If you’re searching for a superior touring motorcycle, the Harley Davidson Ultra Classic should be at the top of your list. This all-encompassing machine is fully equipped with touring amenities that can only be purchased as additional addons on lower Electra Glides models – such as an increased engine capacity and more.
But, is the impressive Ultra Classic worth its hefty price tag? In this review, I’ll evaluate if it lives up to its cost and compare it against other touring motorcycles on the market.
Cruising along a straight road is incredibly comfortable on the Harley Davidson Ultra Classic; unfortunately, cornering is quite different. The oversized frame makes it difficult to get a sense of what’s happening with the tires, and navigating wet corners can be intimidating at any speed. Additionally, its brakes are shockingly inadequate for this price range motorcycle – another major deterrent when assessing overall ride quality.
Upgrade to the Harley Davidson Ultra Classic for an impressive 1690cc V-twin engine, and you’ll feel a surge of 6ftlb more torque – up to 100ftlb. – at the same 3500rpm. While Harley Davidson are tight lipped on power figures, they assure us that this upgrade is worth it.
When riding, the engine is comfortable and provides acceptable speed for its weight. Unfortunately, the six-speed gearbox is clunky and detracts from what would otherwise be an impressive performance.
Reliability and Build
Harley Davidson motorcycles are typically dependable, but the Harley Davidson Ultra Classic fails to meet expectations when it comes to detail. The paintwork and shiny bits may be done well, yet we have experienced moments of frustration with our test bikes due to parts falling off or coming undone.
When we took the Ultra Classic out for a spin, what we found was unacceptable: its ABS system wasn’t working. This malfunction is particularly concerning considering this bike’s price point.
Value vs Rivals
When evaluating the Harley Davidson Ultra Classic in comparison to its competition, it can be hard to comprehend why the bike is so expensively priced. It exhibits poor performance and does not provide a remarkable riding experience compared with other bikes at a more reasonable price range. Models such as Victory Vision Tour, Kawasaki VN1700 Classis, and BMW K1200LT will deliver an improved ride quality for significantly less money – making them far better choices.
With its two-tone painting, cruise control, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), heated grips and the 80 watt Harmon Kardon sound system all included as standard equipment; The Ultra Classic is certainly a cut above in terms of features. Even though its dials, switches and controls may be dated it even comes with a top box and panniers along with an added luggage rack for convenience.
|Tubular steel cradle
|Front tire size
|Rear tire size
The Harley Davidson Ultra Classic is known for its distinct design and iconic sound, but it fails to deliver with regards to performance and value. The bike has difficulty navigating tight corners, while the brakes are underwhelming compared to other motorcycles of a similar price range.
Furthermore, the quality of engineering beneath its skin is inferior and its dependability leaves much to be desired. Despite arriving with a substantial amount of hardware included as standard, it’s hard to warrant such an exorbitant cost when compared to equal or better-performing competitors at lower price points.
Ultimately, you’re not just paying for the Harley Davidson badge; you are also investing in its rich history and legacy. If a high-end touring bike is what you desire, consider more cost effective alternatives such as the Victory Vision Tour, Kawasaki VN1700 Classis or BMW K1200LT – all of which offer an enhanced riding experience without stretching your wallet.