2009 Harley-Davidson FLHTCU Ultra Classic Electra Glide Road Test Rider…

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motorcycle Harley-Davidson FL 1200 Electra Glide

2009 Harley-Davidson FLHTCU Classic Electra Glide Test

Photo Credit: Wing and Greg Drevenstedt


October 14, 2008

2009 Harley-Davidson FLHTCU Classic Electra Glide test review was originally in the November 2008 issue of ]

Rider readers often ask us to distinctive bikes such as the Electra Glide and Honda Wing, which makes us if they’ve ever looked at either one. Here are two for long-distance travel that hardly be more different-choosing them shouldn’t be any tougher picking soup or salad.

who want a six-cylinder turbinelike with sleek styling, LCD and modern controls and amenities-even an if you wish-would naturally choose the Those who want something down-to-Earth and traditional, with laid-back power but gobs of torque, feel and sound, an of analog instruments and Americana with floorboards, heel-and-toe etc. should choose the

Sure, there are a few areas these bikes share a level playing field-comfort, sound systems-and others one clearly has an advantage regardless of preference for modern or traditional. One of the areas would be the Gold excellent handling (though it with its own set of trade-offs, such as wear and reduced luggage from the wide rear and swingarm).

Other luxury-touring such as the Victory Vision and BMW also tend to have handling than touring To address this disparity, for H-D has given its entire FL family a up in the handling department with a new swingarm, wheels and tires. It has made an effort to reduce the of felt engine heat a redesigned exhaust and other

The 2009 Ultra Classic Glide tested here is at the top of the FL and the result of the changes to it are more and luggage capacity and less in traffic, at the cost of a little weight and some highway quality.

New frame and wider rear increase cornering clearance by one to either side, though is up about 36 pounds with ABS.

For 2007 Harley engine capacity once in its air-cooled, fuel-injected, OHV, V-twin to 1,584cc, or 96ci. At the however, the Touring models received a chassis upgrade 1998. The new beefier one for 2009 is on a single-spar, rigid backbone that Harley says an increase in load capacity of 70 and incorporates a fourth rubber-isolation mount that contributes to and helps reduce vibration at

A stronger new swingarm also handling, as does a 2-inch-wider, 16- x rear wheel and 1-inch-larger-diameter front wheel and new tires. and saddlebag capacities are up five to 20 pounds each, and a higher Vehicle Weight Rating of 1,360 pounds increases load capacity on our fully 886-pound test bike has ABS as its sole option) to 474 pounds. about 36 pounds more weight overall than our Ultra, and 64 pounds more capacity.

Thanks to the new frame and handling, the only time you the additional weight is while With 66.4 horsepower at rpm our 2009 test bike about four more at the rear wheel than our model, and torque is up about a as well, to 78.5 at 3,600 Still, hauling just the and rider around with the power as Harleys weighing as much tends to be more of a than arm-straightening experience.

Add the weight of a passenger and that luggage and you’ll quickly why Harley-Davidson sells so many enhancements for its engines. The only the lack of power is a genuine is while riding two-up and loaded, maybe getting behind a slow truck on an grade. In this case need much more to pass than you would on powerful machines.

And the Harley requires premium unleaded and get especially impressive fuel averaged about 34 mpg, for a of approximately 202 miles from its tank.

H-D Tour-Pak trunk holds two full-face helmets and conveniently to the side, so passenger have to dismount to open it.

A final-drive ratio for 2009 of vs. 32/66 in the belt final helps keep acceleration and the six-speed Cruise Drive shifts cleanly and easily the traditional “clack.” Clutch and levers are large, manly and adjustment, though I was able to both just fine.

and former Electra Glide will be impressed with the bike’s newfound cornering There’s a full degree of lean angle both and right, the first thing I when I started tossing the big around in the curves.

Instead of the floorboards or sidestand in every you have to work a bit to find the now, and the slight increase in trail, larger front and wider rear tire eliminated the dartiness of the previous Steering effort has stayed at the same low level, though you feel that big fairing on the handlebar. In sweeping corners and in a line the bike is solid and now, with none of the about that at times (as in made the previous one feel you were riding on a slippery

With Harley’s input engineered some new tires for the which incorporate Multi-Tread so they wear longer in the and stick better on the sides. The rolls cleanly side to on the new 130/80-17 up front and 180/65-16 Contributor Clement’s ongoing test should give us an if the new rear tire wears and more evenly than that tend to flatten in the

Solo or two-up the Ultra comfort, convenience and luggage and now it gets around corners too.

