Harley-Davidson Wide Glide | Review

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Motorcycle Review

Just recently I reported on the burying chrome in favor of the newfound sexiness of black in cruisers. However, the new 2010 Harley-Davidson Wide Glide (FXDWG) is here to defend the honor of the shiny stuff, throwing it down with old-school aggressive styling tactics.

It starts with a raked front end, and ends at a chopped rear fender sans incandescent lighting and a license plate (the bike in the action photos is a European model). Toss in a Vivid Black fuel tank surrounded by flames and you’re good to go in any cool-custom fight club bout.

That raked front end, with wide-set 49mm forks, is not simply a style treatment, though it certainly could be. Offset polished aluminum triple-clamps give the forks a two-degree advantage over the steering head, putting them out there at 36 degrees as they make their way to a black-rimmed 21-inch, 40-spoke wheel.

Along with a wheelbase over 68 inches, the Wide Glide has the length and geometry to justify its name. Long, and with a highly gyroscopic front hoop, the “glide” is absolutely built in.

However, the Wide Glide is about more than straight-line travel. That narrow Harley-spec Dunlop front tire adds light steering and maneuverability to the mix. The Wide Glide’s combination of handling attributes results in an interestingly lively ride.

Although the front end is long and raked, this is not a high-neck chopper, nor is it a low-down pro-street design. Placed precisely in-between, the Wide Glide escapes any odd handling characteristics, except when making tight turns at low speed.

In corners, the Wide Glide willingly changes lines, in spite of its claimed 665-pound wet weight. Credit the narrow 80mm front tire for that welcome feature, though this does come at the expense of stability and that planted feeling that many riders crave.

The handling and ground clearance-over 28 degrees on the exhaust side, almost 32 on the left-encourage you to do a bit more than cruise when Rocky Mountain roads such as Colorado’s epic Highway 103 come your way. The first thing to touch down in corners is the heel of your boot, and that is much more welcome than grinding steel.

If you are an aggressive rider, you may want to visit a farrier, or be prepared to become best friends with your cobbler. Keep a steady hand on the throttle when exiting corners, as the front end will wander if power is applied when the bike is less than vertical.

Taking the Wide Glide into an urban environment results in the usual turned heads. Chrome accents are set off against an abundance of contrasting black. Yes, there are other color options, but we were most taken by this fiery combination.
Harley-Davidson is on a push to lower seat heights, and the Glide’s seat sits a mere 26.7 inches above the ground. This puts flat-footed stops within reach of a large majority of riders.

The unbalanced, rubber-mounted Twin Cam 96 is a peppy in-town motor. Relatively speaking, it spins up fairly rapidly. This makes the Wide Glide a force to be reckoned with when the light turns green-remember, we are talking 92 ft/lbs of torque at 3000 rpm going to the highly visible 180 rear Dunlop. Even at Colorado’s Squaw Pass, over 9800 feet above sea level, power is plentiful and the fuel injection flawless.

Acceleration is brisk enough that launching onto the freeway via an abbreviated ramp results in exceeding the speed limit before merging with traffic. There is no tach, but there’s also no temptation to hit the rev limiter. The stability of the bike in a straight line, even with the narrow tire, gives the rider confidence to twist the lightly sprung throttle.

Once on the freeway, the Wide Glide is remarkably smooth, as the advantages of rubber mounting become most apparent. In most cases, rain grooves do not upset the front end, which is a pleasant surprise.

Sixth gear, which is an overdrive, is not appropriate until you top 70 mph (do note that you cannot see the 6th gear indicator light in direct sunlight). Wind is your limiting factor on the open road, as the fist-and-feet forward stance leaves you with little protection.

This year, Harley swapped out the old whiny straight-cut fifth gear for a quieter helical cog-a welcome change for the otherwise fine gearbox. The footpegs are low enough that they are not in a fatiguing position, and the conservative down-and-back sweep of the bars is simply perfect.

Do not expect much help from the rear disc when it comes time to slow down-what braking power there is has been invested in the single 300mm front disc and the four-piston caliper, along with engine compression, of course. Although braking is adequate, it seems strange to leave so much of the deceleration responsibility to an 80mm tire.

With the Wide Glide’s dropped seat height, one would expect the somewhat thin, firmly padded catcher’s mitt seat and three inches of rear wheel travel to result in a harsh ride. Fortunately, the Glide’s long wheelbase smoothes things out. I was happily surprised to discover this on the under-maintained streets I traversed en route to the Golden Bird Restaurant in the Manchester Square neighborhood of Los Angeles.

I alertly avoided the bike-gobbling craters near the construction of the new Expo Line, which has turned the streets into a virtual minefield. However, the suspension-including five inches of fork travel-is enough to keep garden-variety potholes from knocking the motorcycle off its line.

