Harley-Davidson Road Glide Custom FLTRX review carsguide.com.au

15 Jun 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Harley-Davidson Road Glide Custom FLTRX review carsguide.com.au
Harley-Davidson FLTRX Road Glide Custom

Harley-Davidson Road Glide Custom FLTRX review

While the bars aren’t ape hangers, the riding position is similar with the arms out straight from the shoulders.

Mark Hinchliffe road tests and reviews the Harley-Davidson Road Glide Custom FLTRX.

This is grand touring, gangsta-style; the two-wheel equivalent of a Chrysler 300C.

The new Harley-Davidson Road Glide Custom is not only a pimped-up attention-getter but also a handy machine for chewing up the highway kilometres.

It started life as a Tour Glide in the US in 1996 and later became the Road Glide, but this is the first time it has been included in the Australian line-up. Basically it’s like a Street Glide with the half-fairing attached to the chassis, not the forks.

Harley-Davidson salesman Adam Wright admits they couldn’t get the bike for the price they wanted, but it comes loaded with gear at $31,995. That is only $500 more than the Road King yet it has an integrated stereo system and massive bikini fairing with twin headlights.

It also comes with cruise control and wiring for accessories such as spotlights. And don’t forget the cigarette lighter, although there is no ash tray!

At its heart is the big 103cu (1690cc) fuel-injected engine which is now used across all Touring, Softail and most Dyna models. In the Touring family, the engine also gets an oil cooler.

Cruise and basic audio controls are on the handlebars, but some of the audio controls such as station presets are on the console which is a bit of a reach forward for the rider. There is a nav button on the console, but sat nav is only available on CVO models.

The sound system an auxiliary socket for an MP3 player, but only the CVOs have iPod connectivity. A 12 volt outlet to power an external audio device is located under the left weather-proof glovebox.

Styling is polarizing. Some may think the nose looks a bit too prominent from the side angle but the twin headlights provide an appealing front-on look like the old Holden Premier.

With a lot of surface area on the bike, especially the fairing, it is a blank canvas crying out for custom paintwork. There are lashings of chrome in the engine, forks, exhaust pipes and protection bars.

At the rear are fixed, weather-proof and lockable hard-plastic panniers. The rider gets a full floorboard, while the pillion gets pegs.

The matte-black rubbery surface on the console is claimed to withstand cracking in the summer heat and is a nice contrast to the six silver and chrome instruments which includes an ambient temperature gauge, still in Fahrenheit. While the bars aren’t ape hangers, the riding position is similar with the arms out straight from the shoulders.

All Harleys, except for the Sportsters, get ABS. It is a smooth and effective system that uses a discreet magnet in the wheel bearing rather than an ugly mechanical ring around the brake disc that would have spoiled the clean look of the five-spoke alloy wheels. The brakes also have powerful Brembo calipers derived from the V-Rod family.

The key to the Road Glide Custom’s handling characteristics is that the fairing is attached to the chassis, not the forks, like the other Touring bikes. Advantages are that the steering is lighter for low-speed maneuvering and the bike is more stable at high speed.

Harley-Davidson FLTRX Road Glide Custom

Wind blasts from passing trucks also don’t provoke any oscillation through the bars. The short windscreen can be replaced with a higher screen, but I prefer the look-over screen with reduced buffeting. A further advantage is the airflow under the fairing that blows engine heat away from your legs.

Like all Touring models it also has an engine cut-out system to switch off the rear cylinder while waiting in traffic so your legs don’t sizzle. Riding position is comfortable, although shorter people may find the reach to the bars – especially the front console controls – a little too far.

This bike makes a bold statement on the road with its prominent nose and twin headlights. On the practical side, it is a comfortable way for two people to see a lot of Australia.


Harley-Davidson Road Glide Custom FLTRX

Price: $31,995

Warranty: 2yrs, unlimited km, roadside assist

Service: 1600/8000km

Engine: air-cooled 1690cc v-twin

Economy: 5.6L/100km

Transmission: 6-speed, belt drive

Harley-Davidson FLTRX Road Glide Custom
Harley-Davidson FLTRX Road Glide Custom
Harley-Davidson FLTRX Road Glide Custom
Harley-Davidson FLTRX Road Glide Custom
Harley-Davidson FLTRX Road Glide Custom

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