2018 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide dresses for the highway, strips for the street

Bruce Brown
2018 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide

Harley-Davidson is rolling toward its goal of 100 new bikes by 2027, and the 2018 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide proves the Milwaukee motorcycle maker isn’t going to be content with mixing parts from existing bikes to reach that milestone.

The first bike introduced as part of the century rollout was the 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod. The 2018 lineup signaled the demise of the harder-riding Dyna line and the debut of an all-new Softail family with improved ride, handling, and performance. At the 2018 model launch event, eight new Softail bikes rolled onto the road, most carrying forward model names and iconic style points of previous-generation Softails — and some Dynas, too.

Riding on the new Softail platform with a frame-mounted Milwaukee-eight 107 V-Twin powertrain, the 2018 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide weighs 698 pounds. The Sport Glide has quick-release hard case saddlebags and a small, fork-mounted batwing style fairing with a 1.5-inch high windscreen to keep the wind from the rider’s chest, but not their head. If you’re taking a long, fast ride, an optional 5.5-inch Light Smoke Windshield should keep the wind from rider faces unless they’re exceptionally tall.

Leave the bags and fairing attached to travel the highways, and then pop them off to cruise the night scene. According to a Harley-Davidson press release, the saddlebag’s combined capacity is 1.9 cubic feet. Motorcycle.com checked out the Sport Glide’s bags and reported they were designed to hold a half helmet, rain suit, and a laptop computer. Any serious Sport Glide touring calls for an optional luggage rack and Tour-Pack box or switched-out saddlebags.

The Sport Glide has a 25.7-inch-high seat with forward-mounted foot pegs and controls. The Harley-Davidson Smart Security System is standard, as are keyless ignition and a USB charging port under the fairing. The bike will light up the road and people will see you coming and going with the Daymaker LED headlamp with LED signature lighting ring, and LED rear brake light and turn signals.

The Sport Glide’s rear monoshock is hand-adjustable, with five preloaded settings, and antilock braking is standard. The 18-inch front and 16-inch cast aluminum wheels with a new Mantis design are mounted with Michelin Scorcher 31 performance tires.

The starting price is $18,600 in Vivid Black and $19,000 in Twisted Cherry or Silver Fortune.

If the Street Rod was number one, the new Softails two through nine, and the Sport Glide counts as No. 10, Harley may be done for now. Maybe we’ll see a big batch introduced at the annual launch event, with a couple outliers earlier and later each year. It’s going to be an interesting decade.