Initial Impressions: 2006 Harley-Davidson Dyna Motorcycles

Shaking hands with the two new members of Harley's updated Dyna series, the 35th Anniversary Super Glide and the Street Bob. By Art Friedman

I recently spent a day riding Harley-Davidson's 2006 motorcycles. Naturally, I spent most of my time on the bikes that were new for 2006, including the new Dyna models, notably the 35th Anniversary Super Glide and the Street Bob. If you have read our preview of the 2006 Harleys, you know that Harley substantially changed the Dyna series motorcycles for 2006. The frame has been revised with a 29-degree steering-head angle, 49mm fork stanchions, a 160/70-17 rear tire and 17-inch wheel replacing the 150/80-16 tire and 16-inch wheel used on previous Dyna models, a stiffer swingarm and beefier one-inch diameter front and rear axles. Perhaps the biggest news is the new six-speed transmission, which brings new engine cases, quieter helical-cut gears, and revised shifting components to reduce shift effort. The clutch has been redesigned to reduce effort.

That reduced clutch effort is the first thing you notice when you climb aboard the new Dynas, and combined with its more progressive, predictable engagement, it may be the single most significant improvement in the new package. That's because the more controllable engagement makes it much easier to pull away smoothly than on the five-speed models. Need to turn tightly as you pull away? The smooth clutch makes it a snap. The new six-speed gearbox also lives up to its advance, with nice short, smooth shifts and easy neutral finding. The gearing allows the engine run a couple hundred rpm slower at highway speeds than with the old five-speed. Harley won't comment on it, but we expect to see this transmission used in all the big-twins in the future, probably next year.

With Harley's sequential-port electronic fuel injection now standard equipment on the entire Dyna line, all models have nice, crisp throttle response and no flat spots anywhere. Harley makes no horsepower claims, but specifies 85 foot-pounds of torque at 3000 rpm.

Steering is a bit lighter and perhaps just slightly more precise than the old Dynas. I also thought it was a bit more stable when leaned over and going fast, though I want to ride it some more on familiar roads before I say that with full conviction.

What I didn't like about the handling was the almost total lack of feedback through the front fork. It sort of felt like the front end was floating above rather than rolling on the road. Small bumps were soaked up a bit better than with the old 39mm fork, but the overall feeling was slightly disconcerting. There is no longer a Sport version of the Dyna Glide (though we preferred them, they never sold well, and many of the buyers simply bought them because they were available and then customized them away from the sporting character), but it would have needed different suspension settings up front.

With the same rubber mounting scheme as before, the new Dynas deliver have similar vibration, which is to say more than either of Harley's other big twin families (the Softails use counterbalancers and the Touring models have a different rubber-mount configuration). Harley says that the seat offers a bit more room than before, and I'd tend to agree, but none of the seats I rode on was exceptionally comfortable. I prefer the riding position of the Anniversary Super Glide to that of the Street Bob, with its tall handlebar.

It has been three decades since I rode one of the original Super Glides, and my memory has certainly been blurred by the few thousand motorcycles that I've ridden in that interval. However, this motorcycle is certainly much smoother and stops and handles better. Of course, the current 1450 is much stronger than the 1200cc V-twin I rode back in, I think, 1972. Finish and detailing is better, and quality control is light years beyond the bikes made during the AMF era. I hope someone will make a boat-tail rear end so you can recreate the look of the 1971 original, which, with the Norton Hi Rider, introduced the factory cruiser.

The updated styling and detail items on the 2006 Dynas include revised battery covers and new rear fender shapes. They get a new one-piece ignition switch/fork lock that Harley says "provides easier reads." The Dyna Low Rider, Super Glide and Super Glide Custom get new 10-Spoke cast wheels. Fit and finish has been upgrades, the most notable change being a much cleaner tank console.

**SPECIFICATIONS

FXDBI Dyna Street Bob:**
Suggested price: $13,195 (black), $13,480 (colors)
Optional colors: Black denim, black cherry pearl, cobalt pearl
Seat height: 26.8 in.
Claimed wet weight: 667 lb.
Fuel capacity: 4.7 gal.
Wheelbase: 64.2 in.
Rake/trail: 29o/4.7 in.
Front tire:
100/90-19
Rear tire: 160/70-16
Front brake: 4-piston caliper, 11.8-in. disc
Rear brake: 4-piston caliper, 11.5-in. disc
Front suspension: 49mm stanchions, 5.0 in. travel
Rear suspension: Dual dampers, 4.1 in. travel

FXDI Dyna 35th Anniversary Super Glide:
Suggested price: $16,795
Optional colors: None
Seat height: 27.8 in.
Claimed wet weight: 676 lb.
Fuel capacity: 5.1 gal.
Wheelbase: 64.2 in.
Rake/trail: 29o/4.7 in.
Front tire:
100/90-19
Rear tire: 160/70-16
Front brake: 4-piston caliper, 11.8-in. disc
Rear brake: 4-piston caliper, 11.5-in. disc
Front suspension: 49mm stanchions, 5.0 in. travel
Rear suspension: Dual dampers, 4.1 in. travel

_Additional motorcycle road tests and comparison tests are available at the Road Tests section of MotorcycleCruiser.com. For a complete listing of the motorcycle tests available, see the _Motorcycle Cruiser Road Test Finder.

The original Super Glide returns--without the tail section, vibration, oil leaks, stiff clutch, lethargic power or oil leaks.
The new Street Bob has a sort of home-grown style. This flat-black finish is the "Black Denim" color.
New cases incorporate a number of changes along with the new six-speed gearbox. Fuel injection is now standard. The battery box has been restyled.
A low, solo saddle is part of the Street Bob's sparse style.
A slight thicker feeling saddle helps make the Anniversary Super Glide a bit more comfy than the Street Bob.