2017 Harley Fat Bob First Ride Video Review

It sure looks the part. Thick black chunks of Dunlop rubber front and back, sharp-looking black machined aluminum slotted disc wheels, drag bars, burly Tommy Gun exhaust and a High Output Twin Cam 103 engine. Yup, the 2017 Harley Fat Bob looks the part. But does its get-up-and-go match its hot rod disposition?

During our tenure with the 2017 Fat Bob the Dyna averaged 39.605 gallons. It tipped our scales laden at 701.5 pounds at a front-biased 325 pound front to 376.5 pound back. First gear tops out at 45 mph at just under 5800 rpm while second taps out a hair below 65 mph. In sixth gear, the motorcycle exerts little stress on the engine as it settles into a loping cadence at a paltry 2370 rpm.

The model we tested was equipped with ABS, a $795 option. Harley’s current anti-lock braking system doesn’t have the same disconcerting pulse at the pedal as it did when Harley first launched its ABS. The dual discs on the front are powerful without being grabby, but overall stopping distance is still pretty long.

While a full review is in the works, check out our 2017 Harley Fat Bob First Ride Review video to find out more in the meantime.

2017 Fat Bob Stats – 39.605 mpg.       Weight – 701.5 lbs. (325 front, 376.5 back)

2017 FAT BOB SPECS

PRICING
Vivid Black – $16,049
Color – $16,449
Custom Color – $16,999
ABS Option – $795
Security Option – $395
California Emissions – $200
Freight – $390

DIMENSIONS
Length: 94.5 in.
Seat Height, Laden: 26.1 in.
Seat Height, Unladen: 27.2 in.
Ground Clearance: 4.9 in.
Rake: (steering head) (deg) 29
Trail: 4.9 in.
Wheelbase: 63.8 in.
Tires, Front Specification: 130/90B16 67H
Tires, Rear Specification: 180/70B16 77H
Fuel Capacity: 5 gal.
Oil Capacity (w/filter): 3 qt.
Weight, As Shipped: 673 lb.
Weight, In Running Order: 701.5 lb.

ENGINE
Engine: Air-cooled, High Output Twin Cam 103
Bore: 3.87 in.
Stroke: 4.38 in.
Displacement: 103.1 cu. In.
Compression Ratio: 9.6:1
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)

DRIVETRAIN
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio
Gear Ratios (overall): 1st 9.311
Gear Ratios (overall): 2nd 6.454
Gear Ratios (overall): 3rd 4.793
Gear Ratios (overall): 4th 3.882
Gear Ratios (overall): 5th 3.307
Gear Ratios (overall): 6th 2.79

CHASSIS
Exhaust: Chrome, “Tommy Gun” 2-1-2 collector exhaust with dual mufflers
Wheels, Front: Gloss Black Cast Aluminum Wheel w/ Laser Etched Graphics
Wheels, Rear: Gloss Black Cast Aluminum Wheel w/ Laser Etched Graphics
Brakes, Caliper: 4-piston fixed front, and 2-piston torque-free floating rear

PERFORMANCE
Engine Torque: 99.5 ft-lb
Engine Torque (rpm): 3,750
Lean Angle, Right (deg.): 30
Lean Angle, Left (deg.): 31

2016 Harley Low Rider S First Ride Review

2016 Low Rider S Review

NEW BIKE REVIEW by Tyler Greenblatt  Photos by Riles & Nelson

There’s fast, and then there’s 110” Screamin’ Eagle Dyna fast

You know you’re in for a fun ride when fleet center manager Alan has to replace all the ground-down footpegs on the test bikes from the previous day’s grouping of motojournalists. I promised to take care of the fresh pegs on the new 2016 Low Rider S when my day came to ride it, unlike the local Los Angeles hooligans who had been riding that day. After about 30 seconds of riding the FXDL-S, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to keep my promise.

Walking up to the S for the first time, it takes a second to recognize it as actually being a Low Rider as so much is physically different between the two machines that share a name. Gone is the chrome and metallic look from the original Shovelhead Low Riders. The back half of the rear fender is noticeably missing, and the handlebars are entirely different. At first glance it looks more like something coming out of a Southern California custom shop than a factory Harley. That defining look is the first complete bike to be headed up by H-D Director of Styling Brad Richards, who started at Harley just over a year ago and whose name you’ll be seeing a lot.

