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 First, the miniapes of yore have been replaced by internally wired drag bars that are braced by black 4″ risers.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 Test CVO Motorcycle

Limited Edition Harley CVO Motorcycle

Every Harley-Davidson new model launch I’ve attended over the years has been a rewarding experience in some way or another, but none more so than the ones hosted by the Motor Company’s Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) division. It seems that when the CVO team launches their new models, they do it in a special and exclusive way, giving you the sense of what it might be like to actually own a CVO. This year’s press launch (CVO’s 11th year in existence) kept with tradition and made us all feel grand for many reasons, not the least of which was because we were bunking at the Ritz- Carlton in Half Moon Bay, California.

For 2010 there will be four models offered: two reprised, one all new, and one all new and exclusive to CVO (see page 110 for specs on each model). It’s no surprise that for a fifth time, the CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide has made the lineup. And it’s nice to see one of my favorite Harleys, the CVO Fat Bob, make the grade for the second straight year. The other two models are the first-year CVO Street Glide, and the exclusive-to-CVO Softail Convertible. As a side note, these four bikes (as well as all Big Twins) will now feature a new helical-cut fifth gear in their six-speed Cruise Drive transmissions, eliminating that fifth gear whine which created a lot of business for Bert Baker. Although I did get to rack up some miles on all four models, I was most intrigued by the exclusive-to-CVO Softail Convertible, so I procured as much seat time as I could on it, figuring I should discuss it here.

Harley CVO Softail

The convertible is not necessarily a bold new concept for the Motor Company. In the ’80s, there were the FXR Convertibles, followed by the Dyna Convertibles of the ’90s. Neither of those models sold well, and the idea lay dormant at Juneau Avenue until this CVO interpretation came to fruition. Right from the start, you can see that special care was taken to make sure the 2010 CVO Softail Convertible was designed to be a two-in-one, touring-and-cruising factory custom, and it was going to look good doing it in either configuration.
Attention to detail is obvious in the quality of its detachable parts, and how they work together on the bike as a whole. The combination of the color-matched compact fairing with the smoked windshield nicely integrates with the bike’s style, and is as simple to install or remove as any of the other detachable windshields Harley offers. The leather, semi-ridged saddlebags feature genuine buffalo-hide inserts. They can be removed in seconds by simply pulling and then turning a lock tab on the backside of the bags, and sliding the whole setup backward. The best part is that all that’s left behind are two mounting pegs on each fender strut. Installation of the bags takes a tad longer because everything needs to line up, including the lower mounting tabs. Once I got used to the installation process, I was able to attach each bag in under a minute, which leads me to believe even a monkey (or a buffalo) could learn how to do it.

An obvious and noticeable difference between this and all previous H-D convertibles is the fact that the custom leather seat has a detachable passenger pillion and detachable backrest pad, meaning, when not in touring mode, you have a solo seat cruiser. Note for styling continuity: all three of these parts feature genuine buffalo-hide inserts that match those on the saddlebags.

When I initially sat on this bike, I couldn’t help but notice the low seat height (24.4″ laden) and high mounted position of the floorboards, which combined to give me a cramped feel while in the cockpit. Anyone with a large body take note because you might not like this bike on long hauls. The rear suspension has been lowered a full 1″, which forced me to smooth out my riding lines and not make any abrupt directional changes to prevent the floorboards from scraping. The good thing here is that by simply installing stock Softail shocks, you get that whole inch of ground clearance back. Better yet, in my opinion, a sweet air-ride setup would work righteously on this bike because you pump it up in touring mode and slam it down in cruiser mode. However, those of you who just plan on burning highway miles probably won’t have as many touchdowns, so this stock setup should be fine.

In terms of performance, what is there not to like about the TC 110B granite-powdercoated engine driving a 200mm, 18″, chrome aluminum Stinger rear wheel? The all-new combination digital speedometer and analog tachometer is a thing of beauty, and works wonderfully. The bike’s speed is displayed digitally in the center of the gauge, while the rpm is indicated by an arm that sweeps around the outer edge of the gauge. Easy to read, and looks hot, too!
The fit and finish of this CVO, like all of them, is exquisite. The full coverage wide rear fender and close-cropped, trimmed front fender do wonders to visually ground the bike. Add to that the fact that this chrome-laden bike also has many color-matched parts, including the frame, swingarm, frame inserts, saddlebag brackets, and horseshoe oil tank. You have a visually striking motorcycle, no matter how it’s configured.

Over the years, I’ve seen many deals advertised as BOGO (buy one, get one). To me, the 2010 Softail Convertible has a Fat Boy-esque look in cruiser trim, while in touring trim it reminds me of a Heritage Classic. That said, the way I see it is that you’re really getting two bikes for the price of one: $27,999. Add to that the value inherently built into buying a limited-production, factory-custom CVO Harley, and you can see why this bike is a steal.

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

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.