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HD Ultra Classic Electra Glide - Back seat review

Posted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 3:51 pm
by chprout
My husband and I have been looking at touring bikes this summer. Goldwings, HD's, BMW's, Victory Vision, and a few others. I have been trying to find reviews of these bikes - but reviews from the passenger seat. I can find reviews from the guy's perspective of driving the bike, but not from the passenger's perspective.

Last weekend, we rented a HD Ultra Classic Electra Glide. I can't speak the bike lingo that you guys do. I don't know how fast the bike goes, or tell you about the torque, etc. I do know the bike has a V-twin and it's air-cooled. But other than that, that's about it. But what I would like to address is what the ride feels like from the back seat, in case there are any other ladies or 2nd seat passengers that are looking for someone's review.

We put over 400 miles on it riding around the back hills of Virginia and West Virginia. Let me start out by just saying it up front - I LOVE THIS BIKE. I am now hooked and can't wait for our next ride, which we've already planned.

Having ridden as a passenger on some other bikes, this bike has so many things going for it. First, the seat is "ultra" comfortable, even after riding for hours. No sore tail bone at all. Because of the way the back seat is curved, you get the sensation of being "cradled" by the little side wings that jut out from the back. They're not really "arms", but really they are padded extensions that hold the speakers. In any event, they contribute to that snug feeling when going around mountain twisties. Another feature that I liked is that the seat doesn't feel high off the ground, nor does it feel like it's an afterthought and just hanging off the back wheel. When you sit in the seat, you feel a part of the bike. I always say I want to feel like I'm riding down "in" the bike, rather than up "on" the bike.

As I read various posts on here about Harley's, I know that Harley's get knocked sometimes for having that big V-twin vibration. From the back seat, vibration was never a problem for me. I loved the way the bike sounded when we started it up. Yes, there was slight vibration when we stopped at a light, but when you start moving, that disappears quickly. And, even the vibration at a light isn't anything that would keep me from buying this bike. The ride is fantastic, the bike feels incredibly stable, and these things are important to me.

The bike handles mountains and curves beautifully. I have ridden these same roads on the back of my husbands Triumph sport tourer, and I was scared. I felt high off the ground, I felt the bike was "out of control", and I felt that I didn't ever want to go do that again.

We took the same roads with the Electra Glide and I loved it. The Electra Glide has great engine braking that I could feel as soon as we started down hill. You could feel the bike pulling back and holding the speed down. According to my husband, only a couple of times did he even tap the brake to slow it down, because the bike seems to do this on it's own beautifully. Since back coutnry, scenic rides are what we love to do, this bike really fits the bill for that type of use.

The passenger floorboards give you room to move your feet around and never once did my feet fall asleep, like they do on the pegs of our Triumph.

Also, this may be minor, but there was virtually no wind whipping my head around. We both rode with our face shields up for two days. Kind of nice to ride with your face shield up and to be able to smell the aromas of the countryside as you're passing through. I never had to put my shield down, until it we came through about an hour of rain.

In summary, I love the bike and my husband loved the bike and we can't wait to get our own Ultra Classic Electra Glide. The bike is fantastic and if I could do it, I'd buy the copper/black anniversary fully loaded today. And, I have to admit, riding on a big Harley does score big points on the coolness scale, according to my kids.

When you're scared, it's hard to enjoy yourself. I have gone from being scared of riding to loving it and being so psyched about our next ride. I finally "get" it. Guys, if you want to get your wife involved with your riding, give this bike a try. It will be a nice change of pace when your "ole lady" actually is pushing you to drop $24,000 on a new bike.

Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 8:04 am
by Gummiente
Interesting and informative report! There's very few manufacturers that actually take passenger comfort into consideration when designing a bike and Harley is one of them. I think you will really enjoy an Electra-Glide, from a passenger and rider's perspective.

Posted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 2:53 am
by badinfluence63
My wife would agree with everything you said. If given the choice of the sissy bar w/ pad on the '83 FL or the side car of the '98 Ultra or the backseat of the Ultra she will jump at the chance on the back of the Ultra. Wide bottom,cushy seat,controls on both sides for volume and station and CB, arm and back rest.

Posted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 1:00 pm
by Scoutmedic
Thanks for the review! My wife and I are currently starting our search for our next bike. It's going to be a Touring bike and the Harley is one of the contenders. I'd appreciate your reviews of any other bikes you ride as well!

Our current plan is for me to test ride this year then test ride with her next year and buy new in either 2009 or 2010.

Thanks again!

Barry