2016 Harley Low Rider S

The Low Rider S is equipped with “Premium Ride nitrogen gas-charged emulsion shocks and a Premium Ride cartridge fork.”

The split, five-spoke Magnum Gold cast aluminum wheels look as though they were pulled from the 1982 FXSB, while the gold tank badge was pulled directly from the 1977 XLCR. The drag bars, speed screen, side-mount license plate, bobbed rear fender, and deep-scoop solo seat are all modern takes on the traditional high-performance Harley.

It’s impossible to discuss high-performance Harleys without making mention of the legendary FXR motorcycles of the 1980s and ‘90s, which mixed a stiff, triangulated frame and sporty suspension with a rubber-mounted Big Twin. FXRs have grown in popularity in the past few years, and with that resurgence came a subsequent rise in Dyna interest. But today’s twin-shock enthusiast isn’t looking for the same chopper-esque feel of Willie G’s Shovelhead FX creations. The name of the game today is speed, around corners as much as in a straight line, and the ability to stop. The 2016 Low Rider S delivers on all fronts.

2016 Harley Low Rider S Screamin' Eagle Twin Cam 110 engine

The latest addition to Harley’s Dyna range is equipped with the Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 engine, a forward-facing Screamin’ Eagle Heavy Breather performance intake and Fat Bob-style 2-into-2 exhaust.

The Low Rider S sports a set of premium adjustable emulsion-type shock absorbers at the rear and a premium ride cartridge fork suspension at the front, good for 2.13″ and 5.1″ of travel respectively. Although rear travel seems short, the premium adjustable shocks held their own while carving California’s canyons for over 100 miles. Unlike typical stock shocks, these didn’t bottom out once on me, and they kept the rear of the Dyna tracking through turns as if it were on rails. The improvement in the front isn’t as obvious, but undoubtedly aids in the bike’s road manners.

The Low Rider S sports 28-1/2-degree left- and 27-1/2-degree right-lean angles, which leaves some lean room to be desired, although as I found out you can go right up to and past the pegs around turns. In fact, after about an hour of spirited riding, your pegs should be worn down enough to increase those angles. Any new buyer should just consider footpegs a regularly replaceable maintenance item thanks to the 4.1″ of ground clearance. That low center of gravity and 27″ unladen seat height also make the S easy to control and predictable even when sparks are flying. The sticky Michelin Scorcher tires still have some tread left once you run out of bike, which further improves confidence.

2016 Harley Low Rider S first ride

Tyler cracks the throttle on the 2016 Low Rider S and said he likes the Twin Cam 110 platform in this Dyna. 

Wait, there’s more! For the full ride review, custom bike features, tech stories and more,
CLICK HERE American Iron Issue 338

Also available in digital format CLICK HERE American Iron Digital

Harley Low Rider S Dyna

“Riders have been asking when Harley-Davidson would build another aggressive, performance-based bike like the legendary FXR models,” said Harley-Davidson Director of Styling Brad Richards.

2016 H-D FLD Dyna Switchback Review

H-D Switchback road test

NEW BIKE REVIEW by Dain Gingerelli 

Some motorcycles are best defined with a single word. The 2016 FLD Dyna Switchback is one of those bikes, and the best description for it is “versatile.” In fact, versatility is what led to the name Switchback, because owners can, by removing the quick-detach windshield and saddlebags, switch back from a touring bike to a cruiser in a matter of seconds. I’ll go one step further, though, suggesting that the Switchback also presents itself as a worthy all-around motorcycle, one you can log countless miles with during daily commutes or for cross-country travel. Yet if you venture onto a winding, twisty road, the Switchback rewards you with responsive handling, braking, and power, allowing you to feel comfortable in its contoured saddle all the while. That’s true versatility.

Even so, the Dyna Switchback has gained a reputation of sorts for being a lightweight motorcycle, one best reserved for newbies and women riders. Hardened Harley riders cite a few reasons, chief among them being the FLD’s relatively light weight (696 pounds, claimed dry weight), a wheelbase that’s a couple of inches shorter than any of the bigger FLH Electra Glides’ 64″ hub-to-hub span, and a friendly 26.1″ seat height (with a 180 pound rider on board) that allows anybody taller than Tom Thumb a favorable chance to flat-foot it during stops.

