2011 Electra Glide Classic FLHTC
As many faithful readers know, I'm pretty fond of Harley-Davidson's Street Glide. It's been my main bike for the better part of two years, and I'm always happy when I get back on the bike. It's not perfect by any means, but fits me like a nice pair of shoes. It's slightly lower than the other full-faired bikes, and the lowered suspension makes the ride tight and nimble. That's a good thing and a bad thing as the suspension can be a bit harsh, especially on the poorly maintained roads of California. I liken it to a Corvette, that while low and fun to drive, is less forgiving when the pavement gets rough. I may have revealed last year that the '10 Electra Glide Classic might be my new favorite ride.
Two years ago I rode a then-new Classic 5,000 miles to Sturgis and I loved it, but then wound up with an '09 Street Glide. Last year I didn't want to tempt myself much with the Classic, so I rode it for a few weeks before returning to my lonely 'Glide. With the '11 Classic, my previous feelings have been confirmed: I love this bike. It's like a Cadillac-smooth, comfortable, and refined thanks in part to the longer suspension and plush seat.
Having already revamped and significantly improved the Touring chassis for the '09 model year, the '11 Electra Glide Classic is largely unchanged form last year, with different paint and graphics options available. For this year, H-D tied the Security Package (with Smart Security System and hands-free fob) into the Anti-Lock Braking option; you need to buy both as an additional $1,195. Spoke wheels and cruise control are the only other factory options. The new Power Pak 103ci Twin Cam option is not available on the Classic. My test-model came slathered in a beautifully executed two-tone Cool Blue Pearl and Vivid Black color scheme and the paint was flawless as usual. Two solid colors are also available for the '11 model year.
Getting down to business is the 96ci Twin Cam motor that drives the tried and true six-speed Cruise Drive transmission. Most of the engine received a black powdercoat treatment, topped off with tastefully executed chrome covers. The fuel-injected motor delivers a nice torque thrust while its rubber-mounting isolates the rider from unwanted vibrations. Additional drivetrain smoothness is helped by the rear wheel's Isolated Drive System (within the pulley/wheel hub) that cushions the rear drivebelt. The closed-loop, fuel injection system works pretty well combined with the electronic throttle control (no throttle cables). Acceleration is smooth and linear throughout the rpm range; the only complaint is a lag that occasionally occurs off idle. This tends to happen when the bike is really hot and surely related to the lean air:fuel dictated by the Feds. Thanks to an anti-knock sensor in the cylinder, head detonation (pinging) is practically non-existent; once the sensor senses detonation, it signals the ECM to retard ignition timing. The ignition retard works within a revolution or two of the motor and the pinging disappears. Exhaust is routed from the motor via the cooler running, 2010-designed 2-1-2 dual exhaust with chrome tapered mufflers. There is a nice rumble that emanates from the exhaust and it's sure to make your neighbors happy.