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First Ride: Harley-Davidson Electra Glide

... and watch the world glide by. Sometimes getting somewhere slowly is more important than going nowhere fast. Harley-Davidson has the answer.




Faced with a 2000-mile round trip to deepest southern France I wasn't relishing another hideous bucket flight out of the seething human zoo that is Stansted airport. I needed an alternative, but with the missus coming along and wanting to carry more than a pair of shreddies and a credit card, riding down wasn't looking likely. But perhaps there was a way out...

What I needed was a bike of such epically overblown proportions it could laugh in the face of our luggage mountain, chortle when faced with an 800-mile day, and which could serenade us with a variety of banging tunes to while away the long hours in the saddle. I needed an Electra Glide.

Sure a Goldwing may be faster and a BMW K1200LT may handle better, but for a chilled out mega-mileage tour at the very height of summer, the Harley's a hard act to beat.

That's not to say it doesn't have downsides. It's a handful at low speed and the brakes are weak - it'll stop, but be prepared to work at it. Handling is 'interesting'; anything below 85mph is fine, but beyond this the Milwaukee behemoth is subject to a whole host of new forces as 372 kilos of American iron is pushed towards boundaries it was never meant to cross.

But this is simply part of the Harley's make up, and if they're a problem for you then you're looking at the wrong bike.

Sinking into the Glide's deep, sumptuous seat was like meeting an old friend. It may have been updated since I last rode one three years ago but at a glance only the paint has changed. There's the same simple dash layout and the same vastly comfortable riding slouch to slide into.

And then there's the stereo. Oh Lordy is it good now. Crisp and clear up to 85mph, with an auto volume control which adjusts with speed meaning no more arriving at traffic lights and deafening anyone within 100 metres. What's more the CD refuses to skip, even on the worst French backroads.

As for the pillion seat, well, the missus loved it. With loads of luggage space for her gear plus that stereo to provide us with our own soundtrack she was as smitten as I was. On our return journey - an 800-mile cruise control-assisted one-hit wonder - she happily spent the whole day up there. And much of that fast asleep.

As an everyday ride a Glide makes about as much sense as a unicycle, but as the coolest cat on the long cruise snooze it is quite simply the guv'nor.

SPECS

TYPE - TOURER

PRODUCTION DATE - 2007

PRICE NEW - £16,745

ENGINE CAPACITY - 1584cc

POWER - N/A

TORQUE - 91lb.ft@3400rpm

WEIGHT - 372kg

SEAT HEIGHT - 693mm

FUEL CAPACITY - 18.9L

TOP SPEED - N/A

0-60 - n/a

TANK RANGE - N/A

FACED WITH A 2000-mile round trip to deepest southern France I wasn't relishing another hideous bucket flight out of the seething human zoo that is Stansted airport.

I needed an alternative, but with the missus coming along and wanting to carry more than a pair of shreddies and a credit card, riding down wasn't looking likely. But perhaps there was a way out...

What I needed was a bike of such epically overblown proportions it could laugh in the face of our
luggage mountain, chortle when faced with an 800-mile day, and which could serenade us with a variety of banging tunes to while away the long hours in the saddle. I needed an Electra Glide.

Sure a Goldwing may be faster and a BMW K1200LT may handle better, but for a chilled out mega-mileage tour at the very height of summer, the Harley's a hard act to beat.

That's not to say it doesn't have downsides. It's a handful at low speed and the brakes are weak - it'll stop, but be prepared to work at it. Handling is 'interesting'; anything below 85mph is fine, but beyond this the Milwaukee behemoth is subject to a whole host of new forces as 372 kilos of American iron is pushed towards boundaries it was never meant to cross.

But this is simply part of the Harley's make up, and if they're a problem for you then you're looking at the wrong bike.

Sinking into the Glide's deep, sumptuous seat was like meeting an old friend. It may have been updated since I last rode one three years ago but at a glance only the paint has changed. There's the same simple dash layout and the same vastly comfortable riding slouch to slide into.

And then there's the stereo. Oh Lordy is it good now. Crisp and clear up to 85mph, with an auto volume control which adjusts with speed meaning no more arriving at traffic lights and deafening anyone within 100 metres. What's more the CD refuses to skip, even on the worst French backroads.

As for the pillion seat, well, the missus loved it. With loads of luggage space for her gear plus that stereo to provide us with our own soundtrack she was as smitten as I was. On our return journey - an 800-mile cruise control-assisted one-hit wonder - she happily spent the whole day up there. And much of that fast asleep.

As an everyday ride a Glide makes about as much sense as a unicycle, but as the coolest cat on the long cruise snooze it is quite simply the guv'nor.

Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Specs

SPECS
TYPE - TOURER
PRODUCTION DATE - 2007
PRICE NEW - £16,745
ENGINE CAPACITY - 1584cc
POWER - N/A
TORQUE - 91lb.ft@3400rpm   
WEIGHT - 372kg
SEAT HEIGHT - 693mm   
FUEL CAPACITY - 18.9L   
TOP SPEED - N/A
0-60     - n/a
TANK RANGE - N/A