Short of its low seat height, though, the Dyna Switchback is every bit the full-on, long-distance motorcycle that any of the original Duo-Glide models happened to be when they ruled the roost for long-distance riding. As proof, let’s travel back in time to 1958, the year for the first Duo-Glide, Harley’s original touring model with front and rear suspension. According to most sources, the Duo-Glide, powered by a Panhead engine, weighed 648 pounds, and its 16″-diameter balloon tires were spread exactly 60″ apart. Interesting — those dimensions are comparable to the Switchback’s specs.

Spin our time machine’s needle forward 10 years and the FL — now powered by a Shovelhead engine and called the Electra Glide thanks to an electric start system that was added in 1965 — weighed a mere 680 pounds. By 1972, Harley had added enough styling and touring accessories to bulk up the bike to about 720 pounds, but those specs still cast yesterday’s Panhead- and Shovelhead-powered FLs in a league closer to the Switchback than to the FLH we have today.

If you’re still not convinced that the Switchback is a full-on touring motorcycle, consider what some of the magazine editors wrote about the Electra Glide of yore. The editors for Supercycle magazine offered this about the 1972 FLH in their March 1973 issue: “It is quite a feeling sitting on such a large hunk of machinery. First time FLH riders are somewhat reluctant to take it off the stand. It just doesn’t feel like anything else you’ve ever ridden — and it isn’t like anything else you’ve ever ridden.”

For the 2016 Harley Switchback  full ride review, custom bike features, tech stories and more,
CLICK HERE American Iron Magazine issue 333

Also available in digital format CLICK HERE American Iron Digital

New Bike Review – 2015 H-D Dyna Low Rider

324-18-42015 H-D Dyna Low Rider

Versatility of a Swiss Army knife

text and photography by Dain Gingerelli

Here’s a recap of my workweek: after meddling with various tasks in my office Monday morning, I snuck out on the FXDL Dyna Low Rider for lunch at the big-box store, otherwise known as Costco. I’m an easy mark for Costco’s hot dog and coke combo, especially at the price, a buck fifty. I also can’t pass up an opportunity to get out of the office to ride bikes like the Low Rider, so the prospect of munching on that dog and coke sounded even more appealing as I saddled up.

In fact, my whole week went much like Monday.  Tuesday, I rode the Low rider through nearby Silverado Canyon in California to check if the US Forest Service had opened the gate to the dirt road leading up the Saddleback landmark. My best friend and I were planning a ride up that hill on our dual-sport bikes; if the gate was open, we would ride up the following weekend. It wasn’t open, but I still took the opportunity last tuesday to enjoy lunch on the way home at the Silverado Cafe, always a treat. The Low Rider waited patiently outside, its sidestand down, while I dined on a greasy, delicious burger inside.

I began writing this review first thing Wednesday morning, but soon enough, I reasoned that I probably should put some more miles on the Dyna to really “get a feel” for what the bike is about, so off I went, southbound on Interstate-5, taking me past Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. It’s a pleasant ride, with wide, sweeping vistas of the blue Pacific Ocean to my right, and the route takes me past the Basilone Road exit, named in honor of Marine Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone, recipient of the Medal of Honor for heroism at the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II. Later during the war, he was awarded the Navy cross for his heroics at the Battle of Iwo Jima where he lost his life in further combat. I always pay my respects to the sergeant with a moment of silence from the saddle whenever I pass that exit. The Dyna Low Rider was in full stride, too, the Twin Cam 103″ engine purring smoothly the soothing din from its collector exhaust ever so discernible above the wind blast around my Arai helmet. It was as if the Low Rider knew that this particular gunny sergeant deserved respect.

And on Thursday, I heard about a new wall mural by street artist Bandit, so I rode the Dyna to nearby San Clemente to check out his handiwork with the spray cans, and now it’s Friday morning, and I’m staring at a deadline for this bike review. I’ll admit, too, that it was easier today to leave the Low Rider in my garage because its rear Michelin Scorcher “31” tire had, at some point during my week’s travels, developed a slow leak. Good excuse as any, I guess, to get back to work.

The Dyna Low Rider has a way of doing that, distracting you from everyday life. The bike is so congenial to all manner of street riding that you’ll feel confident taking it anywhere and everywhere there’s pavement. care to carve through a canyon, following the serpentine road as it snakes left to right? Not a problem because this Dyna’s steering is deliberate and precise, especially considering the FXDL’s cruiser roots date back to 1977. The Michelin rubber — 100/90-19″ up front and 160/70-17″ on the rear — do a fine job of gripping the asphalt, so you never feel off balance.