Harley-Davidson’s new 2010 Wide Glide appeals to those of us who want to attract eyeballs and flaunt a persona with projection, without twisting ourselves into unnatural riding positions on motorcycles that are impractical to ride. Consider it a bike with an unmistakably tough-guy stance that successfully cloaks a welcome real world level-headedness.

Motorcycle Specifications

Length 94.0 in. (2387.60 mm)
Overall Width 37.20 in. (944.88 mm)
Overall Height 47.80 in. (1214.12 mm)
Seat Height:
• Laden2
• Unladen
25.50 in. (647.70 mm)
26.70 in. (678.18 mm)
Ground Clearance 4.20 in. (106.68 mm)
Rake (steering head) 34°
Fork Angle 36°
Trail 5.20 in. (132.08 mm)
Wheelbase 68.30 in. (1734.82 mm)
Tires (Dunlop® Harley-Davidson Series, bias blackwall front and rear):
• Front – GT502 F
• Rear – GT502
80/90-21 54V
180/60B17 75V
Fuel Capacity 4.70 gal. (17.79 L)
(warning light at approximately 0.9 gal.)
Oil Capacity (w/filter) 3 qts. (2.84 L)
Transmission Capacity 1 qts. (0.95 L)
Primary Chain
Case Capacity3
1 qts. (0.95 L)
• As Shipped
• In Running Order
• Gross Vehicle
Weight Rating
• Gross Axle
Weight Rating:
• Front
• Rear
647 lbs. (293.48 kg)
665 lbs. (301.64 kg)
1085 lbs. (492.16 kg)
390 lbs. (176.90 kg)
695 lbs. (315.25 kg)

Engine4 Air-cooled, Twin Cam 96™
Valves Pushrod-operated, overhead valves
with hydraulic, self-adjusting lifters;
two valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke 3.75 in. x 4.38 in.
(95.25 mm x 111.25 mm)
Displacement 96 cu. in. (1584 cc)
Compression Ratio 9.2:1
Fuel System5 Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection
Air Cleaner Fiberglass Media, washable
Lubrication System Pressurized, dry-sump

Primary Drive Chain, 34/46 ratio
Final Drive6 Belt, 32/66 ratio
Clutch Multi-plate, wet
Transmission 6-Speed Cruise Drive®
Gear Ratios (overall):
• 1st
• 2nd
• 3rd
• 4th
• 5th
• 6th
Frame Mild steel, tubular frame; rectangular
section backbone; stamped, cast,
and forged junctions; forged fender
supports; MIG welded
Swingarm Mild steel, rectangular tube sections,
stamped junctions; MIG welded
Front Forks 49 mm with polished aluminum fork
triple clamp and dual-rate springs
Rear Shocks Coil-over shock
Wheels7: Black, Laced Steel
• Front
• Rear
21 in. x 2.15 in. (533.40 mm x 54.61 mm)
17 in. x 4.50 in. (431.80 mm x 114.30 mm)
• Caliper Type
• Rotor Type
(diameter x width):
• Front (floating)
• Rear
4-piston fixed front, and 2-piston
torque-free floating rear
Patented, uniform expansion rotors
(floating, front only)
11.80 in. x .20 in. (299.72 mm x 5.08 mm)
11.50 in. x .23 in. (292.10 mm x 5.84 mm)
Suspension Travel:
• Front Wheel
• Rear Wheel
5 in. (127.0 mm)
3.10 in. (78.74 mm)
Engine Torque (per SAE J1349):
• North America 92 ft. lbs. @ 3000 rpm
(124.75 Nm @ 3000 rpm)
Lean Angle (per SAE J1168):
• Right
• Left
Fuel Economy
(EPA urban/highway test)
35/54 mpg (6.72/4.36 L/100 km)

Battery (per Battery Council
International Rating)
Sealed, maintenance-free, 12V,
19-amp/hour, 270 cca
Charging Three-phase, 40-amp system
(493W @ 13.5V, 2000 rpm, 540W max power @ 13.5V)
Starting 1.2 kW electric with solenoid shift
starter motor engagement
Lights (as per country regulation):
• Headlamp
(quartz halogen)
• Rear Turn Signal
• Rear Brake Light8
• Indicator Lamps
55-watt low beam,
60-watt high beam
Running Lamp:
9W Brake/Turn Lamp: 43W
Tail Lamp: 2.3W Brake Lamp: 4.4W
High beam, directional light bar, neutral,
low oil pressure, engine diagnostics,
turn signals, security system9 (optional),
6-speed, low fuel warnings
Electric Power Outlet Standard

Warranty10 24 months (unlimited mileage)
Service Interval First 1,000 miles (1,600 km),
every 5,000 miles (8,000 km) thereafter