There’s an old saying in motorbike land; is there anything better than black and chrome? Well, yes there is, and it’s Baja Orange and chrome. It’s also the colour scheme found on the 2023 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special.
The big Glide is not only a bit special to the eye, it’s a beauty on the black stuff. And while in reality, not a whole lot has changed for the new model, other than pretty colours, it’s a bike with actual soul.
Much speculation had been purveyed that the new CVO Street and Road Glide would influence this bike, and while that may happen in the future, Harley-Davidson has kept the signature look intact for this year, at least.
The batwing fairing smothered in Baja Orange gives a real hot rod feel to this motorcycle and makes it quite possibly the ultimate in cool. Stretched saddlebags and contrast Prodigy rims round out the look.
Set against the chrome detail of the motor and trim this Street Glide certainly delivers a massive statement in the looks department. If you don’t like the colour, well, you’re probably not badass enough to ride it. There are a load of other options to choose from.
On the tarmac, the 2023 Street Glide Special is brilliant, its aura is unique and it’s easy to see why so many riders have fallen in love with it. What makes it great though, like the rest of Harley-Davidson’s touring models, is the feels lighter than it actually is.
Sure, the Street Glide Special doesn’t brake or lean like a sports bike, but what it delivers is an engaging ride. Once you’ve lifted it off the stand and the ignition switch is flicked on, the 114 cubic inch Milwaukee Eight powerplant brings it to life.
Breathing 69kW of power and 158Nm of torque, the Street Glide motors along nicely, delivering the characteristic Harley-Davidson thump as you work your way through the 6-speed gearbox. That said, we’d add a better set of pipes.
Such a change would amplify the soundtrack, ensuring that a ride that looks this serious has the right soundtrack to truly solidify the experience. Don’t worry about the noise though, on the daily commute, the Street Glide Special is well mannered.
It’s easier to manage than you might expect, with its low 690mm seat height helping make its immense 375kg girth feel less bulky. You certainly can’t lane filter in traffic on it. But get the 2023 Street Glide Special onto the backroads, and it’s an absolute joy.
While it’s certainly capable of more enthusiastic endeavours on winding roads (that will have you scraping the footboards), it’s perfect for sitting back and cruising along as you take in the scenery. In either situation, it never feels unsure of itself.
That’s the true genius and beauty of this ride. It’s so sure footed, even through the corners, that it gives the rider the confidence to continue to push hard, and the bike just seems to lap it up. It even offers really good wind protection.
In fact, it has such a good centre of gravity that it just, excuse the pun, glides through bends, almost gracefully. That makes it easy to trust the bike. A Grand American Tourer according to Harley-Davidson’s marketing mumbo, it lives up to that descriptor.
Fitted with Harley-Davidson’s Boom Box GTS sound system, the tunes flow clearly through the 5.25-inch speakers. There’s enough power there to share your music tastes with the lesser folk (those who aren’t on a Street Glide Special), when you ride by too.
Navigation is also provided, as well as cruise control. The latter works well and is simple to engage, thanks to a toggle switch located on the bottom of the left hand switch block. For added safety, Harley-Davidson’s Reflex Defensive Rider System is also on hand.
Made up of four components, it utilises advanced chassis control, electronic brake control and powertrain technology to assist you with accelerating and braking in a straight line or while in a turn.
Ergonomically, the Street Glide Special is superb, with everything in easy reach. The stretched saddlebags even have one hand operation for ease of use. Practicalities aside, this is a touring bike with serious attitude, and an abundance of soul.
It has an unmistakeable road presence and is certain to put a smile on your dial. Priced at $43,995 ride away, it’s available in a huge range of solid and two-tone colours (if Baja Orange isn’t for you).
For more information, talk to your local Harley-Davidson dealer, or visit their Australian website.
Our test bike was provided by Harley-Davidson Australia. To find out more about the 2023 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special, contact your local Harley-Davidson dealer.