Roam in Chrome
Harley’s influential Super Glide began life in 1971 as the result of Willie G. Davidson’s Frankensteinian grafting of the Sportster’s slinky front end to the muscular frame and powertrain of the Electra Glide. Willie G’s chopper-inspired cut-and-paste resulted in the birth of the (seemingly) oxymoronic “factory-custom” genre. For customers looking for a trick ride with a factory warranty and without a hefty aftermarket accessory tab, the Super Glide hammered a persuasive power chord that is still ringing throughout the industry.
Like dropping Freddie Blassie into today’s UFC Octagon, the gleaming 2007 Super Glide Custom brings the low, tough ’70s factory-custom stance into the Twin Cam 96 era by combining old-school swagger and flash with a dose of modern conditioning–and maybe a steroid or two.
Taking the FXD Super Glide as its departure point, the FXDC adds a blinding assortment of chrome to the equation, starting with the burnished treatments on the silver powder-coated engine. Laced chrome hoops, sparkling engine covers and a chrome logo strip on the battery box conspire to make the Super Glide Custom a blazing streak of silver from head to taillight. A chrome speedo and ignition console is mounted over the iconic leather “#1” tank strip to give the rider something shiny to look at while snapping on his helmet.
Dropping into the classic two-up stitched seat and grabbing the low-rise bars settles you into a riding position a scant inch higher than H-D’s Dyna Low Rider. At 26.8” you’re crouched, but not cramped on the mid-mount pegs. It’s a riding position that makes the most out of the bike’s overall dimensions–as well as the “new” H-D mill.
Much has been made of the Twin Cam 96′s low-end grunt and increased all-around eagerness since it replaced the TC 88 last year. The TC 96 achieves its displacement boost by lengthening stoke from 4.00 inches to 4.38. That might look like a squinty number on a web page, but the difference in power is evident on the road, especially below 3,500 rpm, where Harley riders like it.
The engine delivers irresistible punch in city traffic and the Glide’s low-slung stance is nothing if not stop-and-go friendly. Slicing around town and opening up the throttle between lights is an adrenal blast, made all the more enjoyable by the buttery-smooth Cruise Drive six-speed box. The riding position, along with the 19” and 17” rear Dunlops contribute to suitably brisk canyon carving for a big V-Twin. Suspension is the standard 49 mm polished front forks and familiar Dyna rear coils with the 4.1 inches of travel you’d expect from the bike’s relatively low-profile.
Out on the highway, dropping into sixth gear settles you into a smooth, stable cruising speed, although windy conditions result in frequent body blows, probably due in part to the mini-pullback bars. The road is longer on a Super Glide Custom as well, thanks to the stretched Fat-Bob tank, which holds 5.1 gallons, up from the FXD’s 4.8 capacity. That’s a nice spec, but let’s face it. With all that chrome to show off, you’re going to want to pull off the road once in a while.