Harley-Davidson FXDWG Wide Glide | Doin' Time

By Grant Peterson, Photography by Joe Neric

WRIST: Grant Peterson
MSRP (2012): $14,849
MILES: 2016
MPG: 40
MODS: Harley-Davidson accessory seat and foot controls, H-D handlebar, Screamin’ Eagle mufflers

I must admit after re-reading the first installment on my long-term Harley-Davidson Wide Glide, that I was a little harsh. The only feedback we got on that story did, however, validate my comments: Readers want a Harley made for taller, more performance-oriented riders! That said, the bike is getting better after a few changes.

Perhaps it was a bit presumptuous to think a bike would fit me like a glove right off the showroom floor—of course there would be changes! And the first thing to go was the stock seat, which I often found myself sliding off during quick pulls of the throttle. Harley-Davidson’s accessory Sidekick saddle ($369.95; www.harley-davidson.com) has a nice kick up in the rear that gives me a secure and comfortable place on which to park my keester without looking too big and bulky.

The second change seemed a little strange to me, being 6-foot-3, but I found the stock forward controls too far forward. Harley’s accessory catalog doesn’t offer mid-controls for this model, so the only alternative was the Reduced Reach Forward Control Conversion Kit ($169.95). This relocated the pegs, shifter and brake pedal about an inch closer to the seat, which felt much more natural. Prior to that, my feet kept missing the pegs leaving stoplights.

The last ergonomic change was the handlebar. The stock, low-rise bar is probably fine for most people, but I found my lower back hurting after a while. That doesn’t mean I want reach-for-the-sky ape-hangers, though. I picked a modest, 10-inch-tall Harley accessory bar ($73.49) that’s narrow end to end, so I can split lanes on the freeway. This, with short risers, feels pretty nice and puts my arms basically straight out in front of me. I believe the Street Bob comes with a bar like this.

Last to go were the mufflers. In stock trim, this new Harley hardly sounded like a 103 cubic-inch Big Twin! To rectify that, we bolted on a set of Screamin’ Eagle Street Performance staggered-dual mufflers ($389.95) in Jet Black (less to clean as a commuter), along with the matching heat shields ($229.95).

The ergonomic changes helped me feel more comfortable on the Wide Glide, so I can now focus on the road rather than the bike. I am still not at ease with the low ride height, however, and find myself not only bottoming the short rear shocks but also scraping the chrome end cap of the new lower muffler. Once the bike comes up a few inches I’ll be much happier, and might actually look forward to tighter turns. That done, I could see adding saddlebags for longer trips and even my day-to-commute, to avoid having to lug around a backpack.  MC

By Grant Peterson
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