Author Topic: Road Glide Ultra test ride  (Read 594 times)

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Offline luv2fly

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Road Glide Ultra test ride
« on: August 30, 2018, 02:25:47 pm »
A few days ago I received an email invite to test ride a Harley. Signed right up and chose the Road Glide. If I were going to buy a new touring Harley, that'd be it.  Went to Harley Davidson of Fort Wayne, emailed Marcus back and forth. Because of events beyond my control at work I was a few hours late for my scheduled appointment. No problem. Marcus was very friendly and welcoming and set me up with a salesman ("fitment" something or other) named Brian. Told Brian to give me a tour and let me ride any Road Glide I wanted to. I stood there dumbfounded. Can you imagine ANY dealer dealing in vehicles of ANY kind saying "Point at what you want to ride/drive!". After giving me a complete tour of the entire building, including the dark and barely used corners, Bran began talking to me in detail about the bikes and the differences in trim levels. ABS, Nav, etc. Told him I wanted a true touring machine, not a barely ridden bar hopper. He explained the Ultra's have a larger front tire. Thats what I wanted to seem but didn't see and Road Glide Ultras on the floor. Without saying a word he took me outside to the 2 '19's they had. I was genuinely impressed with the infotainment system. the Nav, phone interface, comm's capabilities, not what I expected on a Harley.



Suiting up for the test ride Brian couldn't have been more accomodating telling me the best places to go. Instead of paying close attention I asked if his boss would allow him to tag along. One big grin later and a "hell, yea" he was off to grab a bike. He returned shortly on a 114 Fat Bob. Following him we headed out. I was quickly shocked at the acceleration of that Fat Bob. Which only encouraged me to crank on the RG to keep up. Acceleration of the RG was equally impressive. Gents, I didn't know HD made a bike like this. For an 800 pound bike, the thing hustled. Easily chirped the tire in the 1-2 shift. Dipped her down low in some twisty bits and she hung right in there. Couldn't hide all that weight, but compared to my 99 RK, she's a ballet dancer. Brakes were also equally on par. Not a sport bike, but again, so much better than my 99. Great sounding factory pipes. I wouldn't change them. I was REALLY enjoying the ride - UNTIL -----



At about 3/4 throttle something was obviously wrong. Check engine light was on and running on 1 cylinder. Limp home mode I assumed. Pulled up next to Brian with the bike shaking like a solid mount. While telling him what happened she died. In 3 lanes of traffic and I was in the middle lane. At a light. At 5pm. Got the bike pushed to the sidewalk, he checked diagnostics with the toggles on the bike, eventually called the service dept for a tow. Stood there talking for about half an hour. Cool guy, got the inside scoop on a few things, made the best of it. After we got the RG loaded onto the trailer he tells me to ride the Fat Bob back, take me time, they don't close for a while. To be honest I genuinely got lost on back roads and had to check my phone to get me bearings, but really enjoyed that engine and chassis. Handed really wall, engine was a hoot. Very comfortable minus the bike burning the inside of my right thigh if I didn't hold it out at a light or keep it on the peg. If I were 25-30, didn't do long hauls, needed zero storage, it could be an only bike.

So, not being a kool aid drinking bar and shield man, just a guy who likes bikes and happens to own a cool looking RK, I didn't expect much in the way of a modern Harley. I'd say Harley has made greater strides in their product than Honda has in the last 20 years. But then 20 years ago Honda still was 30 years ahead of HD. Felt that RG could begin to compete on an international level. Its not a BMW or Honda, but it isn't trying to be. It is its own machine and comfortable with that. I can't say Harley is old tech anymore. Still no electronic suspension, no multiple ride modes, ABS is optional (you gotta be kidding me), and function still follows form to a large degree. But as its own whole, it works very well.

