regarding luggage, the Road Glide Ultra recovers the Tour Pack of the Electra, consisting of a large top-case inside which two full-face helmets fit and where there is a classy leather pouch for carrying papers. Not very wide but deep, the rigid suitcases can be closed over two pairs of boots and motorcycle gloves: practical for a "light" walk once arrived at your destination.

On the other hand, if the opening and closing of this luggage has gained enormously in ease (the small lever of the suitcases is easily manipulated with one hand), it is regrettable that a central locking is not available on a motorcycle of this standing. This system, used in particular on certain BMW motorcycles, is only offered on the even more luxurious CVOs….

In addition, the storage compartments are not very practical, because too deep on the left and not lockable on both sides. At each stop, remember to pick up your precious objects such as the phone … or the bank card which systematically slides to the bottom of the left space (MNC tip: placing the card on a soft cloth will solve this problem) !

In addition, their automatic closing system requires the use of two hands: one to hold the cover open, the other to catch the desired object. Not very practical, just like the gas cap admittedly covered with a magnificent chrome hood but without hinges…

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