HARLEY-DAVIDSON ELECTRA GLIDE ULTRA LIMITED (2013 - on) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£280|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Don’t be misled by the new Glide’s seemingly unchanged looks. While the styling may be familiar (and largely sacrosanct according to Harley bosses) the vast majority of the bike is all-new. To be exact, there are over 100 changes, making this the biggest revision of the famous ElectraGlide since it first gained its ‘batwing’ fairing in 1969.
What’s more, these changes include everything, from wheels, brakes and suspension, to clocks and fairing, and, most revolutionary of all, the introduction of water-cooling for the first time on a ‘classic’ Hog.
On the other hand, however, not much has changed at all. If you were ever in any doubt that Harley was a conservative company, the ‘new’ ElectraGlide should be the convincer.
Harley has successfully moved the Electra Glide on and this is, unquestionably, the best Glide ever – but it’s not by as much as those 100-odd changes suggest.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Forks go from 43mm to 49mm, new 10-spoke ‘Impeller’ wheels shave 5Kg while ABS brakes feature a new Guzzi/Honda CBS-style linked brake system where foot pedal partially operates the front and the lever partially the rear.
Again, however, it’s hard to tell. The Glide still handles surprisingly well for a big ol’ bus, albeit one you can eventually provoke into a high-speed squirm should you feel the need. That said, the bigger disc-ed and now linked brakes are, truly, a meaty improvement over the old. They’re not race-track good, obviously, but they’re ample and adequate. On this evidence, no longer will we be able to criticise Harleys for lamentable stoppers.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The familiar pushrod V-twin gets uprated high-flow airbox and, revolutionally, on the Limited model, water-cooling for the first time - albeit subtly so. Twin rads hidden in fairing lowers feed water-channels around exhaust port.
So, yes, the engines are ‘new’, but none of it makes much difference nor changes the fact that this is still the same, basic, pushrod V-twin that’s been around since the ‘80s. And although Harley claims peak torque and power has been upped by around 7%, I couldn’t notice any change.
In 55mph U.S.A. more power isn’t srictly necessary (although it’d have been nice – having to occasionally cog down twice to find some uphil overtaking go highlights the limitations of the ancient Milwaukee twin). In Europe it seems lagging compared to the latest Triumphs, Indians, Guzzis and more.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Old style they may be, but Harleys have always been pretty rugged and reliable with thick paint and chrome and there’s little reason to doubt this will be any different. One word of warning, however: much is new about this version in areas (electronics, liquid-cooling) new to Harley so time will tell.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Yup, upwards of 21 grand and, I’m sorry, for an undeveloped, unsophisticated retro bike with last generation performance that’s taking the Mick, no matter how good its residuals…
All-new bodywork includes a new fairing vent here, a larger headlight ‘eyebrow’ there and a more cut-down front fender underneath. But short of parking old and new versions side by side you’d never notice. While new one-handed operation pannier and top box catches are welcome, but also isn’t much different from before. But the new ‘Infotainment’ touchscreen display, not to mention the standard clocks and reworked switchgear are, truly, a new standard being great looking, comprehensive (stereo, mp3 link, built in satnav, bluetooth and more), intuitive and, even for an old dinosaur like me, easy to use.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, pushrod, fuel-injected, 45º V-twin, 6 gears, belt drive|
|Frame type||Tubular steel double cradle|
|Fuel capacity||22.7 litres|
|Front suspension||49mm telescopic forks, no adjust|
|Rear suspension||Twin shocks with preload adjust|
|Front brake||2 x 300mm discs with 4-piston calipers, ABS|
|Rear brake||300mm disc with 2-piston caliper rear, linked, ABS|
|Front tyre size||130 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||180 x 16|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||42 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£280|
|Used price||£8,000 - £21,000|
17 of 17
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||110 bhp|
|Max torque||101 ft-lb|
|Top speed||120 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||212 miles|
Model history & versions
2013: Model introduced
Road King Classic: New version of popular ‘50s style ‘bagger’ with plexi screen uses aircooled version of revised, ‘High Output’ Twin cam 103ci V-twin, Halogen headlights, and wire wheels.
Street Glide: Harley’s best selling bike in 2012 and, it claims, the world’s best-selling tourer gets sharp, ‘Enforcer’ alloy wheels and all the Glide mods but uses 4.3in ‘info’ system and Halogen lights.
ElectraGlide Ultra Classic: Air-cooled motor, 4.3in info system, satin finish fairing inner, plain alloy wheels, plus no top box rack or heated hand grips, but otherwise identical to the top-of-the-range Limited
ElectraGlide Ultra Limited: Range-topper of standard range features new ‘Twin Cooled’ water-cooled engine (so losing compartments in fairing lowers, but has larger 6.5in touchscreen, gloss fairing inner, chromed wheels, luggage rack and heated grips.
CVO ElectraGlide Ultra Limited: Top spec version takes Limited and enhances it with a larger, 110ci displacement, backlit hand and dash controls, pull-out luggage bags, and a host of cosmetic touches. CVO versions of Harley’s Softail Deluxe (£23,195), Road King (£24,995) and Breakout (£21,995) are also available in 2014.
