First impressions last, so the old saying goes, and my first impressions of the Harley-Davidson Street Glide have been positive. When the fleet options first appeared in the cold winter months, I longed for a comfortable bike that would see me cruise through my 86-mile commute in style and that’s exactly what I’ve got.
We’ll get to all the little things in time, but the first thing I want to tell everyone about is the brakes. Harleys are famous, perhaps even infamous, for having poor brakes – well not anymore. The stoppers on the latest generation of tourers come from Brembo and they’re bloody good. The front disc alone will stop this 376kg battle cruiser in no time at all and if you chuck in some rear (which is absolutely fearsome by the way), you can pull it up in a heartbeat. Take that Harley bashers – what’s next on the list? “It can’t go round corners”. We’ll see about that.
These are not the tools you’re looking for
There is one thing that’s a bit of a sod on Harleys: imperial fasteners. Yes it’s 2017 and the Americans still cling desperately to quarts, Fahrenheit, feet and inches. Except they’ve actually done a Great Britain and adopted a bit of the metric system, but left some imperialism in place, so the brakes and fork internals are mm and ISO threads, while the rest of the bike is a trip back in time. Most of the time this doesn’t really matter, as most jobs on a bike of this size are best attended to by a dealer, but I can’t say I’m a fan of the heel & toe shifter and a job that small is surely within the realms of even the most timid home mechanic? Well it would be were it not for the requirement of imperial Allen keys. As tempting as it is to pop a metric one in there (and it is a pretty close fit) it will just result in a ruined bolt or worse: a ruined tool. As it happens, I was passing by Sycamore Harley-Davidson in Uppingham and they kindly whipped the additional shifter off for me. One afternoon, one small bit of imperialism defeated – now, where did I put my pith helmet?