Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it’s chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to ‘Merican, he rides ‘em all.
The Street Glide is a best-seller for The Motor Co., and H-D hopes to keep it there by injecting it with the Project Rushmore treatment. See how it fared against its Indian rival in our 2015 Harley Street Glide Special Comparison video.
Power. Style. Versatility. There’s reasons the Street Glide is a best-seller for Harley-Davidson. The popular bagger is a showcase for Harley fit-and-finish, chrome accents of the engine department standing out against the black powerdercoat treatment of the cylinder heads, the new High Output air cleaner adding a touch of hot rod appeal, each flake of its Deep Jade Pearl paint reflecting in the sunshine. Then there’s the Project Rushmore treatment, an exercise in form and function, from saddlebags riders can quickly access while seated and open with one hand to the Splitstream vent cut into the Batwing fairing. Add 1690cc of power at the disposal of your right wrist and linked brakes to scrub off speed and you’ve got a strong competitor in the bagger segment.
In the power department, the 2015 Street Glide Special is outfitted with Harley’s High Output Twin Cam 103 featuring a new airbox and cam combo aimed to provide more torque on the low end. At 2400 rpm it’s already doling out almost 84 lb-ft of the good stuff on its way to its peak of 91.69 lb-ft at 3800 rpm. At 4900 revolutions per minute it’s still pushing out 80 lb-ft, then hits the apex of its horsepower at 5000 revs in a smooth and manageable powerband. Despite giving up around 11 lb-ft to the Chieftain’s Thunder Stroke 111, the Street Glide won the race to 60 mph from a standstill with a time of 5.1 seconds, 0.2-seconds better than the Indian. Roll-on is excellent as the Glide continues to pull strong in the 4000-to-5000 rpm range and the rumble when you’re on the pipe is deep and rich.
“The engine in the Harley didn’t seem quite as peppy and quick to rev as the Indian’s but I still preferred the Harley’s powertrain overall — as it is smooth and refined and doesn’t emit any strange drivetrain noises like the Chieftain,” said Road Test Editor Adam Waheed.
Messing with a recipe for success is always a gamble, and the Batwing fairing of the Street Glide Special is definitely its trademark trait. Cutting a channel into the middle of it might have been a roll of the dice, but the vent doesn’t detract from its aesthetics. The Splitstream vent opens with the push of a button and teamed with a small smoked windscreen, it diverts most air just over the cusp of our head. Open the vent and it channels air almost directly to our chin, a concentrated flow that is more enjoyable than overbearing. The windscreen isn’t electronically adjustable like the Chieftain’s but the option of being able to send a little more wind to a rider’s face is appreciated.
With the Project Rushmore treatment, Harley has paid attention to the fine details, from the hand adjustability of the rear suspension to the toggle switches of the audio controls to the one-handed accessibility of its saddlebags while seated. There’s little things like the fascia filling in the gaps between the saddlebags and rear fenders to the gloss black treatment of the inner fairing. From the cut and design of its Enforcer wheels to its blend of paint and chrome, it exudes class and power. Granted, it gives up a few ponies to the Chieftain, but it has more than enough power to get the job done and even edged it out in the sprint to highway speeds. The Harley stands out as the smoother, more refined of the two, from its power delivery to a slight smoother gearbox to its stability in turns. Waheed agrees, saying “Probably the biggest thing that separates the Harley from the Indian is in terms of build quality,” pointing out small things, from switch gear to instrumentation to the quality of its saddlebags. Add it all up and you have reasons the 2015 Street Glide Special is still the gold standard in the bagger segment.