MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide Gets A Makeover

How does the new 2010 personality stack up?

By Genevieve Schmitt, Editor

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.

The new Wide Glide is very different than the formerly named model. It#39;s a low stretched out custom with old school accents like the laced front wheel, and chopped rear fender exposing more of the 180mm rear tire.

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.

The FX front end of the new Dyna Wide Glide (factory designation FXDWG) is the same as on the other chopper-esque Harleys, the Softail Custom (FXSTC) and the Rocker (FXCWC). The Wide Glide has a 34-degree rake and the larger 21 inch wheel, the size used on a lot of custom-built choppers.

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.

My 5-foot 6.5-inch frame fits nicely on the Dyna Wide Glide with plenty of bend in the knee to move the bike around parking lots with ease.

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.

The ergonomic triangle is dialed in just right for me with the Wide Glide, that is my reach to the bars relative to where I#39;m sitting, and my reach to the foot controls relative to the seat.
The favorable ergonomics allow me to take up the entire seat as opposed to having to scoot forward like I do on some larger motorcycles. This lets me take advantage of the lumbar support (the rise in the rear of the saddle) adding to my overall comfort of this bike.
The handlebars have a 4-inch riser, shown here painted in gloss black, raising them just enough so the reach to the slighted bended drag bars is not so much of a reach. The front has a clean look thanks to the electrical wires hidden inside the handlebars.

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.

Two exposed coil type shock absorbers in the back do a superb job of gliding the Glide over bumps. I was never jarred out of the saddle, even going over big potholes.

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.

This photo shows the tank mounted speedometer, along with the black painted mirrors, switch housings, headlight bucket and wheel rims.

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.

Here#39;s the Black Flame color an old school classic flame look.
The shortie sissy bar and fender struts are also painted black. The passenger pillion, meant for short jaunts only because of its small size, is separate from the rider#39;s seat so it can be removed.
In keeping with the custom details of this bike, the license plate bracket is mounted on the side, while the bright red LED turn signals also act as the rear brake and taillight.
Chrome “Tommy Gun” 2-1-2 exhaust pipes with dual mufflers give the bike an imposing appearance. The cut outs are why its called Tommy Gun.

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?

Still grinning after a great day of riding the Wide Glide.

Specs At A Glance: 2010 Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide (FXDWG)
Displacement: 1584cc
Seat Height: 25.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.7 gallons
Weight: 665 pounds
Price: Starts at $14,499

WRN Recommendation
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.

14 thoughts on MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide Gets A Makeover

  1. I truly enjoyed reading this article. I own 1993 Dyna Wide and I love my bike! It’s glossy black with a lot of chrome and I have it in the shop for a makeover (replacing the chrome front fender with a glossy black one, engine side bars, white wall tires, and I’m having the rear end lowered). I’m totally excited and can’t wait to see the way looks after it’s makeover.

  2. Great review. I am a proud owner of a 2011 Dyna Wide Glide after drooling over a picture of the 2010. Never rode a street bike or even owned a license when I purchased mine.The handling just made it a breeze to work around a test course considering the length. Very glad that you mentioned the right leg annoyance. I replaced the “canned ham” after only a few rides as it really does put your leg in an uncomfortable position. Went with a SE Heavy Breather (the forward cone type) and no more sore knee. And for anyone who has to traverse dirt roads (I live 45km out on one) this bike really handles the washboards and loose gravel very well. The stability with it being a lower center of gravity really gives one confidence.

  3. Hey, love the shorty sissy bar. I’m looking to buy something like that to put on my Honda Black Widow, but maybe with a pad so it’s a bit more comfy when my wife joins for a trip. I want a short one because I want to keep the bike looking as low as possible. Just want something she can feel behind her so she won’t fall off. You know what brand this one is?

    1. This sissy bar is a stock item on the Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide.

  4. Hello there. I am so excited I found your site. I really found you by error, while I was researching on Google for something else. Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say kudos for a fantastic post and an all round thrilling Web site (I also love the theme/design). I don’t have time to go through it all at the moment but, I have saved it and also included your RSS feeds.

