Water cooling on 2014 Harleys

Certain models are 'Twin Cooled' – and appear to have radiators

Posted: 19 August 2013
by Visordown News

SEARCH through Harley’s own information about the new-for-2014 touring range and you won’t find a mention of water cooling. But at least some of them are liquid cooled.

The new touring models have their own site, packed with info and videos, at http://projectrushmore.harley-davidson.com/en_GB, and here you’ll find reference to the “Twin Cooled” High Output 103 Cubic Inch engine. It says that “Twin cooling cools the heads around the exhaust ports to deliver at or near peak performance under all operating conditions and temperatures. Higher compression ratio increases efficiency and horsepower.”

So, no mention of water. But the firm’s site also says that the motors are “air and precision-cooled” – and it turns out that in Harley-speak, “precision” is a euphemism for “water”.

In the UK only the Ultra Limited and the Tri Glide get the new engine. Looking at pictures of those bikes it’s clear that there’s a radiator in each of the leg guards, with an outlet air vent towards the back of them. Water pipes also appear to be visible.

A patent in 2011 revealed how Harley was working on water-cooled cylinder heads for its big V-twins, using twin radiators and hidden cooling fans mounted inside the leg guards.

Just as BMW has water cooled the cylinder heads of its latest R1200GS, while still sticking to the line that the engine is mainly air-cooled to keep traditionalists happy, it looks like water-cooling is slowly leaking into the H-D range. Faced with the need to increase performance while cutting emissions and fuel consumption, the more accurate cooling allowed by water, particularly in cylinder heads, is a huge advantage. It allows closer tolerances and better control of combustion chamber and valve temperatures, all vital to ensuring a clean and efficient burn of the fuel.

Harley fans have long since riled at the idea of water-cooled engines, and even a dozen years after its launch the liquid-cooled V-Rod is still largely shunned by Harley traditionalists. So it’s no surprise that H-D is keeping quiet about the precise nature of its ‘Twin Cooled’ 2014 engines, even if the fact that adding water means they’ll actually be better than the ones that went before.

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Discuss this story

>"water-cooling is slowly leaking"

Owners may be confused by now having two puddles under their bikes.

Posted: 19/08/2013 at 12:49

Soon they will have brakes that slow you and suspension that goes up and down when it should. Maybe.

Posted: 19/08/2013 at 12:56

Flat head, pan head, knuckle head...piss head?

Posted: 19/08/2013 at 15:13

this is 5yrs late IMO they have had the tech on the XR1200 sportster for its entire short lived life - ok it was oil , this water/liquid cooling is for the heads only and only the exhaust valve tract at that so small rads and fans required and minimal tubing which on the bikes its fitted to is very easy to hide, will reserve judgement on it until ive seen it in the flesh as for if it works guess i will have to take one for a test ride :D, they have had good brakes from brembo from around 2009 in the UK along with ABS that works (dont ask), still got work to do the springy bouncy stuff but they are cruisers and for a 900lb bike they can hustle ok you might need new boards and pipes after LOL

Posted: 19/08/2013 at 17:53

Brembo brakes were fitted to the streetrod in 2005

Posted: 19/08/2013 at 21:04

ABS brakes on all Harleys are made by Brembo.

Posted: 20/08/2013 at 12:33

It won't change my life.

Posted: 20/08/2013 at 14:25

I name this new model,the Wethead.

Posted: 20/08/2013 at 16:16

bla, bla bla for the wet head. So when a new legit new motorcycle shows up (Indian) and no mention of it, so what happen VD?, Polaris did not let you ride them at Sturgis?

Posted: 20/08/2013 at 17:41

How many things are xx-years too late? In 2007, they FINALLY updated the big-twin frame so it didn't feel like it had a hinge in the middle at a modest/sedate pace in a corner. I rode quite a few of those, most time was spent on the Road King and the Electra's. Horrible suspension and such a limited lean angle, plus the hinge-feeling anytime you leaned even a slight amount. Sure, it's a cruiser-style bike, but when all the lean angle is used up just going at a modest pace, what's left for that car coming at you over the center-line? Or that object/hazard that you need to swerve around in a corner? You don't have to ride at a track-day pace or have a sportbike to still need adequate cornering clearance. Oh, how about suspension performance and available travel...2" is NOT enough. If you look at the new Indians, notice how they have twice the suspension travel and more lean angle than any Harley. Yet still remains a cruiser with a low seat height. Wow, it CAN be done, which is what I've said for years. Willie G. ruined the V-Rod concept because he was so concerned with hiding the radiator & wanting the chopper front-end rake. Great engine stifled by that chassis/frame. The ones I rode have ridiculous ergonomics, no useable suspension, and oh yeah, the lean angle thing again. I loved the engine's power characteristics, but it was the only redeeming feature. HD faithful have been dragged, screaming and complaining for decades, into the future. The future is emissions reductions...FI and water-cooling are natural partners for that goal. I rode a new Harley that actually shut off the rear cylinder because it gets so hot. No wonder, as it was BBQ-ing my right leg. I hope they pull off the transition into the 21st century, as the more bikes there are, the more folks will ride them, Harley's or otherwise. 1940's tech, tarted up to LOOK like 2010 might be what poseurs want, but not someone who values the special aspects that only a motorcycle can provide. Cruisers can have those, too, but until the future is embraced by both this ethereal "faithful" and the Motor Company, we'll continue to get half-truths and hyperbole.

Posted: 21/08/2013 at 19:21

Ooh I feel the need to pass precision. Where's the nearest hedge? Presumably for some reason they are ashamed to say they have water cooling>

Posted: 22/08/2013 at 09:21

Harley-Davidson ceased to be important when they stabbed Erik Buell in the back and closed down the Buell factory. They can go to HELL the rotten bastards! On the other hand, this has enabled Erik the freedom to make motorcycles without H-D's stupid interference. I hope that the HERO people do not get in his way but help Erik make better motorcycles than ever before.

Posted: 30/08/2013 at 19:56

Harley-Davidson ceased to be important when they stabbed Erik Buell in the back and closed down the Buell factory. They can go to HELL the rotten bastards! On the other hand, this has enabled Erik the freedom to make motorcycles without H-D's stupid interference. I hope that the HERO people do not get in his way but help Erik make better motorcycles than ever before. That new Indian that Polaris is now making looks really nice, yet has a thoroughly modern engine with one piece crank. H-D is still in the "Dark Ages" with a flexible multi-piece crank that is bolted together! Harley-Davidson sucks verga!

Posted: 30/08/2013 at 20:02

The new 2014 HD "liquid cooling" features, just pour your slurpee over the cylinder heads, OR ride in the rain.

Posted: 18/09/2013 at 06:02

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