8 Best Things On The 2019 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited | Baggers
Roger Westby

8 Best Things On The 2019 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited

With new infotainment and an M-8 114 engine upgrade, Harley’s premium tourer ticks all the right boxes.

Harley’s top-of-the-heap, non-CVO tourer didn’t get any really sexy updates for 2019, but that doesn’t make it any less capable. There’s no funky 21-inch front wheel, super-swank finishes or burly 117-inch powerplant (like some 2019 CVOs got), but the Ultra Limited did get an engine upgrade, and you just can’t ignore H-D’s new Boom! Box GTS system, also included for 2019.

When it made its big heavily revised Rushmore appearance five years ago, the FLHTK was billed as Harley’s premium luxury tourer, and the 2019 model-year version of the mile-munching rig still occupies the upper strata of the touring category, though it’s changed a bit over the years. Although the 2019 Harley-Davidson Limited doesn’t see the beefy 117 Milwaukee-Eight mill, it does get the up-spec Milwaukee-Eight 114-inch engine, which isn’t too shabby as a standard-issue powerplant.

We hadn't ridden a full-dress tourer in a while, but we spent six days and 850 miles on the big ol' girl tooling around the back roads of Wisconsin and Minnesota, dodging storms and floodwaters from Minneapolis to Milwaukee to the Harley-Davidson 115th anniversary jam. We rediscovered some pretty good stuff about the Limited along the way. Here are eight highlights.

The 2019 Limited gets The M-8 114 engine as standard equipment.

milwaukee-eight 114

In all the hubbub about the 2019 CVO upgrades, you probably didn't hear that the Ultra Limited also received a boost, by way of the Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 114 which is now standard operating equipment for 2019. That's a huge boost in a major area. For one, the liquid-cooled, high-compression Milwaukee-Eight 114 produces 5 percent more torque than the 107 engine (123 pound-feet versus 117 pound-feet) on the 2018 Limited, and you can feel the quicker acceleration especially when rolling on the throttle (though it’s subtle) and uphill. The Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine is the biggest displacement you can get from the H-D factory in standard Touring models, which is a heck of an improvement when you're hauling around 910 pounds, wet. But when crawling down the street at walking speeds, we still found the rear cylinder roasting the back of our leg.

Roger Westby

Reflex Linked Braking is your best friend.

reflex linked braking

Three discs make for substantial stopping power on the Ultra Limited. Although it’s unchanged for 2019, Harley’s Reflex Linked Brembo Brakes with standard ABS have four-piston calipers squeezing dual 300mm rotors up front and one 300mm rotor out back, which, together, will slow your roll with steady confidence, even in the pouring rain (as we found out). Although feel at the front lever could be classified as firm, you get used to it, and the system got us out of more than a few close calls in the wet by providing just the right amount of brake to each tire no matter how horrible road conditions were. The Reflex Linked Brakes and ABS system work both ways, electronically applying a bit of pressure to the rotor on the opposite end based on speed and brake pressure. And if you do happen to jam on the front brake, you’ll still get a solid bite with steady pressure throughout. All in all, those three big discs and trio of four-piston calipers did an admirable job of keeping the big bagger steady all week long.

Roger Westby

Harley's new Boom! Box GTS System absolutely kills the last version…

Boom! Box GTS System

Again, standard equipment on the FLHTK. And even if you’re not using the impressive navigation, Harley’s Boom! Box GTS infotainment system includes two speakers with 25 watts per channel, pumping out sound from AM, FM, WB, XM, Bluetooth streaming, or a connected digital source. The 6.5-inch TFT touchscreen offers a higher resolution and a four-times-higher contrast ratio than the previous GT display. The system also has a faster processor and more memory, so you're ready to go about 10 seconds after booting up, and crunching nav routes in about four seconds. The UX/UI is also reconfigured to look, feel, and interact more like modern touchscreens on phones and tablets, using pinching, swiping, and dragging movements. But, word to the wise, don’t bother using Bluetooth when playing your music. The connection absolutely sucks, and the sound will cut out.

Harley-Davidson

…and you don't need special gloves for the new touchscreen.

boom box touchscreen

Even though we packed special gloves with touch-compatible fingertips, turns out we didn’t need them—that new TFT display mentioned earlier, with edge-to-edge Gorilla glass, is that good, whether with bare fingers or gloved ones of any type. Even in the rain. Harley claims the display is designed to minimize reflection for better visibility in bright sunlight (check that) and is good to go even in wet conditions, which, again, we can confirm, though we did encounter a few cases where we had to press the screen multiple times to get a response.

Jeff Allen

The 2,136 lumens do not lie. Those headlamps are lifesavers in extreme conditions.

Ultra Limited stock headlight

While it might not be a proper Daymaker unit (which is available as an option) the Ultra Limited's stock headlight is LED, and produces a healthy 900 lumens. Couple that with the 1,200-lumen fog lamps, and you're talking 2,136 lumens of total output at low beam with fog lights—which we used to great effect when riding in a downpour outside of Beaver, Minnesota, where the clouds were essentially on top of us and there was literally no sunlight. In that case you want a strong beam to punch through the mist, and a good spread to pick up any surprises lurking along the road shoulder. Powering on the LEDs, coupled with the auxiliary lights and fog lamps, made us feel like no army of darkness could stop this freight train.

Roger Westby

Your can have your own personal climate control.

Ultra Limited heated grips

You don't know how much you'll appreciate heated grips until you actually use them, and the Limited's have six settings, so you can easily adjust on the fly for the warmth you need. That’s just one piece of the Limited’s onboard climate control, with the iconic Batwing fairing keeping gusts off your chest and the split-stream air vent at the base of the shield allowing you to let in cooling breezes while reducing turbulence up top.

Harley-Davidson

When you're touring, you really do need a Tour-Pak.

ultra limited tour pak

Even beyond the handy one-touch, solidly closing latches is the fact that you can fit not one, but two full-face helmets in the excellent Tour-Pak, along with some other travel essentials. And the sleeker, more aerodynamic design of the recent boxes distributes weight more effectively, so the bike never feels top-heavy.

Harley-Davidson

For a big bike, the Limited is pretty composed—and comfy.

Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited

The Limited’s ergonomics are made to tackle the miles. In short (get it?), the sub-27-inch seat height means a wide swath of riders will feel right at home in the saddle. That’s a big deal, as the Touring models happen to be pretty popular among new riders, women, and riders new to Harley-Davidson. At 5-foot-7 with a 30-inch inseam, I was more than happy with the dished seat and relaxed riding position. But it goes beyond seat height: The 26 degree rake and a reasonable 64-inch wheelbase mean the LTD turns in more agreeably than you'd expect, making the next apex super approachable. Sure, there'll be times you'll need a bit of muscle to coax the old girl into the next ess, but, hey, this is a loaded, fully dressed touring rig.

Harley-Davidson

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