Before we get to the new engine let’s lay down the ground rule about the ‘Touring’ range from Harley of which this new Street Glide is a part. This Touring range was designed for the US. So, on straight, well-paved roads with long sweeping corners, the Street Glide, well, glides along. It feels planted, relaxed and effortless. It’s almost lovely.
The seating position with the tall and wide handlebar, and the large, sofa-like and supportive seat, is spot on for long-distance riding. So, if it's a Mumbai-Delhi or a Delhi-Kolkata trip you are planning in the winter months, the Street Glide will work like a charm.
But, show the Street Glide tight corners, bumpy or poorly laid roads or even road joints on a bridge, and things can get very uncomfortable. The new suspension has stiff springs with soft damping and very little travel. Naturally then, it gets quite jumpy over ripples and re-laid tarmac. It also tends to crash quite harshly into any sharp edge the road might throw up, the rear in particular.
Then when it comes to tight corners, two things happen. If you are slow, the front end wants to tuck in so you must apply constant and significant amounts of countersteer to hold your line. It's a lot of work. However, if you choose to be brave and enter a corner fast, you will run out of clearance the moment you tip the bike in. And this can be scary too because more often than not, the bike will end up running wide. As for the brakes, the Glide might have twin rotors upfront but the brake feel and bite for a bike that can gather quite a momentum feel inadequate.
Now, to the engine. And we must say, we quite like it.
Harley has made significant changes over the older Twin Cam motor. The engine runs four valves and two spark plugs per cylinder; it has a new combustion chamber design; and it runs higher compression ratio too. Harley also claims its engineers have all-round smart cooling solutions for the engine and thanks to a better balanced engine that’s now rubber mounted to the frame, vibrations are history.
And they are almost right! The new 107ci engine is smooth and almost vibe-free. Even when it is revved to the limit, which is barely 5,500rpm, it doesn't feel coarse or agricultural. Ride it at 80kmph in 6th gear and you will barely hear or feel the engine.
Moreover, the 107 has loads of torque that's accessible from the word go. Even the slightest of throttle openings – no matter the engine revs – gets you motoring along effortlessly. The throttle response is crisp but it’s never snatchy, and it's light to roll-on as well.
The engine gives the Street Glide the legs to cruise in excess of 120kmph all day without bother and thanks to the thickly laid torque right from the start, one rarely needs to work the gearbox to overtake or maintain a high cruising speed. This engine clearly is the highlight of the new Street Glide package.
But, it has its share of downsides. The gearbox is horribly clunky and though Harley claims the Milwaukee runs cooler than before – which we agree it does – it can still get quite hot.