Like what you see? The full article is in American Iron Magazine issue # 324, NOW ON NEWSSTANDS! To order a back issue of this or any other issue of American Iron Magazine, visit Greaserag.com.
 
Follow American Iron Magazine on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
To subscribe to the PRINT edition, click here. To receive DIGITAL DELIVERY, click here.

American Iron Harley News: 19,000 Dyna & Softail Motorcycles Recalled

Harley-Davidson is recalling just over 19,000 Dyna and Softail motorcycles from the 2012 model year because the threads for the brake line banjo bolt in the front brake master cylinder may corrode.

If the threads corrode, a sudden loss of brake fluid could result, causing a loss of the front brakes.

Models affected are the 2012 FXST103, FLSTC, FLSTC103, FLSTF, FLSTF103, FXDL, FXDWG, FXDWG103, FXDC, FXDB, FLSTN, FLSTN103, FLSTC103 Shrine, FLSTFB, FLSTFB103, FXS, FXS103, FLS, FLS103, FLD, FLD103, and FXDF and FXDF103 motorcycles manufactured from Aug. 22, 2011, through Feb. 24, 2012, for the United States and some world markets. This totals 19,015 units, Harley-Davidson told NHTSA.

The NHTSA recall campaign number is 14V794000.

Dealers are asked to flush and inspect the front brake master cylinder and, if necessary, replace the master cylinder. The recall is expected to begin Jan. 14.

“We have voluntarily declared this a defect related to motor vehicle safety (Campaign 0163 for the Softail model and Dyna model motorcycles and 0164 for the FXDF/FXDF103 model motorcycles) to allow us to formally recall all affected motorcycles. Two recalls are needed to cover all affected models because of the differences in the kit component content required for the two populations,” the Motor Co. informed dealers.

“Based on warranty information, the prediction for motorcycles requiring master cylinder replacements is extremely low,” Harley-Davidson said in its notification to dealers.

Dealers are permitted to sell but must not deliver any of the affected motorcycles until the remedy is complete, the OEM added.

New Bike Review – 2014 H-D FXDC Super Glide Custom

SuperGlide1One of The Motor Company’s longest-standing models

By Dain Gingerelli, photos by Riles & Nelson

 

So there I was, thinking, “The Super Glide has been a member of the Harley family for quite some time now.”

Let’s switch now from my deep, mind-blowing, metaphysical thought process to facts: it was back in 1971 when Willie G advised the rest of The Motor Company’s crew that it might be a pretty good idea if the guys in the shop stripped down an FL to create what amounted to a sportier Big Twin model. He even suggested removing the fat FL fork, with its bulky tin covers, and replacing that assembly with — gasp! — the spindly front end from a Sportster. And to further balance the styling equation, he suggested pirating the XL’s ungainly and unorthodox, yet stylishly flamboyant, boat-tail seat/rear fender section from the previous year, grafting it onto the bastardized FL chassis as well.

“We’ll call the new bike the FX,” reasoned Willie and the boys. Their reasoning was logical, too, because the bike was essentially half FL and half XL: F from FL and X from XL. Somebody in marketing even suggested a special and exclusive moniker, which begat the Super Glide label.SG 3-4 rearThe 1971 FX Super Glide’s 74″ Shovelhead engine was kickstart-only, too; it wouldn’t sprout its electric leg until 1974 with the introduction of the FXE, a model that outsold the FX by about two to one. Within several years few, if any, Harley customers wanted a kicker Big Twin at all. Not many FX customers were enamored with that boat-tail fender section, either, and by 1973 a more contemporary, wafer-thin banana seat atop a conventional rear fender brought the FX’s styling closer to what people expected a motorcycle to look like during those halcyon days when nobody flinched if you walked into the room sporting hip-hugger bellbottoms, and a spastically colorful, psychedelic shirt with love beads, platform shoes, and an afro.

Forty-three years later, I can happily report that clothing fashion has changed, and the FX line remains anchored by the FXDC Dyna Super Glide Custom. But what many enthusiasts fail to appreciate is that the styling of today’s Super Glide Custom closely parallels the lines of the FX that Harley offered exactly 40 years ago. Locate a photo of that ’70s bike and compare it to this 2014 FXDC, and you’ll see the family resemblance, right down to the form-flow seat, staggered exhausts, and laced-spoke wheels. But the similarity ends there, because today’s Super Glide customers are treated to a bike that is, literally and figuratively, decades beyond the original FX and FXE.

