H-D Electra-Glide Ultra Limited | Review

2011 Harley-Davidson FLHTK

The top-of-the-line Harley-Davidson touring ride is one damn cool machine. A heavy beast to be sure, the FLHTK Electra Glide Ultra Limited checks in at a claimed road-ready 901 pounds. However, once underway, those pounds melt away fast. I would dare say it is even nimble once there is some velocity happening.

The large, air-cooled, 1690cc Twin Cam 103-cubic-inch engine may lack a little bit in gas mileage compared to the next-step-down 96-cubic-incher (as one 96-inch biker pointed out to me numerous times), but the thrust it provided proved life-saving on more than one occasion.

Case in point: A center lane-driving car, without signaling of course, starts to merge left into the fast lane, just as I was passing it, in that lane. I was able to easily flick the bike to the left, click down a gear, pour some throttle on, and pass the car before the driver even reacted to the situation. If I have to sacrifice a little in gas mileage, it’s worth it if it can possibly save my butt.

That said, you do have a 6-gallon fuel tank that offers quite a bit of range, if you ride fairly conservatively. The manufacturer’s rating for mileage is 35/45 and I was getting around 40 most of the time. The extra sixth gear helps in the conservation department when you are highway cruising.

Overall, the Harley’s Cruise Drive transmission, with integrated Isolated Drive System (IDS), operated with zero clunkiness, though finding neutral took me a while to finesse. It required a very tiny tap of the foot to get the green “N” lit.

Helping to put the power of this big twin from wrist to pavement is a smooth-working Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection system (ESTI) with heated O2 sensors and Electronic Thottle Control (ETC). Valve-wise you have pushrod-operated overhead valves with hydraulic, self-adjusting lifters (2 valves per cylinder).

Stopping a large beast like this is no easy task but the 4-piston, dual-rotor Brembos up front and the single rotor unit in back make it look like it is a piece of cake.

I enjoyed a two-up bed & breakfast weekend with the wife on the Electra Glide and the bike steered fluidly and the engine always pulled confidently. The gobs of torque on tap (102 ft/lbs at 3500 rpm) were not compromised one bit with the added weight of a passenger and some light cargo.

Yes, you can go even bigger and get the H-D Custom Vehicle Operations limited edition version with a 110-cubic-inch engine, but you are gonna shell out roughly an additional $14,000 for it. While you may get one sick Screaming Eagled-out monster for that money, the Ultra Limited is still a serious big-bagger that comes in at an easier to swallow $23,699 price tag.

If you have big cargo needs, the sidebags and trunk of this bike are voluminous. On that B&B trip, we had plenty of room for knicknacks we bought at a craft fair, plus all our clothing and personal effects. There was actually space to spare! Though the sidebags that boast 2.26 cubic feet of volume are deep and might lead you to think fishing something out of them might be a pain, they come with plush liners that make removal of everything easy. As for the trunk you will find a 12-volt power supply inside that is perfect for charging cell phones, iPods, and the like, while you are riding.

On that long trip, the electronic cruise control was much appreciated and pleasantly, a piece of cake to operate. So, too, was the 80-watt, four speaker Advanced Audio System by Harmon/Kardon with CD/MP3 player and CB/Intercom. Both are operated with very intuitive handlebar mounted controls. Once you get familiar with them, there is never a need to take your eyes off the road to operate the units.

The bag liners, cruise control, and audio system all come standard as do a host of other amenities like anti-lock brakes, premium Tour-Pak luggage rack, Smart security system, and–my favorite–heated hand grips. I tested this bike over 2,000 miles on the east coast before the winter got snow-filled and cold and then again for the two 60 degree days we had in February. Those grips were a much needed and appreciated feature on more than one occasion.

The dash on the Ultra Limited features titanium-faced, fairing-mounted electronic speedometer and tachometer plus fuel, voltage, oil pressure and ambient air temperature gauges with white LED lighting in an easy-to-read larger font.