Owners' reviews for the HARLEY-DAVIDSON ELECTRA GLIDE (2013 - on)
2 owners have reviewed their HARLEY-DAVIDSON ELECTRA GLIDE (2013 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£280|
Version: Ultra Limited
Annual servicing cost: £300
Know what you're getting into before you buy - a heavyweight luxury tourer but not cutting edge (mine is a 2014) but well resolved, more than powerful enough and extremely comfortable....and the only touring bike my 6ft6 son would fit on pillion comfortably and safely (he has additional needs) but adores the Ultra. Plus - it's a Harley. I was a late starter to biking - CBT at 47, Direct Access at 48 to a 1200 Sportster and then nine months later onto an Ultra to accommodate my son on pillion. To be frank, spent first six months of ownership getting used to the sheer weight of the beast at low speeds but my lack of biking experience was more of an issue rather than the bike itself - am now after two years' riding the Ultra, much more confident and relaxed with it. As for the riding experience, it has changed my life and even more so my son's - we can easily go for 200-300 mile rides in comfort, listening to the radio, his "interesting" playlists (ranging from Steppenwolf to The Archers...I can always turn the volume down independently to the pillion's thankfully) and all the while chatting through the integrated wired intercom, the latter hugely important for our relationship. Being on the Ultra is his happiest place, which makes it mine too.
Ride quality depends a lot on settings for rear air suspension and personal taste/use. Some long-term and serial owners swap the air for regular progressive suspension but I've never felt the need - always very comfortable and handy on bends. Brakes much improved over earlier models - progressive and positive - and linked front to back only above 25mph...handy when the rear's so handy for tying the bike down at low speeds.
More than enough power and plentiful torque - with progressive and smooth delivery - for what I need the bike to do. What might seem rumbly at idle soon smooths out as you pull away. I have stayed with the standard fit exhausts - I often ride two-up and it seems counter-productive to have noisier pipes in company...but as they are they're more than loud enough to let other road users know of your presence. Am getting about 220-250 from each tank.
As the first twin-cooled Harley engine, the water pump failed and was replaced under warranty for the new pattern part as fitted to subsequent model year bikes. Have picked up a couple of very small stone chips on the front fender. Beautifully executed chrome that does need regular care and attention to keep it that way but then tis a Harley and for me the responsibility of chrome is part of the ownership experience.
Always use the local (and supplying) dealer - West Coast Harley, Glasgow. Not cheap to buy but PCP cheaper than you might think thanks to the very impressive residuals. Main dealer servicing may be more expensive than elsewhere but always great and very trusted service including lots of free expert advice. Parts can be expensive but again tis a premium marque.
Tis an Ultra Limited after all. In common with many others' opinion, the option of. reverse gear would have been ideal - tis a 500kg bike in practice and I'm 5ft10 and not a muscle man! Once delivered, I parked it on folded carpet and let it carefully drop down onto its engine bars to make sure I could lift it up again on my own....remarkably easy once you know how and worth making sure you can do it on your own just in case. Huge amount of storage in the panniers and touring box with original fit bags too. Sat nav easily updated, no less than three charging points (one inside the rear box), excellent mobile phone integration (with its own storage compartment in the dash), cruise control and very decent standard multi-speaker system. The only thing I haven't used is the integrated CB radio (no longer fitted to current models due to the prevalence of aforementioned mobile phones etc). The only thing I would add is Apple CarPlay as fitted to the latest versions but I'm being picky now.
Buying experience: Bought a couple of years ago from West Coast Harley when I traded in my 1200 Sportster. Very good relationship with the dealership and staff and they made sure I could access a suitable deal to secure the Ultra at a decent price. I realise non-franchise dealers may be cheaper but there's great additional value having a dealership who you know and trust, they know your bike and just as importantly know you as an individual. I have had loads of excellent advice and bits of occasional minor work carried out for free as well as a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment to visit with my son.
Version: Ultra Limited two tone.
Annual servicing cost: £269
Love the bike, so very comfortable, a bit of a handful under 7 mph, the weight kicks in. I am 6ft 4 and not a skinny man and I feel it. Almost 3/4 of a ton with the two of us on it. Over the slow speeds, you would never notice the weight unless you try to move quickly in a change of direction, its not crazy with it, its just you feel the mass. It can tramp on believe me, I have had all kinds of bikes, from ZX12r and FJ1200 etc I still have 16 other bikes so no novice. A few 600 riders have been surprised with the handling and speed it can attain and hold even two up on the twisties, so long as you are smooth with it, no sudden changes in direction, it is fun. It should have a reverse gear, even as an option, its definitely needs a reverse gear. I would recommend to anyone to at least get a test ride on one, they will surprise you as it did me.
Brakes very good and handles very well for such a heavy bike, it does have its limits with that weight, but never slid from me yet and I do not hang about on it. Super comfy seat, My wife just loves it, pretty sure i heard her snoring a few times.
Torque galore from the 107 Milwaukee 8 engine, love it coming out of bends and opening it up, pulls very well. We are always two up.
Always starts, slow starter as they all are, but sounds cool as it does it. Never had any issues, no warranty work needed as I write.
Averages about 40, would get more if I was easier on it, but with all that torque you can help yourself but to pin it, even two up, pulls like a freight train. Tank range varies, from 220 to near 300 miles depending on yer wrist. £269 for the 5000 mile service, not done it yet. Bike only at 4400. Every 5000 miles you service, no time limit I believe.
All the toys, cruise, sat nav, heated grips are simply superb, 1 is enough for me, goes up to 5 or 6 i believe. Very comfy standard seat. Music system sounds excellent, can still hear it at 60. Needs a reverse gear, no reason not to have one with a bike at this weight.
Buying experience: Bought from Edinburgh Harley in 2018, Gary the salesman was excellent, never thought I would buy a Harley, seriously, never ever, but I love it. I would buy another, the 117 next for me on a CVO version.