Custom – Ultra Classic 2012 test: cruising has fun! – 47 years of good and loyal service!


Ultra Classic 2012 test: cruising has fun !

Custom - Ultra Classic 2012 test: cruising has fun! - 47 years of good and loyal service!

More than 3,000 kilometers on the handlebars of the Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide 2012 should make it possible to identify the qualities and the faults of the US flagship, which now packs 1,690 cc … Last autumn road trip in music !

47 years of good and loyal service !

Like good wine, the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide gets better with age. Born almost half a century ago, it was the first motorcycle of the brand to adopt an electric starter in 1965 – hence its name. At the time, it only cubed 1,200 cc, or 74 "cubic inches" among Americans..

Her timeless line is immortalized in many films and series where she plays the role of official bike for the US cops. This Touring model has changed very little over the decades, so much so that only enlightened specialists will be able to distinguish at a glance the exact vintage of an Electra..

103 ci engine

The "103" proudly displayed on the 2012 Ultra Classic crankcases is not a tribute to the glorious Peugeot mopeds … but simply indicates the machine‘s passage from 1584 to 1690 cc (103 "cubic inch"). This engine, which appeared in 2010, had previously only benefited from the Electra Glide Ultra Limited..

As the years went by, the American manufacturer was forced to increase the displacement of its engines to thwart the increasingly draconian antipollution standards, while retaining the driving pleasure specific to the brand..

Aladdin’s bikers

For an event which was only in its second edition, the concentration of the motorcycle club was a resounding success. It is true that she benefited from simply perfect weather conditions !

The highlight of the weekend, the Sunday morning ride brought together more than 1000 machines (motorcycles, sides and trikes) under a radiant sun. Thanks to meals, refreshments and other activities, the club will give a check for € 5,000 to the benefit of those who work to fulfill the wishes of sick children..

See you next year !

To test this Electra with dignity, it took a trip to match the capabilities of this motorcycle cut for the great American spaces … The invitation of the Motorigoles motorcycle club to their large annual concentration in favor of the Aladin association (see box opposite) was therefore an excellent opportunity to set limits on this beautiful American.

The event is held on the border between the Gironde and the Dordogne, in Saint-Avit Saint-Nazaire to be precise. To do well, MNC has decided to complete this outing with a short walk along the ocean to the Pyrenees, before finding the Parisian traffic jams. !

From Bordeaux to Bordeaux

The Ultra Classic 2012 that Harley-Davidson France entrusts to us looks great in its burgundy red livery. This slightly glittery paint perfectly highlights the famous "Batwing" fairing, while bringing out the engine and the chrome..

This is also the opinion of an owner of an Ultra Limited crossed during the concentration: disappointed by the rendering of his fireman red and black motorcycle, he literally drooled on the dress of our mount … A little more and the guy started to dismantle our fairing !

Before setting off for this long journey, MNC charges the beast. No problem at this level since our brave tester goes solo and for one week only. And although he has always struggled to travel light, all of his belongings fit comfortably.

It should be noted all the same that the two 25-liter suitcases are quite narrow: impossible to fit a large piece of luggage and it is better to provide several small bags: a toiletry bag, a pair of shoes, a clean linen bag, another dirty laundry, etc..

Inspection in order

The top-case lined with carpet, called Tour Pack from the American manufacturer, on the other hand offers a very nice volume. A good size piece of luggage can be accommodated without any problem on departure, or two full-face helmets on arrival.

The two storage compartments that take place in the two lower left and right fairings leave the traveler much more skeptical. Their closure by a simple leather cover held in place by pressures hardly inspires confidence and as their access is not practical, one always wonders what they can be used for….

We will therefore only leave a few rags to wipe the windshield or the saddle in case of rain, while we would have liked a more "safe" and more accessible storage compartment to slip in your phone, change or a toll ticket…

Read the instructions before use

The Ultra Classic offers many functions that must be mastered, under penalty of struggling a little in the middle of all these buttons. Despite everything, we quickly get used to the cruise control as well as the MP3 CD audio installation.

Among the many dials, we would have appreciated a little more useful information on the dashboard such as the outside temperature. But the essential is there, with in particular the remaining autonomy. You will have to stick in a corner a small digital thermometer at 5 € available in all bazaars !

Be careful before you rail against the lack of a 12V socket: it is hidden at the bottom left of the monumental fork crown. The windshield is fixed but you can effectively modulate the air flow thanks to two adjustable deflectors under the handlebars and air intakes in the legs.

The "HD Smart" transponder system protects the motorcycle when parking and also prevents the rider from having to take the key out of his pocket to ride … so to say! Because in practice, we often use the ignition key to unlock the Neiman or simply open a suitcase that we will of course not have left in self-service if we have placed valuables there. Suddenly, we start dreaming of a small remote control for centralized opening of the luggage room…

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