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Street Glide customizes Harley's Road King cruiser

December 09, 2005|by ART VOSS/Motor Matters

For Road King fans in the Harley camp, there's a new bike on the street. It's the Harley-Davidson FLHX Street Glide.

At first, one might think of the FLHX as nothing more than a Road King Custom with a "Batwing," fork-mounted fairing, sporting a single headlight, but it's a lot more than that. To oversimplify, the Street Glide is a turnkey, custom, undressed version of the popular Road King Dresser.

True, the mechanicals are shared with the Road King, with enhancements such as a 24 percent reduction in clutch effort. The Street Glide is powered by a vibration-isolated, 1450cc Twin Cam 88 motor coupled to a five-speed manual transmission with primary chain and final belt drive. The Street Glide sits about an inch lower aft than the Road King, thanks to a slammed low profile suspension and comes with a stripped "clean" look, hard bags with color matched latches, and the Batwing, fork-mounted fairing already mentioned, with rearview mirrors and speakers incorporated into the assembly, whose backside comes stock in a black finish with a smoked, "shorty" windshield (too short for me in fact, but it looks cool).

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The fairing houses a full set of silver-faced gauges trimmed with chrome bezels and a new, advanced Harman/Kardon audio system with greater clarity and music playing capability, including the availability of XM satellite radio. The tank sports a new, full-length sculpted console and new smoked chrome H-D logo. The front fender is void of trim and logos and the rear fender features a new, lower-mounted license plate with hidden illumination, as well as a new ground-effect extension with custom-look tri-line LED fender lights.

The seat is a low (26.3 inches) one-piece affair that provides a plush deep bucket for the rider and a cushy passenger pillion extension. The rider gets floorboards, while the passenger has pegs to match as standard. The color palette includes Vivid Black, Black Cherry Pearl, Black Pearl and Deep Cobalt Pearl.

My test FLHX Street Glide was finished in Black Cherry Pearl. The base price was set at $18,185, but my test ride was fitted with lots of extras - smoked lenses for the bullet-shaped running and directional lights, body-color inner fairing finish, chrome aluminum profile lace spoke wheels (the bike comes stock with black cast slotted wheels), special windshield trim, special notched clutch and brake levers and more, so the final price tag came to $24,175.

SUMMARY: The Harley-Davidson FLHX Street Glide practically eliminates the need to customize a Road King, or to move up to a bigger touring bike just to get a fairing. It comes across as a custom bike out of the crate, while still leaving room to "make it your own" by adding unique personal touches. One can always add graphics and accessories, but in the final analysis, the Street Glide looks great just as it is.

The Street Glide, with its low center of gravity and weight distribution, is easy to ride. Shorter riders will have no problem balancing the bike at a stop and the low mini windshield will probably work better for them.

The Street Glide generates a more youthful spirit than the larger touring bikes, or what many refer to as "AARP-Glides" - besides, FLHX has a nicer ring to it.

SPECIFICATIONS

Harley-Davidson FLHX Street Glide

Base Price: $18,185

Price as Tested: $24,175

Engine Type and Size: 1450cc air-cooled, Twin Cam 88 V-Twin with electronic SPFI

Torque lbs.-ft.: 86 at 3,500 rpm

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Drive Train: Primary drive: Chain/Final drive: Belt

Suspension: Front - Dual 41.3 mm forks with Triple Circuit Damping (TCD) and 4.6 inches of travel. Rear - Short air adjustable shocks with 2 inches of travel

Brakes: Four-piston calipers front and rear - Dual rotors front, single rear rotor

Tires: Harley-Davidson Dunlop D 402 F MT 90 B16 front/D 402 MU85 B16 rear mounted on chrome aluminum profile lace spoke wheels.

Wheelbase: 63.5 inches

Length Overall: 94.5 inches

Steering angle: 29.3 degrees

Curb Weight dry: 745 lbs.

Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons (includes 1 gallon reserve)

Seat height: 26.3 inches

Copyright, Motor Matters, 2005

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