The Aussiest Review of the 2024 Harley-Davidson Street Glide & Road Glide: The Dawn of a New Era

It’s been a decade since Harley-Davidson overhauled their touring range with Project Rushmore, marking a huge step forward in design and performance.

Well, the motor company is at it again, radically redesigning the 2024 Street Glide and Road Glide in what they’re calling “the dawn of a new era”.

Bold claim? Perhaps.

But after spending a day riding the hinterlands of Australia’s Gold Coast for the launch, I reckon there’s a lot of truth to it.

Harley knows how to celebrate milestones, and hot on the heels of their 120th anniversary, they’re commemorating 40 years since Willie G. Davidson first penned the Street Glide.

First Impressions: Sleek New Fairings, Integrated LEDs

The first thing that catches your eye are the redesigned front fairings.

The iconic batwing fairing on the Street Glide, around since 1969, now sports a sleeker look with fully integrated LED lighting and a split stream vent.

Ditto for the Road Glide’s sharknose fairing – reshaped with LEDs and a new windscreen.

Wind deflectors adorn both fairings too.

Kiss those analogue gauges goodbye, this setup is pure 21st century and a damn sight more aerodynamic.

Harley claims they’ve reduced buffeting by a whopping 60% after digital wind tunnel testing (and not by a bearded bloke fanging down the highway).

One blast along the motorway and you’ll feel the difference – it’s a huge relief on the neck and shoulders over long distances.

Ergonomic Upgrades: Comfier Seats, Lighter Tanks, Classier Touches

The ergos get a thorough working over as well.

The saddlebags are slightly reshaped for more room, the front fender is sportier, the seat is bucketier and comfier, and the fuel tank is higher, lighter and reshaped.

Harley trimmed around 8 kilos off the Street Glide and 7 off the Road Glide.

Doesn’t sound like much on a big bagger, but the weight savings in the triple trees and steering head make it feel tons lighter in the corners.

Other classy touches abound.

The indicators are properly integrated now, not dangling off the ends like an afterthought.

The windshield is mounted more cleanly without visible screws. Handgrips are sleeker, the fuel cap doesn’t totally unscrew, and the contrast-cut wheels look boss.

It’s the details that count.

Boosted Suspension: Bigger, Plush-ier, Adjustable-ier

While the high-end 47mm inverted forks from last year’s CVOs didn’t trickle down, the standard forks get new internals to match the heavily upgraded rear suspension.

We’re talking a massive 50% increase in travel to 76mm.

Dual outboard emulsion shocks with adjustable hydraulic preload and on-the-fly tweaks for passengers – this is the good stuff.

I know heaps of Harley tourers that went straight to the aftermarket for better suspension, and fair enough – the stock units could be a bit undercooked.

But one ride on the ’24 setup and you’ll change your tune quick smart.

Plush, controlled, and ready for a proper thrashing.


Mighty Milwaukee-Eight 117: Liquid-Cooled, High-Flow, Multiple Ride Modes

Let’s talk motor.

The new Milwaukee-Eight 117 cubic-inch (1923cc) is a ripper and no mistake.

More cubes than last year’s 114 and as we all know, there’s no replacement for displacement.

But the real headline is the new liquid-cooled cylinder heads.

They drastically reduce heat wafting up to the rider and passenger, which you really notice idling in traffic or at the lights.

Factor in the new high-flow cooling system and redesigned air intake and you’ve got a motor that goes harder, runs cooler and even sips a little less juice.

Four ride modes are on tap: Road, Sport, Rain and Custom.

Sport uncorks max power and loosens up the safety nets, Road is a little less aggressive, Rain is softer again with max TC and ABS, and Custom lets you mix and match to taste.

Cockpit Conveniences: Touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Nav, Speakers

The Street Glide and Road Glide’s command centre gets a massive refresh.

The new ‘Boom! Box’ GTS touchscreen is a peach – way snappier response, better graphics, and easier to use even with gloves.

Bluetooth and a banging stereo are standard, bigger screen, nav, and even Apple CarPlay.

Speaking of options, the Harley accessory catalogue is thick enough to stop a bullet these days.

Though I gotta say, even bone stock these bikes want for very little in the grand scheme.


Colour Options: Bold New Hues, Classic Faves

Harley-Davidson knows the importance of looking good while chewing up the kilometres, and the new Glides’ colour palette aims to please.

For 2024, they’ve mixed up some bold new hues with a smattering of classic faves.

    The Road Glide and Street Glide comes in:

  • Billiard Gray
  • Vivid Black
  • White Onyx Pearl
  • Whiskey Fire
  • Blue Burst
  • Alpine Green
  • Atlas Silver Metallic
  • Sharkskin Blue

Just another example of how the Motor Company has pulled out all the stops for this new generation of Glides.

The 2024 Street Glide and Road Glide have a colour combo to suit your style.

Couple that with the stunning new looks and lustrous paint, and you’ve got a pair of touring machines that’ll make a statement standing still or flying down the freeway.


On The Road: Mightier Engine, Magic Carpet Ride, Agreeable Ergos

Right, enough gabbing.

Let’s ride

Thumb the starter and the 117 thunders to life with that trademark potato-potato burble. The new motor is an absolute pearler.

Gobs of low-down torque, acre-flat midrange, and a top-end rush that’ll put a grin on the dial of even the most jaded journo.

Compared to the 114 it’s night and day. But the biggest transformation is in the ride and handling

The new frame, suspension and geometry really come into their own when you’re having a proper crack.

Rolling on and off the throttle through big sweepers, the chassis feels taut, eager and confidence-inspiring, with nary a wiggle or weave to be felt.

At the same time, the magic-carpet ride dispatches bumps, lumps and general road acne with unruffled nonchalance.

This ain’t no buckboard, it’s a full-dress tourer with serious sporting chops.

The kind of bike that thumbs its nose at Google Maps and takes the long, winding way home every time.

In terms of the cockpit, the new Glides strike a good balance between ‘commanding’ and ‘approachable’.

You sit in the bike, not on it, with a relaxed reach to wide bars and a fine view over the refashioned fairings.

The embiggened seat and adjusted floorboards welcome taller, shorter, and wider humans with open arms as well.

Chalk it up to relentless focus-group testing if you like, but damn if they ain’t comfy.


Verdict: A New Era Indeed

After a solid day’s riding, it’s hard not to be impressed by the 2024 Street Glide and Road Glide.

Harley-Davidson have taken what were already the benchmark bikes in the full-dress bagger class and comprehensively moved the goalposts.

From the more muscular powertrain to the athlete-in-a-tuxedo handling, the brilliant new dash tech to the myriad detailed improvements, the new Glides feel truly dialed in from fender tip to tail light.

A genuine step-change and a far more convincing ‘new era’ than any marketing mumbo-jumbo.

Are they worth upgrading to from last year’s model?

Absolutely, if you’re all about riding harder, faster and further in more comfort than ever before.

Will dyed-in-the-wool Harley tragics approve of the more modern styling direction and tech-heavy spec?

I reckon they just might, if they can pry their minds open a little.

One thing’s for sure – Harley’s Australian and New Zealand dealers better brace.


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