The Harley-Davidson Tri Glide is a three-wheeled motorcycle that epitomizes the spirit of freedom and adventure, and it’s a remarkable addition to the Harley-Davidson lineup. While Harley-Davidson is renowned for its iconic two-wheeled motorcycles, the Tri Glide offers a unique and accessible riding experience for those who seek the thrill of the open road on three wheels. In this comprehensive review, we’ll explore its design, performance, technology, comfort, and overall riding experience, uncovering why the Tri Glide has become a symbol of freedom on the highways.
Design and Appearance
The design of the Harley-Davidson Tri Glide is an intriguing blend of classic Harley-Davidson styling and the practicality of a three-wheeled touring motorcycle. It possesses a unique charm that sets it apart from the traditional two-wheeled Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Exterior Design: The Tri Glide retains Harley-Davidson’s signature design language. Its bodywork is sculpted to exude an aura of power and confidence. The classic V-twin engine, triple headlights, and iconic front grille create a striking and instantly recognizable front fascia.
Fit and Finish: Harley-Davidson takes pride in the attention to detail and the quality of its motorcycles, and the Tri Glide is no exception. The motorcycle boasts a high level of fit and finish, with precise welds, high-quality materials, and a well-polished appearance.
Spacious Touring Fairing: The large and functional touring fairing provides excellent wind protection and enhances the bike’s overall touring capabilities. It’s designed to shield the rider and passenger from the elements, ensuring a comfortable journey.
Trunk and Rear Cargo Space: One of the distinctive features of the Tri Glide is the rear cargo space. Behind the rider and passenger seat, you’ll find a trunk-like storage compartment. This space is ideal for carrying luggage, groceries, or any other items you might need on your journeys.
Stable Trike Design: The Tri Glide’s three-wheel design offers increased stability, making it easier for riders who may have concerns about balancing a two-wheeler. It also provides extra confidence when navigating through low-speed maneuvers and sharp turns.
Comfort and Touring Features: The Tri Glide is designed with long-distance touring in mind. Features like a plush and well-padded seat, heated grips, and a large adjustable windscreen all contribute to rider and passenger comfort during extended rides.
Engine and Performance
The heart of the Harley-Davidson Tri Glide is a potent V-twin engine that delivers the performance and power associated with the Harley-Davidson brand.
Engine: The Tri Glide is powered by Harley-Davidson’s renowned Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine. It’s an air-cooled V-twin with a displacement of 1,868cc. This engine is known for its characteristically large torque output and signature Harley-Davidson exhaust note.
Performance: The Milwaukee-Eight 114 produces approximately 100 horsepower and a substantial amount of torque. The engine’s torque-rich power delivery provides an enjoyable and effortless riding experience, particularly at low and mid-range speeds.
Smoothness: The V-twin engine is known for its smooth operation, which is appreciated during highway cruising. The engine’s linear power delivery makes overtaking and acceleration smooth and manageable.
Transmission: The Tri Glide is equipped with a 6-speed transmission. The gear changes are precise, and the gearbox is well-matched to the engine’s characteristics.
Exhaust Note: The unmistakable Harley-Davidson exhaust note is ever-present with the Tri Glide. The V-twin engine produces a deep and resonant rumble that’s a signature of the brand.
Chassis and Handling
The Harley-Davidson Tri Glide features a robust chassis designed for stability and control, particularly in touring and cruising scenarios.
Chassis: The Tri Glide features a steel tubular frame that provides stability and support for the three-wheel design. The chassis is engineered to deliver a planted and confidence-inspiring ride.
Front Suspension: At the front, it’s equipped with a dual-bending valve suspension. This technology improves the motorcycle’s handling by providing a smoother and more controlled response to bumps and irregularities in the road.
Rear Suspension: The Tri Glide utilizes an adjustable rear suspension, allowing riders to fine-tune the ride quality to their preferences and cargo loads.
Brakes: The motorcycle is equipped with dual front disc brakes and a single rear disc brake. The braking system is designed for effective and controlled stopping power, even with the added weight of a three-wheel design.
Wheels and Tires: The Tri Glide rides on cast aluminum wheels, which are both durable and stylish. The tires are specifically designed for this three-wheeler and provide a good balance between grip and mileage.
Stability: The three-wheel setup inherently provides increased stability, particularly at low speeds and during maneuvers. Riders who may have concerns about balancing a two-wheeled motorcycle will appreciate the Tri Glide’s stability.
Comfortable Seating: The seating on the Tri Glide is spacious and comfortable, with a well-padded seat for the rider and a generously sized passenger seat. This ensures a comfortable journey for both rider and passenger during long-distance travel.
Electronics and Technology
While the Tri Glide retains a classic and minimalist appearance, it’s not devoid of modern technology to enhance the riding experience.
