Connect With Us!

2014 Harley-Davidsons: Project Rushmore

Precision liquid cooling helps stabilize cylinder head temperatures in the 2014 Harley Ultra Limited. All of the new baggers get restyled front fenders, fairings and luggage, too.

Precision liquid cooling helps stabilize cylinder head temperatures in the 2014 Harley Ultra Limited. All of the new baggers get restyled front fenders, fairings and luggage, too.

Photo Credit: Nelson & Riles

Mark Tuttle
August 28, 2013
Filed under Cruiser + Touring Motorcycle Reviews, Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Road Tests: Reviews on Harley Motorcycles, Top Stories

Bookmark and Share

Like a cavalry charge of the Rough Riders led by Teddy Roosevelt waving his cowboy hat in the air, Harley-Davidson recently launched eight new Touring models under the auspicious banner “Project Rushmore,” a customer-driven enhancement effort it is unabashedly calling the largest and most important in its 110-year history. In addition to a long list of new features and improvements, the Touring lineup will include a partially liquid-cooled model for the first time. There’s also a nicely upgraded Dyna Fat Bob and new CVO Softail Deluxe for 2014; ABS is standard on the V-Rods and a factory option on the Sportsters; and the Twin Cam 103 V-twin is now standard in the Dyna Street Bob and Super Glide Custom. Absent models include the Road Glides, which Harley says will take at least one year off for some “freshening-up,” and the Softail Blackline, which has been discontinued.

Like all of the baggers, the Electra Glide Ultra Classic gets new wheels and a beefier front end for better handling.

Like all of the baggers, the Electra Glide Ultra Classic gets new wheels and a beefier front end for better handling.

Project Rushmore was the code name for a four-year, unprecedented effort by Harley’s stylists and engineers to connect with its customers and give them the improvements they want more quickly, and the name stuck for a couple reasons. There’s the emotive association of the brand and eight bikes with the iconic American monument in South Dakota, of course, also home to the Sturgis rally. And perhaps the more literal interpretations of the two words “rush” and “more”—as in a strong rush to your senses and more power. Whatever—it’s the visible results that count.

The new consolidated Touring lineup comprises the Road King, Street Glide, Street Glide Special, Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Ultra Limited, Tri-Glide Ultra trike, CVO Road King and CVO Ultra Limited. All of the regular production (non-CVO) bikes benefit from uprated “High Output” 103ci V-twin engines, with new camshafts and high-flow airboxes that Harley says give them 5 percent more torque in the midrange for quicker passes. In addition, the Ultra Limited, Tri-Glide Ultra and CVO Ultra Limited (with its 110ci engine) add the Twin-Cooled feature, a combination of air and precision liquid cooling. Harley says the Twin-Cooled High Output Twin Cam 103 engines deliver 10.7 percent more peak torque than the standard 103. In the Twin-Cooled system, an electric pump circulates coolant through the cylinder heads in the areas around the exhaust valves, then to a pair of radiators—one in each fairing lower—with thermostatically controlled fans. In addition to enabling a higher 10.1:1 compression ratio in the Twin-Cooled 103 for more power, the stabilized head temps prevent power from dropping off in higher ambient temperatures. They will run without the liquid cooling long enough to reach service—in the event of a leak, for example—though all of this year’s Harleys still require 91 octane fuel.

The 2014 Street Glide Special nicely improves upon Harley’s most popular motorcycle model with uprated suspension, top-line sound and more.

The 2014 Street Glide Special nicely improves upon Harley’s most popular motorcycle model with uprated suspension, top-line sound and more.

Hydraulically actuated clutches finally replace the cable on all of the Rushmore bikes except the Road King. Other improvements include either standard or available proportionally linked brakes with ABS (except Tri-Glide Ultra); super-bright LED headlights and fog lamps on some models; and new twin-halogen headlights on others. Comfort is enhanced with a restyled Batwing fairing that has a closable “splitstream” central vent to reduce buffeting, and wider, deeper seats with new back and arm rests. New reshaped handlebar switches are more tactile and easier to use, and new One Touch latches on the restyled saddlebags and top trunks open them with a single latch.

