Harley-Davidson announced a number of updates to its touring models, a cumulative result of a product development effort the company calls “Project Rushmore.” These enhancements cover several areas, addressing performance, comfort, style and infotainment needs, and will be implemented across eight 2014 Harley-Davidson Touring models: the Road King, Street Glide, Street Glide Special, Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Electra Glide Ultra Limited, the Tri-Glide Ultra Classic trike and the CVO Road King and CVO Limited.
Per Harley, “Project RUSHMORE has been touched by thousands of people, most of them being our customers and our employees,” says Scott Habegger, Harley-Davidson Director of Motorcycle Planning. “The voice of the customer is represented not just up front, but throughout the process. In our product development process, we gather input and ideas at formal focus groups, but also at all the events we attend, at our demo rides, sometimes just talking to that rider or passenger sitting on the next stool at a diner. In addition, Harley-Davidson dealers provide valuable input. We then take our ideas and solutions back to customers as prototypes and get more feedback before settling on a final design. With these inputs approved, we are then able to get into production very quickly. We really feel that we are in this together as riders.”
The Road King, Street Glide, Street Glide Special and Electra Glide Ultra Classic are powered by an updated High Output Twin Cam 103 engine. The engine features a new camshaft and high-flow airbox, improvements Harley-Davidson claims offers five percent more torque than the old Twin Cam 103 engine.
The Ultra Limited and the Tri-Glide however are powered by the new Twin-Cooled High Output Twin Cam 103 engine combining air and liquid precision cooling (you can read more about the Twin-Cooled engine here). Like all Custom Vehicle Operations models, the CVO Road King and CVO Limited are powered by a Twin Cam 110 engine, though the CVO Limited also uses the new Twin-Cooled technology.
All Touring models except the Road King come equipped with a new hydraulic clutch control with stronger clutch springs. According to Harley-Davidson, the hydraulic clutch does not require periodic adjustment or service, continuing to offer consistent engagement and clutch-lever effort through the life of the vehicle.
Project Rushmore also introduces Harley-Davidson’s new Reflex linked brakes with ABS. The combined ABS electronically optimizes the balance between the front and rear brakes at speeds above 20-25 mph. At those speeds, activating the front or rear brake controls (or both) will apply braking force to both front and rear brakes. At slower speeds, the brakes will function independently.
The Street Glide, Street Glide Special, Electra Glide Ultra Special, Ultra Limited and Tri-Glide receive a new Batwing fairing with slipstream venting that Harley-Davidson claims reduces head buffeting by 20 percent compared to the previous design.
Saddlebags have also been updated with one-touch latch handles and new hinges allowing the lids to open with just one hand. Tubular saddlebag guards have also been redesigned to give passengers more leg room, while the saddlebag supports are a new, lighter, cleaner design. The Tour Pak is also new with a more compact design yet still offering four percent more storage capacity than the previous version. A one-touch latch and self-centering catch with retractable tether also allow the Tour Pak to open with just one hand. Additional storage is provided in the fairing lowers. Featuring hinged doors and one-touch latches, these compartments are 37 percent larger than the ones in the old design.
A key element of Project Rushmore is the new “Boom! Box” infotainment system offering an audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, GPS navigation and voice commands. Harley-Davidson will offer two versions of the infotainment system, the Boom! Box 4.3 and the enhanced Boom! Box 6.5 GT.
The 4.3 version will be offered as standard equipment on the Street Glide and Electra Glide Ultra Classic. It offers a 4.3-inch color screen, a two- or four-channel audio system with 5.25-inch speakers. The display offers automatic and manual dimming to improve visibility in different lighting conditions. In addition to its multimedia functions, the display also shows ambient air temperatures, oil pressure, and Engine Idle Temperature Management Strategy.
The Boom! Box 4.3 system is also Bluetooth enabled, allowing for pairing with a mobile phone to make phone calls or stream audio media. The system will also display text messages on the color screen. The audio system includes a USB port for connecting to (and charging) audio devices and phones. The 4.3 system also supports AM and FM radio bands as well as WB weather radio, and CB radio intercom functions.
The 4.3 system can be controlled by thumb-operated five-way joysticks, large faceplate buttons that can be used while wearing gloves and voice-operated commands.
A step up is the “Boom! Box 6.5 GT” system, which will be standard equipment on the Street Glide Special, Ultra Limited and Tri-Glide, and as a factory-installed option on the Electra Glide Ultra Classic. It offers all the features of the 4.3 system but features a 6.5-inch touch-operated screen, GPS navigation and an optional Sirius XM radio. Whereas the 4.3 system only recognizes voices spoken in American English, the 6.5 GT version also works with British English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Portuguese.
Other Project Rushmore design features include new fenders and lighter cast aluminum wheels across all the touring models. The front suspension has also been updated with larger 49mm forks (compared to the previous 43.1 mm forks) and stiffer triple clamps. These improvements should make all the Touring bikes handle much more predictably.
All in all, Mother Harley has swung for the fences in introducing the Project Rushmore changes. How about it readers? Did they hit a Home Run? Or did they Strike Out?