I hope you all are enjoying your Labor Day weekend!
Mark, Clearview Shields Customer Service Representative, and I recently spent half a day test riding a few of the new, 2014 model motorcycles, soon to be available at most Harley Davidson dealerships nationwide. Harley’s “Project Rushmore” takes a select quantity of bikes to tour an exclusive number of dealerships, showing off new products for the coming year. The Harley rep I spoke to explained that there are five rigs touring the country simultaneously and Sun Harley Davidson in Denver, CO was the first stop for the western region group. Project Rushmore is a fun way to get out on new Harleys and get a taste of what your next bike might be like.
We arrived shortly after it started and one of the remaining bikes open for a ride was the Heritage Softail Classic. This bike was very easy to ride. A low, comfortable seating position as well as a full windshield (I know, strange that I would notice that) made this test drive a good start to the day. Winding through back streets, with a few chances to get the bike up to 50 mph, I got the impression that this bike would be ideal for long distance touring. While the Heritage Softail Classic might not be the best “cruising” bike, the saddle bags offer good amounts of storage and, with the other accessories, riding across America would be effortless and enjoyable.
I hoped to be able to ride the new Limited with the water cooled 103 but, being the big new thing this year, the line was very long. Instead, I chose to test drive the Streetglide “S” with the air cooled version of the same engine as the Limited and the standard chopped 4” windshield. The new air vent built into the fairing is the same as the full touring models and seemed quite effective at reducing the rumble produced by the low pressure behind the fairing. During my ride, I adjusted the vent at different speeds, crosswinds, and head winds. The results never changed. Being a 4” high windshield, the bulk of the air flowed constantly over the screen. I must say, the fairing vent is well over due for this bike and should have been included in the design long ago. Any windshield placed on this bike will perform better because of the vent. This bike was the most surprising for both Mark and myself. Riding it was a lot of fun. The Streetglide “S” was extremely responsive in both acceleration and braking and quite agile in its handling.
The next Motorcycle on my list to try was the CVO Roadking. Again, the vented windshield was my main focus but the bike’s overall performance somewhat distracted me. As with the Streetglide, I played with the windshield vent continually throughout my ride. This air vent design was less noticeable in its benefits for noise reduction than the Streetglide, but it did make a difference. With their low windshields and vents, the Streetglide and CVO Roadking can easily fit into the motorcycling industries’ “Sport Touring” segment, where you have a bike with a high performance base along with the ability to store items for longer rides.
This is definitely a cool way to think about riding; stripped for around town or decked for the long haul, flexibility and versatility are key. For both the CVO Roadking and the Streetglide, a taller windshield would be necessary for longer rides.
The 72, Harley’s early 70’s throw back Sporty, decked out in sparkly purple paint and a low single seat, was my last bike to ride. This is a great low cost (around $10,000) entry into Harley Davidson motorcycles but will not get you across America in comfort. After coming back from the test ride, my only thought I could express about the bike was RAW. There is something cool about the styling though, and if getting to work and back will be the only use for this bike with 48mpg, it makes perfect sense.
All in all, Mark and I were glad to take this opportunity to get out and try some of the new, 2014 models. Even though a few more test rides will be in order, we will be starting the development of new and improved replacement windshield options for the vented 2014 Streetglide, Ultra Classic, and Ultra Limited, which has a different windshield than the 1996 to 2013 models. Look for these options within the coming months.