“At the $13,199, the FXDC costs less than any other Big Twin model in H-D’s lineup.”

Besides the optional antilock braking system (ABS) and chromed, aluminum, laced-spoke wheels as equipped on our test bike, customers can order the latest Super Glide with Harley’s Smart Security System with hands-free fob or with solid or two-tone colors (all offered, of course, for additional pricing on top of the FXDC’s $13,199 base MSRP). The really big news this year, however, is the 103″ Twin Cam engine that comes standard on the 2014 Super Glide Custom. For the past couple of years, the FXDC and FXDB Street Bob were the only two Big Twin models to retain the TC 96 while the rest of the fleet was blessed with the newer TC 103. Although the 96″ engine proved adequate for propelling either of the two lighter-weight Dyna models down the highway, the 103″ certainly made a difference in how much quicker our 2014 FXDC performed over previous Super Glide Customs we’ve ridden during the past few years.

SG cockpitThe Dyna’s TC 103 checks in with slightly more torque than the TC 96. At 3000 rpm, the 103 belts out 98.8 ft-lbs. (9.6:1 compression ratio) over the 96’s 94 ft-lbs. (9.2:1), giving the 2014 model expectedly better passing power. In our March 2012 review of the FXDC, our test bike accelerated from 60 to 80 mph (fifth gear) in five seconds flat, while our 2014 did the same sprint in 4.2 seconds. A similar spread occurred in the second gear roll-on from 20 to 50 mph, with the 2012 model consuming four seconds on the stopwatch while the 103-powered 2014 took 3.1 seconds.

Otherwise, the Dyna Super Glide Custom remains unchanged for 2014. That means the 648-pound bike takes about 30′ to come to a complete stop from 30 mph, and fuel consumption of 40-plus mpg (Harley claims 43 mpg) will let you cover more than 200 miles after you top off the 5-gallon gas tank with fuel. The stacked and staggered mufflers emit a mellow, yet deep, sound, and the advertised 26.3″ seat height (with 180-pound rider) means that most FXDC riders will get both boots flat on the pavement at stops.

Even though the Custom has what equates to shortened suspension, there’s surprising cornering clearance when leaning the bike into turns. The ride is pleasant and rewarding over smooth road surfaces, but the suspension’s insufficient damping (especially rebound) gives way to the rear shocks bottoming over harsh bumps in the road. Suspension travel is advertised at 5″ front, 3.1″ rear, and the only adjustment is in the shocks’ spring preload settings.

SG ridingOverall, the 2014 FXDC maintains a tradition that blends straightforward styling cues with a no-nonsense mechanical package. The result is a motorcycle that delivers basic, yet efficient, performance under most conditions you’ll encounter on a public roadway, and the sum total might make you think twice about what kind of motorcycle you really need. And should you have second thoughts about whether or not this 1970s-style motorcycle is for you, just give the FXDC’s $13,199 price a second look. This bike costs less than any other Big Twin model in the lineup. That’s truly worth thinking about. AIM

 

This article originally appeared in American Iron Magazine issue # 314, published October 2014. To order a back issue of this or any other issue of American Iron Magazine, visit Greaserag.com.
 
Follow American Iron Magazine on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
To subscribe to the PRINT edition, click here.To receive DIGITAL DELIVERY, click here.

Harley Recall News FXDL Dyna Glide for Ignition Switch Problem

We at American Iron Magazine were recently notified that Harley-Davidson is recalling 3,300 FXDL Dyna Low Rider motorcycles to fix a problem with the ignition switch on units modified to rev higher than 5,600 rpm.

The recall affects 2014.5 model year Low Riders built from Jan. 6 through June 19. “In the affected motorcycles, certain optional performance electronic control module calibrations may allow higher engine rpms that could result in engine vibrations that cause the ignition switch to move from the “IGN” (ignition on) to “ACC” (accessory only) position, which will shut the engine off,” The Motor Co. told NHTSA.

If the vibration causes the ignition switch to move to the accessory-only position, it would stall the engine, increasing the risk of a crash.

Harley dealers are asked to replace the engine mount bracket assembly and ignition switch knob free of charge.

