2013 Super Glide Custom New Bike Review

2013-Super-Glide-Custom-12013-Super-Glide-Custom-3When I pulled up to my father’s house and showed him the 2013 FXDC Super Glide Custom with its 110th Anniversary trim, he immediately fell in love with it. It’s got chrome in all the right places; the gas tank, seat, and fender flow perfectly into each other, and those laced wheels tie the whole thing together. He’s a guy who bought his perfect, bone-stock Harley-Davidson years ago and has had no desire for another until he saw this bike. Now I generally don’t like the same bikes as the AARP crowd, so I knew something was terribly wrong in the universe as I, too, had fallen in love with the Super Glide Custom.

How could it be that the muscle cruiser I’d just spent hours going balls to the wall, backroads blasting on appeals to my dad? Did he suddenly become cool? Did I mysteriously get old? Wait, don’t answer that. I was intrigued by this bizarro quagmire and decided that the only way to come up with the answer was to do some more testing.

Out on the highway, the Super Glide Custom is a completely different animal. I quickly discovered its attraction to a more — let’s say relaxed — population. With an overall length of just over 92″ and a 64″ wheelbase, this bike tracks straight and true. A variety of well-thought-out features help it cruise along comfortably. The 19″ front wheel and its 100/90-19″ Michelin Scorcher 31 makes for a solid, stable dynamic and still has enough meat to carve corners. A 160/70-17″ Scorcher 31 wraps the rear wheel, which is also a nice all-around setup for touring and performance riding.

The drivetrain is where the Super Glide Custom really shines. It, along with the Street Bob, are the only two Big Twins in the lineup that use the 96″ Twin Cam. This 650-pound cruiser is one of the lightest in the lineup. I noticed the most pulling power between 2000 and 4500 rpm, but the lightweight Super Glide Custom has plenty of power to rip all the way to redline. The 27.9″ unladen seat height, which only sinks about an inch with my 170 pounds, is high enough to see what’s going on in front of you but low enough to put you in a controlled position behind the engine. This makes the Super Glide Custom feel remarkably comfortable at speeds over 75 mph. And up until then, too.
Going back to the theme of the Super Glide Custom’s dual roles, the smaller engine sucks up less gas from the 5-gallon tank than Harley’s other Big Twin models. During high rpm usage, I still managed to stay above 40 mpg, and for day to day mixed use, I massaged about 45 out of the bike. When filling up, be careful when you get to the top, as the fuel will quickly bubble over. If the pump stops at $12.84, you’re better off just leaving it there.

2013-Super-Glide-Custom-42013-Super-Glide-Custom-2The six-speed Cruise Drive transmission is another huge factor in not only getting good mileage but in overall drivability. The tranny is quiet throughout the rpm range; there’s no whirring or whining since H-D added a helical-cut fifth gear a few years ago. I rarely use the 1:1 ratio sixth gear, as the acceleration below 75 mph is lacking. I’d rather run fifth gear a little high and have power to maneuver. That said, you can shift into sixth at around 65 without lugging the motor, but I recommend a downshift if you want to overtake that tractor-trailer carrying hazardous waste. Shifting is smooth, the gears grab firmly, and the clutch pull is light but provides good feedback. Neutral is easy to find every time — hot, cold, rainy, plague — which is something I can’t say about all Harleys. The Super Glide Custom is also one of the best-sounding bikes out there. The 2-into-2 chrome staggered exhaust system is pretty loud for a stock bike and has a great high-rpm scream. It actually sounds like a Harley is supposed to! The problem is that it reduces the lean angle to 29.5 degrees on the right side, which leaves you just shy of being able to fully let the bike rip around corners. The 30.9 degree left-side lean angle is just enough more to make left turns a whole lot more fun than right turns. Don’t think I’m knocking the bike though; it’s still one of the best handling Big Twins in the entire lineup. That’s what Dynas are for!

