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2011 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Review


by Pascal Bastien ,

The suspension keeps improving, thanks largely to the development work of the in-house Vehicle Dynamics Group. The Street Glide rides easily and comfortably on smooth surfaces, as it should despite the low rear end. Things are not as happy over bumpy surfaces, as the stiff rear air springs and limited travel make for some harshness and easy bottoming, forcing you to constantly lift your behind off the saddle to avoid jarring your back. At the risk of losing some of that low-profile appeal, I’d like to see 4 or 5 extra centimetres of rear suspension travel to improve the ride on bad roads, especially at full touring load.

Clear, easy-to-read analog instruments, with that great red backgound lighting at night. (Photo: Philippe Champoux/

King of the road
Like any Touring bike worthy of the name, the Street Glide offers lots of space for rider, and a straight-up riding position where the footrests are pushed forward. You end up with your knees unfolded past the 90-degree mark, while high, wide-set handlebars give you a wide grip and that king-of-the-road feeling so appreciated by enthusiasts.

The fairing and wind deflector offer welcome protection in cold weather, but do generate annoying turbulence from 70 km/h onwards, for my 170cm (5’6’’) frame anyways. Thankfully, the boys from Milwaukee offer a several higher and lower deflectors to suit all tastes and reduce that undesirable turbulence.

The dash is reminiscent of an airplane, with nice, big, easy-to-read analogue dials on a silver background, and stacked vertically. The Street Glide also features a stereo system with auto-adjusting volume and handlebar controls, as well as two classic Harley saddlebags, i.e., long and narrow, and too small to store a helmet other than a minimalist brain-bucket.

Stability and precision
Like a steel horse that commands attention, the Street Glide turns heads everywhere it goes.

On the road, its surprising nimbleness makes for some truly enjoyable rides out in the country. The stiff and precise chassis and suspensions make for some easy riding, enough so to allow you to enjoy the view and the journey.

The rear wheel and fender widened with the arrival of the 2009 model, but the luggages remains to this day too much on the narrow side. Serious touting fans will need to add a Top Case for longer distances. (Photo: Philippe Champoux/
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