2011 Harley-Davidson Dyna Fat Bob

NEW BIKE TEST By Joe Knezevic – My favorite bike from Milwaukee
Let’s say hypothetically you were fortunate enough to have a suitor who offered to buy you a brand-new Harley-Davidson and all you had to do was pay to register and insure the bike. Do you know what bike you would choose? If I were given that offer, without a doubt I would choose a Dyna Fat Bob. Sure, I might go with the 2010 CVO version, but I would be just as grateful for a stocker like the 2011 Sedona Orange model seen here.

From the moment I first met Fat Bob, I felt like we had a bond. After my initial ride at the 2008 model launch where the bike was introduced, I knew I was going to really like the bike. So much so that it didn’t even bother me when I heard fellow journalists say “Look at Fat Joe on a Fat Bob.” In actuality, I thought that comment had a nice ring to it; it made me feel like Bob and I were best friends who just happened to be fat, and everyone else was just jealous at how well we complemented each other.

When I take a step back and look at the Fat Bob there are so many things that this bike does for me, I’m not surprised at how quickly it has squeezed to the top of my list of favorite Harleys. First and foremost, the rubber-mounted TC 96 engine and six-speed CruiseDrive transmission has a black powdercoated finish and features polished covers which, in my opinion, is the best look for a Twin Cam powertrain. From there, I’m drawn to the 49mm wide front end that is topped with drag handlebars and twin chrome headlamps. It’s also hard to miss that the bike is grounded by fat 16″ wheels (a 130 up front and a 180 out back). Add to that the aggressive tread pattern on the tires, and this bike has a nice, mean stance. Next, I appreciate how the classic 5-gallon Fat Bob fuel tank and Bobtail rear fender work so well together. On top of all that, the Fat Bob comes with forward-mounted foot controls, making it comfortable for a fat guy like me. I guess overall this bike just looks like it is made in the US and obviously made to be ridden.

This model is meant to be lots of things for the Motor Company, and I think it has succeeded. As I said in my first review of this model back in April 2008, to me, the Fat Bob is a throwback to all those FLHs that people bobbed back in the day. Even though it’s a modern bike, I believe it fits nicely into the Harley family tree from a historical sense. It may not be the smoothest riding Harley or have the quickest handling, but it does the job well enough for me especially since it has a starting price of $14,999.

In case you haven’t already figured it out, I like the Dyna Fat Bob, and I think it likes me. Whether it’s from a styling, comfort, or performance point of view, this bike delivers what I want in a cruiser. Sure, it’s not the most comfortable ride, but that’s what touring bikes are for. The handling is a bit slow thanks to the fat front and rear tires, but it’s not supposed to be a sportbike.

Heck, no bike is perfect, but this one does enough things well that it might be perfect for me. As always, there are some simple upgrades I would do right off the bat if I owned one. Those changes include making the bike more conducive for taking longer trips by upgrading the seat and adding some simple carrying capacity. And while I was at it, a new air cleaner and pipes to let the 96″ breathe better couldn’t hurt. Since this bike is owned by Harley corporate, I’ll see if H-D will let me make those changes to our test ride. If so, I’ll be sure to run those install stories in future issues of American Iron Magazine.

So next time you see a long-haired, fat, verbose guy riding a Fat Bob, be sure to stop him and say hello. If it’s me, I’d love to hear what you think of this bike and how I look on it. More importantly, you’d better have an answer for me when I ask you which Harley you would pick if someone offered to buy you one. You already know my choice. AIM

Story as it appeared in the May 2011 issue of American Iron Magazine.

Harley Dyna Wide Glide Magazine Test

2010 Harley Dyna Wide Glide Motorcycle

In his ballad Isle of Beauty, Fare Thee Well, Thomas Haynes Bayly wrote “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Throughout my life, I have experienced this phenomenon in a variety of different instances, mostly in regards to women — I mean motorcycles. That said, when the bean counters at Juneau Avenue dropped one of my all-time favorite Harleys, the Dyna Wide Glide, after the 2008 model year, I was heart broken. Well, I’m happy to say that the Wide Glide is absent no more. My girl is back in the lineup for 2010, looking hotter than ever and flaunting a fresh, old-school chopper/hot rod bod thanks to a complete makeover.

