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First Look: 2015 Harley-Davidson Road Glide

The new Harley Road Glide will retail starting at $20,899
Lush-sounding colors for the new Harley Road Glide include Vivid Black, Black Denim and Amber Whiskey

Harley-Davidson's Road Glide is back, after a one-year absence from the motorcycle company's lineup.

The 2015 machine features more power than its predecessor, and improved ergonomics and rider comfort.

The returning Road Glide is built around the 103-cubic-inch engine that Harley unveiled a year ago with the introduction of its new Rushmore line of modernized road machines.

That gives the power plant a 10% improvement over the old Road Glide, said Mike Goche, Harley's core product planning manager.

New to the Road Glide, and exclusive to this model, are reflective optic LED headlamps, which Goche said will give the headlight "more punch and spread."

Also new to the Road Glide are the one-touch saddlebag hardware featured on the Rushmore bikes, improvements to the front forks and, on the Road Glide Special, hand-adjustable rear suspension.

The pricier Special also comes with a beefed-up entertainment system with a touch screen, a security system and factory paint striping. 

ABS braking, an option on the Road Glide, is standard on the Special.

What riders may notice most, though, are the handlebars, set 5.5 inches back from previous models, and the silence inside the rider compartment.

Harley has incorporated an entirely new faring design onto the Road Glide. Goche said the new design reduces head buffeting, diminishes wind force on the rider's helmet and creates a calmer and quieter riding environment.

The Road Glide will be available in colors with names that speak more to interior design than motorcycling: Vivid Black, Amber Whiskey, Mysterious Red Sun Glow and Black Denim.

The Special will be sold in Vivid Black, Amber Whiskey, Black Denim and Superior Blue.

(Amber Whiskey is not underwritten or sponsored by Jack Daniels. I know, because I asked.)

This kind of quality doesn't come cheap, but the Road Glide is in the middle of the Harley pack, price-wise.

The MSRP for the Road Glide in Vivid Black is $20,899. The other colors run $21,399. The Road Glide Special is $23,199 in Vivid Black, and $23,699 in the other tones.

Both models will be in showrooms in late August, Harley said.

Follow me on Twitter: @misterfleming

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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