All-new Sport Glide Softail model debuts at EICMA motorcycle show in Milan
Harley-Davidson has added a ninth new Softail to its 2018 line-up and taken another step in its pursuit of the 100 new models in ten years ambition announced by CEO Matt Levatich in January 2017, with the unveil of the new Harley-Davidson Sport Glide motorcycle.
In response to disquiet about the disappearance of the Dyna Glide platform, Harley had hinted that something with an FXR look and feel might appear in November, and with some of the primary Dyna characteristics now migrated to the new, stiffer, lighter chassis Softail platform, the detachable fork tube-mounted sport style fairing, directional wheels, detachable saddlebags and aggressive stance may well be the option alluded to by company insiders.
With Harley targeting 50 percent of sales to be from markets outside the United States and over 50 percent of September 2017 unit shipments already being “international”, choosing the “Milan Show” for the unveil may also be a nod towards the enduring popularity of the legendary FXR in Europe.
“The new factory-custom cruiser is a versatile quick-change artist, ready to transition in just minutes from aggressive cruising to weekend touring duty”, according to Dave Latz, Senior Product Planning Manager at Harley-Davidson.
“The Sport Glide offers the thrilling dynamic capability of the new Softail platform with features that make it suited for both commuting and light touring. Its factory-custom design speaks to modern performance and contemporary style.”
Harley’s release says that “the Sport Glide’s new fairing is shaped to deflect wind away from the rider’s chest, while leaving the rider’s head in a clean stream of air. The fairing is secured to the fork tubes with quick-release clamps, making removal or installation fast and easy. The new, lockable, rigid saddlebags feature a sleek clam shell design and can be removed in seconds, leaving behind mounting points that are barely visible. New ‘Mantis’ cast aluminum wheels feature sweeping spokes and are the first directional wheels on a non-CVO model.”
Using the 107 inch rigid-mounted Milwaukee-Eight V-Twin powertrain, a “broad and supportive saddle sets the Sport Glide’s seat height at just 25.7 inches, with forward-mounted foot controls contributing to a rider triangle designed to fit a broad range of riders.” Additional features include ‘Daymaker’ LED ‘halo’ style headlamp, anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic cruise control, a USB charging port, keyless ignition and the Harley-Davidson Smart Security System as standard.