According to Willie G. and his design team, the whole Dyna family has its roots in the factory-custom revolution of the 1970s, which Willie was a big part of. He says the new bike is a nod to the original Wide Glide-like choppers that were, in essence, wildly modified old police bikes. It’s sort of a modern production version of blue-collar choppers from back in the day.

In the process of transforming the senior FXDWG into the new one you see here, the Motor Company has changed the bike’s dimensions. The 2010 model is 3-1/2″ shorter than its predecessor, which is probably a result of replacing the old bobtail rear fender with a chopped one. A LED stop/turn/taillight combo and a side-mounted license plate keep the new chopped rear fender clean and make the whole back end of this bike look like it was lifted off a Nightster. The addition of the plate has increased the Dyna’s width by 1.2″ to 37.2″.

Harley Dyna Glide

Another change is that she’s now 1-1/2″ lower than she was in 2008. The reasons? First, the miniapes of yore have been replaced by internally wired drag bars that are braced by black 4″ risers. Second, the suspension has been lowered by 1″ and now has 3.1″ of travel in the rear. A direct result of the latter is almost 1″ in lost ground clearance and a new, low-slung, unladen seat height of 26.7″. All this is good news for the inseam-challenged crowd, lending them a 2″ lower seat height than the older model. However, for someone my size, this means that the bike now scrapes easily in turns and makes me feel cramped when sitting in the saddle for long periods.

Hey, don’t get me wrong. I like the look of a lowered, slammed cruiser as much as the next yahoo, but doing that never fails to be detrimental in terms of handling for big-boned riders like myself.
To emphasize the chopper look and offset the lowering that took place, the styling department successfully used the little trick of tilting the front of the fuel tank up 3/4″. I would think that’s why the fuel capacity of the 2010 is 4.7 gallons versus the 5 gallons previously held. Some overall good news is that in complete running order, my girl is now 13 pounds lighter. It almost makes me want to shed a few myself.

Like its predecessor, this year’s Wide Glide is powered by a rubber-mounted Twin Cam 96 V-twin that’s finished in black powdercoat with machined highlights on the cylinder fins, chrome-plated rocker boxes, and derby cover. It also comes with a six-speed cruise drive transmission that now features a new helical-cut fifth gear that provides much quieter operation. Other tranny changes specific to this bike are slightly tweaked gear ratios for third, fourth, and fifth gears.

I have to admit that this new version of the Wide Glide looks cool and I like that. Part of the attraction simply comes from the fact that it rolls on 40-spoke laced wheels that feature black steel rims. But most of all, I dig that the changes now give the rider a look and feel of sitting in the bike as opposed to on top of it.

You can get yourself a 2010 Wide Glide in Vivid Black for $14,499 or pony up $14,874 for one in Red Hot Sunglo. My favorite is the optional, limited-production Vivid Black base with flames seen here. It’s available for $15,194. To achieve the orange-to-yellow-fade flames a new, labor-intensive, direct-graphic-transfer paint process is used. The result is some smooth-looking flames. In fact, you can’t even feel the flames underneath the clear coat when running your hand over them. Really cool.

No matter how you slice it, the 2010 Wide Glide is a great value ($3,000 less than it cost in ’08, give or take). It might not be as comfortable or capable in the performance department, but she does have more curb appeal and attitude than before, if you like the low, dark look.
The whole experience reminds me of that frumpy little girl I had a crush on in middle school, going into summer break. Even though she was a hot teenager when we came back to school, the crush was gone. Don’t worry, that didn’t stop me from dating her anyway.

I guess absence really does make the heart grow fonder, but after reuniting, things are never really the same, are they? My feeling for the new 2010 Dyna Wide Glide just supports this theory. AIM

Joe Knezevic as published in American Iron Magazine, the world’s best selling Harley magazine.

Riding Impressions
I wasn’t sure I was going to like this “long and low custom,” as the Motor Company is dubbing the new Wide Glide, because I’m a big fan of the old one with its miniapes and upswept rear fender. But when I plopped into the saddle and stretched out my arms and legs for their respective forward-mounted controls, I fell in love. One of the big differences between the Wide Glide of yesterday and 2010 is that the new one sits much lower, and women, and most men, can appreciate that confidence-inspiring feature. My 5′ 6-1/2″ with 30″ inseam frame fit comfortably on this narrow, nimble machine with my derrière filling up the entire saddle. No need to scoot forward. While the styling is right on for the tastes of today’s motorcycle consumer, those drag bars are not doing it for me. I’ll order a set of apes, please!

