Review: Harley-Davidson Street Glide retains its old school charm – w/ video! – Part 2

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  • The Street Glide is the most popular of the Harley-Davidson touring models.
  • It is popular for its classic good-looks, especially that “bat wing” fairing.
  • Other than the design, the Street Glide is almost identical to the Road Glide.
  • But it seems to handle better than the Road Glide in corners.
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Jumping from the Road Glide to the Street Glide was a revelation of sorts. I have never been a fan of the latter, but have to admit that it rides pretty damn good. But before going forward, below is a video review of the bike.

The classic rounded headlight together with the fork mounted fairings are almost unchanged since it was first introduced back in 1969. The fairing was and is still known as the “batwing”.

That fairing soon became iconic, and while earlier models were removeable, later versions were not as the all the necessary meters were moved onto the fairing, which is still the way it is now.

Good looks are subjective, “beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates them” said someone smart named David. So even though I may prefer the Road Glide, it is the Street Glide that won the opinion of the day.

“It looks great and handles great as well,” were some of the opinions over dinner. Comments about the sitting position as well as the front end feel were shared during lunch and dinner. If you read part 1 of this review (you can read it here), you may remember that I have been a fan of the Road Glide.

And when it comes to appreciating the two Glides, there seems to be an accord of sorts that suggests you must choose either model, you may not like them both. Don’t believe me? Try looking up a forum on HD’s.

But I have a problem, I may be a fan of the RG, admittedly the Street Glide was a lot more confident in the corners. You sit more upright as compared to the RG, and your legs are closer to you. You’re generally in a more commanding sitting position than the Road Glide, which is more laidback and relaxed.

Another significant difference between the SG and the RG other than the sitting position is the fairing and the way it is mounted.

The RG has its fairing mounted onto the frame of the bike which then frees up the front end from additional weight, giving the front end a lighter feel, note how the lights point straight ahead though the wheel is turned (above).

The SG on the other hand has its fairings mounted onto the forks. The weight of the fairings together with everything else like the meter panels and the entertainment system then bogs down the front end (above). Somehow, that works to the SG’s advantage as the front end feels more planted when throwing it into a corner.

But truth be told, I did not spend as much time with the SG as I would have liked to. Before the ride, we were told that we could switch bikes at the first photo stop, but by then everyone had become so used to the bikes they started off with; phones synced to the entertainment system and their stuff comfortably in the boxes that the only time I ever rode the SG was for the photoshoot. I spent a few hours riding the RG but just a few minutes riding the SG, unfortunately.

However, the purposeful handling of the SG is apparent from the moment you take off. And because our shoot location was riddled with corner after corner, fast and slow, it was perfect testing grounds for the SG.

It took just a few corners to tell that it is more obliging in corners, eager to lean in and braking felt better too. That is probably because the SG is lighter, but just by about 11kg. The handlebars are slightly different as well, but not enough to make a big difference in overall handling of the bike.

Even in the power department both bikes are the same. The SG too is powered by the same 1745cc Milwaukee-8 engine that produces the same 150Nm of torque from 3250rpm. And is mated to the same 6-speed gearbox.

So when it comes to picking one over another, the biggest difference is of course the design of the bikes. The handling is of course different, and that is because of the seating position and the way the fairings are mounted. Other than that, both are perfectly identical bikes (watch our video review of the Road Glide, above).

The RG feels a lot more planted and confident on the highways, and the bigger fairing does a better job at keeping the wind away from you as well. The SG feels better in the corners. Both have massive power. As for the overall feel, some people prefer the compact feeling which the SG provides, while others like me prefer a roomier feel with the meters placed further away, as is the case with the RG.

The roads we were riding on in Croatia seemed to be better suited to the SG, and there were moments where the RG was struggling to keep up. But if I had to choose, it would be the RG. If I wanted something fast and nimble in corners, I would get something better suited to corner carving, the Harley-Davidson touring models are suited for leisurely, comfortable riding and it is in that aspect that the Road Glide outshines the Street Glide.

The Street Glide is now available in Malaysia at RM174,700, which is the same price as the Road Glide.

Watch the highlights from our ride in Croatia in the video below:

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