ROAD TEST: 2019 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra Review

By : Koz Mraz and Christina Fior

Glamorous camping comes in a variety of flavors, from cabins and Airstreams to yurts and covered wagons. And motorcycling generally means you’ll need everything when you get there. A couple has very limited storage on a bike and why she needs all of it, I don’t debate. Alas, glamping and Thousand Trails Idyllwild gets everything right.

Nestled high atop Mt. San Jacinto, Idyllwild is a little more than two hours away from Los Angeles or San Diego. This peaceful paradise is a happy-camper playground, no cheesy tourist attractions to bring throngs of selfie-indulgent visitors. There are no ski lifts, no Holiday Inns, Carl’s Jr. or even Starbucks. No reason for thousands of tourists to clog the miles of magnificent mountain roads. Tourist T-shirts and hokey snow globes just don’t exist here. Just like we motorcyclists like it.

2019 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra

We took this trip on the 2019 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra. Powering the Road Glide Ultra is H-D’s powerful 114ci V-twin, producing a stated 123 ft. lbs. of torque at a low 3,000 rpm. One twist of the grip and you’ll immediately feel all that classic V-twin torque virtually anywhere in the rev-range. Thanks to the smooth fueling and flat torque curve, it’s a motor that virtually anyone can explore and get the most out of. Fully laden with passenger and luggage, the 114ci powered up the steep Idyllwild mountain roads with ease. In fact The Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine is standard on all touring models in 2019.

REFLEX™ Linked Brembo Brakes with ABS standard

The front and rear brakes are electronically linked to provide exactly the right amount of brake to each tire no matter the road condition. The Reflex Linked Brake System electronically links braking through both the front brake lever and the rear brake pedal. Linking is active any time the brakes are applied and vehicle speed is above about 4 mph. The brakes remain linked as long as the rider continues to apply the brakes. No matter how good a rider you are, linked braking makes you better.

Glamping 101

Thousand Trails and its partner brand Encore RV Resorts together have over 190 locations nationally, and Idyllwild is part of the Thousand Trails Campground network of 81 locations in popular camping destinations throughout the United States and British Columbia, Canada. We rolled into the expansive 200- acre park and put the kickstand down at our spacious cabin. With fitfteen cottages and cabins available and 300 RV and tent sites, they have something for everyone. Nestled in a pine scented forest filled with flora and fauna, it’s truly a breathtaking mountaintop experience. With a spacious swimming pool, fishing pond, hiking trails, horseback riding, basketball, volleyball, shuffleboard, a pool table and video games in the clubhouse, there are activities galore.

We settled in to our cozy cabin, fully equipped with a wide array of amenities, and cooled off with a swim. Then, in no time we were off to explore the highlights of the quaint little town.

The Saint Who Saved Idyllwild

Always on the hunt for our favorite ‘go-to’ restaurant, we typically scrutinize menus. The Gastrognome (The Gnome) had everything we were looking for, plus a special surprise! Our lovely waitress, Cheyenne, graciously explained the menu details. The ever-inquisitive journalists we are, we asked Cheyenne about the town and the recent fire that came perilously close to destroying the Idyllwild village wonderland. It turned out she was the first responder to call the fire department. Heading to work that fateful day, she saw the blaze in its infancy, and made the first call. Our hats off to the brave and selfless firefighters who saved Idyllwild!

The Gastrognome became our haunt for lunch. My favorite dish was the vegetable quiche, replete with sun dried tomatoes and a tasty array of vegetables and herbs. It was accompanied by a side salad and fruit — the perfect mid-day meal. Christina had the most amazing turkey-cranberry salad and a healthy side of gluten-free bread. On our three-day stay we sampled Café Aroma, a local legend which offers live music Saturday and Sunday. Ferro, a modern Italian Osteria, has an outdoor brick fire pizza oven, a generous outdoor patio with a stage and live music on weekends. In fact, the entire town seemed to be brimming with art and entertainment.

Speaking of Entertainment

All Harley-Davidson Touring and Trike models now feature an updated Boom! Box GTS infotainment system. The 25 watts per channel is ample power to hear your tunes at cruising speed. The screen can now be used with a gloved hand. Harley-Davidson teamed up with Gorilla Glass to create a touchscreen that can be used with any glove, rain or shine. The upgraded GTS infotainment system bears a resemblance to its predecessor, but boasts plenty of new functionality that is in common with all our mobile pinch, drag, and swipe, just as you would with a modern smartphone, tablet, or touchscreen computer, plus a Harley-Davidson app is now available for iOS and Android operating system. For example it offers the ability to generate routes from the comfort of your home, and then transfer them to your motorcycle when you’ve connected your device via Bluetooth or USB.

