The 2021 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special is quite literally a boombox on two wheels. Check out what Stu thought of it... Review: Stuart Woodbury Photography: Nick Wood
This is the fourth iteration of Harley’s touring range fitted with the awesome 114 cube V-twin that we’ve ridden in the past year. The Street Glide Special is basically the same bike as the Road King Special and Road Glide Special we’ve tested, except for the Batwing fairing…
Check out our review on the 2021 Road Glide Special here…
The Batwing fairing on the Street Glide Special allows Harley to fit a touchscreen GPS and interactive instrument panel that also features an audio system. This particular bike we tested had an upgraded BOOM! Audio Stage II system which comprises Rockford Fosgate speakers in the fairing and pannier lids, and an amplifier, which is mounted in the left-hand pannier.
Before I get onto the audio system, the Street Glide Special hasn’t really changed too much from last year, with paintwork being the main focus. However, there are a couple of notable new features. They include the new Daymaker LED headlight and a low-profile engine guard. The Daymaker does pretty much that, lighting up the road very well, then when you flick it onto high beam it lights up that extra bit on the side of the road, which is excellent if you’re out riding in the country at night and those hoppy things are hanging around.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a new bike offered in so many colour combinations: you can get the Street Glide Special in 12 variants! Yes, 12! In every version, black dominates the range, but the engine can be had in either chrome or black finish. Our test bike is the Gauntlet Gray Metallic (Black Finish), but out of all the colours available I personally like the Gauntlet Gray/Vivid Black (Black Finish), which is the gunmetal grey (you might as well call it that) with some black highlights (lowlights?) – very classy looking. Funnily enough, the black finish engine costs more than the chrome!
Compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the smartphone apps are integrated into the Boom! Box GTS full colour TFT touchscreen infotainment system. As mentioned, our test bike had the Stage II system fitted. This includes 5in x 7in Stage II Saddlebag lid speakers which provide additional depth and dimension to your rolling concert hall.
These three-way speakers feature a long-throw woofer to handle the low frequencies, separate bridge mounted mid and high frequency drivers to handle the vocals and the high notes like high-end audiophile components.
Each speaker is powered by two channels from the 300-watt amplifier – one channel powers the woofer, and another powers the midrange and tweeter combo…
Each speaker is powered by two channels from the 300-watt amplifier – one channel powers the woofer, and another powers the midrange and tweeter combo. The speakers are driven by dedicated bass and high-frequency amplifier channels, you get thumping bass response, sizzling vocals and clean distortion free performance at all volume levels.
Built with composite speaker frames, heavy-weight magnets and protective perforated metal grills, these weather and vibration resistant speakers are designed for life on the road. Kit includes two three-way speakers, electronic crossovers, grills and plug-in connections. Separate purchase of amplifier and fitment-specific installation hardware (colour-coded saddlebag lids) is required.
Next up are the Batwing fairing speakers. Big and bold is the best way to describe the musical performance you will experience when listening to your favourite band through a Boom! Audio Stage II sound system. The weatherproof three-way speakers feature high-excursion woofers for extended bass performance, and separate mid – and high-frequency drivers for rich vocals and real treble.
Check out our write-up on the Milwaukee-Eight engine used in the Street Glide here…
Powering these Rockford Fosgate Stage II speakers is that saddlebag mounted amplifier. The kit includes the 400-watt 4-channel amp and the required installation hardware and wiring harness. This adds some serious BOOM! to the system. At 100km/h you can clearly hear whatever music you want to blast to the world. Through the touchscreen you can adjust the fading and this really makes a huge difference. One test I did was to stand to the side of the bike, then lean into the middle of the seat. The ‘surround sound’ is simply awesome.
The Stage II system isn’t cheap – Left Lid Painted $513.46, Right Lid Painted – $513.46, Batwing Speakers Stage 2 – $579.72, Saddlebag speakers Stage 2 – $579.72, Primary Amp Kit – $331.23, Saddlebag speaker install kit – $115.87 for a total of $2633.46, but when you’re talking about a near 40k bike, another couple or three grand won’t really hurt to get top quality sound. You owe it to your neighbours to hear all of your fave Megadeth albums too, really.
The Street Glide Special we tested isn’t just about the audio, although that’s pretty damn good. There was also an extensive electronics package fitted. The Reflex Defensive Rider Systems (RDRS) is a new collection of technology designed to match motorcycle performance to available traction during acceleration, deceleration and braking.
This suite includes ABS, cornering ABS, linked brakes, cornering enhanced linked brakes, cornering traction control, drag torque slip control, vehicle hold control and tyre pressure monitoring. With the amount of torque, the 114 V-twin punches out, the more electronics that can help you (especially in adverse conditions) the better.
Call your inner Batman and jump on the Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special with its bad arse Batwing fairing, just make sure you get to listen to how good the BOOM! Stage II Rockford Fosgate kit is. I bet you’ll buy it straight away. You can even hear the music over your rolling burnouts!
Check out the Arctic Blue Edition of the Street Glide Special by clicking on the image…
2021 Harley-Davidson FLHXS Street Glide Special Specifications
Price: From $39,750 (ride away)
Colours: Vivid Black (Chrome), Black Jack Metallic (Chrome), Billiard Red (Chrome), Gauntlet Gray Metallic/Vivid Black (Chrome), Snake Venom (Chrome), Vivid Black (Black), Gauntlet Gray Metallic (Black), Billiard Red (Black), Deadwood Green Denim (Black), Gauntlet Gray Metallic/Vivid Black (Black), Snake Venom (Black), (Artic Blast Edition additional $7,495)
Warranty: Two-years unlimited km
Service: 1600km then every 8000km
Claimed Fuel Consumption: 6.1L/100km (approx 350km range)
Claimed Power: N/A
Claimed Torque: 163Nm[120lbs-ft]@3000rpm
Wet Weight: 375kg
Fuel capacity: 22.7L
Engine: Air-cooled Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-Twin, 1868cc (114 cu. in.), 102 x 114mm bore x stroke, 10.5:1 compression ratio, ESPFI, two-into-one-into-two exhaust
Gearbox: Primary drive: 34/46. Six-speed ratios – 1st: 9.593, 6.65, 4.938, 4.0, 3.407, 6th: 2.875 Final Belt 32/68 Clutch: Wet multi-plate, cable actuation
Chassis: Mild steel; tubular frame; two-piece stamped and welded backbone; cast and forged junctions; twin downtubes; bolt-on rear frame with forged fender supports; MIG welded.
Rake: 26° Trail: 173mm
Suspension: 49mm dual bending valve forks, 117mm travel, premium low hand-adjustable, 54mm travel.
Brakes: 300mm rotors, Four-piston fixed calipers (f), 300mm rotor, two-piston floating caliper (r), ABS
Wheels & Tyres: Machined alloy wheels, 130/60 – 19in (f), 180/55 – 18in (r), Dunlop
Seat height: 690mm
Ground clearance: 130mm
Overall Length: 2430mm
Overall Width: 990mm
Overall Height: 1325mm
Lean Angle: 32º/31º
Instruments: Multi-language multi-function analogue and digital full colour TFT display, handlebar mounted controls, Central Screen, BOOM! Audio System with GPS and touchscreen, charging port in fairing, LED lighting all around.
2021 Harley-Davidson FLHXS Street Glide Special Gallery
The Verdict | Review: 2021 H-D FLHXS Street Glide Special, BOOM! Upgraded