2009 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard Review –

8 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2009 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard Review –
Harley-Davidson FL 1200 Electra Glide

The steed that took Longride to Sturgis

Photos by George “Longride” Obradovich

With the Sturgis Rally now over and done with, I can settle in and report on the Flame Blue Pearl 2009 Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide Standard that carried me there and back again. Many bikes that are tested by magazines are ridden a few times over a few miles, but this bike was ridden over 2500 miles and 9 days, so I didn’t just test this one, I lived with it. When you spend that much time on a bike the good, bad, and ugly really stand out.

The Electra-Glide Standard is a base model for the touring lineup. As such, with a beginning MSRP of $16,999 it and the Road King are the lowest priced FL models.

Let’s get the technical items listed first. As we now know from the press launch reports on the 2009 OE and CVO models, the entire touring line received an all-new chassis for better stability and handling.

Also standard on all ’09 touring models is EITMS, or Engine Idle Temperature Management System. The previous years for the 96-inch motor had a rash of complaints about rear cylinder heat roasting legs in hot climates, so Harley addressed the problem with the EITMS system.This bit of Harley tech stops fueling to the rear cylinder when engine temperatures get too high during idle; it’s also now rider activated or deactivated by rotating the throttle grip forward for a count of five seconds.

In further efforts to alleviate heat issues, the crossover pipe of the exhaust system was rerouted, now running beneath the engine instead of under the rider‘s legs for better heat reduction. The front suspension received new spring rates to complement the new chassis and the new multi-compound Multi-Tread tire from Dunlop. Additionally, the “Isolated Drive System,” or more commonly, cush drive, now has its housing molded into the rear wheel hub.

Standard features include the 96 Cubic Inch Twin-Cam motor, throttle-by-wire, 6-gallon gas tank, six-speed overdrive transmission, Brembo brakes, and beautiful 28-spoke cast wheels. Options include ABS brakes, a security system, and electronic cruise control. So that’s quite a list of features, old and new. Is all this technology really that great?

How do all the new changes work, you ask? Read on.

Since I have a 2001 Electra-Glide, I can fully appreciate the changes made to the new ‘09 touring models. At first glance, the new bike doesn’t look all that different from my ‘01, but a trained eye sees the larger fuel tank shape and different exhaust routing. A couple of Florida-based bikers noticed I was riding a 2009 model at Sturgis; they looked it over with a tiny gleam of envy in their eyes.

The first chance I got to ride the bike was from Milwaukee to Chicago in the typical Midwest August heat – 92 degrees. Getting caught in a traffic jam on the way home, I can tell you that the EITMS system combined with the new exhaust routing works well. I felt almost no heat on my thighs where even my ‘01 would have been roasting them a bit on this day.


And the system is so seamless; you wouldn’t even know it was there. No muss, no fuss.

The Twin-cam lump pulls smoothly from idle to redline. No injection glitches or surging could be felt anywhere in the powerband. The electronic cruise control makes this bike an absolute pleasure while hauling down the highway. I can’t say enough good things about having cruise-control on this bike.

It was easily my all-time favorite feature. It is so nice to be able to set your speed on the highway and sit back and enjoy the view without hand cramps or worrying about speeding tickets.

This new bike doesn’t suffer the same buffeting that previous models endured from crosswinds or the turbulence generated by tractor/trailers or larger vehicles. The instability or “wobble,” that can be encountered in such windy conditions (especially on prior year models with their bat-wing fairing) seemed non-existent with this model.

Getting the 1000 miles to Sturgis and the 1000 back was really nice on this Electra-Glide, but I had a couple of nits to pick. I found the six-speed transmission to be loud and obnoxious at times. It went into gear with a loud clack and each gear whines a different tune. I could tell which gear I was in by the sound it made. Fifth gear is especially offensive with a whine loud enough to make me think something was wrong.

Maybe because the rest of the package is so quiet the gear noise seems so noticeable. ( I had a similar experience to Longride’s during my time on the new touring rigs at the ’09 model launch. It’s worth noting, however, that noises not normally noticed on other or similar bikes tend to be amplified as they bounce around the cockpit of bikes with such large fairings and/or bodywork. Locating the source of a noise can be like chasing a phantom. –P.B. )

Also of note, I had a small issue with the “new and improved” suspension. The highway ride was compromised by the stiffness of the suspension. Now, I am no lightweight at 250 lbs, but for even me to think the suspension was too stiff is a first for me. Usually I mash motorcycle suspension into mush on most bikes; I think Harley went a little too heavy on this one.

Not that the bike is uncomfortable, but sharp highway jolts will jar you pretty good. Since H-D is emphasizing the handling on their new tourers, I think they designed this one more for corners than the highway. Corners on a Harley?

Are you kidding?

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