One of two new “infotainment” sound and navigation systems with color screens are available for the center of the redesigned inner fairing, which has four easier-to-read instruments vs. six smaller ones now. All of the features you can imagine are in there, including AM/FM/Weather plus USB aux input. On the high end, the 6.5GT system adds GPS navigation and a large touchscreen, and it can also be controlled entirely from the handlebar with the use of twin joysticks. If it’s not already standard, adding the intercom and CB module enables the first original-equipment Voice Recognition, so you can control the sound system and GPS using voice commands over a wired headset.

Radiator grill and closable vent in the Ultra Limited’s left fairing lower.

Radiator grill and closable vent in the Ultra Limited’s left fairing lower.

Although many other bikes in the 2014 lineup have received notable changes, Harley quite understandably chose to focus on the Rushmore Touring motorcycles at the press launch outside Denver, Colorado. There we enjoyed two days of riding the Road King, Street Glide, Street Glide Special, Electra Glide Ultra Classic and Ultra Limited in the Rockies, the latter of which was in high demand because everyone wanted to sample a Twin-Cooled machine. From my short ride, it’s clear that the Ultra Limited doesn’t put out much heat that the rider can feel from the fairing lowers where the radiators reside, thanks to ducting that routes it away from your legs. Ever since Harley bumped the touring bikes up to the 103ci engine, their passing power—say, in fifth gear—has been very good, but at the high altitudes in the mountains above the already Mile-High City, I couldn’t tell if the High Output engines were making noticeably more grunt. They are nicely smooth and make a wonderful rumble, though I’d prefer a little less intake noise under acceleration.

Other improvements were easier to note. The Voice Recognition for the sound and GPS systems is nothing short of remarkable. Press a button, say “Go to 101 West Main Street, Frisco, Colorado,” for example, and the GPS routes you there, or tell it to tune to a particular radio station or iPod track and it’s done. Although the VR only works with a wired headset, the system does support a Bluetooth connection with your phone.

Redesigned inner fairing with new instruments and high-end 6.5GT sound/navigation system.

Redesigned inner fairing with new instruments and high-end 6.5GT sound/navigation system.

That new vent in the Batwing makes a nice reduction in helmet buffeting; the linked brakes seemed to work well and interestingly remain separate until above 25 mph; and the One Touch luggage latches are perhaps the best thing to come out of the entire Rushmore project. Harley also beefed-up the Touring bike front ends with a sleeker front fender, stronger suspension components and larger 49mm fork legs, and the handling improvement is quite noticeable. We’ll have a full test of the Ultra Limited in a future issue, and a comparison test with Harley’s new competition ASAP.

Revised High Output Twin Cam 103 touring V-twin gets new cams and airbox for more midrange passing power.

Revised High Output Twin Cam 103 touring V-twin gets new cams and airbox for more midrange passing power.

Single “One Touch” latches on trunks and saddlebags can be opened with one hand.

Single “One Touch” latches on trunks and saddlebags can be opened with one hand.

The 2014 Road King benefits most from the power increase due to its lighter weight, but it doesn’t get the new hydraulic clutch.

The 2014 Road King benefits most from the power increase due to its lighter weight, but it doesn’t get the new hydraulic clutch.

Blacked out and restyled Fat Bob gets a Dark Custom makeover for 2014—think Mad Max meets NASCAR.

Blacked out and restyled Fat Bob gets a Dark Custom makeover for 2014—think Mad Max meets NASCAR.

(This article 2014 Harley-Davidsons: Project Rushmore was published in the November 2013 issue of Rider magazine.)

Comments

12 Responses to “2014 Harley-Davidsons: Project Rushmore”

  1. Earl Smith on September 1st, 2013 7:20 pm

    Good initial review on the 2014 Harley (Rushmores). I am willing to bet that some older hardcore purists will insist that the partial water cooling is a communist plot, however, they’d likely complain about electric start on cars and enlcose cabins on airplanes! I bought my first Harley in 1973 and this was inevitable in light of increasingly tough EPA standards. Harley took a very timely, necessary and tolerable step to make their bikes run better, longer and reliability withut dramatically impacting the overall appeal of the old V-Twin engines. This doesn’t even take into account the great new sound/nav system, frame/suspension system and better braking. I doubt that I can afford to switch from my 2011 CVO, but I’d sure be willing to try!

    [Reply]

  2. John Marinkovich on September 4th, 2013 12:28 am

    Problem with Harley is the twin cam motor was never designed for handling that amount of cu in. I have a friend who sold his 07 Screaming Eagle Road King, due to motor problems, 1st time the whole rear cyclinder needed replacing, then at 42,000.00 the crack came apart, it’s only a press fit crank. Add 10,000 & the motor started leaking oil. The die hard Harley rider is now riding a ST1300. We all gave up and are mostly on Kaw Concoures, BMW, Goldwing & Multistrada.