Somewhat tempted to poke fun at the breakdown 5 miles into a test ride on a bike that only had 20 miles on it. But, flukes happen and can happen to anyone. Taking an easy shot on a $30k new bike for a company still the butt of reliability jokes it outdated and no longer justified. Though the humor isn't lost on me.  Both bikes left a great impression on me. I'd buy a RG Ultra. But at $30k+ it is a good $5k overpriced IMHO. Just no way to justify that kind of coin for me. On that note, I was appalled at the orange peel in factory HD paint, the worst of it being on the painted inner fairing they upcharge for. Honda paint was MUCH better, no real noticable orange peel. HD colors have great depth, but that orange peel at that price point, not acceptable. When the upcharge for black powder over chrome was explained to me, I struggled to keep my head from shaking and laughing aloud.

Very nice, very capable machines with great strides in execution, no longed relying on image to sell to Old Guard riders. It stands tall enough on its own. I just can't justify that price. The dealership was full of younger staff. Didn't see an espresso machine, but the treatment I got was aimed at a personal "boutique" experience. They went out of their way to make me feel valued. I appreciate that. Took a TON of time with me and didn't treat me like an 'up' you get at most any car dealership. The relationship was fostered. More so than most metric shops. I guess what I'd expect at a high end European dealership. But not cheesy.

So, thats my take away. Glad HD is where it is with its product. Hope they keep making strides. You guys riding the touring bikes, you have nice rides. Not getting rid of my Dads Road King, hell its near an antique now (and rides like one), but though they look damn near identical, the new rides are worlds apart.

One last thing.  After loading the RGU to the trailer he told me to ride the Fat Bob back.  "Take your time and enjoy it", Umm OK!  Fun bike. 

I've got to give kudo's to HD.  The 114 is a great engine.  If you are in town playing with one of these, don't let your guard down, you'll be playing catch up if they get the jump.  This engine spins up a LOT faster than my 88 twin cam.  Revs to about 5500.  When it hits red line its more of a rev limiter, not so much out of breath like my TC.  Power band is 3500-5500.  Where as HD twins of old ran out of breath by 4500 with all the torque coming in at 1500. 
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Offline Jerdurr

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Re: Road Glide Ultra test ride
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2018, 12:14:41 pm »
a break down on a 5 mile bike? Red flag for me buddy!

In April we went to the states (we are from canada) and 9 friends and myself took brand new (yes, brand new bikes) out of the lot from Eagle Rider, for a 10 day 5000km trip across 6 states.
By day 6, one of the road kings was leaking so much oil from the base of one of the cylinders that we had to go top it up with 3 quarts!
Kept leaking all the way until we returned the bikes. The lady that had the road king received a hefty discount for it, but hell, I would never buy a Harley in a million years. It is just my opinion, I don't need anybody convincing me otherwise. I like my vehicles reliable, and these ones, again IMHO, are not.

Cheers!
Best,

JD

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Offline MizzouMike

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Re: Road Glide Ultra test ride
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2018, 02:01:44 pm »
RGU is on my short list to replace my Ultra Classic if I stay this route.   I also was thinking Goldwing to replace the ultra and a Road King for around town.  I love the look of the Road King Classic with chrome spoke wheels and leather saddlebags.
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Offline RoadKillHeaven

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Re: Road Glide Ultra test ride
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2018, 04:52:04 pm »
If I wanted to waste my money on last century technology I'd buy a Harley. If I had 30K to spend on a modern touring bike, It wouldn't be hard to deduct which one I'd chose.

Offline MizzouMike

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Re: Road Glide Ultra test ride
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2018, 05:09:54 pm »
If I wanted to waste my money on last century technology I'd buy a Harley. If I had 30K to spend on a modern touring bike, It wouldn't be hard to deduct which one I'd chose.

