Riding the 2024 Harley-Davidson Street Glide and Road Glide Around Daytona Beach

 

A couple of months ago Rob rang me up (that means phone call for you youngsters) to ask if I would like to ride to Daytona Beach Bike Week and give the new 2024 Harley-Davidson Road Glide and Street Glide a go, compliments of the H-D Marketing team. He went on about having a place to stay with his old high school buddy for free or some such drivel – not sure. As an official H-D Fan Boy, I couldn’t focus after I heard “new Road Glide and Street Glide”. Following a slight bump in my schedule we had to push our departure one day which cut our demo ride down a bit but I was still down to see what all the fuss was about with these new baggers.

Following our 10-hour, 400+ mile ride down on Thursday we got some solid rest and were ready to roll to the Harley-Davidson Pavilion early Friday morning to pick up the Road Glide and Street Glide. Harley pulls out all the stops for their Bike Week Pavilion at the Daytona International Speedway and it’s no wonder. After spending any time in and around Daytona, the sheer volume of Harley models seen certainly dictates this kind of presence. We were greeted with typical H-D marketing hospitality by our dear friend Paul who had so graciously set aside a new “Vivid Black” 2024 Road Glide and a 2024 Street Glide in gorgeous “Whiskey Fire” orange.

2024 Harley-Davidson Street Glide & Road Glide. Simply beautiful.

A brief side note regarding the Harley marketing team and Paul in particular. We here at Road Dirt get to work with many of the OEM brands in the motorcycling world, and Paul raises the bar with respect to his vast knowledge of motorcycles and of course Harleys in particular, as well as where H-D is taking the brand, products and the overall riding experience for current and future generations. In typical fashion he kindly walked us through all of the new features of the bagger’s redesigned engine, suspension and infotainment center and we were ready to roll.

Morning on Main, and hopping on the famed A1A.

This being Rob’s first Daytona Bike Week I wanted to make sure he enjoyed as many coastal rides as possible, so we immediately headed east to roll through Main Street then south on A1A to Ponce Inlet and the lighthouse. My initial response to the 2024 Road Glide was sheer glee for more than one reason. Apparently Harley realized the standard height bars were not providing good leverage for many riders so I was pleasantly surprised that these stock bars were almost at the exact same height as my KST 12” Outlaw bars on my own 2017 Road Glide.

Blacked out Street Glide 117 (Rob loved it), and chromed out Road Glide 117 (my fave).

These new baggers are also utilizing the brand new Harley-Davidson 117 engine platform redesigned from the ground up (This is NOT the previous gen Milwaukee Eight 117). I found the power band and overall gearing to be well synchronized for smooth acceleration and plenty of additional power regardless of what gear you’re in. These new motors are sneaky quick and an absolute blast coming off the line or at a stoplight. The power band has been distributed in such a way that even in sixth gear running 70-80 mph you feel like you’ve still got plenty of throttle left to get around slower traffic or run down the road quicker than others. It’s a beast.

When we think of Baggers and touring, comfort obviously comes into play heavily so it was great to see Paul able to simply twist an adjustable knob to soften the rear shocks for my size and weight. Surprisingly, the stock seat was also quite comfortable for my 6’2”, 230+ frame. The stock slip-ons deliver that patented Harley-Davidson sound and are almost loud enough to live with long term. First time bagger or H-D owners might actually opt to not replace them for something with a deeper, throatier sound. These sound that nice. Rob remarked that he’d keep the Street’s stock setup, were he to buy one.

Throttling around Bike Week, on the Road then the Street.

One major factor in this new engine is the redesign of air distribution around the rear cylinder to keep the rider’s legs cooler over long rides or while in traffic. This was easy to recognize on Saturday morning after we had to return the bikes and, after breakfast, had to spend 30 minutes in stop and go traffic waiting in line to get inside the Speedway for the Daytona 200 and King of the Baggers races.

Fantastic screens, completely customizable, with a wide array of settings, options and info. They are even touchscreen.

Paul was very specific when reviewing the new electronics and infotainment center, stating that it was best to flip the ignition switch and allow the system to fully boot up much like you would a mobile phone or laptop computer. Following a few of our stops I did notice that if I did not let the computer on the bike fully “boot-up” and attempted to cycle to another screen for navigation or Apple Carplay, I saw issues in the display such as the map not fully loading. We would recommend giving the system time to fully load prior to rolling out. It takes less than a minute.

Rob with the bikes at our stop in the Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, and trying on the Road Glide for size. He liked the Street better.

Personally I’m not a big fan of the Vivid Black motorcycle craze- my personal ride is “Viscosity Sunglow Red” if that gives you any indication. Yet I must say the metallic fleck “Whiskey Fire Orange” Street Glide was absolutely beautiful in the Florida sun. Since he sold his old Yamaha Royal Star, it’s has been a minute since Rob spent any time on a large bagger, but he had to admit that the new Street Glide with lower stock bars than the Road Glide was a good fit for his (somewhat) smaller size and weight. He even liked the short stock windshield on the Street while I really did not have an issue with that short windshield on the Road. I did attempt to ride the Street Glide but my knees were about 8 inches from my hands in the rider position, while Rob wasn’t wild about the taller Road Glide bars. I just don’t feel comfortable on a tourer unless my hands are at least chest high or higher.

SIDE NOTE: Changing out the Road Glide Bars look to be a simple task, taking less time than eating a hoagie. Swapping the Street Glide bars would require removal of the ignition housing and fairing, so be sure to call out for a pizza or two if attempting that.

Integrated taillights look great, clean up the rear of the bikes, and are amply bright.

