Long-Term Bikes | 2011 Harley-Davidson Street Glide

2011 Harley-Davidson Street Glide
MSRP: $19,499 ($21,495 with paint, ABS, security)
Caretaker: Bartels
Measurements: 6 ft./195 lbs./33 in. inseam
Odometer: 13,529
Miles Since Last Issue: 1620
Average fuel mileage: 38.5

Between scheduling and traveling, etc, the Glide was stuck in a disassembled state with its fairing off and several wiring harnesses exploding from the opening. But I eventually got it back, ready to try out the new toys that had been installed.

The iPod adaptor and Boom! Audio install was not for the faint of heart (or wallet), but the payoff was pretty sweet. The amplifier and new speakers (in the same old speaker holes) made listening at high speed possible, though with a bit of a headwind, you still can’t hear much above 80. The sound quality is even cleaner than before, though bass tones were only okay. The left saddlebag mount of the iPod worked great, and didn’t intrude on storage space much. Even a hard drive iPod (universally discouraged on motorcycles), only got stuck once.

The $500 question is if it’s too inconvenient to have a Pod in your pocket, and not controllable by the switches on the handlebars? Only you can answer that question, but the upside is that some of the stuff purchased for this audio upgrade is already on the bike if you decide to add rear speakers at a later date.

The H-D Premium Ride suspension I had installed was an interesting design. One shock controls rebound damping, the other compression damping, while spring rates are done the same way; one controlling preload, and one with a preset preload but two different stages of spring tension. So, effectively, you have three different spring rates. In the end, the only thing you control is the preload on the left shock. It’s an elegantly simple design, but getting it to work properly had a learning curve.

One thing is, it’s always firm. The final spring you hit is designed so that you don’t ever bottom, so it’s mighty stiff. Anytime there’s a harsh dip, you’re using that spring. So, converse to the way most shocks work, it’s not just, less preload= softer; if you set the preload too light, you’ll just blow through the soft springs and bounce off the hard one. So, as I was looking for some plushness, I kept adjusting the wrong way and bouncing off the spring of last resort repeatedly. Needless to say, I cranked it back up again.

That said, both front and rear is a big improvement over stock. Once set up properly it makes road ripples disappear, while remaining firm and controlled on corners. I’m still getting it set just right, but I’ll have lots of miles to figure it out.

An afterthought in this round of modifications was the Garmin Zumo GPS. I’ve yet to use it for directions but, it was great to not only get a preview of the road ahead, but also for on-the-fly redirecting and exploring. One cool thing I’d never before noticed on these units is that they tell you what the speed limit is and display a GPS-based readout of how fast you are actually going. If I pass a cop, I don’t have to think back to the last sign that I saw, I can just glance at the dash for a proper speed. Absolutely brilliant.

The one thing I didn't try out was the new luggage. I should be able to get in a tour or two on it by next issue. If I find time, it'll also get some cosmetic enhancements. CR

Modifications

iPod Relocation kit $199.95
Wiring Harness $39.50
(the missing part from last cycle)
Docking Hardware Kit - 4 Point
(pre-installed) $159.95
Garmin zumo 660 $649.95
Road Tech zumo Fairing Mount Kit $39.95
**Total $1,089.93**