Nine different Softail models, nine different wheel styles. From wire-spoke to cast-aluminum, from chrome to black to machined finishes, and from 16-inch to 21-inch, they’re all here, except for a 17-inch sportbike variant. This little preamble is just to say that the first thing people will probably notice about the new Sport Glide is its 18-inch front and 16-inch rear wheels. Cast aluminum with black paint and machined highlights, they feature a most unusual array of paired spokes, reminiscent of some Klingon starship component. And once in motion, they’re almost alarming in appearance, like runaway buzz saws.
Another high-tech feature that enthusiasts will appreciate is the Sport Glide’s inverted fork, a racing-derived piece that noticeably sharpens road-holding. Other unique touches are a removable mini batwing-style fairing, quickly detachable side bags, and a high-volume 2-into-1 exhaust system with black muffler. The thick dual saddle is adequate for long stints up front, but the pillion is relatively sparse, suggesting that despite its fairing and bags, the Sport Glide is meant more for day tripping than touring.
Likes: The Sport Glide quickly transforms from a bagger to a minimalist cruiser.
Dislikes: Needs a windshield taller than the 5-1/2-inch option, and a way better passenger seat.
Verdict: Motorcyclists wear many hats, and it's good that the Sport Glide can too.