While touring around, mostly on backroads, I found the Harley-Davidson Touring chassis, which is based on a single-spar, rigid backbone frame and sturdy swingarm, to be confident and pleasantly cushioned by the air-adjustable rear shocks and 41.3mm telescopic, triple-circuit damping front forks.

This year, a new sculpted saddle adorns the Ultra Limited and it is a noticeable improvement in the comfort department. The wife had additional comfort thanks to the large backrest and wrap-around armrests. The last pieces of the comfort puzzle come in the form of height-adjustable passenger footboards and full-length footboards for the rider. If you have the need to transport a third person, this bike is engineered for sidecar use as well.

This bike wears the imposing Harley-Davidson bat wing fairing and, next to their Road Glide’s shark fairing, the Bat Wing is my second fave in styling. Its clear, Lexan windshield is almost invisible at times and the whole package does an amazing job of keeping wind blast off of me. The smoked Lexan fairing-mounted air deflectors allow you to vary the amount of breeze you want to feel.

Below them lie the mid-frame air deflectors, and then the lower fairings, which are removable and smartly vented. Those lowers have nice storage compartments that you can upgrade with lockable covers. As a result, the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Limited has plenty of options to meet your specific needs for wind deflection and storage.

The same goes for the color choices with a $1000 bump up to the two-tone, or an additional $200 above that for Harley-Davidson’s “custom” colors. I had the Merlot Sunglo/Cherry Red Sunglo version, but you can also get it in no less than six new color configurations.

Playing nicely off those colors is a black powdercoated powertrain with a chrome cover. Completing the picture are the contrast chrome, 28-spoke cast aluminum wheels with narrow whitewall tires, and chrome 2-1-2 dual exhaust with tapered mufflers.

Overall, I would say that if you are looking for a road-ready touring motorcycle with the signature feel of a big V-twin, you can not do much better that the Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited Electra Glide. It comes standard with most everything you could want in such a moto and the price makes those standard additions a phenomenal value.

2011 Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide Ultra Limited | FLHTK Motorcycle Specs

Engine: Air-cooled, Twin Cam 103 (103 cu. in. or 1690 cc)
Valves: Pushrod-operated, overhead valves with hydraulic, self-adjusting lifters; two valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 3.875 in. x 4.38 in. (98.4 mm x 111.3 mm)
Compression Ratio: 9.6:1
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)

Primary: Drive Chain, 34/46 ratio
Final: Drive Belt, 32/68 ratio
Clutch: Multi-plate, wet
Transmission: 6-Speed Cruise Drive®

Engine Torque (per SAE J1349): North America 102 ft. lbs. @ 3500 RPM (138 Nm @ 3500 RPM)
Fuel Economy (EPA urban/highway test): 35/54 mpg (6.70/4.40 L/100 km)

Battery (per Battery Council International Rating): Sealed, maintenance-free, 12V,
28-amp/hour, 370 cca
Charging: Three-phase, 50-amp system (585W @ 13V, 2000 RPM, 650W max power @ 13V)
Starting: 1.2 kW electric with solenoid shift starter motor engagement

Length: 98.6 in. (2504 mm)
Overall Width: 38.0 in. (965 mm)
Overall Height: 61.0 in. (1549 mm)
Seat Height: 27.3 in. (693 mm) to 29.1 in. (739 mm)
Ground Clearance: 5.1 in. (130 mm)
Wheelbase 63.5 in. (1613 mm)
Tires (Dunlop Harley-Davidson Series, bias narrow whitewall): Front – D408FNW 130/80B17 65H and Rear – D407NW 180/65B16 81H
Fuel Capacity: 6.0 gal. (22.7 L) (warning light at approximately 1.0 gal.)
Oil Capacity: (w/filter) 4.0 qts. (3.8 L)
Transmission Capacity: 1.0 qts.

As Shipped: 857 lbs. (388.7 kg)
In Running Order: 901 lbs. (408.7 kg)
Gross Vehicle Weight: 1360 lbs. (616.9 kg)

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