I ride a C-10.... the finest in 1980s technology!  I also use paper maps and watch my TV with an antenna!  Some would say I am a dinosaur, but I like to think of myself as 'retro'     I also have a personal flip phone! 
« Last Edit: August 31, 2018, 05:13:26 pm by MizzouMike »
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Offline Strawboss

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Re: Road Glide Ultra test ride
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2018, 06:23:04 pm »
HD makes some nice stuff these days. I got a feeling that in a few years, you'll be able to get something like this for way less than $30,000. Nice write up, thanks, did you ever find out what caused the problem on the test bike?
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Offline MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Road Glide Ultra test ride
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2018, 07:12:02 pm »
not saying I'm gonna ditch my C14, as it's my touring bike, and set up as I always wanted it, with trailer hitch to boot...

but I will say,  :-\ :-\ :-\ :-\ :-\ :-\ :-\ :))

that Fat Bob photo actually gave me a chubby... :rotflmao: :rotflmao:

dammit... I said I'd never buy another harley. :-X

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Offline RoadKillHeaven

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Re: Road Glide Ultra test ride
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2018, 01:23:19 am »
If I wanted to waste my money on last century technology I'd buy a Harley. If I had 30K to spend on a modern touring bike, It wouldn't be hard to deduct which one I'd chose.

I ride a C-10.... the finest in 1980s technology!  I also use paper maps and watch my TV with an antenna!  Some would say I am a dinosaur, but I like to think of myself as 'retro'     I also have a personal flip phone!
My phone is so old, I have cob webs inside battery compartment.
C10 is a Space Shuttle compared to HD Appollo 13 tech that manufacturer is still using today!


Offline Mcfly

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Re: Road Glide Ultra test ride
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2018, 01:51:39 am »
I'd say very kind words for a bike that never got you back to the dealership.
For a tourer, that's not very convincing.  But hey.... bad apple in every bunch, right?
I've always thought the Road Glide looked a bit too "phallic" from the side.
Every gadget known to man couldn't get me to ride behind the tip of a
Gentleman's Sausage... but that could be a homophobic thing too....  :rotflmao:  :o

Most Harleys are good 'classic looking' bikes.  I ride with HD guys
from a local club, and a couple are hot rodded, and frikkin' fast.
But all of them are looking to stop for gas too often, a spoil of the C-10
I like a lot. 

I'm stickin' with my '06 for now....  next up my be an Adv style  bike.
That test ride of the S1000XR still a lasting impression.  The Ktm
Super Adventure didn't suck either....  gotta stop these test rides....
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Offline luv2fly

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Re: Road Glide Ultra test ride
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2018, 12:16:01 pm »
When I returned the Fat Bob with the low fuel light on (I got lost :great:) salesman told me the Road Glide had a bad sensor as delivered from the factory.  Set up didn't catch it.  It ran perfect when I left. 


I'd like to add a few things regarding HD and quality and probably why I was so impressed with this bike.  My Dad bought a '99 Road King new.  I've toured with him from PA to the Pacific and have thousands of miles next to that bike.  Good power down low, didn't stop worth a hoot until I put EBC HH pads on it, handles like a pregnant pig, rides like a dream in a smooth straight line.  BUT, it doesn't leak a drop of oil (never has). and outside of a recall for vapor lock it has never left him stranded.  Stone reliable with 52k miles.  Told him when he hung up his helmet I wanted first dibs on that bike.  Not for the brand, but because it was my Dads and I have a lifetime of memories with it, didn't want to see it go away.  Plus its just a cool looking bike.  I was basing my expectations on this '99 Road King.  Several updates and 20 years later, HD is making a very nice and capable motorcycle.  I'd best compare the Road Glide to a 1500 Goldwing I rode some time ago, but with much more perceived power and amenities.  The ride and handling were comparable to that 1500.  Now, we can laugh and have fun with  HD making a bike now dating to the late 1980's chassis wise, but the RGU weighs in at 850 pounds+.  Beauty is on the eye of the beholder, but I love the looks of the Road Glide.  My experience shows that Harleys haven't leaked oil as a rule for a long time YMMV.  They also have been building a reliable bike for years.  Did Dad get a good one or are other just unlucky - that's debatable.  But I wouldn't be afraid to buy one.  Albeit NOT at MSRP.

