In 2006, Harley-Davidson Motor Company capitalized on the motorcycle market’s need for a stripped-down touring bike sans the bulkiness of its Electra Glide counterpart. The Street Glide (FLHX) was born and was an immediate hit. Over the years it has become one of the best—if not the best—sellers to roll out of the York, Pennsylvania, factory. Not since 2009 when Harley re-Engineered its Touring models’ subframe has the Motor Company done anything really substantial with the game-changing Glide; however, there are some exciting things to report for 2012.
The 2012 Street Glide (FLHX) includes Harley’s latest iteration of the rubber-mounted Twin Cam in a 103ci Displacement, which boasts a noticeable power increase off the line and in highway cruising rpm (100 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm, up about 8 lb-ft from 2011). The 103 features an integrated oil cooler to aid in keeping Engine temps lower, which extends oil life, ultimately extending Engine life by reducing wear. The beefier jugs feature a larger 3.875-inch bore than the 2011 Street Glide’s 96ci base Twin Cam (3.75-inch bore) with the same stroke as 2011 at 4.38 inches. Handling the valvetrain functions are overhead valves (two per cylinder) with hydraulic, self-adjusting lifters, and chain-driven cams. The electronic sequential port fuel injection (ESPFI) handles the fueling duties, which runs a little lean off the showroom floor to comply with emissions standards; nothing a good pipe and air cleaner upgrade can’t fix. However, the stock 2-into-1-into-2 Exhaust has a nice, throaty tone.
Harley’s Six-Speed Cruise Drive Transmission completes the Powertrain package, featuring low-rpm cruising with the right amount of power delivery to motor past text-messaging cagers stuck on autopilot. Shifting through the gears via the wet, multi-plate clutch, engagement/disengagement is very smooth, requiring minimal effort. Speaking of shifting, heel-toe shifters are relative to rider preference, but in this rider’s opinion, it would be nice if they found their way into a huge vat of liquid hot magma we imagine leftover parts disappear to. They’re cumbersome, confusing, and unnecessary. In a word: oversimplified.
Packaging Harley’s Powertrain is a steel tubular frame featuring a two-piece backbone, twin downtubes, and a subframe in the Rear, which was reEngineered in 2009 when Harley introduced its new chassis to all the Touring models to combat the dreaded “Rear steer” or “bagger wobble” associated with pre-’09 Touring models. Since then, the shakiness at high speeds is a thing of the past and Harley’s baggers inspire confidence for bikers to simply enjoy their ride worry-free. The Street Glide has always handled well given its parameters: it weighs more than 800 pounds, has minimal ground clearance (4.7 inches), and 7-foot-9-inch-long stature. Cornering through the mountainous twisty roads is a blast, always has been. The 2012 Street Glide features lower Rear suspension this year, but it doesn’t inhibit ride quality. As for braking componentry, ABS is “available,” which means it doesn’t come standard. Spending over $20,000 on a motorcycle, you’d think it would be included. The model we tested did include the ABS option which worked brilliantly with the dual Front 11.8-inch rotors/four-piston calipers up Front and single four-piston caliper/11.8-inch rotor in the Rear, bringing the heavy bagger to a screeching halt without the slightest lockup. We definitely recommend the ABS upgrade.
Rolling the FLHX to and fro (on this specific motorcycle) were dual tubeless spoke Wheels featuring aluminum rims and hubs with steel spokes (18x3.5 inch Front, 16x5-inch Rear). The standard equipment Wheels are black, slotted five-spoke cast aluminum. Aesthetically the spoke Wheels are a nice touch on this bagger. They contribute that “less-is-more” ideology the Street Glide encompasses. Dunlop Harley-Davidson Tires are wrapped around the Wheels (spoke or cast) and the aggressive tread pattern contributes to a confidence-inspiring ride in wet or dry conditions.
Setting the Street Glide’s Batwing fairing apart from the rest of the Touring fleet equipped with the 40-year-old wind deflector is its minimal windshield. However, the windshield is too minimal in this case. So much so that it’s pointless and annoying after a while due to the extreme buffeting that occurs. However, Harley-Davidson’s Parts and Accessories catalog has many different shields to choose from to better suit your needs.