When testing a bike there are some things that don’t take a month for you to realize; you pretty much figure them out right away. For example, with the Street Glide we noticed within the first 50-mile commute from home to the office that we really aren’t fans of the new seat design. Sure it’s narrower up front which made it easier for those of us with shorter inseams to place our feet flat on the ground for more stability at stops, but we felt like we were right on top of the tank. And while the rear of the seat has a new profile that’s supposed to provide better lower back support, we found that the seat dug into our lower back/butt and was rather uncomfortable, especially on really long rides.
We were able to take our minds off the pressure of the seat by simply twisting the throttle and enjoying the fun factor of the 103. Sure it won’t give you whiplash on hard launches, but let it wind up above 3,200 rpm and the engine just loves to show off and prove what it can do. Loaded up with gear or even riding two-up with gear the 103 has no problem putting big rigs and slower moving vehicles in their place—in the rear-view mirror. Even when you slip it into Sixth gear and cruise down the freeway, the mill still has plenty of power to make a move without hesitation. Of course it’s not the same as the CVO 110 but definitely noticeable over the stock 96. Speaking of gears, the Cruise-Drive six-speed smoothly shifted from gear to gear. The incorporation of the Isolated Drive System helped to reduce overall noise and vibration making for a pleasant ride.
One thing we noticed with the PowerPak, is that with the extra power between our legs and the pulsating of the ABS when in need, we often found ourselves pushing the bike a little harder in the turns and generally getting to our destinations a little quicker. The single spar, rigid backbone frame and swingarm with its deep drawn shell and forged pivot section adequately handled all the twists and turns we through at it. Even when we dipped into the SG’s 32-degree right side and 29-degree left side lean angles, from front to rear the bike rode out of the turns without much feedback. While we like to think we’ve gotten used to H-D’s ABS system by now, it still piques our attention when digging deep into the brakes and we feel the pulsing sensation of the ABS kicking in and doing its job.
Aside from the PowerPak, new seat, and dual exhaust, our Street Glide was outfitted with everything else you’d get on a base model SG; 18-inch front, 16-inch rear black slotted cast aluminum wheels, Streamliner floorboards, brake pedal, and passenger pegs, and Harman/Kardan 40-watt, two-speaker Advanced Audio System with CD/MP3 player. With its lowered stance and 2 inches of travel on the short rear air-adjustable shocks, and 4.6 inches of travel on the 41mm frontend with triple circuit damping we had no issues with the performance of the suspension. Actually most of our personal bikes are lowered so we are used to the ride quality that comes from a lowered bike.
Our month with the PowerPak’d Street Glide was really pleasant. Sure the new seat was constantly on our mind (or should we say lower back) but that could easily be fixed with a new seat or some added padding to the existing seat. With that aside, when you take into consideration that the H-D 103 kit costs $899.95 (not including labor) and the ABS/Security package costs $1,195, and for around $2,000 more than the base model SG you can get about 10 percent more torque, ABS brakes, and a security system, we think the PowerPak’d SG is a smart deal. Best of all you’ll still have plenty of cash to outfit your ride to your liking before approaching the $32,499 price tag of the 110 CVO SG. HB