Harley gets serious on infotainment

New Boom! Box GTS stereo looks leagues ahead of the competition

IN THE world of cars, infotainment is one of the hottest battlegrounds when it comes to securing sales. ‘Connectivity’ gets more column-inches in their brochures than performance and a dealer is more likely to be able to tell you about his wares’ touchscreens than their transmissions.

Given that most people spend hours every day glued to their computer or phone screens, it’s no surprise that this is what they’re interested in, but it’s taken a long time for the motorcycle world to catch on.

And while some will make the argument that they ride to get away from the pressures of modern life, and that the last thing they want is to be ‘connected’ once their helmet is on, there’s growing customer pressure to provide ways to stay in touch with the world at all times.

With its 2019 range, Harley-Davidson appears to be making the most comprehensive attempt yet to provide the sort of seamless connectivity that infotainment systems in the best modern cars achieve. It’s launched its new Boom! Box GTS (yes, the annoying exclamation mark is part of the name) on selected touring and trike models.

Specifically, it’s standard on the Ultra Limited, Ultra Limited Low, Road GlideUltra, Road GlideSpecial, Street GlideSpecial, CVOLimited, CVOStreet Glide, CVORoad Glideand Tri Glide Ultra. And it’s an optional extra on the Street Glide, Road Glideand Electra GlideUltra Classic.

As well as acting as a stereo, with 25w per channel and two or four speakers, upgradeable to as much as 1200w and optionally supporting Bluetooth wireless headsets, it’s a full infotainment arrangement that comprises sat-nav and phone connectivity. A 6.5in Gorilla Glass touchscreen – designed to work when you’re wearing gloves, of course – provides twice the resolution and four times more contrast than its predecessor. It also boots up faster – in 10 seconds rather than 21 seconds – while route calculation times drop from 10 seconds to just 2.5 seconds. These are the sort of performance figures that might actually be more important to you, day to day, than top speed…

It’s also Apple CarPlay compatible and features navigation that offers an ‘Alternative Routes’ function that lets you choose ‘Fastest’, ‘Shortest’, ‘Twisty’ and ‘Scenic’ options. The nav also integrates with the H-D app for iOS or Android, allowing you to import routes from your phone.

Watch the video above to see it in action.