Motorcycle: Glides - FLTCU Tourglide Ultra, 1989 - 1996
Date: Sunday, October 31 @ 13:55:16 UTC
Topic: Motorcycle, Motorcycles, Motor Cycle
FLTCU Tourglide Ultra, 1989 - 1996
After the ElectraGlide, Sportster and SuperGlide, the TourGlide was one of the most enduring packages in the entire Milwaukee line up. The concept — the most "loaded" machine Harley-Davidson engineers could imagine — began with the basic FLT TourGlide of 1980. At the time, the TourGlide offered the nearest thing you could buy to a two-wheeled limousine. Small refinements to the already profoundly refined machine followed year-on-year, not to mention the adoption of belt final drive and Evo V2 power in 1984. The basic concept was still fine, but as the decade was drawing to a close, an even more luxurious carriage was needed. It arrived in 1989 with the awesome TourGlide Ultra Classic, 81.6cu in (1,340cc) of imposing, luxurious brawn. As well as obvious features, such as new fairing "lowers" to protect the rider, a welter of electronics graced the big Glide. From the saddle, the rider now had control of a mouth-watering array of on-board refinement. At the rider's fingertips, there was now electronic cruise control, CB radio and a sophisticated stereo hi-fi system. Even the pillion was provided with separate speakers and a built-in intercom allowed rider and passenger to chew the fat. A cigarette lighter was standard and even the self-cancelling indicators were microprocessor-controlled. To cope with this plethora of added electrical demands, a new high-output 32-amp alternator was also fitted.
Overkill? Perhaps, but profoundly practical too. The panniers and capacious "Tour-Pak" top-while the screen kept dust and dry , desert winds at bay. True, a sound system as good as the one at home isn't strictly necessary on a motorcycle, but who can resist cruising enchanted landscapes to a nui—uag favourite blues tune, all to a backbeat of a thundering
In 1990, I rode a TourGlide from the Harley-Davidson factory in York, Pennsylvania, to San Francisco, California, on America's west coast. Along the way, the big Glide had thumped up endless gradients to more than 11,000ft (3,300m), rumbled across baking deserts for hour after hour, splashed through thunderstorms and scarcely missed a beat. It carried me and everything I needed for 4,000 miles (6,500km), and everyone I met smiled in appreciation. For this sort of experience - traversing the vast emptiness of the United States - no other motorcycle comes anywhere close to it. It was almost as though the TourGlide evolved there - which, come to think of it, it did.
The TourGlide story has ended - for the time being, at least. After 16 years as the long-haul king of America's open roads, the name was dropped from the Harley line-up after the fuel-injected FLTCUI model of 1996. However, its spirit still lives on in the extravagantly equipped Ultra Classic ElectraGlides.
Engine air-cooled ohv V-twin
Capacity 81.6cu in (1,340cc)
Weight 7651bs (347kg)
Wheelbase 63in (2,600 mm)
Top speed 105mph (169kph)
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