Glide on the Open Road 1

Harley-Davidson’s 2016 Road Glide Ultra

The 2016 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra leaves no stone unturned when it comes to an all-inclusive cruising bike. It was built for touring and that’s exactly what it excels in. Fully loaded with copious storage compartments, hard-case saddlebags, trunk and luggage rack, the Road Glide Ultra is conscious when it comes to functionality and style.

It harnesses the thrill of a day trip, complete with a windowless 360-degree view, and considers the comfort of the rider and passenger with its Electra Glide Comfort stitch seats and height-adjustable passenger footboards. The front row seats to this pavement pacer are set in a one-piece, two-up style, equipping the driver with full length foot boards and a heel/toe shifter lever for maximum foot and leg comfort. Shorter drivers may find the 28.4-inch seat—one of the highest available—a bit high for their liking, making stops a bit tricky to navigate but not compromising the overall balance once in motion.

The smartphone capable Boom! Box 6.5 GT audio system complete with GPS and touchscreen is an enjoyable addition to the laid-back riding this bike encourages. Staying true to its destiny as a touring bike, the six-gallon gas tank with an estimated 42 MGP makes long rides not only pleasurable but also less interrupted by pesky fuel stops.

Think of this bike as combining the playfulness and luxury of a ragtop with the ease and confidence of a smaller bike. The sharknose frame-mounted fairing may not have a typical look but it leaves the rider with the perfect amount of wind in their hair to keep that sought after motorcycle experience intact while leaving your arms and back nearly drag-free.

Perhaps the smartest feature for wind protection, the frame mounting erases any buffeting in your arms, even when following a tractor trailer at 75 miles per hour on the highway. The mid-frame air deflectors are also included to make the ride smoother on the driver’s legs.

While the most appreciated feature is comfort, there’s no mistaking the power and speed that comes complimentary of Harley-Davidson’s Twin-Cooled 1690 cc High Output Twin Cam 103 engine. With an as-shipped weight of nearly 900 pounds you won’t have nearly the pickup you would get from a sport bike, but the weight does help take much of the road abuse away from the rider.

Overall, I thought the bulky build of the bike would take away from its handling but I was pleasantly surprised by the maneuverability it possessed despite the extra baggage of the saddlebags, trunk, and wind deflectors. As a touring bike, it’s everything I expected it to be, and much more.