2013-Super-Glide-Custom-sidebarI’ve always been a fan of the 49mm Dyna front ends. Neither too light nor too heavy, it’s the handlebars that change the way the bike reacts. This is also where the Super Glide Custom becomes more of a highway cruising machine. The mini-pullback bars are a nice medium between drags and buckhorns. Minimal leverage is required to steer the Super Glide, and lane changes are as easy as a barely noticeable push. With forward controls, this would be a highway-only machine. However, the well-placed mid-controls allow the rider to sit in a more upright position for handling quick turns. At 6’1″, I had plenty of room left in my arms and legs to transition from leaning back and racking up miles to sitting upright for more spirited riding.

Our Anniversary Edition test bike came equipped with ABS, which I got to take advantage of my first time in the saddle. I had to stop short on a section of dusty highway. I took it easy on the brakes at first because it goes against everything you’ve learned to squeeze hard on a slippery road. I quickly realized the ABS could handle it and I went all out on the lever and pedal. Sure enough, you can feel it working the same as a car, and the Super Glide Custom came to a perfectly straight stop. Doing the actual work of the braking system is a fixed four-piston caliper with floating 11.80″ rotor up front and a floating two-piston caliper with 11.50″ rotor in the rear. When not in emergency situations, the Super Glide Custom can still really plant when you get on the brakes. It’s not enough to do a stoppie, but the brakes are well-suited to handle the cruiser’s 1,085-pound GVRW.

2013-Super-Glide-Custom-5The Super Glide Custom comes in a variety of colors at different prices. Vivid Black starts at $13,199, and Big Blue Pearl or Chrome Yellow Pearl is $13,599. The beautiful two-tone combination Ember Red Sunglo/Merlot Sunglo is priced at $13,929. The special anniversary edition two-tone setup is included with the entire anniversary package that you can read about in the sidebar. The base price of the Super Glide Custom is up $199 this year. It all works out, though, as the FXDC comes stock with a two-up seat, passenger pegs, and a classy chrome strip on the battery box that cleans up the ugliest part of any Dyna.

I spent a couple of months living with the Super Glide Custom, and I’ve come to understand its attraction for riders of all ages and riding styles. It’s as enjoyable to ride whether you’re going cross-country on Interstate-80 or blasting down the Cherohala Skyway. The FXDC is one of the most versatile bikes in the Harley lineup, and, factoring in its price, it’s apparent why at least some iteration of it has been in showrooms since 1971. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s an AARP discount for new Harleys, not that I can take advantage of that for awhile. AIM

NEW BIKE REVIEW
By Tyler Greenblatt • Photos by Tucker Radecki

Comments

  1. Charlie Golmon says:

    I have the 2013 FXDC 110th anniversary bike and I love it!
    This bike handles extremely well and has lots of power. I drive about eighty miles each day to and from work and I often choose the longest route possible on pretty days just to nudge a few extra minutes in on my baby! I bought her new in May of 2013 and have a little over 20,000 miles logged on the odometer already. I haven’t had any issues what so ever and I ride rain or shine. The only changes I have made was a set of forward controls, some Viking bags, a set of Michelin commanders and a Memphis shades wind screen. This bike is definitely a daily rider and I have taken 500 mile trips with no discomfort. By the way. … Those Michelin commanders are fantastic if your needing tires!
    I can’t say enough good things about this bike. Its the best thing I have ever ridden and it rekindled my love for driving a vehicle of any kind. ..especially motorcycles!!!!

  2. donny1020 says:

    7/12/2014, I picked up a new 2014 Super Glide Custom with a 103 engine a couple weeks ago and finally have put enough miles on the bike to write down a review from my perspective.

