Harley-Davidson Motor Company just released its 2018 Sport Glide motorcycle, a convertible Softail with quick-detach saddlebags and windscreen for those looking for the around-town cruiser, tourer, and commuter in one overall package.
The Sport Glide is the ninth model from Harley-Davidson's latest Softail chassis to roll out of the York, Pennsylvania manufacturing plant. The Sport Glide blends H-D's latest technology with style thanks to the new Softail chassis, which delivers agility and performance that will exceed the expectations of the most demanding cruiser riders, while the rigid-mounted Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-Twin powertrain pumps out a mountain of torque for outstanding acceleration and passing power.
“The Sport Glide offers the thrilling dynamic capability of the new Softail platform with features that make it suited for both commuting and light touring,” said Dave Latz, senior product planning manager at Harley-Davidson. “Its factory-custom design speaks to modern performance and contemporary style.”
The new fairing, which looks like a miniaturized version of Harley's iconic Batwing fairing, is a quick-detach wind deflector that mounts to the fork tubes with quick-release clamps, making removal and installation pretty easy.
“The Sport Glide presents the broad influence of Harley-Davidson design in a very contemporary way,” said Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson Vice President of Styling & Design. “In the new fairing, for example, you can see the influence of the iconic batwing fairing from Harley Touring models, but it’s been trimmed back to create a more compact, sporty shape.”
As for the the newly designed saddlebags, the lockable, rigid bags are somewhat of a throwback to the FXRT with a modernized clam-shell design. Harley claims the bags are easy to load and unload, and can be opened with one hand by a seated rider because of a damping device allows the saddlebag lids to open smoothly. Like the quick-detach fairing, the bags can also be removed in seconds with an internal quick-release mechanism, leaving behind mounting points that are barely visible. Combined saddlebag capacity is 1.9 cubic feet.
The Sport Glide’s seat height measures just 25.7 inches, with forward-mounted foot controls contributing to a rider triangle designed to fit a broad range of riders. The brilliant Daymaker LED headlamp is surrounded by a ring of LED signature lighting and complements bright LED tail/brake lamp and LED rear turn signals that provide enhanced visibility. A USB charging port, keyless ignition and the Harley-Davidson Smart Security System are standard features of the Sport Glide.
Like the rest of the new Softail models, the Sport Glide features the all-new Softail mono-shock rear suspension with remote hydraulic pre-load adjustment, controlled with an exposed knob below the right side cover, to make it easy to accommodate the weight of luggage or a passenger while maintaining optimal suspension performance. New 43mm inverted forks stiffen the front end and feature a single-cartridge damping system to keep the front wheel stable over changing road conditions for precise handling, a controlled ride and confident braking performance, which is further enhanced by the standard Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). The Sport Glide rolls on new Mantis cast-aluminum wheels, 18-inch front and 16-inch rear, shod with Michelin Scorcher 31 performance tires.
“The Sport Glide project offered us a unique opportunity to utilize a directional wheel, the first of its style to come out of the Harley-Davidson factory on a non-CVO model,” said Richards. “The spokes sweep from the hub to the rim to create a sense of motion even when the Sport Glide is parked. The look of motion is reinforced with the shape of the fairing and the saddlebags, and even the slash-cut exhaust tips.”
The Sport Glide is offered in three solid colors: Vivid Black, Twisted Cherry and Silver Fortune.