When bagging work is work, life is good. Our crew throroughly enjoyed the cruiser route for touring duties in 2011.
Our high-performance Road Test Editor, Adam Waheed, isn’t known for gushing over V-Twin cruisers, but he dug the H-D Road Glide Ultra right from the get-go. After riding it at the 2011 Harley press intro, MotoUSA demanded a long-term tester and logged thousands of miles on it – as a touring platform and everyday commuter. We then pitted the Harley against the Victory Vision in a head-to-head V-Twin Luxo Tourer Comparison where it emerged victorious.
Harley took its popular hotrod bagger and added its PowerPak as standard equipment; a combination of Harley’s 1690cc Twin Cam 103 V-Twin, ABS and the H-D Smart Security System. The Road Glide Ultra’s Shark-Nose fairing is frame-mounted so action at the bars is light and manageable, and since Harley introduced chassis upgrades on its touring bikes a couple of years back, the big Hogs track much better in the corners. For 2011, Harley also gave the Road Glide Ultra a higher windscreen, and along with mid-frame air deflectors and vented fairing louvers the combination does a great job of diverting air around riders.
On the highway we’d set the easy-to-use cruise control, crank up its jammin’ 80-watt Harman Kardon four-speaker stereo system, sit back and enjoy the ride in one of the cushiest stock seats around. Passengers will enjoy their own backrest with lower lumbar support while kicking their feet up on their own floorboards. And the new top case ensures plenty of room to bring provisions for two.
So the venerable Wing and new six-cylinder Beemer can duke it out next year, this time around Old Milwaukee gets the nod for Best Touring Motorcycle of 2011.
Motorcycle USA Best of 2011 Awards
Rider of the Year 2011: Ryan Villopoto
Manufacturer of the Year 2011: Polaris Industries
Best Cruiser 2011: Ducati Diavel
Best Sportbike 2011: BMW S1000RR
Best Street Bike 2011: Ducati Multistrada
Best Touring Motorcycle 2011: Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra
Best Adventure Motorcycle 2011: Triumph Tiger 800 XC
Best Enduro 2011: KTM 350 XC-F
Best Dual Sport 2011: Husqvarna TE250
Best Motocross Motorcycle 2011: Honda CRF450R
Motorcycle of the Year 2011: Kawazuki CRF65 SX