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Posts Tagged ‘Road Glide Ultra’

UPDATED: April 24, 2017Added a tab “Engine History” on the blog home page with updated V-Twin engine history including the Milwaukee Eight.

"M-8" top view showing tubular rockers

“M-8” top view showing tubular rockers

It happens every year and often it’s big news.

This year the launch of the Harley-Davidson 2017 motorcycle line-up is anchored by the new Milwaukee-Eight™107 and Milwaukee-Eight™114 power plants.

A couple weeks ago I posted about a new eight-valve Big Twin and now we know the rumors are true.  The displacement of the standard version is 107ci (1,750cc) or in the CVO version it’s 114ci (1,870cc). The 2017 touring models get these engines first and may waterfall down to other models later in the year.  The 107 uses precision oil-cooled cylinder heads and will be in the Street Glides, Road Glides, the Electra Glide Ultra Classic, and Freewheeler trikes.  A Twin-Cooled version with liquid-cooled cylinder heads and radiators will be in the Ultra Limited models, the Road Glide Ultra, and Tri Glide models.  The CVO Limited and CVO Street Glide models will have the Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 114.

M-8: Four-valve combustion chamber and the dual spark plugs

M-8: Four-valve combustion chamber and the dual spark plugs

You might recall that the last major design evolution of the Twin Cam — and a significant part of the Project RUSHMORE and marketing campaign — was anchored on improving power plant cooling.  This took the form of circulating liquid coolant in tubes around each cylinder head’s hot exhaust valve seat and then to external radiators.  Many riders neglected to notice much in the way of decreased heat from this method of trying to get more power out of the 103.

So let’s talk details of the new eight-valve “M-8”.
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M-8:  Cutaway shows cooling areas of circulating liquid (Blue)

The 107 (3.937 x 4.375-inch bore and stroke) is cooled by pumping oil through it and then through a “chin radiator” ahead of the crankcase. In the 107 and 114 Twin-Cooled models (the 114 has 4.016 x 4.500-inch cylinder dimen­sions), water/antifreeze coolant is circulated through a cored heart-shaped passage that encircles the exhaust valves and then through radiators mounted forward to either side of the engine, as we’ve seen.  The new engine uses a nearly flat chamber of minimum surface area with four valves and abandons the large surface area of the traditional deep, modified hemi two-valve combustion chamber found in the old design.  The new engine operates at high compression ratios (as high as 10.5:1).  As a result, the 2017 Touring motorcycles will provide 10 percent more torque.  Harley states that will translate into two to three bike lengths faster from 0–60 mph, and one to two lengths quicker in top-gear 60–80-mph roll-ons along with improved fuel economy.

Overall airflow capacity of the “M-8” is 50 percent greater versus previous Big Twin engines, and the throttle body now has a 55mm bore.  Each cylinder has an acceleration-type knock sensor along with ECM control which protects the engine from detonation.  The new system is an improvement over the previous ion-sensing knock detection.  The exhaust components, including the catalyst, have been relocated to help move engine heat away from rider and the new engines have a single four-lobe camshaft with automatic hydraulic tensioner in place of the Twin Cam’s pair which will help reduced mechanical noise.

And in a first for the rubber-mounted Big Twin is a single counter-rotating internal balancer.  It’s meant to eliminate 75 percent of the engine’s primary shaking force.  In addition, idle rpm has been cut from 1,000 to 850 rpm all in a effort to give riders improved engine smoothness.  Other engine items of note is a new higher capacity alternator along with a new 1.6 kW (2.14 hp) starter that replaces the previous 1.2 kW (1.6 hp) units.  There is a self-torque-boosting clutch with Brembo hydraulic actuation for a lighter lever pull and the engine ECM has been changed from a mapped system to torque-based which will be interpreted as a call for a specific torque level, not a specific throttle angle.

On the motorcycle side, the front and rear suspension is new.  The new 49mm fork contains “dual bending valve fork technology” and uses cartridge-style variable-orifice damping valves, which Harley claims will deliver improved control at low speed without harshness over sharper bumps.  This wasn’t achievable with the old system of fixed damping.  Touring fork travel is 4.6 inches on standard models and 3.9 inches on low models.

