Road warriors, rejoice. The Harley-Davidson Road Glide® motorcycle is back. After a one-year hiatus, the original alternative bagger returns to the Harley-Davidson line for 2015, infused with the DNA of Project RUSHMORE and turned out with a new frame-mounted fairing shaped by aerodynamic science and pure menace. Also joining the Harley Touring tribe is the Road Glide® Special model, loaded at the factory with all the options and an exclusive pinstripe paint job. Both Road Glide models make a fresh statement in custom form, backed up with all the genuine function hardcore riders demand.
“Improved aero comfort, especially reducing head buffeting, was at the forefront of customer feedback regarding the Road Glide,” said Michael Goche, Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Product Planning Manager. “We were able to start with a clean sheet of paper and apply lessons learned in designing the new Batwing fairing that debuted with Project RUSHMORE in 2014. The result is an amazing leap forward in terms of comfort for the rider, with aero performance that is unmatched in the category of premium touring motorcycles.”
The new Road Glide fairing delivers outstanding aerodynamic performance while retaining the distinctive shark-nose visage that has long been part of the Road Glide legend.
“The Road Glide look is more about attitude than tradition, and it has become especially popular with really radical customizers because they like the look and all the real estate the fairing offers for paint,” said Harley-Davidson Principal Stylist Brian Nelson, who led the team working on the fairing redesign project. “We felt we had more styling leeway with the Road Glide fairing than we did with the redesign of the Batwing fairing, so we set some design fences to maintain that Road Glide character, and handed it off to engineering.”
The final fairing shape was developed using computational fluid dynamics, hundreds of hours of wind-tunnel development at Wichita State University, and real-world highway testing. Integral side and center scoops feed triple splitstream vents that, in concert with the form of the windscreen, alter the air pressure behind the fairing to significantly reduce head buffeting. The fairing maintains a comfortable airflow around the rider and directs cooling air to powertrain components.
“The biggest design challenge presented by the Road Glide fairing is its distance from the rider,” said Nelson. “Because it’s frame mounted, we need that distance to provide room to turn the handlebar, but that’s also a big low-pressure zone that creates a lot of turbulence. To move air above the rider’s helmet required three vents, with the two lower vents designed to lift the air flow. The shape and location of those lower vents proved to be critical and required a lot of fine-tuning.”
Tucked under a sinister brow, Dual Reflector Daymaker™ LED headlamps combine wicked style with brilliant white high- and low-beam power that simply blasts through the murk of night. The beams are designed to provide outstanding roadway illumination. Compared to 2013 Road Glide models, these new headlamps deliver up to 67 percent more spread (light across the road) and 25 percent more punch (light down the road). The light quality closely mimics that of natural daylight to further enhance visibility, and its bright-white color is conspicuous in traffic.
“We replaced the separate twin headlamps used in the previous Road Glide with a single composite headlamp with two bulbs, so the cover is now integral to the lamp housing,” said Nelson. “The lens over the lamps improves the aerodynamics, and we also narrowed the entire fairing by 1.4 inches to further reduce drag and increase efficiency.”
The commanding rider posture offered by a new Road Glide handlebar bend and two-up sport seat place the rider in a position of all-day, long-haul comfort. The new handlebar locates the handgrips 5.5 inches closer to the rider and offers a new wrist angle that improves comfort. Because the Road Glide fairing is mounted to the frame, its weight and the impact of the wind are not felt through the handlebars, resulting in steering control that is light and precise.
Much more than a radio, the Boom! ™ Box 4.3 is a modern infotainment center with Bluetooth capability and USB input. Located in a reshaped inner fairing that’s smooth and uncluttered, the 50-watt Boom! ™ Box 4.3 is now located two inches closer to the rider for enhanced visibility of the brilliant color screen and an easier reach to the faceplate buttons. All infotainment functions are controlled through thumb-operated five-way joysticks located on the left and right hand controls. Two 5.25-inch speakers are optimized to the system and mounted in sealed-and-tuned enclosures. Equalization is optimized for the motorcycle environment and automatically adjusts the bass and treble levels to the volume for optimal sound quality at all motorcycle speeds. Fairing storage space includes a rubber-lined Jukebox media compartment with USB connection in the right side of the inner fairing.
The 2015 Road Glide is fully saturated with features generated by the customer-led Project RUSHMORE product development effort, from the stout 49mm forks and the High Output Twin Cam 103 powertrain, to the Enforcer cast-aluminum wheels, One-Touch saddlebag latches, and the improved instrument graphics and hand controls. Cruise control is standard on the Road Glide.
Available Road Glide factory-installed options include the Harley-Davidson Smart Security System, and Reflex™ linked brakes with ABS. Available Road Glide colors include Vivid Black, Amber Whiskey, Mysterious Red Sunglo, and Black Denim.
Road Glide Special
Like extra frosting on the cake, the new Road Glide Special comes factory-equipped with select upgrades that enhance style and function:
-Boom! ™ Box 6.5GT infotainment with color touch screen and GPS navigation
-Gloss or denim black painted inner fairing
-Premium Ride hand-adjustable rear suspension
-Reflex™ linked brakes with ABS
Road Glide Special color choices include: Vivid Black, Amber Whiskey, Black Denim and Superior Blue.
Source: Harley Davidson