ROAD TEST: 2017 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic Review

Roam Sweet Roam

Story BY Gary Koz Mraz
Photos by Mraz and Sherlonna Kirby

Max Meyers Law Ad

Since 1965 the Electra Glide has been the essential American touring motorcycle. Refining the machine and the riders experience has been Harley-Davidson’s number one mission. Well for 2017, mission accomplished. With the passing power of the all-new Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine, all new front and rear suspension, powerful Reflex Linked Brembo brakes with ABS, and daymaker LED headlamps and spot lamps there is now no place to far to roam. The two-up seat with a deep bucket and narrow neck to provide more driver back support, and a wider passenger area with back and arm rests for more comfort and longer rides.

The reason it’s called the “Ultra” is that it’s the pinnacle of the touring line wrapped in classic styling. The Electra Glide Ultra Classic motorcycle is recognized and respected worldwide for its longhaul comfort, convenience and cargo capacity. I can attest that the two-up Electra Glide seats provide amazing rider and passenger comfort each and every passing mile. It’s everything you need for a lifetime of roaming adventure. Lucky for you, there are four different flavors of the Electra Glide for 2017:

Ultra Classic: with the Milwaukee-Eight 107 starting at $24,149.

The Ultra Limited: which uses the Twin Cooled Milwaukee –Eight 107 and sports all the audio options and two tone paint starting at $ 26,299.

The Ultra Limited Low: A limited with a seat height almost 2 inches lower that the Limited or classic at 25.6 inches laden. It starts at $26,899.

Ultra Limited CVO: sports the twin cooled 114 Milwaukee eight, all possible bells and whistles including heated seats and grips starting at $40,999.

Room With A View

I had the Ultra Classic for a month and the longer the ride, the more your passenger will appreciate the comfort of this machine. Harley did some amazing redesign of the passenger ergonomics. The passenger pillion is one inch wider and one inch longer. They squeezed 2 more inches of room between the speakers, moved the saddlebag guards down for more legroom and made sure they didn’t rub your calves. Harley road tested the back seat with dozens of riders for thousands of miles perfecting the height, the width, the shape, the contour, the texture of the leather, the lumbar support and controls that can be easily reached and operated with one hand. What you end up with is the back and arm rests that hugs you when needed or offers room to breathe.

The cockpit is sculpted with a deep bucket and narrow neck; this ultimate Touring saddle relieves pressure on your thighs while providing more back support and comfort for a wide variety of rider sizes. Also, the lower seat height of 27.4 inches laden puts your feet closer to the road for stability and confidence. Important for a motorcycle weighing 894 lbs. in running order.

Boom Audio Infotainment

If you’re going to live in the saddle of a top-end touring bike, you deserve better sound than most people have in their living rooms. The Harley Boom Audio Infotaimnent system pumps out 200 watts out of a four speaker system. Your music is easily audible at freeway speeds. The fullcolor touch screen is always visible and the handlebar control switches are located where you intuitively want them to be and easily reached without removing your hands from the grips. With Voice activation for your music, phone and GPS the miles fly by. The 4.3 inch display and 4 inch speakers are standard on the Ultra Classic but the larger 6.5 inch screen and bigger 5.25 inch speakers are optional. These optional upgrades come standard on the Ultra Limited.

No Mountain is to High

Nothing is more important in distance riding than the confidence you have in your machine. Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine takes the Harley-Davidson V-Twin to a new height. They’re the most powerful, coolest-running motors we’ve ever built. Smoother, stronger and more durable. With crisper throttle response and truer, cleaner sound. Four valves per cylinder, single chain-driven cam, dual spark plugs, counter-balanced and rubber mounted. Developed and proven over countless miles and millions of hours. Every single part is new, engineered to give you more performance and more of the feeling you want from an engine; it’s literally a whole new ride. The responsive handling of the all-new dual bending valve front suspension and easily adjustable emulsion rear shocks are also a gamechanger.

On The Road Again

With more power, more comfort, and more control, Harley-Davidson Touring models offer everything a rider needs to make piling on the miles as rewarding and comfortable as possible. Touring amenities include aerodynamic fairings and windscreens, comfortable rider and passenger seating, spacious saddlebags, linked brakes, electronic cruise control and connected infotainment systems. A 6-gallon fuel tank offers a long range between fuel stops. The Ultra Classic has a combined highway/city of 45 MPG.

This motorcycle is made for two and the passenger reigns supreme – and the miles inspired unending banter…

She Said: This motorcycle has a better sound system than I have in my home!

He Said: And you can control the music and volume right from the back seat.

She Said: I love, love, love the backseat, you should buy this motorcycle.

He Said: You have better credit than me.

She Said: There’s tons of storage room for all my luggage and stuff.

He Quietly Said: It’s all your luggage and stuff.

She Said: It’s really spacious and comfortable back here, this seat just hugs me.

He Said: Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic touring motorcycles are the most popular American touring motorcycle; I’ll hug you if you buy one.

She Said: The Superior Blue color is gorgeous; I’m buying one in this color.

He Said: This new 107 Milwaukee–Eight motor is really smooth and pulls ferociously, fully loaded.

She Said: I am driving for the next leg of the ride; you pull over and hop on back.

He Said: Holy crap, it’s really is comfortable back here, the view is amazing and now I have control of the music system, you can drive for the rest of the trip!


Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine, the most powerful, coolest-running motor ever built.

Front suspension uses Showa® Dual Bending Valve (SDBV™) technology and gives you 117 mm of travel; bigger pistons improve dampening performance over the range of suspension travel.

Hand-adjustable emulsion rear shocks provide 15-30% more preload adjustment and adjust with the turn of a single knob, no tools required; new bigger pistons improve damping performance over the range of suspension travel.

Milwaukee-Eight 107 Engine Overview

More Power – Bigger cylinders, fourvalve cylinder heads and dual spark plugs deliver 10% more torque and more power throughout the rev range with no net weight gain.

Better Fuel Economy – The power comes with improved fuel economy to give you more out of every tank of gas.

Heat Management – Precision oil or water cooling for cooler running and consistent performance, from stop-and-go traffic to highway speeds.

More Passenger Comfort – Positions for the rear exhaust pipe and catalytic converters provide a more comfortable ride.

More Charging Power – A charging system with 50% more power at idle to make easy work of the demands modern touring features put on an electrical system.

Smoother Running – The counterbalancing system, rubber mounts, lower idle speed and dual knock sensors for more precise timing control and smoother running from idle to top gear.

Less Maintenance – the valve train requires no adjustment no matter how many years or miles you ride.

Narrow Primary – The narrower primary drive gives your left foot a straighter, easier reach to the ground, for an easier lift off and more control at stoplights.