2016 Harley Davidson Road Glide Special

Modern classic tourer with retro muscular looks

Special. The word literally means better, greater or different from what is usual and it was reason enough to get me all excited to swing my leg over this drool-worthy machine.

The 2016 Road Glide Special is one of the latest bikes to get the Project Rushmore treatment from Harley Davidson. And, it looks like it got some red carpet treatment here.

In a nutshell, Project Rushmore is an ongoing project at Harley Davidson where they take user feedback seriously and engineer the best ideas into the production bikes. This is an innovative way to improve a product and give it back to the customer in a way he or she desires. The end result of this treatment has been remarkable, producing bikes that are easier to handle, more comfortable, safe to ride and also updated with the latest infotainment and other electronic gadgetries.

So, in reality, this has made the Road Glide Special ooze oodles of attitude along with all day reliability. For starters, the in your face front fairing housing the retro twin LED headlamps is a marvel of engineering on its own. Wind tunnel tested and mounted directly onto the frame, it provides outstanding stability for the motorcycle at high speeds and crosswinds. The vents present channel air to the rider and can be closed if so desired. As the fairing is separated from the forks, it makes the steering feel nimble, aiding low-speed maneuverability

To quote Harley, "A big part of the effort (Project Rushmore) has gone into finding ways to help riders pass faster, stop quicker, take curves tighter and see further at night."

You soon realize a lot of this is true, as you settle onboard the saddle and start to explore the machine. The riding position feels spot-on with good legroom, and the controls feel right for those long distance rides. A 6.5-inch color touchscreen display is provided in the fairing that gives all information relevant to the infotainment, Bluetooth and GPS system. It does needs an arm’s stretch to operate though, and can be tricky to view under direct sunlight. The 25W two-speaker BOOM BOX audio system might seem an oddity on a motorcycle. I was surprised at how well it sounded at highway speeds and started to like it more and more as the kilometers passed by. The Reflex Linked Brakes with ABS adds tandem braking to improve safety. The pair of stylish lockable luggage panniers is easy to operate but is a bit small for holding a spare helmet.

Another reason this bike is such a dream to ride, is the high output twin cam 103-inch (1,690 cc) V-Twin engine. For me, like many others, the main essence of riding a Harley is to enjoy the mountain-loads of torque from its V-Twin motor, supplemented with the trademark sound that comes out as a bonus byproduct. The engine in stock form doesn’t disappoint, but a set of screaming eagle exhaust pipes could add heaps to that soundtrack. Hit the highways, engage sixth gear and set the cruise control of this Milwaukee steel at 140. Rest assured, you will glide into a world of your own enjoying two-wheeled motoring nirvana. All the nuances of this world are left behind as you waft along the smooth asphalt on long straights or sweeping corners alike. 

Final words:



Engine type

1,690 cc V-Twin air-cooled high output twin cam

Bore X stroke

98.4 X 111.1 mm


138 Nm @ 3,500 rpm



Front brakes

32 mm 4 piston with ABS

Rear brakes

32 mm 4 piston with ABS


26 deg


173 mm

Front tire

130/60 B 19 61H

Rear tire

180/65 B 16 81H


1,625 mm

Seat height

696 mm

Ground clearance

5.3 mm


385 kg

Fuel capacity

22.7 L


AED 121,900


Harley Davidson Abu Dhabi

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