After doing a quick H-D web site scan on the CVO Street Glide and CVO Limited models — it looks like the MSRP price went up $1K from 2016 ($36,799) to 2017 ($37,799).  The same $1K increase is also shown for the CVO Limited ($39,999 to $40,999).

Only you can decide if the new 117 engine, the new suspension along with the radio power adjustment warrants the price increase.

Photos courtesy of H-D.  Engine detail/stats courtesy of Cycle World.

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Finance-HDThe iconic “I’ll be back” catchphrase made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1984 movie “Terminator” can now be used to describe that financially, Harley-Davidson is back! 

There is no getting around it.  Harley-Davidson had an exceptional Q3’13.

There was of course the strong financial performance, the biggest launch of new motorcycle models in the company’s history that resulted in excellent retail sales and who can forget the epic 110th anniversary in Milwaukee.  In the initial 45 days at retail since launch, the Rushmore motorcycles sparked the largest year-over-year new model sales increase in 20 years. Sales were up markedly in both the U.S. and internationally. In fact, it was the best international model year launch ever in terms of initial volume.

H-D have been telling us for quarters that they are laser focused on the international businesses. They are targeting 100-150 international new dealer points through 2014 and, over the last 3+ years, have opened 110 new dealer points, with two-thirds being in emerging markets.

Last week H-D reported Q3 revenue of $1.34B and net income of $162.7 million, or 73 cents per share.  For the motorcycles and related product segment revenue was up 8.4% in the third quarter, including a 10.7% increase in motorcycle revenue largely driven by the strong mix of the touring bikes.  U.S. sales were up 20% from July through September and profit jumped 21%.

During Q3’13, parts and accessories sales were up 7.0%, driven by the success of certain product categories such as LED lighting and audio. General Merchandise was down 12.6% compared to Q3’12 due to what H-D referred to as lapping the strong sell in of 110th anniversary apparel and accessories, which began in Q3 of 2012.

Important to the Road Glide riders is the fact that H-D discontinued the Road Glide Custom and Road Glide Ultra.  Management was quick to point out that these models, represent, on an annual basis, about 4-5% of the overall Touring volume.  In terms of retail sales, H-D had brisk retail sales of the Road Glide in the third quarter.  It will be interesting to see if there is any sales headwind from discontinuing the Road Glide in Q4.

One of the items that jumped out at me is that wholesale and MSRP prices have increased by an average of about 3.5% on the new 2014 models. By region, U.S. prices are up roughly 4.25%; EMEA, up 1.5%; and Asia-Pacific and Latin America, each up about 2.5%.  The significant new “content,” which was added to the 2014 model year motorcycles was expected to increase costs by 2.75%.

H-D did not change the 2013 forecast of motorcycle shipments of 259K-264K.  Poor weather in the U.S. during Q2 was again cited as the primary reason for challenges in hitting the high forecast number.

Photo courtesy of H-D

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Not so long ago the saying among motorcyclists was “there is no replacement for displacement.”

In fact, on CVO models the 1800cc (110 cu in) engine produced copious amounts of torque and high horsepower numbers… it was the key to happiness and a big smile.  It’s H-D’s analog approach to a mostly digital world.

But, let’s start from the beginning.

Remember the day you sat in your basement, in your bedroom with the lights off, driving the stereo speakers to the point of distortion, listening to music that energized you and soothed your soul at the same time?

Well get READY!  Along comes the 2012 models and we’re talking about a one-hundred watt smile which emanates from the Harman/Kardon Advanced Audio system.  The kids these days might be listening on earbuds, but the H-D creators are clearly freaks for sound.  Who says high-end motorcycle audio has to be difficult?!  What’s coming out of the speakers on the new models is positively mind-blowing.

I’m financially challenged, but even I was doing the calculation on a new 2012 CVO Street Glide from Harley-Davidson…  New this year is a second 100W per channel amplifier and bridged tweeters mounted in the saddlebag lids.  That’s a total of eight speakers and two power amplifiers kicking out 400W of lower mid-range and crisp highs of crashing cymbals.  Not quite the gut-kicking bass of JBL concert speakers during a U2 concert, rather it’s like a warm ooze embrace of a digital sound field.  It’s the aural grease you’ll need to make it through the day!