    [Reply]

  3. bob on September 6th, 2013 8:32 pm

    Friend bought the Limited replacing a 2010. Definitely nice work. Rode it plenty recently and can tell you the heat I feel on my 11 Road Glide is missing. Sound system is great. Vent eliminates buffeting. Brakes, suspension and clutch are as advertised. The one touch bags though long overdue are great. GPS and voice controls are nice upgrades. Suspension feel is improved. Overall a winner and will keep me away from the BMW 1600 GTL that was calling me…

    [Reply]

  4. Iron_Horseman_Calgary on September 16th, 2013 1:34 pm

    Would love to have one of the new glides! My ’09 looks brand new with 55,000km (about 33,000miles). Front wheel bearings needed replacing but that’s it. Just did a tour of Alberta, B.C. Washington, Idaho and Montana this summer, then another trip through B.C. with my wife. The bike is excellent and more reliable than the bike I owned before getting this one in ’09 (a Honda Goldwing)

    [Reply]

  5. Neville Mcgarry on November 16th, 2013 4:20 pm

    The biggest problem with Harley is have you ever changed a tyre it takes for ever not easy and like it or lump it flats do happen look at other bikes and no problem but Harley big ,heavy and pipes in the way just basic matinance no joy my 42 is better to work on than the late models

    [Reply]

    Iron_Horseman_Calgary Reply:

    Funny, I’m used to changing tires on a Goldwing and was amazed how much easier it is changing tires (and doing brake work) on the Harley touring bikes. The exhaust slip-ons come off easily and the saddlebags come off without tools. The secret is buying a motorcycle jack (which is useful with all bikes, (center stand or no center stand). No plastic body work that needs to come off to do anything and then have to line up the fastener screw holes etc. Even the outer bat wing fairing comes off easily to do any accessory work that has to do with wiring.

    [Reply]

  6. Eric Huber on November 16th, 2013 5:45 pm

    I have a 2014 Street Glide Special. The bike is great except the Fade/Speed Volume does not work. You can’t hear the radio at highway speeds (55 to 65 mph) without turning the volume up manually. The old radio worked great. The faster you went. The volume would go up automatically. When you slowed down it (volume) would go down. I was wondering if this problem was being addressed

    [Reply]

  7. Adem on December 3rd, 2013 5:20 am

    As a new rider coming into the bike world after doing
    Some research on motorbikes I must say I grew up as a kid
    Wishing one day I would buy one but now I’m really thinking
    Twice about buying a HD why I say that is because I would
    Really like to see something different from HD for example a different engine
    Or different style on the bike perhaps with a little more grunt
    I don’t understand why HD went with the Germans with the design of the v-rods it’s good to see the liquid cooled system that’s great but why the Germans not with an American company ? As to what bike I will get still researching but I really like the new Indian with all the features that come standard

    [Reply]

    Iron_Horseman_Calgary Reply:

    Hey Adem, have you actually ridden a Harley? Like so many people, you are looking at horsepower ratings rather than torque. Find out when your local Harley dealer is having a “Test your Metal” demo ride and sign up to ride the bikes you would be interested in. You may be quite favorably impressed when you open it up, that V-twin torque is addictive.

    [Reply]

  8. Adem on December 4th, 2013 3:50 pm

    No I haven’t riden a harley as yet, but I will soon. I really liked the v-rod, the style is impressive and as for the power and torque I’m not that concerned otherwise I would of been looking at racing bikes. What I really want is that new models new designs from HD will be fantastic but like I say I’m still researching for a cruiser have plenty of time no rush

    [Reply]

  9. IronHorseman on December 6th, 2013 4:00 am

    The V-rod motor is superb. It’s a real hot rod yet smooth as silk.

    [Reply]

  10. Dave on January 28th, 2014 2:34 pm

    I have a new 14 ultra limited. Rides great. I have an issue though with temp and check engine light activating. Checked the fluids, let it sit and continue without prob. Now it keeps reactivating the warnings and cant find reason. Going to the shop. Question is, anyone else experiencing similar?

    [Reply]

Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!





Name:

Address:

City:

State:

ZIP: