ROAD TEST: 2012 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic Limited Review: Music to My Ears

By Gary Koz Mraz

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In the orchestral arrangement of Harley Davidson motorcycles the Ultra Classic Electra Glide Limited crescendos as the finely tuned instrument of touring enthusiasts.  A deep exhaust note resonates providing a melody that sets the standard for long distance touring comfort and convenience.  A four speaker, 80-watt Harmon/Kardon Advanced audio system is loud and clear even at freeway speeds. Amenities abound with a one-piece, two-up Electra Glide Classic comfort stitch seat with passenger backrest, adjustable fairing-mounted air deflectors, vented removable fairing lowers with integral glove boxes and spacious Tour-Pak carrier and injection-molded hard saddlebags. This Ultra limited has standard electronic cruise control, ABS brakes and heated handgrips standard, yes I said heated handgrips. All these amenities harmonize to create the Electra Glide Ultra Limited and receives a standing ovation as my personal favorite touring Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Touring is my thing and I find several amenities have become very important to me as of late. One is listening to music as I ride. I actually don’t listen to my music much anymore except riding. In the car my teenage kids are punching radio stations like a Vegas slot machine or slamming through their iPod and pumped up kicks is the soundtrack to my life. So when I ride it’s my chance to play and a great stereo makes the ride.  Usually I have a theme for rides and for my ride from Hermosa Beachto Arizonawas the Best of Van Halen.  Panama cranked on the four speakers, I hit the 10 toPhoenix and turn up the volume to 11 on the 80-watt Harmon/Kardon stereo. At legal freeway speeds this system is loud and clear. I do get rockin on these open roads and when nearing triple digits wind noise is overwhelming but that’s to be expected.  With an AM/FM receiver, CD and MP3 player, four speakers even an intercom and CB. It’s an easy to reach, easy use menu driven display with the standard volume and controls on the handle grips. When I finally settle in to a rhythm I’ll lock in cruise control, kick back and enjoy the ride.

Another thing that has become important to my riding comfort is heated handgrips and the Ultra limited does not disappoint.  Often I find myself at altitudes or riding at night and it gets downright chilly. The Ultra Limited’s heated handgrips have six settings and you can easily adjust on the fly with the rotary dial on the left hand grip.  I really appreciate the versatility and control of having six different setting options for the heat you need.

The 1690 cc TC-103 engine became standard on all touring models in 2012 and is the perfect touring power plant.  It delivers more power when you need it for carrying passengers, luggage and passing stragglers.  Plus, it lowers cruising RPMs and improves highway fuel economy.

The Tour-Pak mounted 12V power supply always comes in handy for charging my camera batteries or cell phone on the road. 15 amps of power gets me through the day or night  and can provide enough power to blow up an air mattress on a lonely stretch of road. I love the fact that there’s a real cigarette lighter in the Batwing faring. At least one American manufacturer still gives me the right to have a smoke if I want.  The Electra Glide Ultra Limited comes with ABS standard. The components of the ABS are tastefully hidden within the wheel hub providing a clean, streamlined design. More importantly that sense of confidence that I’m not going down if I have to lock it up on a wet or sandy surface.  Plus the factory installed next-generation security system provides a sense of security with a hands-free fob that automatically arms and disarms the vehicle electronic security functions as you approach and walk away from the bike. Stick the fob on your ignition key ring and let it do all the work.

The miles melted away as Van Halen had me runnin with the devil, thinking about the Ultra Limited and beautiful girls. I know everybody wants some and I jump at every chance I get to ride an Electra Glide Ultra Limited, it puts me on top of the world.

2012  Electra Glide Ultra Limited Model Highlights, Features and Pricing

– Twin Cam 103™ engine with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESTI) with heated O2 sensors and Electronic Throttle
– 6-Speed Cruise Drive® transmission with integrated Isolated Drive System (IDS)
– Dunlop® “Multi-Tread” rear tire construction extends tire life by 25 percent
– Brembo® 4-piston front and rear caliper with dual front rotor brake system
– Air-adjustable rear shocks
– Full-length rider footboards
– Height-adjustable passenger footboards
– Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
– Harley-Davidson® Smart Security System with hands-free security fob
– Electronic cruise control
– Contrast Chrome, 28-spoke Cast Aluminum wheels with narrow whitewall tires
– Black powder-coated powertrain with chrome covers
– Smoked Lexan® adjustable fairing-mounted air deflectors
– Vented removable lower fairings with integral storage compartments
– Mid-frame air deflectors
– One-piece, two-up Electra Glide® classic comfort stitch seat, sculpted for added comfort and easier straddling
– Passenger backrest with wrap-around armrests
– Injection-molded hard saddlebags with liners; 2.26 cu. ft. volume
– Injection Molded hard Tour-Pak® with soft luggage liners, storage pockets, wrap-around rear tail/brake lights and 12-volt, 15 amp power supply; 2.26 cu. ft. volume
– Premium Tour-Pak luggage rack
– Titanium-faced, fairing-mounted electronic speedometer and tachometer plus fuel, voltage, oil pressure and ambient air temperature gauges with white LED lighting and larger font
– Heated hand grips
– 80-watt, four-speaker Advanced Audio System by Harman/Kardon with CD/MP3 player, and CB/Intercom
– LED rear fender tip light
– Auxiliary passing lights

US MSRP Price: Solids $23,799, Two-Tones $24,814, Custom Colors $25,014 USD