Long-Term 2019 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide Wrap-Up

Two months with it revealed a versatile rig that did whatever we asked.

2019 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide in front of garage.
The mother ship is calling, and after a few small tweaks, it’s time to shuttle our faithful long-term Sport Glide back to the Harley Fleet Center.Andrew Cherney

It's been just over six short weeks, and the time has come for our long-term Harley-Davidson Sport Glide to head back to the mother ship. After six weeks and thousands of miles, Harley is asking for the return of its light-duty touring Softail, which means another 1,100-mile slog down I-5 (though I'm planning to break it up into more pleasant chunks this time). We logged a little more than 3,000 miles in that short time, and it's kind of a bummer we didn't manage our time well enough to really explore the bike's full potential, but so it goes.

2019 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide riding down road.
With plenty of power, easy ergonomics, and agreeable handling, the Sport Glide’s one of the better light touring cruisers out there. Plus it’s convertible.Mirifoto

During our short time with the smallest Glide, we'd looked to address some minor ergonomic and comfort issues, slapping on a taller shield from Harley, changing in a new Badlander saddle, and outfitting the detachable saddlebags with removable Travel-Pak liners to make the load-out after a long ride that much easier; you just grab them and go. But two of those three elements didn't really work out as planned. The shield was still too short to really tame high-speed windblast of any duration, and I was ready to pull the trigger on a Klock Werks Flare unit.

But, again, time ran out. As for the Badlander saddle—as badass as it looks, let’s just say a low-profile seat does not a good touring accessory make. The Glide gained a much sleeker profile while wearing it, but the skimpy padding isn’t really what you want under your butt for more than a couple of hours. For around town (and shorter riders—it brings you closer to ground level than I realized) the Badlander is a winner, but not for the longer trips I tended to go on. So I put the stock seat back on, and realized it really wasn’t all that bad; it just needs a bit more support in the rearmost section.

Bottom line is the Glide received only minor updates, despite our earlier intentions of going all Stage 1 on it; we were hoping to maybe install some Street Cannon mufflers and a freer-flowing K&N filter to get more efficiency in the breathing department. We'd also hoped at some point to pop on a set of new tires, different grips and possibly a mustache engine guard kit for longer trips.

2019 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide “tall” shield.
There’s only one accessory “tall” shield Harley offers for the Sport Glide, so for real wind mitigation solutions you’ll have to look elsewhere in the aftermarket.Andrew Cherney
2019 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide seat and Badlander seat.
We swapped in a Badlander seat which instantly improved the Sport Glide’s looks, but it also dropped the seat height lower than we expected.Andrew Cherney

Despite all the grandiose visions, time, travel, and a heavy workload conspired to limit my miles on the Glide to just over 3,000 in two months, which I think we can both agree is peanuts. I did take a few enjoyable trips on it though and never had any complaints in the mechanical or performance departments, the Glide delivering me up and down most of the West Coast with nary a hiccup.

Its convertibility became an awesome way for me to hoodwink a couple of friends I visited around the Northwest in that time. The script usually went something like this: I’d hit the road for a weekend-long ride and plan to overnight at a buddy’s house along the way, rolling up with the Glide decked out in touring trim. The next morning, when we’d saddle up to head to the local java joint for our fix of caffeine, I’d already have the Glide stripped of the shield and bags—looking trim and ready to cruise in urban mode. The pal would invariably say, “where the hell did that thing come from? Did you get another bike last night?!” I’d have to explain the whole convertible concept, and he’d grudgingly agree that it was a pretty cool feature. Good times.

But other than the few niggles I mentioned earlier, the Glide was infallible the whole way through my time with it. Anyone wanting to do any real kind of touring will be able to find a way to make it work—the Glide’s bones are willing and able, and it’s got the get-up-and-go to log the big miles, any where, any time.

2019 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide in parking lot.
The Sport Glide stripped down to just the basics, no bags or shield. Looks damn good, doesn’t it?Mirifoto
2019 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide dyno chart.
We ran the stock 2019 Sport Glide on our dyno just to get a baseline, and it did not disappoint, hitting a peak of 73.3 hp at 4,970 rpm. Torque is even more accessible; the max of 86.8 pound-feet comes at a lazy 2,800 rpm. We never wanted for any power on the Glide - ever.Will Steenrod