The new 2012 CVO Road Glide Custom gets a boosted 100W (up from 80W) amplified Harman/Kardon system too.  The speakers are not the $3000 a pair Dynaudio BM15A’s you’d find in a music studio, but new this year are the two-way 5×7’s for booming down the boulevard.  If I had either of these motorcycles I’d park it in the garage and shut all the windows because the music tracks on this system mean you’ve got to crank the volume – up enough – that you’d be in the same room with the band.  Yeah, it’s that good.

For many riders they will stop right there when reviewing the new 2012 models and look for the check book.  But there is more…  H-D standardized on the Twin Cam 103 engine (with automatic compression release) as standard equipment on Softail, touring and most Dyna models.   H-D launched the V-Rod 10th Anniversary Edition and the new Dyna Switchback.  Some additional 2012 highlights include:

  • A Security Package that pairs Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Smart Security System with proximity-based, hands-free security fob is available for all 2012 V-Rod, Dyna, Softail, Touring and CVO models. The Security Package is standard equipment on CVO models and on the Road Glide Ultra, the Electra Glide Ultra Limited and the Road King Classic. The Security Package is a factory-installed option for all other models.
  • The Night Rod Special is updated with new tapered tail section, lighter-weight wheels, an inverted front fork and improved ergonomics. Harley-Davidson celebrates a decade of power cruising with the V-Rod 10th Anniversary Edition motorcycle, finished in Brilliant Silver Pearl bodywork.  All V-Rod models will carry V-Rod 10th Anniversary badges.
  • The new Dyna Switchback combines hard saddlebags and a windshield with the eager handling and Twin Cam 103 performance of the Dyna chassis. It’s a custom-touring bike ready for a long weekend trip, until the detachable bags and windshield are removed.
  • The Fat Boy and Fat Boy Lo have a new reduced-reach handlebar for more-comfortable ergonomics. The Softail Deluxe and Heritage Softail Classic will be available with a new optional “tubeless” Chrome Aluminum Profile Laced wheel option for ease of tire replacement and repair.
  • On Touring models, the Twin Cam 103 is equipped with an oil cooler. All Touring models except the Ultra Limited will offer a new “tubeless” Chrome Aluminum Profile Laced wheel option.
  • The Sportster line cuts across a broad range of riders with models ranging from the XR1200X to the SuperLow to Dark Custom roadsters like the Iron 883, Nightster and Forty-Eight. The Sportster 1200 Custom can be personalized for fit, function and style with H-D1 factory customization, and new 1200 Custom color options have been added to Bike Builder this year.

If any of this appeals to you go online to H-D and check it out.

Photo courtesy of RCA/Popular Mechanics (circa: 1958)

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H-D CVO Road Glide Ultra - 2011

Harley-Davidson released their 2011 model lineup at 10am (pacific).

There are minor feature improvements across the board and three new bikes: the Road Glide Ultra, Sportster SuperLow, and XR1200X.  In addition,  for select touring models new in 2011 is an optional $1,995 PowerPak package, which adds ABS, a security system, and bumps up the 96 cubic inch motor to 103 cubic inches. Touring models also receive a narrower seat with revised cushioning. Softails receive new hand controls with a single hazard button and trip switch, and the larger odometer which adds gear and rpm info.

On the CVO front, H-D is building one new model (CVO Road Glide Ultra) and three models return for 2011: the Street Glide, Ultra Classic Electra Glide, Softail Convertible.  All are powered by Screamin’ Eagle 110 engines.  The models are:

  1. CVO Road Glide Ultra — Priced at $35,999, and gets an upgraded BOOM! bagger audio speaker system.
  2. CVO Softail Convertible — Priced at $29,599, and features a new mini-ape handlebar, larger saddlebags, a two-speaker stereo with an iPod, cruise control, and ABS.
  3. CVO Street Glide — Priced at $32,499, and gets to wear a 19″ front wheel (the largest ever on a touring Harley)
  4. CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide — Priced at $36,499 and it includes a Road Tech zumo 660 navigation system, a power locking system, ABS, and a new dual-heated hammock-style suspended seat.

The new lineup features a drop from last years 38 bikes to 32 motorcycles, with four of those comprising the CVO lineup.  There is a lot more information and photo’s on Basem Wasef motorcycle blog.

So what are your thoughts about the 2011 Harley-Davidson model lineup?

Photo courtesy H-D.

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