After two-and-a-bit weeks worth of testing (riding the wheels off) Harley’s FLTRXS Road Glide Special Press Bike for Heavy Duty Magazine I headed in to Morgan & Wacker to arrange its return.
I was sifting around their showroom as usual when Sales guy John Newstead said, “Hey Dave, we’ve just built a bike that you’d be really interested in.” Dealer Principal Paul Lewis just happened to be walking past and chimed in “Yes, you would”.
“It’s our new Milwaukee 8 Street Glide and it’s awesome. It’s got the full stage 4 kit including 114 cube engine with ported heads and all the fruit - right through to the excellent H-D race tune that Harley have done a lot of R&D on.”
Then John handed me a printout with the Dyno charts and the upgrade inventory and uttered the words any of us would want to hear: “Why don’t you take it for the weekend and see what you think?”
I collected the Laguna Orange beauty from their Breakfast Creek showrooms on Saturday afternoon and immediately made my way South through the city to the M1 and then on to the southern outskirts of Bris-vegas, before peeling off towards the Moreton Bay Islands shore. That meant hitting some open roads back over Mt Cotton towards home.
Not to mention the magnificent exhaust note, all slung in the Touring Chassis with its upgraded suspenders and outstanding creature comforts (M&W even fitted the extended reach saddle off the Road Glide). By the time I got home I was fizzing. Powerful, smooth, comfortable and fabulous looking. What. A. Machine!
As I was leaving the dealership Paul said “Send me a text the first time you stop and let me know what you think”. I did. It said, “You were right – with suitable amounts of wide eye and thumbs-up emojis attached.
What is really remarkable about the 114 cube engine is its all-round capability.
Riding through the city it remained smooth, didn’t bog down, fart or run hot at all. Unlike some 120-pony builds that can be prone to being a bit cantankerous in the inner city stop-start. Not so with the M8.
On Saturday night I packed the camera kit into the one-finger-operated panniers and headed back into the city looking for photo locations.
I stopped at a few of my favourite spots and the bike drew a small crowd. I must have heard ‘nice bike’ a dozen times as I was framing up a shot. Again the bike was just so easy-going around town, until I hit the on-ramp. Then the tacho needle marches up the dial so quickly it’s up to operating speed in a trice.
Sunday was huge. I wheeled south from Brisbane back down the M1 all the way to the Nerang exit on the Gold Coast.
Again, on the Freeway the smoothness of the 8-valve engine is surprising for a big V-twin. Then when you do want to change lanes or carve up some slower moving traffic the surge of the big torque hammer and the noise that it makes are very, very pleasant. The top gear roll-on is superb.
From Nerang I headed out to Advancetown, took the Beechmont turnoff and continued the climb into the Hinterland. The run up the hill to the Village is a series of 30, 40 and 50kph bends till it reaches the plateau. The road then follows the hilltops in a loop around a spectacular valley with the Border Ranges looming away in the distance - all the way back to Canungra.
On the climb the bike was magnificent. The powerful pull of all that torque and pony, the upgraded rear shocks and Showa forks, coupled with the road manners of the touring chassis make for a bike that is sure-footed, solid, planted, nimble - and quick. All at the same time.
From Canungra I headed back over Tambourine Mountain and another series of climbing 20kph bends and switchbacks that the bike absolutely nailed. Giving it a handful on low speed exits is a thing of beauty.
From there I headed back down the Mount towards Nerang and what I thought would be a pleasure cruise along the Gold Coast ‘Glitter strip’.
The run in to Broadbeach from Nerang was exactly where the cruiser component of the Street Glide was in its element: A gorgeous warm, sunny day with wide, three lane boulevards and not much traffic.
By the time I got to the coast, mid Sunday afternoon, it was not so good. I was caught it a 10km bumper-to-bumper traffic jam - all the way to Southport. While it might have been a mistake from the pure enjoyment part of the ride, it was certainly a good test of how the Stage 4 would deal with the worst of city traffic.
I spent most of the next half hour low speed lane splitting (legally in Qld) up the Gold Coast highway snarl and again the bike was faultless. Not a single stumble from the EFI, the engine didn’t run excessively hot and the clutch didn’t get heavy at the lever at all. It did everything in the conditions as well as a stock 107 power plant would have.
By the time I got back on to the relatively light traffic on the M1 super-slab heading north to Brisbane it was back to enjoying the free revving beauty of this superb machine.
The Street Glide is the third Milwaukee 8 bike I’ve tested. After longer runs on a Road King and a Road Glide (that I thought were wonderful bikes), the Street Glide Stage 4 was a real eye-opener.
It has the same excellent Brembo Reflex linked brakes (The Street Glide’s brakes were easily the best of the three – fabulous stoppers) it also shares improved suspension, superior comfort, paint, fit and finish with the others.
If you already have a Milwaukee 8 equipped bike or are considering purchasing one, then adding a Stage 4 Kit really does take the bike to the next level of performance - without compromising its ride-ability – or warranty.
Harley claims that the Stage 4 was “developed to deliver maximum horsepower from the Milwaukee 8 engine – all the way to redline”. And boy does it what! As the dyno chart shows, it’s a very smooth curve pretty much all the way to 6,000rpm.
Here’s what you need to know.
The Stage 4 kit includes:
• Screamin’ Eagle CNC Ported Cylinder Heads with Performance Valve Springs
• Screamin’ Eagle 64mm Throttle Body
• Screamin’ Eagle High Flow Injectors (5.5g/s)
• Screamin’ Eagle 4.075-inch Bolt-On Cylinders
• Forged 11:1 High Compression Aluminum Coated Pistons
• High Performance Piston Rings
• SE8-515 Cam
• Screamin’ Eagle Cam Bearing Upgrade
• Screamin’ Eagle High Performance Tappets
• Multi-layer Coated Head Gaskets
• Top End, Cylinder Base and Cam Cover Gaskets
• Screamin’ Eagle High Capacity Clutch Springs and Plates
The Kit costs $3,488.95. To that you’ll need to add (approximate prices) a SE Super Tuner ($620), Sports air cleaner ($405), Sports Exhaust System ($1,700), High performance Spark Plugs ($55) and labour by an authorised H-D dealer (to keep the warranty). Morgan & Wacker quote $1,560 to install the kit and include machining the pistons in that amount.
All-up their price to supply and install the Stage 4 Kit is $8,572.52 including GST.
Add to that the cost of a FLHXS starting at $36,750 and you have a package from the top shelf of Cruiser/Tourers. But it sure goes like one.
If you are around Brisbane or SEQ call in to Morgan & Wacker and ask about a test ride on this awesome M8 for yourself.
It’s a special kind of Special.