A Dog’s Life

Idyllwild is unincorporated, and its first Mayor was Maximus Mighty-Dog Muller, a Labrador retriever. Max has since passed and deputy mayor “Mikey” has stepped into the Mayor’s office. An artsy town with an eclectic mix of food, music and entertainment, Idyllwild has fifteen restaurants, amazing gift shops, a chocolatier, a movie theater and the most amazing townspeople, always happy to stop, chat and share the town news. It’s a great getaway from the fast lane of city life, where you can relax and just ‘idle-a-while.’ Check out the Idyllwild website below for events such as their famous jazz and art festivals that bring thousands of fans from all over the state.

Back at Thousand Trails, we savored the fresh mountain air and hiking the trails that offer spectacular vistas. Our kitchen was fully equipped with all the pots, dishes and everything needed for cooking a full meal. The bed was super comfy, and we totally felt at home. This is sure to become a repeat visit.

Super Comfy Seats and Lights up the Night

Back on the Road Glide, high-performing front and rear suspension with easily adjustable rear shocks allows the user to customize the ride. The hand adjuster is located behind the easily removable left hard bag. Rotating the knob clockwise adjusts the suspension to accommodate higher weight, hence the ride. Refer to you manual or online videos for more details. Also I can personally attest that the Dual Daymaker headlamps do wonders to light up the black of night on those twisty mountain roads.

As avid travelers, we were surprised to learn that Thousand Trails offers customers the best value in camping with a variety of membership options. Each Thousand Trails campground caters to members and non-members alike, so you do not need to be a member to enjoy these amazing campgrounds. On two, four or more wheels, the wide variety of resorts and campgrounds and glamping options today are abundant. We’re off to Thousand Trails’ Rancho Oso in Santa Barbara, see ya there! www.kozmoto.com

Learn more at Website: www.ThousandTrails.com or call (888)237-3211

SPECS:

PRICING

VIVID BLACK $ 31,999

COLOUR $32,699

TWO-TONE $33,249

TWO-TONE CUSTOM COLOUR $34,499

ABS OPTION Standard

SECURITY SYSTEM OPTION Standard

CRUISE CONTROL OPTION Standard

PREMIUM RADIO OPTION Standard

ENGINE

Twin-Cooled™ Milwaukee-Eight® 114

BORE 4.016 in.

STROKE 4.5 in.

DISPLACEMENT 1,868 cc (114 cu in)

COMPRESSION RATIO 10.5:1

FUEL SYSTEM Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)

EXHAUST Chrome dual exhaust with 4 in. touring mufflers and touring muffler shields

DIMENSIONS

LENGTH 102.2 in.

SEAT HEIGHT, LADEN 727.2 in.

SEAT HEIGHT, UNLADEN 28.9 in.

GROUND CLEARANCE 5.1 in.

RAKE (STEERING HEAD) (DEG) 26

TRAIL 6.7 in.

WHEELBASE 64 in.

TIRES, FRONT SPECIFICATION BW 130/80B17 65H

TIRES, REAR SPECIFICATION BW 180/65B16 81H

FUEL CAPACITY 6 gal.

OIL CAPACITY (W/FILTER) 5 qt.

WEIGHT, AS SHIPPED 899 lb.

WEIGHT, IN RUNNING ORDER 937 lb.

LUGGAGE CAPACITY -VOLUME 4.7 cu ft

PERFORMANCE

ENGINE TORQUE 122 ft-lb

ENGINE TORQUE (RPM) 3,000

LEAN ANGLE, RIGHT (DEG.) 31.9

LEAN ANGLE, LEFT (DEG.) 31.8

FUEL ECONOMY TESTING METHOD Estimated City/Hwy

FUEL ECONOMY 43 mpg

CHASSIS

WHEELS, FRONT TYPE 9 Impeller Cast Aluminum

WHEELS, REAR TYPE Impeller Cast Aluminum

BRAKES, CALIPER TYPE 32 mm, 4-piston fixed front and rear

INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM Boom!™ Box GTS

TYPE Full Color TFT

WATTS PER CHANNEL 25

SPEAKERS 4

SPEAKER SIZE 5.25 inch standard

HEADSET SPECIFICATIONS (IF EQUIPPED) 16-64 ohms

SD CARD, FLASH DRIVE AND MP3 – VIA USB CONNECTION Supported

About Koz Mraz

Koz Mraz has published over 200 tour stories and articles for Quick Throttle Magazine, Baggers Magazine, American Iron, Cruiser and Bikernet. His book, Piers of the West Coast, explores piers from Mexico to Canada. In Motorcycle Mysteries, Koz travels to fascinating and unique destinations. His popular Tales of the Midnight Rider series: Midnight Rider on a Graveyard Run, Thundertaker, Hoka Hey and Neptune’s Net are available on AMAZON. “I’ve spent much of my life exploring the roads less traveled. Whether journeys are well planned or impromptu it’s always the unexpected that casts the spell of adventure.” Koz Mraz

Leave a Reply