Harley Davidson has shifted its gears with the new Sport Glide in the Softail line. The new Harley on the block is a city cruiser with an air of touring attributes. The Sport Glide has been granted the goal to merge the gap between the “naked” cruiser and the “full dress” touring machine.
“We wanted to offer people a touring motorcycle that isn’t intimidating,” said Dave Latz, senior product manager for Harley. “We wanted to offer something to the nontraditional touring rider that would allow them to get into the touring space, but also serve the need of touring riders who didn’t want to ride a full-sized touring bike anymore.”
Harley’s new motorbike is powered by Milwaukee Eight engine, a 107-cubic-inch V-twin powerplant that delivers a torque of 108 pound-feet which is shared by most of the new Softail bikes unveiled by Motorcycle Giant in August.
Like the most of the Harley Cruisers, Sport Glide features a 6-speed gearbox, electronic fuel injection, and standard ABS. It has a seat height of 25.7” and weighs in at 698 pounds when it’s gassed and ready to ride.
But it also retains its individuality in certain key areas. The new Sport Glide comes in standard size with small, detachable fairing and a pair of small, detachable saddlebags. In addition, the latest Harley also has inverted front forks and a slimmer side case, increasing the pared-down look. According to the company, the “Mantis” wheels are the first “directional” wheels that Harley has ever put on a stock bike.
According to recent reports, the motorcycle manufacturing industry is facing a drastic decline in sales. In such tight situation, the Milwaukee Company is hopeful to preserve market share by adding new riders to its diminishing customer base.
In October 2017, the company disclosed that worldwide sales dropped by 6.9% below sales levels for the same period in 2016, while U.S. sales dipped by 8.1%.
"The continued weakness in the U.S. motorcycle industry only heightens our resolve and the intensity we are bringing to the quest to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders," Matt Levatich, Harley president and chief executive, said at the time.
Paul James, Harley product portfolio manager, qualifies Sport Glide as “a conquest motorcycle.” In his words, the new Harley bike is “for people who aspire to Harley but didn’t see anything in the catalog that was just right for them.”
James further said that it will also be a trade-up motorcycle for riders who’ve been on other Harleys. Fans who might have started with Harley on the entry-level Sportsters might be interested in upgrading to something more massive and powerful— but maybe not something quite as heavy as a 900-pound Ultra Glide.
The 700-pound Sport Glide offers a mid-range motorcycle. “We think it has the ability to attract new buyers, and used bike owners,” James said.
The latest Sport Glide will be available from 12,07900 INR and, for now, will come in only Vivid Black, Twisted Cherry and Silver Fortune. Like all the Harleys, the new Sport Glide comes with a wide range of after-market parts and accessories. There are performance enhancers that could push the engine horsepower and torque up to the level of the company’s 114-cubic-inch engine. The new machines will be on display and available for demo rides at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, which began on November 17.