Harley Dyna Wide Glide Magazine Test
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″.
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 First, the miniapes of yore have been replaced by internally wired drag bars that are braced by black 4″ risers.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.
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!