Some of the Ultra’s planted feel comes recalibrated suspension. With so travel to work with-still 4.6 inches in the fork up front and 3 in the rear air shocks-Harley naturally it stiffer at both ends to the additional weight of the bike and load capacity. While and functional in corners and on bumpy roads, the cost is some on small repetitive bumps and road surfaces.

The rear can also bottom quite if you’re caught off-guard by a or other large bump. range in the air shocks is 0-50 up 15 psi max. Fully loaded rider and passenger and luggage, calls for 45-50 psi.

has made its convenient side-opening trunk easier to adjust year, though most will just move it the available inch or so and leave it Stock rider and passenger are plush and comfortable, with seats and a large passenger Harley says rider height is the same at 30.7 but my … says the new frame has it about an inch as I’m on tiptoes at

Some comfort limitations can their heads when you squirming around-up front the rider seat likes to you in one spot, and while floorboards and shifters are easy on your cowboy boots and minimize they don’t let you solidly your feet in different In back the average passenger right up against the rider, is great for courtship and cold but otherwise confining. Passenger flip up and are adjustable up and down but are forward, so your copilot has to care not to kick you in the back of the at stops.

New 28-spoke cast-aluminum wheels on the wear new rubber front and specially designed for the FLs by Dunlop.

with the scooped fairing with storage pockets are standard on the Ultra, that Harley batwing fairing excellent wind protection up, and to the sides. Most riders want to cut the windscreen down or get a one, as stock it’s tall and you have to look it. A pair of adjustable wind on the bottom of the fairing allows the to block or direct air up to his or her midsection, and an pair of adjustable vents in the can cool off the ride considerably desired.

That’s a good too, because the Twin Cam 96 bay still puts out a lot of heat, though for 2009 Harley has the exhaust crossover pipe behind the rear cylinder to the frame, and rerouted the rear forward before it curves around the gearbox. The new, midframe heat deflectors do their best to direct around your legs. On a day you no longer notice any real or welcome the warmth unless stuck in traffic.

motorcycle Harley-Davidson FL 1200 Electra Glide

When warm outside, though, in mixed riding conditions or for extended periods you’ll wish the engine put out less particularly under your thigh. To address this has added rider control to was formally available only as a ECU flash program.

The Ultra is fully equipped niceties such as cruise and a four-speaker, 80-watt CD/AM/FM system with passenger and CB radio/intercom.

The new EITMS, or Engine Temperature Management System . is by rolling the throttle past to the stop. Wait five and under the right conditions the control indicator light flash green, telling you the rear cylinder is no longer any fuel. As soon as you give the any throttle the cylinder begins to normally again, so it only while stopped at idle.

pretty hard to tell is even on, in fact, except of by the decrease in heat. By making the jug essentially an air pump, it cools rapidly, and while it’s more effective to simply get again, it does help you can’t. With the bike in my garage I can feel the change in with my hand 3-4 inches from the cylinder when I the system on and off, so it does a solid difference.

One still how long it will be, though, Harley is forced to adopt on its big twins.

Triple disc with opposed four-piston calipers haul the Ultra in a hurry, though we’d like to see some adjustment for the brake lever, and that rear brake pedal some getting used to. anti-lock brake system is a $795 option as it works well in a panic stop, shorter cycle times prevent the jerkiness and pulsing at the lever and pedal from the ABS it’s engaged.

A lot of nice bells and whistles are on the Ultra and very desirable, as electronic cruise control, an four-speaker CD/AM/FM stereo system with passenger (it cranks, even at speed the rider wearing a full-face CB/intercom, luggage liners, passing lamps and gorgeous new cast-aluminum wheels. The full set of engine and saddlebag tipover are an especially nice touch.

Harley-davidson FLHTCU Ultra Electra Glide

Additional abound, of course, including a security system and a myriad of colors and combinations.

By beefing up chassis and running gear, has brought the FL Touring bikes’ into the 21st century, sacrificing the 20th-century style and that makes motorcycles the Ultra so popular with riders. We’ll have on this luxo-machine when turns in a tour test on his from California to Milwaukee for 105th anniversary.

Warranty: 2 unltd. miles

Type: transverse 45-degree V-twin

Frame: Mild-steel tubular cradle w/ two-piece backbone, downtubes, bolt-on subframe swingarm

MPG: 91 octane (low/avg/high) 29.2/33.7/37.3

Estimated 202 miles

motorcycle Harley-Davidson FL 1200 Electra Glide
motorcycle Harley-Davidson FL 1200 Electra Glide
motorcycle Harley-Davidson FL 1200 Electra Glide
motorcycle Harley-Davidson FL 1200 Electra Glide

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