SET the task to make one of the best touring bikes of 2019 even better in 2020, Harley-Davidson has achieved just that, making fractional improvements to the 2020 Street Glide Special, introducing the Reflex Defensive Rider System along the way.
RDRS as it’s affectionately known, is the hero feature of the new touring range, and is essentially rider intuitive safety technology. Can you hear the fun police start their sirens? Don’t stress though.
The reality of the system is we were still able to scrape the floor boards during testing and there was no performance hindrance at all, either. So there you go, no negative impacts. Your 2020 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special will still be freaking awesome.
In fact, Harley-Davidson has got a lot of the systems on this bike spot on, and they’re actually more than just a little bit useful. RDRS is really just a collection of technologies that help give you confidence and control in less-than ideal situations.
The system, made up of four components, utilises advanced chassis control, electronic brake control and power train technology to assist you with accelerating and braking in a straight line or while in a turn.
Those components include Cornering Electronic Linked Braking/ABS, which applies braking effort to both wheels when you engage front or rear brakes. This helps, in conjunction with ABS, prevent wheel lock up under heavy braking on wet or slippery roads.
The linked brakes are a rider aid and do not replace proper braking techniques. Cornering Traction Control System prevents the rear wheel from excessive spinning under acceleration.
You get the choice of two traction control modes; dry and rain, to match conditions. We had the chance to test both and found the rain mode worked well. There is also the option for purists to turn this function off completely.
Vehicle Hold Control is probably our favourite part of the RDRS package, and is increasingly useful when carrying a pillion passenger. The system holds either the front or rear brake while the motorbike is stopped and in gear.
It’s a really cool feature when stopped on steep hills, and worthy of a massive tick from us. The final piece of the puzzle is the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, which displays tyre pressure on the Boom Box GTS infotainment system.
Apart from all the tech, the most striking change for 2020 is the stylish new rims. Gloss Black Prodigy rims replace the favourite Turbine wheels, and the new rims look absolutely schmick in person – photos just do not do them justice.
There are new colour options for the 2020 Street Glide Special too, as well as some old favourites from the previous model. Our test bike was supplied to us in Scorched Orange/Silver flux, a combination that looks absolutely brilliant.
As mentioned, the Boom Box GTS infotainment system returns, with SatNav and Bluetooth integration, including helmet connectivity.
Powered by the beautiful 1868cc 114 Milwaukee Eight motor, the 2020 Street Glide Special produces 114ci (about 90hp) of power and 163Nm of torque. It’s great for highway cruising and more than enough power for comfortable overtaking.
The true beauty of this bike however is its handling ability, especially for a bike that weights in at 359kg. The 2020 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special has a superb centre of gravity, allowing maximum confidence when you attack the corners.
With a seat height of 690mm, the bike is also delivers good balance in traffic and low speed maneuvering. Its new tech, updated styling and its handling ability means the Street Glide Special maintains its bad ass demeanor and lifts the touring bar again.
Pricing starts at $39,250 ride away, which isn’t cheap, but trust us when we say it’s worth the ride.
Our test bike was provided by Harley-Davidson Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special, visit your local Harley-Davidson dealer. Pictures courtesy of Cameron Cooke Photography.