When test riding a new model you want to really give it a run through its paces and try out all the different features, and these models were no exception. The Road Glide model incorporates small wind deflectors along the left and right kneecaps below the fairing. My 2017 Road Glide incorporates a fixed wind deflector in this location but for the new 2024 models they have hinged this particular tinted plastic bracket so it gives the rider the ability to adjust air flow around the legs. Oddly enough, when I decided to make adjustments on these I found more air hitting my knees with the vents closed versus when they were open. I have to believe that these were designed to help keep cool air on the engine and off a rider’s legs. Harley has really paid attention to subtle details when you look at these features on the new bikes.

Okay, a couple of shots from the races. Trackside was incredible, and Kyle Wyman dominated the KotB field with his Harley Road Glide (emphasis mine). Photos by Rob and Tim Lester.

Braking was very smooth and ABS is standard on these models all the way up into the CVO line. The ST is a different story altogether. Speaking of the ST, I did ask specifically about the Variable Valve Timing option for the new baggers as I had heard some of the models incorporate VVT and some don’t. According to Paul, VVT adds additional weight to the motor thus potentially causing performance issues. VVT is available on a few of the baggers but it depends on what performance (read speed) you are looking for. The CVO models with the Milwaukee Eight 121 motor do utilize VVT to focus on peak performance and tuning for maximum horsepower, the ST model with the 121 engine does not use VVT as peak performance for racing is designed into the motor in a more optimum way.

Beachside astride the Road Glide. Rob on point with the shot from the Street Glide.

Design

As an “H-D Fan Boy”, I love the overall look of the new line of touring bikes. The new fairings and rear fender treatments are clean and provide great lighting. I am however a bit disappointed in the shorter saddlebag look. I’ve always been a fan of the extended bags that wrap around the exhaust. I feel they give the bike a longer, more luxurious look and the additional space inside is always handy when packing for a multi-day ride.

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.

While at the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse we chatted with a Harley rider and his wife on a Road Glide Special with a tour pack. He liked the overall look of the new bikes but commented that he didn’t like the shorter bags, preferring extended bags which he had on his bike. I know the King of the Baggers race series and the California Performance Bagger craze probably swayed the designers on this feature but I have to say, the last thing I want to do on mine or any other touring bike is a wheelie. There were probably other reasons to go short on the bags like weight and cost but I’m not a fan of the shorter bags.  It should be noted that while these new bags are shorter and not my cup of tea (visually) they do actually have more space inside and are larger than any of the previous stock bags which do allow for more gear inside.

Lunch at Tortugas in Flagler Beach. I’m upper level, nose in my phone.

While talking about bags it’s interesting to note that, for Bike Week, H-D removes the key fobs off the bikes so you can simply hop on, fire them up and ride out. Handy, unless you forget to lock the forks and someone attempts to “sample” the bike, permanently. I mention that as I feel Harley missed a creature comfort here as it relates to the key fob. I’ve got two buddies now on Indian Baggers and if they forget to lock their bags they can electronically hit the fob to lock them, much like locking almost any modern automobile. I know I’m showing my age but our culture is getting used to such things and I’m a bit surprised Harley hasn’t offered this on the new line. 

A shark and a bat. Which would you choose?

Final (Riding) Impressions

Overall, we feel Harley-Davidson has delivered an exceptional 2024 lineup of touring models. These two bikes deliver everything you’d want and more, particularly after they set the bar so high with that incredible 2024 launch video back in early February (check it out here on YouTube). The colors in the line are modern, clean and stunning. The new tank and fairing design with the lighting package looks and performs well while the new motor and transmission perform in perfect harmony, delivering an incredible experience on a slightly lighter bike than previous years. Younger, first-time as well as female riders should feel more confident on this platform. It will be interesting to see how the dealer network navigates the lower pricing of the 2024s while still holding many earlier models in the showroom.
What are your thoughts, on my observations here or the 2024 Harley models in general? Hit us up in the comments below!

Phil G.

For more on the 2024 Harley-Davidson lineup, check them out here:

Harley-Davidson

*Be sure to check out our video ride review here, without ever leaving this page:

NE Ga Motorsports

5 Comments

  1. Hawkeye

    Excellent article and ride reviews. Sounds like you guys had a great time at Bike Week, even though you didn’t mention attending the female Cole Slaw wrestling competition.
    And I’m excited for next year, because Rob said he’d fly ALL the RoadDirt.TV crew down to Daytona for the week. That’s major for all the guys who live up north, and can’t ride down. YAY !!!

    Reply
    • Rob Brooks

      You and I wish, Hawkeye, lol!

      Reply
  2. Rob

    Great job, Phil! A fine review.

    Reply
  3. Joeyd

    I have been riding and wrenching on HARLEYS for over 50 years and probably have owned almost every model out there. The NEW BAGGERS FROM HARLEY were long overdue. The New platform seems to have addressed all the OLD LOW points on the Old platform, ie LIGHTING, POWER, WEIGHT, HEAT, AND APPEARANCE. I have put the NEW BAGGERS THROUGH THIER paces and have found out how much IMPROVEMENT HAS REALLY BEEN MADE. And must say THE NEW BIKES are without a DOUBT the BEST MOTORCYCLES HARLEY HAS EVER PRODUCED and will PLEASE EVEN THE MOST DEMANDING RIDERS. My HAT IS OFF TO HARLEY DAVIDSON FOR PUTTING THE BEST BAGGERS MADE ON THE ROAD.

    Reply
    • Rob Brooks

      Thanks for the observations, Joey. We like what they’ve done with these new models. Worthy machines.

      Reply

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