Harley Davidson Street Glide, which will enter Indian showrooms in November, is an exotic, thoroughbred touring bike

Harley-Davidson’s Project Rushmore aims to improve its bike line-up based primarily on customer feedback. The spanking new, 2014 model Street Glide from H-D is being ridden around Malaysia to find out how much better the new bike is.

The Street Glide is a burly bike that retains classic styling, with copious amounts of chrome shining through in typical Harley fashion.

The new headlight with dual element halogen bulb is attached to fog lamps on either side. There’s revised switchgear that is repositioned along with dished, textured switches that add to comfort. The Street Glide’s extensive dashboard gets revised instrumentation, and infotainment system, comprising an LCD screen, two speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, radio, voice recognition and a USB adapter that supports mp3 devices.

The bike also packs in cruise control, which when hooked up, makes thundering down long straight stretches of highway more comfortable. Cruise control takes a little getting used to on a motorcycle, but once over with, works like a dream, being operated via a small joystick on the big Harley’s switchgear. Beyond its fuel-tank, the Street Glide shows off classic, smooth-flowing lines all the way back to its tail. At rear, colour coded panniers offer four per cent more storage. The Street Glide’s new 5-spoke alloy wheels add to its appeal.

The 2014 Street Glide gets Harley-Davidson’s latest ‘high output’, 1690cc, V-twin, air-cooled and twin camshaft engine. The new powerplant is good for 14.07kgm of peak torque, delivered at 3500rpm. Overtaking is a breeze at virtually any speed, with only minor throttle inputs called for. The new 103 engine comes with a revised air-box as well. The Street Glide uses a Harley typical, slightly clunky 6-speed gearbox, shifted in a one-down and five-up pattern. Harley-Davidson has done away with the cable-operated clutch, replacing it with a superior hydraulic unit. The Street Glide can cruise at 120kph slotted in top-gear all-day long, providing its rider a thoroughly smooth, vibe-and strain-free ride. On long straight highways, when sporadically pushing harder, the bike is capable of breaching 160kph in fifth, with plenty in reserve. The hefty 372kg bike has a 49mm inverted fork suspension in front, with a set of adjustable shock absorbers at the rear. The motorcycle seat is large and accommodates both the rider and the pillion. The panniers are located lower and further behind so as not to interfere with the pillion. The rider sits in a laidback position, arms extending out to the handlebars, and feet set close to the front wheel, just right for long hours in the saddle. Good ride quality is a given, ironing out all road undulations. Meanwhile, the Street Glide offers decent manoeuvrability and a rock solid stability when flying around corners. Powerful twin brake discs in front are linked to the rear brake system, enabling balanced braking at all times.

The Street Glide feels an exotic, thoroughbred touring bike from the word go. The big new Harley is set to enter Indian showrooms in November 2013, coming to us via the more expensive CBU route, so expect premium pricing.