It turns out the Road Glide Ultra wasn’t enough for shark-nosed Harley-Davidson enthusiasts, and the CVO was a bit too much. Enter the 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited. It’s not as fancy and pricey as the CVO, yet it’s another step up in finish compared to the Road Glide Ultra, which is not in the 2020 lineup. It’s a full-dresser, and that means putting on some touring miles—so that’s what we did. To sweeten the deal, our Road Glide Limited has the new Reflex Defensive Rider Systems (RDRS), which we will be happily explaining.
The 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited is differentiated from the departed Ultra through upgraded finishes. The Limited gets a higher level of paint with pinstriping, a glossy finish for the fairing interior (which the rider is always looking at), heated grips, Slicer II Contrast Bright wheels, and new medallions on the fuel tank and front fender. Plus, the Limited allows you to choose between chrome and the more-expensive blacked-out finish—yes, paint costs more than chrome. Both share the same chassis and motor. Oh, and the Limited is $600 more expensive than last year’s Ultra, and gives you access to RDRS—a $995 option.
The Road Glide Limited sets a standard for comfort. The triangle of the plush seat, high grips, and supportive floorboards is all about long-distance touring. Add in the protective iconic shark-nose fairing with a tall 13.5-inch windscreen, and you’re in a friendly cocoon, regardless of the weather. Every time you sit on the Limited, you will want to ride from coast-to-coast.
Cranking out 122 ft-lbs of torque at just 3000 rpm, the Road Glide Limited is a friendly beast on the highway. The Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 114’s ultra-flat torque curve means that there is passing or hillclimbing power whenever you need it, whether riding solo for the day or two-up with the Tour-Pak loaded up. It’s a flawless powerplant, with perfect fueling, free revving, and a willingness to take the Limited up to triple-digit speeds with nary a complaint, as it seems to enjoy stretching its long-stroke legs. Sixth gear in the Cruise Drive transmission is as smooth as silk on the open highway, and cruise control makes it even better.
You won’t have to worry about lighting up the rear tire during acceleration, even on dodgy surfaces, as the RDRS has traction control as part of the package. It’s cornering-aware and has two rider-selectable settings—dry and wet. We haven’t had any rain in SoCal lately, and the deployment of the RDRS’s traction control in the dry is completely transparent. Certainly, we are grateful it is there should rain break out.
Don’t get worried about going too fast, as the Limited with the Reflex Defensive Rider Systems will slow you down effectively and with assurance. The security in deceleration comes from many sources. The electronically linked brakes instigate braking at both wheels, as needed, if you use either the foot or hand brake. There is no linked braking at slow speeds, with it engaging and ramping up as you brake harder. In addition to a slipper clutch to avoid rear-wheel skidding during hard downshifting, the engine reduces torque sent to the rear wheel to retain traction. All of these features are cornering-aware, and you are likely to never feel their effect outside of an emergency. These are the kinds of safety enhancements we like, and well worth the $995 premium.
The Showa suspension and latest Touring frame are an outstanding team. The 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited has excellent straight-line stability—the fork is kicked out 29.25 degrees, and the wheelbase is 64 inches. Yet, even at 932 pounds at the curb with six gallons of high-test in the tank, the Limited is ready and willing to take on the twisties. While some muscle is required on tighter roads, that extra effort is made up for by a lack of personal grunt needed to hold a fast line through high-speed sweepers. Although the 19-inch front wheel may be more a fashion than performance choice, it doesn’t feel that way. The tall wheels give the Limited generous cornering clearance—many owners will never take full advantage of the Dunlops and touch metal to tarmac.
With 4.7 cubic feet of storage space, you can take it with you. We have been fans of the latest Tour-Pak, and especially like the locking one-touch open/closure of the sidebags. If you can’t fit it in the top box, you probably don’t need it, though you can strap it to the rack on the lid of the top box.
The full-color TFT touchscreen is fantastic. The screen looks great and is helpfully customizable. The user interface doesn’t demand you read a manual—a considerable improvement compared to past software. It is enjoyable to use, rather than painful.
Harley-Davidson did an excellent job with the entire dash arrangement. In addition to the TFT display, there are two large analog-style dials—speedometer and tachometer, naturally. You also get an analog fuel gauge and voltmeter. I’d prefer an oil pressure gauge to the voltmeter, but maybe that’s just me.
There are too many features to mention in the Boom! Box GTS infotainment system—literally. If you think you need a feature, most likely, the system has it. The sound of the four 5.25-inch speakers is quite good, and the mute button is very effective when Bon Jovi comes on the radio. I prefer listening to my choice of music, and there are several ways that can be accomplished—at least one of them will suit you. We could easily double the length of this review by going into the details of the Boom! Box GTS, but we’re going to spare you. Again, if you want it, almost certainly you will get it, from intercom to GPS to voice commands. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are optional add-ons, and not wireless—tsk, tsk.
Passenger accommodations on the 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited are luxurious. Fortunately, should your passenger get so comfortable as to fall asleep, the armrests and floorboards will help prevent an unexpected dismount. Pumping out “Kawasaki Backflip” by Dogleg over the Boom! Box will cure any case of drowsiness.
We haven’t yet mentioned two more features of the Reflex Defensive Rider Systems—hill control and tire pressure monitoring. To some, hill control might seem gimmicky. In practice, on a motorcycle as big as the Road Glide Limited, it can come in handy. It’s easy to use—once the bike stops, squeeze the brake lever hard, or push down hard on the foot pedal, and it locks you down. The release is instantaneous when you use the clutch and throttle to move forward. Note that H-D rightfully calls it Vehicle Hold Control because you don’t need a hill for it to work. Knowing that one of your tires is getting low on psi is always a good thing, and something many riders neglect to check—slap your own wrist if you’re guilty.
With the 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited tipping the scales at 932 pounds before you get on it, we think a reverse gear is in order. In the meantime, be careful where you park.
Riders after dark will appreciate the LEDs. In addition to the iconic dual Daymaker headlights, there are running lights along the bottom of the top box to keep you visible.
Although the 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited isn’t all-new, the availability of RDRS is reason enough to trade up. Safe is better, and Harley-Davidson has implemented these safety measures without the rider feeling nagged. As for the rest of the Road Glide Limited, it is the fully dressed tourer we have long known and loved. With 114 cubes at the ready, a cross-country trip will be on your mind every time you flick up the kickstand.
KTM Super ADV R + Lightning Motorcycles’ Richard Hatfield
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Motos and Friends—the weekly Podcast brought to you by the editorial team at Ultimate Motorcycling. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
In this week’s first segment, Editor Don Williams rides KTM’s new 1290 Super Adventure R. This hardcore ADV bike is big, powerful, and a true expert-level machine. Interestingly, it has multiple points of adjustment within its highly capable electronics package, and Don discovered several big surprises where the bike changed personality completely. His is an intriguing look at one of the most capable off road ADV bikes on the market today.
In the second segment, I chat with Richard Hatfield, CEO of Lightning motorcycles. This silicon valley based manufacturer was founded in 2006, and having racked up several notable race victories (including Pikes Peak in 2013 with the late Carlin Dunne on board) Lightning have certainly dominated in racing terms. In another first, Lightning has just announced a new rapid-charging battery technology that may well bring electric motorcycles into becoming real-world, practical transport.
So from all of us here at Motos & Friends… we hope you enjoy this episode!