Infotainment System: Some Tri Glide models come equipped with the Harley-Davidson Boom! Box GTS infotainment system. It features a touchscreen display, navigation, music, and communication capabilities. This system provides entertainment and convenience for the rider and passenger during long rides.
Cruise Control: Cruise control is a standard feature on the Tri Glide, making highway cruising more comfortable. Riders can maintain a constant speed with ease, reducing rider fatigue on long journeys.
Keyless Ignition: The motorcycle features keyless ignition, allowing riders to start and stop the bike without removing the key fob from their pocket, a convenient feature for easy and quick access.
Safety Systems: The Tri Glide is equipped with safety features such as ABS and a security system. These systems enhance rider safety and help protect the motorcycle from theft.
Comfort and Ergonomics
Comfort is paramount in a touring motorcycle, and the Tri Glide doesn’t disappoint. It offers a spacious and comfortable riding experience for both the rider and passenger.
Plush Seats: The seats on the Tri Glide are designed for long-distance comfort. The rider’s seat is well-padded and supportive, reducing fatigue during extended rides. The passenger seat is equally comfortable, ensuring an enjoyable experience for both occupants.
Heated Grips: Heated grips are a valuable addition, particularly in colder climates. They keep the rider’s hands warm and comfortable during chilly rides.
Adjustable Windscreen: The windscreen is large and adjustable, allowing riders to customize the wind protection to their liking. This feature is especially important during highway cruising.
Roomy Cockpit: The cockpit is spacious, with a relaxed and upright riding posture. Riders have plenty of room to stretch out and get comfortable, even during long journeys.
Passenger Comfort: The passenger accommodations on the Tri Glide are equally impressive. The spacious passenger seat, comfortable backrest, and ample legroom ensure that the passenger enjoys the journey as much as the rider.
Luggage Space: The rear cargo space is a standout feature, providing ample storage for luggage and other items. It’s a valuable addition for touring enthusiasts who need to carry gear on their journeys.
|Engine||Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-Twin engine|
|Power||(Approx) 100 hp|
|Torque||(Approx) 120 lb-ft|
|Transmission||6-speed Cruise Drive|
|Frame||Steel tubular frame|
|Suspension||Dual-bending valve front suspension (front), Adjustable rear suspension (rear)|
|Brakes||Dual 300mm disc brakes with 4-piston fixed calipers (front) 270mm disc brake with 4-piston fixed caliper (rear)|
|Wheels||Varies by model (typically a wide, touring-type tire)|
|Seat Height||28.9 to 29.5 inches|
|Weight||(Approx) 1,204 lbs|
The Harley-Davidson Tri Glide offers a distinctive riding experience. Here’s how it performs on the road:
Touring Comfort: The Tri Glide excels as a touring motorcycle. The comfortable seating, spacious cockpit, and adjustable windscreen provide an ideal setup for long journeys. The rear cargo space allows you to carry luggage without the need for additional saddlebags.
Stability: The three-wheel design provides a level of stability that’s hard to match with two-wheeled motorcycles. This stability is particularly evident at low speeds and during parking lot maneuvers. Riders who may have concerns about balancing a traditional two-wheeler will find the Tri Glide reassuring.
Powerful Engine: The Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine delivers a substantial amount of torque, making acceleration and overtaking a breeze. It’s responsive and smooth, and the iconic Harley-Davidson exhaust note adds to the overall experience.
Effortless Cruising: On the highway, the Tri Glide offers effortless cruising. The engine’s torque-rich powerband ensures that you have plenty of passing power, and the comfortable seating encourages extended journeys.
Tight Turns: Despite its three-wheel configuration, the Tri Glide handles tight turns and winding roads surprisingly well. The dual-bending valve front suspension helps with precise and controlled handling.
Infotainment System: If equipped with the infotainment system, riders can enjoy navigation, music, and communication features, enhancing the overall riding experience.
The Harley-Davidson Tri Glide is a unique and iconic addition to the Harley-Davidson family. It’s a motorcycle that combines the classic style and soul of Harley-Davidson with the practicality of a three-wheeled touring machine. The Tri Glide is more than just a motorcycle; it’s a symbol of freedom, adventure, and the open road.
This three-wheeler is ideal for riders who seek the thrill of motorcycling but may have concerns about balancing a two-wheeled machine. The stability, comfort, and confidence that the Tri Glide offers make it a compelling choice for touring enthusiasts.
The Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine provides ample power, and the touring features such as heated grips, adjustable windscreen, and spacious cargo space enhance the overall riding experience. Whether you’re embarking on a cross-country road trip or simply cruising the scenic byways, the Harley-Davidson Tri Glide is a dependable and enjoyable companion.
In summary, the Tri Glide is a celebration of the freedom and spirit of the open road, and it invites riders to embrace the adventure and experience the world on three wheels.