Honda’s thrustworthy Gold Wing engine has just 142cc more displacement than Harley’s 103-inch mill, but three times the cylinders. Result: Torque and horsepower superiority across the board. With torque that tapers gently in the second half and a relatively low redline for the engine’s stroke, Honda’s six-banger is clearly built to grunt, not wail. And that it does. But look at the Road Glide’s torque curve. The early peak, at just 2900 rpm, tells you exactly what Harley had in mind with its famed long-stroke machine: “Evolved, but carrying on a legacy.”
Numbers, as is often the case, tell only part of the story. Yes, the Harley carries its man-sized handgrips higher and further from the rider, and the feet-forward stance makes the seating angle look strange, but it all manages to work in concert with the bike’s essential personality. Not immediately obvious are the changes in the Honda’s ergos from a standard Gold Wing. In fact, the new, longer seat effectively moves the grips 4.6 inches forward and 2.2 in. up, even though the bars are identical to a Gold Wing’s. It’s a difference you can feel.Tech Spec
Harley-Davidson Road Glide Custom | Price: $19,799
Engine type: a-c 45-deg. V-twin
Valve train: OHV, 4v
Bore x stroke: 98.4 x 111.3mm
Fuel system: EFI, ride by wire
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Measured horsepower: 66.9 bhp @ 4900 rpm
Measured torque: 84.4 lb.-ft. @ 2900 rpm
Corrected 1/4-mile: 13.75 sec. @ 97.66 mph
Top-gear roll-on, 60-80 mph: 6.74 sec.
Frame: Tubular-steel double cradle
Front suspension: Showa 41.3mm fork
Rear suspension: Showa shocks with air-adjustable preload
Front brake: Dual Brembo four-piston calipers, 300mm discs with ABS
Rear brake: Brembo four-piston caliper, 300mm disc with ABS
Front tire: 130/70B-18 Dunlop D408F
Rear tire: 180/65B-16 Dunlop D407
Rake/trail: 26.0°/6.7 in.
Seat height: 27.3in.
Wheelbase: 63.5 in.
Fuel capacity: 6.0 gal.
Weight (tank full/empty): 825/789 lbs.
Fuel mileage (hi/low/avg.): 56/35/44 mpg
Colors: Black Denim, Big Blue Pearl, Candy Orange, Vivid Black
Warranty: 24 mo., unlimited mi.
Contact: Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Co.
3700 W. Juneau Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53201
Honda Gold Wing F6B | Price: $19,999
Engine type: l-c opposed-six
Valve train: SOHC, 12v
Bore x stroke: 74.0 x 71.0mm
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Measured horsepower: 94.4 bhp @ 5400 rpm
Measured torque: 102.1 lb.-ft. @ 4000 rpm
Corrected 1/4-mile: 12.19 sec. @ 106.59 mph
Top-gear roll-on, 60-80 mph: 4.45 sec.
Frame: Aluminum twin-spar
Front suspension: Showa 45mm fork
Rear suspension: Showa shock with adjustable spring preload
Front brake: Dual Nissin three-piston calipers, 296mm discs
Rear brake: Nissin three-piston caliper, 240mm disc
Front tire: 130/70R-18 Bridgestone G709
Rear tire: 180/60R-16 Bridgestone G704
Rake/trail: 29.2°/4.3 in.
Seat height: 28.5 in.
Wheelbase: 66.5 in.
Fuel capacity: 6.6 gal.
Weight (tank full/empty): 854/814 lbs.
Fuel mileage (hi/low/avg.): 44/32/38 mpg
Colors: Black, red
Warranty : 12 mo., 12,000 mi.
Contact: American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 2200
Torrance, CA 90509