2024 Harley-Davidson Road Glide and Street Glide (launch ride)

Just over a decade ago, Harley-Davidson unveiled wholesale upgrades for their touring range, with the release of the Project Rushmore models. Fast forward to 2024, and the Road Glide and Street Glide have undergone a major facelift.

Everything from performance, to aerodynamics and technology has come in for an overhaul, with the 117 Milwaukee Eight motor superseding the 103, 107 and 114 incarnations that have come before it.

It’s an impressive power unit, boasting 80kW and 175Nm, with four ride modes, including Road, Sport, Rain and Custom. These are a first on a standard Road Glide and Street Glide, and we got to test them all at the Australian media launch on the Gold Coast.

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It was there we’d get our first taste test of the new touring models, at an event that kicked off with a welcome dinner, and a chance to share in the anticipation of what the new bikes would not only look like, but what they’d be capable of.

2024 Harley-Davidson Street Glide
2024 Harley-Davidson Street Glide

Of course Harley-Davidson also managed to showcase their Tobacco Fade enthusiast collection on-site, as well as the most recent addition to its line-up prior to to this launch, the CVO Road Glide ST.

Back to the reason we were there, and the 2024 Street Glide and Road Glide, both of which sport a new fairing, fuel tank, oil tank and saddle bags (or panniers if you prefer). The entire silhouette is a fresh new look, with increased aerodynamic flow.

The new fairing design looks sharper and more modern, while the visual impact of the LED lighting package can’t be understated. It’s a far more aggressive sight, especially when you find one in your rear-view mirrors.

A significant reduction in head buffeting comes thanks to the new screen on each of the models, while the fuel tank features more flat surfaces, giving way to the traditional tear drop tank shape, which has become a thing of the past.

2024 Harley-Davidson Road Glide
2024 Harley-Davidson Road Glide

So too are the stretched saddlebags that used to drape down over the exhaust of the outgoing models, with the new offerings taking their design cues from the successful King of the Baggers racing series in the United States.

Perhaps the biggest change is the introduction of a 12.3-inch TFT display, pre-loaded with Harley-Davidson’s Skyline IOS system. Gone are the analogue gauges and previous speed, revs, battery charge and fuel display. In their place is a digital touchscreen.

An impressive unit, it even supports Apple CarPlay and Android smartphone integration. As a new day dawned at launch central, it was time to put the new Road Glide and Street Glide to the test.

Harley-Davidson had planned a route through some great roads across Northern NSW and Gold Coast hinterland, giving the media contingent on hand the chance to experience the bikes on some brilliant twisty roads, sweeping bends and some nice straights.

2024 Harley-Davidson Street Glide
2024 Harley-Davidson Street Glide

There were also some quality coffee and food stops along the way to ensure that there were no mood swings from those in attendance. Serious kudos is due to whoever mapped it all out, because it was a sensational opportunity to test bikes in a real world setting.

With good road conditions, for the most part, and no wet weather until late in the afternoon, it was a genuinely enjoyable day. It all began on a Blue Burst Street Glide, featuring black trim. It’s a mint looking bike and could be the pick of the range.

That said, both the Street Glide and Road Glide are available in eight colours, with most having the option to choose either black or chrome trim. We’ve used the controls before, on the new CVO models, so there’s a little bit of familiarity to the new models.

Simplicity remains key, with buttons that are large and easy to engage. The infotainment joystick is gone, following the introduction of new electronics and the touchscreen, providing an altogether more modern feel.

2024 Harley-Davidson Street Glide
2024 Harley-Davidson Street Glide

Having spent the morning aboard the Street Glide, we were particularly impressed by how it handles. Both the Street Glide and Road Glide score an extra 22mm of rear suspension travel thanks to a new Showa setup, which makes a huge difference.

Matched to new front end suspension, the handling of these big bikes is a vast improvement over what has come before, even if they missed out on the inverted upside down fork that features on the latest CVO models.

Weight reduction makes a difference too, with the 2024 Road Glide shedding 7.3kg and its Street Glide sibling down 8.2kg. That comes thanks to a new manufacturing process for the steering componentry in the front end.

After a delectable lunch stop we climb aboard the Road Glide. With higher bars, the seating position feels a little foreign, but it isn’t long before we find our groove and happy place as we push in and out of some beautiful corners.

2024 Harley-Davidson Street Glide
2024 Harley-Davidson Street Glide

Apart from the seating position, the big difference between the two models is the front fairing. Although the obvious visual difference is easy to spot, it’s worth noting the Road Glide version is mounted to the frame of the bike.

In the case of the Street Glide, that’s attached to the fork. Punching in some kilometres on the Road Glide is a pure joy, but we also found our way onboard an offering with some significant Harley-Davidson parts and accessories.

The Sharkskin Blue Road Glide in question was an absolute highlight, and we spent the last 75km of our journey piloting it back to base for the end of our event. Featuring a Screamin’ Eagle exhaust and air cleaner, it sounded great.

An aftermarket seat and handlebar setup lifted straight from the highly desirable Road Glide CVO ST meant this writer might have found perfection. He may have phrased it a little differently to the Minister of Happiness when he got home, but you get the drift.

2024 Harley-Davidson Road Glide
2024 Harley-Davidson Road Glide

The new generation Street Glide and Road Glide have gone along way to redefining the grand American touring experience, even in standard form; never mind the fact that there’s an absolute abundance of add-ons to choose from.

You can opt for everything from seats to screens, luggage and performance offerings, although they’ll all increase the list price that starts from $46,495 ride away (regardless of the model you choose).

Backed by Harley-Davidson’s 2-year unlimited kilometre warranty, you can find out more by visiting the micro-sites for the Road Glide and Street Glide, or talking to your local dealership.

Our test bikes were provided by Harley-Davidson Australia as part of the Australia & New Zealand media launch. Pictures courtesy of Incite Images.

Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin is the ride editor at Exhaust Notes Australia, founding editor of Two Wheel Addicts, a contributor at Bike Review and panel judge for Harley Davidson's Breakout Boss competition. Andrew has a love for anything on two wheels whether that be sports, naked or adventure bikes, with a guilty pleasure for cruisers.

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