Custom – Ultra Classic 2012 test: cruising has fun! – Kilometer proof

TEST

Ultra Classic 2012 test: cruising has fun !

Custom - Ultra Classic 2012 test: cruising has fun! - Kilometer proof

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 !

To the test of kilometers

It’s fresh as a roach – and with all its points! – that the "MNC biker" arrives at destination after 700 km of road, with no other break than refueling stops. The seat has been preserved thanks to the very good comfort of the saddle and the lumbars do not hurt despite the very upright riding position.

The cervicals have also been preserved by the good protection of the fairing: our test bike is equipped with a high windshield that the 1m80 riders will have no trouble looking over. The little ones will keep the low windshield that originally equips the Street Glide. Only the protection of the legs fishes a little, especially in the rain.

For two days, the concentration of Motorigoles is punctuated by two walks, each bringing together between 700 and 1000 machines (motorbike, sides and other trikes). For the one on Saturday which will see us stop for a tasting at the famous Château de Monbazillac, the official photographer of the demonstration takes place behind us.

The evolutions at low speed in the middle of hundreds of motorcycles, in duo and all under a blazing sun, are quite physical. Add to that the heat coming up from the engine – bad! – air cooled and you get a good sweat in the jacket !

Minister’s chair

Despite a cover supposed to protect his right thigh, the pilot has the impression of being in the sauna. Fortunately, this inconvenience is only felt in the context of a rather particular use: the Electra is not made for the parades in step !

Behind, the photographer is in heaven: comfortably seated thanks to the wide backrest and the huge passenger footrests, he is perfectly at ease doing his job. Curiously, the Electra does not offer a grab handle for the passenger but it is perfectly wedged and only regrets their absence during heavy braking … which remain exceptional on this type of motorcycle..

Our passenger of the day wiggles a lot from side to side, bends over, even turns around, without really affecting the handling of the Harley. The driver simply corrects the movements of the end of the long handlebars: easy !

Well, highways and concentrates are very nice, but MNC also wants to savor the small roads of the Pyrenees and the Basque Country … After two days of Motorigoles, our Electra Glide is therefore heading south !

Beautiful but desperately straight, the roads of the Landes do not yet allow worthy testing of the dynamic qualities of the Electra. Very quickly, fortunately, the Pyrenees loomed on the horizon and offered us their first curves…

Surprising Electra

The Ultra Classic immediately shows surprising ease. Healthy and rather light to swing from one turn to another, it also offers astonishing ground clearance. With its cycle part overhauled in 2009, this 430 kg Touring takes more angle than the motorcycles of the Dyna range which rub quite quickly.

However, unlike the Dyna’s retractable footrests which slide smoothly on the asphalt, the Electra‘s rigidly mounted frames tend to destabilize the machine during large inclinations (especially on the left)..

Far from being sporty, the rhythm of the Electra can be playful and playful, in perfect harmony with this type of machine. !

From a dynamic point of view, the only real criticism of this Electra is its front axle: imperturbable in 95% of cases, it can be frankly unstable at high speed or by rolling a little hard in badly coated ferrules. The front wheel then begins to scull in a disturbing manner.

It must be said that this poor front end is subject to enormous constraints, since the entire Batwing fairing rests directly on the fork and the enormous hyper supplied dashboard. On all other motorcycles of this size, the fairing is integral with the frame and the fork therefore only supports the handlebars and the front wheel. !

Castrated certainly, but joking

Despite the 106 cc (cubic centimeters) gained by its V-twin, we feel the Harley terribly suffocated and constrained, particularly in the exhaust. Nevertheless, the block of 103 ci (cubic inches) offers a nice driving pleasure up to 100-120 km / h.

On small roads, we take advantage of the torque present at the bottom (134 Nm at 3,500 rpm) and above all of the remarkable flexibility of the twin cylinder. The gearbox is firm but rather pleasant to use with the double selector that we tame very quickly.

Of course, the cycle part as the mechanics prefer a fluid piloting and made of anticipation, rather than being abused brutally..

The Electra brakes pretty well … for a "Big" Harley! If the bite and the feeling are not necessarily there, the two front brake discs manage to slow rather correctly the 600 kg of the machine and its passengers. To do this, you have to squeeze the big front brake lever..

The price is forgotten, the pleasure remains !

Just in case, ABS is there to prevent wheel lockup. The latter may be almost impossible in the dry, it becomes quite plausible in the wet..

Although the Electra is aimed at an experienced and rather wise clientele who will bet more on anticipation than on improvisation, the presence of such a system reassures and will perhaps avoid a rather stupid fall … and especially very expensive !

The 3000 kilometers or so passed by MNC on the handlebars of Miss Electra obviously brought out its small and big flaws, as well as its peculiarities specific to motorcycles of character. But they also revealed to us a very endearing machine, on which we take great pleasure … in music !

Remains its price which puts it out of reach of many bikers, since the Ultra Classic sees its price oscillate between 26,290 and 27,690 € depending on the color chosen. We will console ourselves at the time of resale – but why part with it? – because American motorcycles are less expensive than Japanese or European ones.

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