Having been on an HD forum for a while now I can say just a few of them will bash metric bikes.  That stereotype os busted over there.  A few old school kool aid drinkers 'Made in 'Murica' dinosaurs, but not many.  The bashing that goes on is 99.99% geared towards bashing Harley Davidson not delivering a bike worthy of its asking price.  Most of those guys own multiple bikes and of those 9/10 also own a metric, usually a ZX-14/Busa or BMW.  By and large, a good group of guys.  It still shocks me.  A lively bunch to be sure, a bit unruly, but fun.  My favorite thread I had to stay out of was asking one another the top speed of their M8 engined bikes.  They are backing off at 110 mph because the ride starts getting hairy and the engine is out of breath.  I love telling them my Kawariki (as called by the kool aid dinosaurs) will only do about 125 - in 3rd gear. :nananana:


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Offline luv2fly

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Re: Road Glide Ultra test ride
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2018, 12:23:46 pm »
not saying I'm gonna ditch my C14, as it's my touring bike, and set up as I always wanted it, with trailer hitch to boot...

but I will say,  :-\ :-\ :-\ :-\ :-\ :-\ :-\ :))

that Fat Bob photo actually gave me a chubby... :rotflmao: :rotflmao:

dammit... I said I'd never buy another harley. :-X

 :-X :-X :-X :truce: :-[ :-X :truce:

MOB that Fat Bob was FUN!  Reminds me of a Z900 Eliminator I rode years ago, just doesn't wind up as fast.  Compact (ESPECIALLY for a Harley), engine spins up very quickly for a V twin this side of Italy, and handling really was quick and responsive.  Not 600 sport bike responsive, but had all you'd need on the Dragon.  It would toss into a fast corner and put a big smile on yer 'noggin! 
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Offline TJ

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Re: Road Glide Ultra test ride
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2018, 11:50:59 pm »
The only Harley in my lifetime worthy of owning IMO has been the XR1200. 

Offline Baggerjohn

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Re: Road Glide Ultra test ride
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2018, 12:15:54 pm »
The one thing about owning a new Harley which completely puts me off is their ever-increasing reliance on the Scam-a-Lyzer. I should not have to rely on an exclusively networked, unobtainable tool to perform a simple operation like a final ABS bleed - yet there it is.

People complain about our bikes and the KDS3, but at least one may purchase a system if one chooses. Not so with The Motor Company's diagnostic suite.

Apart from that I'd own a RG-U as a touring mount.

Offline luv2fly

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Re: Road Glide Ultra test ride
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2018, 11:33:19 pm »
The one thing about owning a new Harley which completely puts me off is their ever-increasing reliance on the Scam-a-Lyzer. I should not have to rely on an exclusively networked, unobtainable tool to perform a simple operation like a final ABS bleed - yet there it is.

People complain about our bikes and the KDS3, but at least one may purchase a system if one chooses. Not so with The Motor Company's diagnostic suite.

Apart from that I'd own a RG-U as a touring mount.

Funny you mention that.  I asked the salesman about updating maps to the HD on board GPS.  Absolutely can be done - at the dealer - for $100.

You should see the griping on the HD forums about how new owners get screwed.  If ya wanna play, ya gotta pay.  If my annual income had another comma in it, I'm sure I'd have either a new Gold Wing or Road Glide Ultra.  But I'd have a hard time spending the $$ for a Harley.  They've definitely stepped up their game and make a nice product - and they KNOW they have a solid base willing to cough up ridiculous amounts of cash for things other manufacturers give you for free.  Did you know the powder coated fork versions cost MORE than the chrome fork version!?!?!  $100 for GPS updates on touring rigs?  Because the base will pay it.  Though I think that base is literally dying off/unable to ride.

I was told updates would be free on the new Wing.  Because thats what the base expects, to be taken care of, not taken advantage of.
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Offline smooth_operator

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Re: Road Glide Ultra test ride
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2018, 01:07:56 am »
If I was to ever get a Harley it would be the RG Ultra. That being said, I could never justify the value for the price. I do hope HD continues to upgrade their quality and tech. But I've never been an HD guy and probably would never own one unless they come out with a drastically different bike. I wonder what a true HD sport tourer would look like?
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Offline Diz

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Re: Road Glide Ultra test ride
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2018, 08:15:12 am »
. I wonder what a true HD sport tourer would look like?

It should have that V-Rod engine that no HD guy appreciated