Cycle Source’s First Look At The New Sportglide

A Part Time Commuter For A Cooler Ride To Work

Article By: Chris Callen

Photos By: Heather Callen

Originally Published In The February 2018 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

A few months back we introduced you to Harley-Davidson’s brand new Softail platform and have been sifting through the test rides then Bam, another new model pops up: The Sport Glide. When we hit the ground in Long Beach for the IMS Show, Harley- Davidson themselves were kind enough to let us take one of these brand-new beauties for an overnighter. I was an immediate fan of the quick detach mini fairing since I am a fan of both good looks and purpose riding, but what else is it really? Well, let’s start from the ground up, as it were. Like others in the model family it has the completely redesigned Softail frame that has taken an average of 30 pounds off any comparable model. That’s free ponies right there, jack! Of course, it has the Milwaukee A Eight 107 Engine that I’ve already touted in these pages as the death of the Twin Cam. It comes stock with tons of power and torque and although the sound is a little on the quiet side, the aftermarket is working feverishly to bring more options out for that. All of this with inverted forks and a rear mono shock with adjustable preload.

This gives you the ability to set your performance for riding in all types of situations and conditions. Have to go two up? Dial it in. Going solo with a heavy pack? You’re covered. Wanna take all the extras off and tear it up with the boys? No problem. The adjustability happens on a large dial at the base of what used to be the oil tank. Now, for the difference: This thing is like a Mad Max bike when you take away the bags and fairing. I believe that to be part of what Harley was looking for in a best of two worlds scenario.

With features like locking quick detachable bags, USB port built into the wiring and the quick detachable mini fairing, a person would have no problem using this thing as their A to B machine, Monday through Friday for work or what have you. As I found it to be polite in traffic and also having the power to roll on and zip around on, this would make a great commuter bike.

Now, take all that detachable Mr. Good Guy going to work stuff off and leave it in the garage for the night and you have one tough looking bike underneath. Everything is blacked out, it sports a brand-new wheel design called “Mantis” that is also black and silver and the few pieces of chrome and aluminum give it just enough shine that people will wonder what just passed them on a dark street corner. For some official talking points. The Sport Glide comes in at a lean 698 pounds with a seat height of 26.5 inches off the ground making it a bike for nearly anyone. Still there is an impressive 4.7 inches of ground clearance for aggressive riding conditions. I attribute this to the Softail frame design. They have gone a long way towards keeping everything very tight, very light and with performance in mind. While the 180 rear tire does put it into the “Big Booty” range, it isn’t over done and it’s matched up with the 130 front. I found cornering to be fine with the larger rear tire and overall the stability was there.

While Harley-Davidson execs have been quoted about this new model giving them further reach into overseas markets, I would be willing to bet that with another segment back in the USA there will be new interest for a bike like this. Easy to appeal to a person’s inner child when they can put on a few accessories and go out and blend into the grown-up world. Still, this goes hard to proving the Motor Company’s commitment to a ten year plan that would see 100 “High Impact” new models released for their factory. As far as this offering, they’ve killed it, and no Mr. Shovelhead owner, I don’t expect that you would replace old Jenny with this, but you might not mind parking it next to her for those days ya just wanna blast out to the coast! At $18599, it’s a whole to of bike for the money so go check them out to day at harley-davidson.com