Harley-Davidson for 2016: The Road Glide Ultra Is Back | FIRST LOOK

Milwaukee's Custom Tourer Returns After a 2-Year Holiday

There's no question the Road Glide has been one of Harley's success stories. But the more touring-oriented version, called the Ultra, has been missing from the line since Milwaukee recast the touring family with Project Rushmore updates. But now it's back. And it's cooler than ever. Liquid cooler, that is.

With the resurrection of the RG Ultra, Harley has fitted the "precision liquid cooled" 103ci engine first offered in the biggest touring rigs. This engine, which improves power and rider comfort, is not given to the other two Road Glide versions, so fans of the frame-mount, quasi-shark-nosed fairing get the first opportunity to own a Harley that needs antifreeze. Harley says the "twin cooled" engine "allows the engine to maintain peak performance under the most demanding loads and riding conditions, and enables a higher 10.1:1 compression ratio for increased power and efficiency, including 10.7 percent more peak torque than the standard Twin Cam 103 engine." As before, the massive pushrod-valve mill benefits from modern ride-by-wire fueling, which enable the standard cruise control.

Harley-Davidson's Motorcycle Product Planning Director Paul James highlights the historically high annual mileage put in by Road Glide Ultra owners in the past. "Our research shows Road Glide Ultra riders rack up more miles per season than owners of any other Harley-Davidson model. We've designed the new Road Glide Ultra for that hard-core touring rider and passenger, with a special focus on aerodynamic performance and by creating a riding position that's a comfortable place for a long day in the saddle." To get there, the Ultra employs a taller, 13.5-inch touring windscreen to the new fairing developed for the Road Glide last year. Inside that fairing is the BOOM! Box infotainment system, which has a color touch screen, GPS, and Bluetooth communication. Our back, a standard top box provides additional storage capacity and a comfy backrest for your passenger.

Prices range from $25,899 to $26,999 depending on options selected. The press ride for the Ultra, as well as other 2016 Harleys, is taking place on Monday, August 24. We'll report back as soon as we've put some miles on Milwaukee's latest offerings.