    Just a little perspective, I usually ride every day to work and use the motorcycle as a primary source of transportation even though we own a couple of cars. I live in the Puget Sound and usually commute via Washington States Ferry system, keeping a car parked in Seattle that I use for work. My commute starts with a 1 minute ride to the Ferry, a 40 minute boat ride and a 15 minute ride in Seattle to where I work in construction. The fact that the segments are so short my motorcycles which are all oil cooled and never get up to temp has caused problems due to excessive wear on the valve guides. The weather in the Puget Sound can be wet and there is a saying that Washington motorcycle riders are wet or are going to be wet. Because of this it’s necessary to have bike that can handle the weather without having the electrical short out due to exposure to the rain. We are also blessed with some of the worst traffic in the world where a 15 minute ride can turn into a hour ride unless you illegally split lanes. I need a bike that was skinny enough to fit between cars and able to jump up on sidewalks when necessary. The Super Glide filled the bill for me.

    I have been riding for most of my life learning at an early age on a new Honda 90 Trail, (step through frame), so that gives you an idea how long I’ve been riding. Currently I have a 74″ CI 1949 Panhead chopper with a ridged frame and a 4 speed transmission, a 1976 Harley SX250 2 stroke enduro which was made in Italy for HD by Aeromachi, a 1984 80″ CI HD Shovelhead, (last year for the Shovelhead) chopper which is also rigid and powered by a built motor with a 4 speed transmission. The 84 is slammed and only has about 3 inches of lean before you start dragging the exhaust.

    Over the years I’ve become a HD mechanic due to the usual breakdowns every 1500 miles or so. I’ve done the rebuilds on all bikes a did the correct flowing the heads, balancing the engines, using Andrews guts in the transmission, etc in an effort to make them “fast” and more reliable. With all their faults these old bike get into a guys blood. They are true Harley Davidsons with all their faults and issues. The ability to fix issues on the side of a freeway at 11:45 at night leaves one with a sense of pride. Though I’ve thought about buying a new bike I had never rode a new Harley that could beat my Shovel for feel and light to light response. That is until I rode a bike with the 103 engine. I always hated the idea of spending $10k plus on a new bike and then having to dump another couple of thousand dollars to make it run right. The 103″ Super Glide changed my mind.

    Part of the problem I had with buying a HD was the entire HD dealership experience. I grew up in a outlaw family so bikes mean different things for me and my family than the average motorcycle enthusiast. Performance rates high on my list of what a Harley should be and the other non 103 Twin Cam bikes just were to bland for me. Before going to the dealership I ate a Xanax and smoked a bowl, (it’s legal in Washington State). I knew the bike was there in stock so I thought it would be easy, shame on me for assuming. I’ve come realize that the HD dealership is really a cult. I told the sales person what I wanted and had spoke with the service side so they knew what I wanted before I actually made the purchase. I explained I wanted everything with the bike to be perfect before I took delivery, this included remapping the motorcycle electronics.

    The salesman introduced me to fiance, I was paying cash so I assumed that that portion wouldn’t take long. Just sign some documents and then I could split and pick up the bike when it was the way I wanted it. My mistake 45 minutes later and an argument over the fact they wanted me to pay $250 for a “document fee” which is basically giving them $250 dollars for nothing. I got that dropped and then they lead me around to each department where they introduced me to people and gave me their first names as I was now part of the HD family, even though I’ve had HDs for the better part of my life and don’t have any trendy tattoos, a HD leather jacket, and I hate assless chaps. I also had to argue with the parts department because I wanted a small sissy bar put on the bike and they were trying to convince me they couldn’t do it. I had to take him over to a new 2014 Wide Glide, point at the sissy bar and told him, order that part and then put it on my bike as the Wide Glide is basically the same bike with a couple of cosmetic tweaks. Guess what, it fit, it just took me 30 minutes to convince them and explain how to use a heat gun to remove the reflector on the rear fender.

