Im always a little nervous when Harley-Davidson takes a particular model out of its line-up thats been there for more than a decade, especially one that is a favorite of mine. That usually means the model is going to get a makeover and thats exactly what happened when the Dyna Wide Glide, as we knew it, was discontinued in 2009.
For model year 2010, Harley-Davidson unveiled a completely new version of the Dyna Wide Glide, a radical departure from a bike that had become somewhat of an old standard in the Dyna platform, one with a fan base of riders — me being one of them. True confession here: The old Dyna Wide Glide is the motorcycle I always wanted, but back in the early 1990s all I could afford was the less expensive Dyna Low Rider. The bike I so desired was the Wide Glide with its mini-apehangers and up-swept rear fender giving motorcyclists the option of having a chopper-style Harley with a rubber mounted engine.
So it was with much anticipation I greeted the new Dyna Wide Glide. Harley-Davidson is billing it as an old-school chopper with drag bars, forward controls, and a low stretched custom look. This is not a high apehanger type of chopper. Thats what I think when I hear the term chopper. The main difference I see between the Wide Glide of yesterday and the one today is the new one has a more aggressive riding stance in the form of drag bars and forward controls that force the rider to lean…well…forward. Ive never been a fan of this riding style with my arms and legs outstretched before me. Yesterdays Wide Glide with its mini-apes put the rider in a laid back riding style that countered the stretch of the legs reaching for the forward controls.
A big smile came across my face when I threw my leg over the bike discovering the low seat height of just 25.5 inches. This height enables a wide range of riders to reach the ground flat footed no matter how wide a profile the bike has — and the Glides profile has, what Id term, a medium wide profile — not as wide as the Fat Boy but not as narrow as the Sportster, somewhere in between.
I test rode the Wide Glide over a couple of 250-mile days finding myself really settling in to the riding position after the first 100 miles. I dont tend to like to cruise long distances in this “reach forward” riding position, but the Wide Glide is so comfortable that my body just becomes one with the machine. Part of the reason for this is I sit “into” the bike as opposed to on top of it — and this is because the fuel tank has been tilted up 3/4 of an inch (.75 inch), which puts me firmly in the seat pocket of the bike.
One minor inconvenience was getting used to the extended reach of my right leg to the forward foot peg as I had to “clear” the bulging air cleaner on the right side. Riders with shorter legs than me — I have a 30-inch inseam — will have take this into consideration. You might have to move the foot controls closer to you.
Feeling one with the bike gives me the added confidence to blast through the twisties leaning the motorcycle over just a bit farther than Id normally go. And the Wide Glide takes those curves like it was made for them. The bike goes right where I point it, even with the larger wheel and stretched out front end. Unlike some custom bikes Ive ridden manufactured by small-time bike builders, Harley-Davidson cruisers fly through the curves with a solid planted feel, a testament to its more than 105 years of being in business. Ive never experienced any front-end wobble, or uncertainty on the Wide Glide, nor on any of the Dynas or Softails Ive ridden for that matter.
Being cradled in the machine also gives me the feeling of being torpedoed forward when I cranked on the throttle. I feel more torque coming off the line with this bike, and on each roll-on of the throttle shifting through the six gears than I have on any of Harley-Davidsons other bikes with the same Twin Cam 96 cubic inch engine. Harleys spec sheet indicates 92 foot-pounds of torque at 3,000 rpm. The Wide Glide weighs 665 pounds, which may sound like a lot, but with such a low center of gravity, the weight is hardly noticeable. Its also one of Harleys lightest Big Twins giving it a favorable power to weight ratio.
I am very impressed with the extra smooth ride quality of the Wide Glide. Ive always been a fan of the Dyna chassis and the fact that the engine is rubber mounted to the frame, meaning there is a rubber bushing at the points of contact where the V-twin is mounted to the engine taking most of the engine vibration. The rider feels minimal vibration. A new helical cut 5th gear on this 2010 Dyna gives the transmission an improved sound according to the marketing notes on this bike. I actually didnt notice a different sound, but the new angled gearing allows for a smoother transition from gear to gear, which I did notice. I never had a problem flicking from one gear to the next or finding neutral.
The ignition switch on the Wide Glide is located on the center console, as is the large face analog speedometer, and digital odometer, dual trip meter, clock, and fuel range indicator. Starting the motorcycle is a breeze thanks to Harleys Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) that is now standard on all its machines.
Styling is right on. Black accents are right where they need to be — not too overpowering — with the balance of the accents in chrome. This gives the Wide Glide understated appeal. Its sleek lines and low profile are what draw you into the bike. Colors offered for 2010 are black, red, and black flame.
While Im still bemoaning the loss of the availability buying the old-styled Dyna Wide Glide in new condition anymore, I can easily accept this new one that truly makes the Wide Glide a whole new motorcycle. It is an incredibly fun motorcycle that reminds me a bit of the Rocker — chopper-esque in a Harley sense of the word. (Do you like that word chopper-esque? I do as this is the second time Im using it in this article.) Harleys marketing notes call it “affordable attitude.” I agree with that. Women who gravitate towards this style of riding will enjoy the new Dyna Wide Glide. Im waiting to see whos the first one to replace the drag bars with apes though?
Specs At A Glance: 2010 Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide (FXDWG)
Seat Height: 25.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.7 gallons
Weight: 665 pounds
Price: Starts at $14,499
The Dyna Wide Glide is a downright fun motorcycle to own. Both women and men will appreciate the friendly ergonomics and the easy handling. It’s not recommended for beginners, but certainly after a few years of riding, the Wide Glide makes a nice move up from a Sportster or other smaller displacement motorcycle. Take one for a test ride.