Harley Magazine Tested Dyna Street Bob

2010 Harley Dyna Glide

In a moment of clarity that can only come from consuming adult beverages while breathing the thin air of Denver, I realized that over the years I’ve had the good fortune of riding every member of the Dyna family except the Street Bob. With that revelation fresh in my mind, I decided to remedy the situation by racking up as many miles as I could on this model while attending Harley’s 2010 model launch in the Mile High City.

Street Bobs burst onto the scene in 2005 as a 2006 model, and American Iron celebrated that event with world-exclusive coverage in our September 2005 issue. The bike went on to become surprisingly popular and sold relatively well for a Dyna. Then for the 2009 model year Willie G. and his posse refreshed the bike by giving it a styling update. Fast-forward to the 2010 version you see here, which I finally got to spend some time flogging around Denver and the surrounding mountain roads.

Riding The Harley Dyna Street Bob

It’s no secret that the Dyna line is my favorite family of bikes currently in production by the Motor Company. I would describe this Dyna as Harley’s attempt to mass-produce a pure minimalist, post-war-style bobber. In other words, a modern interpretation of the classic, stripped-down bike that American GIs created after coming home from World War II.

Distinct features that make the Street Bob stand out from its Dyna siblings include mini-apehanger handlebars, a chopped rear fender, and a retro taillight. The mini-apes seem like they may have been sourced straight from the last generation of Wide Glides, but they’re internally wired for a nice clean look. If the LED taillight wasn’t so bright I would swear it had been lifted directly off an old Crocker. Compared to the first incarnation, the rear fender of this year’s Street Bob is heavily chopped and void of support covers. The combination gives the rear end of this bike a distinctly classic bobber look and feel.

Like all Dynas, the TC 96 in the Street Bob is rubber-mounted giving the bike a smooth, comfortable ride. The six-speed Cruise Drive transmission has gotten an upgrade for 2010 and now boasts a helical-cut fifth gear which is much quieter. This change is across the board for all Big Twins and a welcome upgrade for this journalist, since I only shift into sixth gear when I am doing well above the speed limit.

This bike and the newly redesigned 2010 Wide Glide share a laden seat height of 25.5″ which is the lowest in the Dyna family. A solo seat and mid-controls make the Street Bob easy to ride even for the shortest folks, like our fearless editor Chris Maida. The 19″ front and 17″ rear, steel-laced wheels have gloss black rims and roll on 160mm rear/100mm front Michelin Scorcher 31 tires. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time since the early ’80s that Harleys are rolling out of the factory with tires other than Dunlops. A 29-degree fork angle makes this bike’s handling quick and nimble even on mountain roads.

Like its Super Glide siblings, the Street Bob features a combination neck/ignition lock conveniently located just forward and to the right of the 4.7 gallon Fat Bob fuel tank, which is now adorned with two new-for-2010 medallions. Also new this year is the all-black finished powertrain, which, by the way, is my favorite look for Harleys. The battery cover and belt guard are also finished in wrinkle black and complete the dark, minimalist profile a bobber should have. The tank console is full-length and features a silver-faced speedometer with a functional fuel range readout.

While spending two days riding the Street Bob, I came to some simple conclusions. First, the mini-apes put my hands in almost the perfect position for comfort, but not necessarily for steering on tight, technical roads. Next, the low solo seat and mid-controls were plenty comfortable for me on short stints, but after extended time in the saddle I found my 6′ 2″ frame got cramped, especially in the hip area. If I were to own this bike, both these issues could easily be remedied with new bars, a different seat, and maybe even forward controls. I also found that the front single-disc brake setup works well on this bike since it doesn’t overpower the front wheel under hard braking. Straight-cut, chrome, staggered, shorty dual exhaust pipes look like they belong on the Street Bob, while the low-profile front fender has a cool, custom look.

Like all Dynas this model delivers great handling and bold styling for a reasonable price. You could park a Vivid Black Street Bob in your garage for the MSRP of $12,999 or choose from four different colors like the Black Ice Denim you see here for $13,374.

Now that I’ve finally ridden the Dyna Street Bob, I’m happy to say that my fondness for the Dyna family has only been strengthened. And that is not the adult beverages or the thin air talking. AIM

–Joe Knezevic as published in American Iron Magazine, the world’s best selling Harley magazine.