    I picked up the bike a couple of weeks later, I had also asked for a shop manual for the bike witch they forgot to order and didn’t have in stock. As soon as I split from the dealership I realized they messed up the remapping. They simply downloaded a Stage One map from the factory and flashed the electronics and charged me $100. The bike decell popped like crazy, it just wasn’t right and had they road the bike before the service department let it go they would have realized this. I went back to the dealership and they actually told me to ride it for a couple of hundred miles and the bike may just fix itself. I took the bike home and ordered a Vance and Hines Fuelpack 3 fuel management box. I called Vance and Hines and spoke with customer support who told me everything I needed to know and which map to choose first even though I didn’t install and Vance and Hines products on the bike and how to flash the bike. It took about 12 minutes to complete and put the cover back on and everything works great now. The FP3 also has a Autotune mode which I will use this weekend. Vance and Hines says it works as well as a dyno to get everything perfect, its close now but we see what it’s like after the Autotune feature is run.

    Now to the bike, I love it. The fit and finish is perfect. Nobody does paint and chrome like HD, it’s really impressive. I’m color blind and have always had black bikes but the Super Glide is a two tone candy paint job and it’s flawless and everyone says the colors are great. After riding chopped bikes for a long time having something with suspension is great. The bike corners great and the center pegs really work great for me and I’m 6’1″ tall. The seat is comfortable and I don’t see any reason to change it. The handlebars are natural and require little effort to turn.

    The combination of the 103″ engine modified to breath and the six speed trans is amazing for a HD. The bike can cruise at 60 mph only turning 2200 rpm. It has more than enough power to lift the front tire off the ground even with the belt drive. I had thought about converting it to chain drive but for now I’ll stick with the belt. The engine is rubber mounted and as soon as you start rolling the vibration disappears. It’s been so long since I’ve had a bike that had mirrors for actually seeing what’s behind me and this bike is so smooth that the mirrors hardly even shake. The anti lock brakes also work flawlessly making my learned skill of keeping a skidding HD in control unnecessary.

    It’s so nice to be able to go to the garage at 5:00 am and just push a button rather than kicking a bike over which isn’t that bad when everything is tuned perfect but as the plugs wear and depending on the quality of gas you put in it could leave you jumping on the starter for fifteen minutes before it rumbles to life.

    For me this bike is great. If you are considering buying one I would have the mufflers changed to a more performance oriented version, have a performance air cleaner installed, and install a set of Woods 777 camshafts. That will bring it up over a hundred horsepower instead of the stock 60 horsepower. It just makes the bike a lot more enjoyable to ride. I also recommend the Xanax before you go to the dealership unless you want to join the cult and greet other HD riders by calling them Bro. When I was at the dealership it was about 80 degrees outside and there was a guy in a full Opie from Sons of Anarchy costume. Leather jacket, assless chaps, long sleave sweatshirt and a black stocking cap. This is the problem with the HD cult, imitating a fake TV actor based on a fake 1% MC who ride around acting like fools and this is how the general public views HD riders and who people with personality disorders emulate.

    The 2014 FXDC Super Glide Custom is simply a great motorcycle that handles great, looks great, rides great and sells for a fair price and it’s made in America using Union labor, a big plus over any other American made bike, Japanese cruisers may be reliable and have more HP but they are just an imitation of a Harley Davidson. A major issue with HD bikes is the fact they are so detuned to pass Government regulations. It still bothers me that they don’t just build a bike that HD rider wants straight from the dealership.

  3. I’ve got a 2008 105th Anniversary FXDC and though it is slightly different (No ABS and has forward controls) I couldn’t agree more. The bike has great balance and is easy to handle. I’ve noticed before that the bike nearly drives itself and is very predictable at low speeds. I personally like the 96″ over other harley engines i have tried just because of the natural “snap” and low to mid range torque that the bike makes. it has a nice open feeling similar to the 103 on the top end, but pulls out good and has good clutch response from a dead start so it wont konk out on you. I had a set of Rush slip ons on mine when I first purchased it last year and they sounded amazing on it. Also an upgraded air cleaner and tune up really lets the engine open up and I average 47mpg with mine and i dont lolly gag when I drive ;) I would definantly reccomend this bike to anyone.

  4. i want handle bar for super glide 2014 and how much it will cost ?

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