  5. I replaced the stock bars with the mini apes on my new 2010 Dyna Wide Glide! Very, very pleased with the result.

  6. The first time I saw the 1981 Wide Glide with orange and yellow flames in the centerfold of Easyriders I knew I had to have one. I rode that Wide Glide from one end of Montana to the other for several years. What a great ride! The forward controls and the mini-ape hangers make for the perfect position to roll down the road. Similar to sitting in your lazy boy recliner watching the best movie ever. In 2006 I was looking to buy a new Harley-Davidson and really wanted the Dyna Wide Glide but I too settled for the less expensive Dyna Super Glide for two reasons. First because I was not able to take the long rides and second because the Super Glide was four grand less money.

    The Dyna Super Glide was a great bike although it was a little small for me. In 2008 I decide I wanted a new Wide Glide but didn't care for the anniversary bronze color. I waited till November and ended up with a new 2009 Road Glide and that's a new adventure and a whole other story.

  7. I was pretty bummed out when they removed the Wide Glide from the Harley lineup after 08. I've always considered it to the the coolest throwback bike that the MoCo made. The custom-ability factor alone made it a great bike. So when I heard rumors that they were bringing it back last year I was stoked. I had been in the market for over a year for a new bike and the Wide Glide was at the top of the list without a doubt.

    I guess I didn't feel the jubilation that everyone else did when I saw what they were offering and calling a Wide Glide. It used to be the best Dyna you could buy and you paid dearly in the pocket book for that privilege. It's no longer the priciest Dyna and if you break down how they've “cheapened” it, you'll understand why.
    Now, it really looks like a bastardized bike with pieces taken from the Fat Bob and Low Rider with straight bars and a Wide Glide front end. The chrome is gone. The laid back riding position is gone. The seat changed. The rear fender changed. It's no longer a real Wide Glide. They should have renamed this bike and left the Wide Glide legend intact. It does a disservice to the real top of the line Dyna that they used to make. I'm not impressed with the changed at all. I hope they bring back the old bike and I think they will someday…for a hefty premium.

  8. Genevieve

    Thank you for the wonderful review. I noted that you talked about the aggressive handlebar position a few times. HeliBars Horizon Bars do fit this bike and give the adjustability to move the rider in the correct upright position with full range of arm reach for low speed turns as well.

  9. I too have always wanted a Wide Glide. When I traded in my Sportster, a Wide Glide is what I wanted but instead a great deal on a Deuce came around. When I saw this new 2010 came out I cannot stop looking at it. I may be trading in my Deuce on one. It is one hot bike! just love the look!

  10. Thanks to your review of the Dyna Wide Glide. I will be riding down to my local dealer to take one for a test ride.

  11. I picked up a 2009 Dyna Wide Glide before we headed on trip to S.D. I tell you, I am in love with this bike. Me and my man both ride. It's wonderful to be free.

  12. My husband and I were invited to the Harley-Davidson 2010 model launch event in New York City last October. During the event, we were to demo ride our choice of the new models. Since we were in the middle of Manhattan and I had never ridden with floorboards before, I chose to test out the new Wide Glide. (I deemed it not the safest thing to have too many “unfamiliar” factors in the ride!) Anyway, we were all set to go until I threw a leg over the bike and prepared to start her up. That was when I realized that my legs were too short to comfortably reach the forward controls. I am 5 feet 4 inches and normally ride a stock Dyna Super Glide with its mid-controls. But on the Wide Glide my toes would just touch the rear brake (after bending around the air cleaner), and I did not feel that I could comfortably make significant contact.

    I really wish that I had been able to test ride this bike, but it was not in the cards that day. I did get a chance to ride the new for 2010 Fat Boy Lo…and that was awesome!

    1. Be sure to check out my review of the 2010 Fat Boy Lo, as well, in this section of Motorcycle Reviews.

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