Since the end of 2005 Harley-Davidson's Street Glide (FLHX) has been a huge hit out on the streets of America. The birth of the Street Glide was another moment in H-D mimicking the real life out on the road. By that, I mean Willie G. Davidson and his creative and engineering crews gave the people what they wanted: a sleeker, more nimble Touring bike. There was definitely a push for more form over function-not something usually drawn into the plans for a Touring motorcycle.
Builders were already chopping parts off baggers, such as the bulky Mickey Mouse ear-looking passing lamps and the front fender light, along with slamming the suspension to the ground. Even though the chopper scene and all its shenanigans was in full force the MOCO saw the future in its Touring platform and created a motorcycle that appealed to a much wider demographic. Suddenly, riding a bagger didn't mean having to make excuses or hiding your face from all of your cool friends.
In fact the FLHX was the first bagger I rode that made me take a step back and reevaluate my priorities. Up to that point I think that I bought into the stereotype of an old guy who gave up his sporting, youthful ways to just sit back and wait until it was all over. In addition, at the time I felt the Ultra was just too big, too heavy, and too tall for my girly, slender physique.
Harley and the Davidson team sure changed my attitude in a hurry, seemingly building the Street Glide just for me: it was lowered from the factory, sleek, and understated. But, the real eye-opener was throwing a leg over the machine and riding it. The steering was so quick and agile that I almost wadded the bike making the first turn out of the Juneau Avenue headquarters. Things only got better as the day progressed and the sparks flew off the floorboards.
That was five years ago on the old FL chassis. There have been some large, incremental changes since the first 2006 FLHX-no more carburetor, fatter and larger wheels, Six-speed transmission, six-gallon gas tank, along with an extra eight cubic inches. Things have gotten even better for the Street Glide with the '09 campaign with the new frame and swingarm as well as new wheel and tire sizes.
In case you are newer to this swanky bagger scene the newest iteration of the stock motor now tops the scales at 96ci. Cradling all of those cubes is a chassis that was redesigned from the ground up for all of the '09 Touring models. The new frame and beefy swingarm were designed to increase load carrying capacity while also improving the handling characteristics. Two new rubber isolators were added to the bottom, front of the motor replacing what had only been one prior to 2009. This change definitely helped with motor shake at idle while the whole package.
While the chassis remains the same for the '10 Street Glide there were a few changes made to the bike that addressed both the cosmetic as well as the functionality of the bike. On the rolling side of things the new FLHX comes standard with a new cast aluminum 18-inch front wheel with a lower profile tire. It was hard to tell a difference between last year's 17-inch hoop but with the new rubber it surely couldn't hurt having less sidewall flex from the new tire. On the rear is still the 16-inch wheel with a 180/65 multi-tread Dunlop tire designed for the best compromise between handling and longevity. Our test bike came equipped with the standard triple caliper Brembo calipers with the added security of H-D's optional ABS. We've come to really like Harley's ABS and figure it's cheap insurance when the going gets rough, especially in wet and sandy conditions. It's mostly invisible until you need it when you can feel the ABS kick in. The ABS will occasionally engage when you don't want it to-such as hitting a sharp bump while moderately braking, but it doesn't make the bike do anything it shouldn't.