Helmet: Shoei Qwest
Jacket: Harley-Davidson FXRG
Jeans: Levi's 501
The world of Harley-Davidson Touring motorcycles that ride on the rubber-mounted FL chassis consists of the iconic Batwing faired Electra Glide (EG) with its single headlight, the stripped down unfaired Road King, and the Sharknose fairing on the Road Glide (RG). Since the new bagger frame design in '09, H-D has steadily refined other aspects of the bikes, such as last year's Road Glide Custom and the availability of a larger 103 cubic inch motor on the Electra Glide Ultra Limited. For 2011 H-D focused attention on the Road Glide.
At first glance the main difference between an EG and an RG is the headlight arrangement in the fairing. The EG has a single unit while the RG has two. Although the RG fairing was introduced on the 1979 Tour Glide (10 years after the Batwing), its modern, sculpted look is often more reminiscent (and derided by many H-D traditionalists) of a foreign-made motorcycle. Other than aesthetics the major difference between the two Touring fairings is how they attach to the motorcycle; the Batwing is mounted directly to the forks and turns with the handlebars, whereas the Sharknose fairing is rigidly mounted to the frame and remains fixed regardless of handlebar movement. The fixed fairing necessitated dual headlights as the lights are always pointed straight ahead which is not the case on an EG.
The main goal behind the fixed fairing design is stability. Some riders feel the extra weight of a fork mounted fairing affects steering and handling, especially in a strong crosswind. Much of the turbulence from the road or wind can be transmitted directly to the handlebars while the frame mounted unit transfers unwanted energy directly to the frame. Additionally, some find the fork mounted fairing harder to maneuver at slow speeds since the rider needs to turn the fairing as well as the frontend components.
This newest RG carries the Ultra moniker that adds accessories usually reserved for the top of the line machines. Amenities included with Ultra designated RG include lower fairings attached to the engine guard, Tour-Pak trunk with audio, CB radio, cruise control, intercom, and mid-frame air deflectors.
Perhaps the biggest bonus going for the FLTRU (the U is for Ultra) is the addition of the PowerPak setup. The PowerPak is the triple goody bag of 103ci (1690cc) motor, ABS brake system, and the hands-free fob Smart Security System. There is no option to get the RG Ultra without the PowerPak. The PowerPak is a standard feature on the '11 Road King Classic, Electra Glide Ultra Limited as well, and will be available as a factory-installed option on the '11 Street Glide and Road Glide Custom models. It's a great value direct from the factory as equipping other eligible models with these three options would set you back $1,995, or $1,195 for just the security package plus ABS.
If later on if you wanted to add these options and factor in labor charges the value becomes greatly magnified.
Cockpit and Seating
Spacious and comfortable are the first two adjectives that come to mind when first throwing a leg over this machine. Since the bars and fork need to swing within the fairing the windscreen, gauges, and radio are further away from the rider than on an EG. The stock, clear Lexan windshield measures 16 inches tall putting the top of the fairing right in my line of sight. An inch either way would remedy this and is completely dependent on individual height and posture (see page 14 for my resolution). Reach to the stainless steel handlebars feels longer than on any of the EGs and particularly well suited to taller riders, although, my 5-foot, 9-inch body didn't feel strained by the reach. I had always thought the RG fairing was wide, but it's almost 2 inches more narrow than an EG fairing.