Harley-Davidson is a legendary brand known for producing some of the most iconic motorcycles in the world. Two popular models in their lineup are the Wide Glide and Super Glide. Both bikes offer a unique riding experience and cater to different types of riders. In this article, we will talk about Harley-Davidson Wide Glide vs Super Glide to help you determine which one suits your preferences and riding style.
Harley Davidson Wide Glide
Introduction of the Wide Glide (1980): The Harley Davidson Wide Glide was first introduced in 1980 as part of the Harley Davidson FX series. It featured a distinctive wide, raked-out front end, inspired by the “chopper” style bikes popularized in the 1960s and 1970s. The Wide Glide quickly gained popularity among riders seeking a bold and aggressive cruiser.
Evolution Engine and Styling Updates (1984-1999): Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the Wide Glide received various updates to both its engine and styling. In 1984, Harley Davidson introduced the Evolution engine, which offered improved performance and reliability. The model also underwent styling changes, including the addition of a wider front tire, revised fenders, and a redesigned fuel tank.
Twin Cam Engine and Suspension Upgrades (2000-2005): In the early 2000s, the Wide Glide received significant updates. In 2000, Harley Davidson introduced the Twin Cam engine, which offered increased power and smoother operation. The suspension system was also upgraded, providing improved handling and ride comfort.
Switch to the Dyna Platform (2006-2017): From 2006 to 2017, the Wide Glide was built on Harley Davidson’s Dyna platform, which offered improved chassis dynamics and increased customization options. During this period, the model received various styling updates, including new paint options, graphics, and chrome accents.
Transition to the Softail Platform (2018-Present): In 2018, Harley Davidson made a significant change by transitioning the Wide Glide to the Softail platform. This platform provided a stiffer frame, improved suspension, and enhanced handling characteristics. The model received a complete redesign, featuring a more aggressive and muscular appearance, LED lighting, digital instrumentation, and a new Milwaukee-Eight engine.
Dyna VS Softail
The major difference between a Dyna and a Softail is the frame design. The Dyna models traditionally featured a dual-shock frame design, which provided a more traditional and slightly stiffer ride. On the other hand, the Softail models incorporated a hidden rear suspension, giving the appearance of a rigid frame while offering a more comfortable ride. The Dyna models typically have a more stripped-down, minimalist aesthetic, with exposed rear shocks and a slightly more aggressive stance. Softail models, on the other hand, often have a more classic and retro look, with a hidden rear suspension giving them a more traditional appearance.
The Harley Davidson Wide Glide is a cruiser-style motorcycle that offers a bold and aggressive design combined with powerful performance.
Design: The Wide Glide features a distinctive and eye-catching design that captures the essence of a classic chopper. It is characterized by its wide, raked-out front end, wide handlebars, and low-slung profile. The bike exudes a muscular and rebellious aesthetic, with a focus on blacked-out components and chrome accents. It is noted that you can always customize the design with paint and additional accessories:
Engine: The Wide Glide is typically equipped with a powerful V-twin engine, known for its iconic Harley Davidson rumble. The exact engine displacement may vary depending on the model year, but it is commonly available with engines ranging from 1,585cc (96 cubic inches) to 1,868cc (114 cubic inches). These engines deliver ample torque and a thrilling riding experience.
Performance: With its robust engine and cruiser-oriented design, the Wide Glide offers a balance between power and comfort. It provides strong acceleration and impressive low-end torque, making it suitable for both highway cruising and city riding. The bike is designed to deliver a smooth and enjoyable ride, with features such as a comfortable seating position and responsive handling.
Features: The Wide Glide is equipped with various features designed to enhance the riding experience. Some notable features may include a wide front fork, a comfortable solo or two-up seat, forward-mounted foot controls, a wide rear tire, and a high-performance suspension system. These features contribute to the bike’s stability, control, and overall comfort.
- Wide Front Fork: The Wide Glide is known for its wide front fork, which not only contributes to its aggressive appearance but also provides stability and improved handling. The wide front end adds to the bike’s overall presence on the road.
- Comfortable Seating: The Wide Glide typically offers a comfortable seating position designed for long rides. The seat is often low-slung and contoured to provide support and reduce fatigue. Some models may also offer a two-up seat option for riding with a passenger.
- Forward-Mounted Foot Controls: The Wide Glide is equipped with forward-mounted foot controls, meaning the footpegs are positioned towards the front of the bike. This riding position allows for a relaxed and stretched-out leg position, enhancing rider comfort during long rides.
- Wide Rear Tire: As the name suggests, the Wide Glide features a wide rear tire, which not only contributes to its muscular appearance but also provides increased traction and stability while riding. The wide rear tire adds to the bike’s overall grip and control on the road.
- High-Performance Suspension System: The Wide Glide is often equipped with a high-performance suspension system, which includes front and rear suspension components designed to offer a comfortable and smooth ride. This system helps absorb bumps and road imperfections, ensuring a more controlled and enjoyable riding experience.
- LED Lighting: In recent years, Harley Davidson has incorporated LED lighting technology into the Wide Glide. LED headlights, taillights, and turn signals offer improved visibility for both the rider and other motorists on the road, while also adding a modern touch to the bike’s design.
- Digital Instrumentation: Modern Wide Glide models may feature a digital instrumentation display. This display provides essential information such as speed, RPM, fuel level, and trip meters, offering riders easy access to vital data while on the go.
Harley Davidson Super Glide
First Generation (1971-1985): The Super Glide was introduced in 1971 as a variant of the Harley Davidson FX model. It featured a combination of Sportster and Big Twin components, merging the style of a chopper with the handling of a lighter bike. The first-generation Super Glide models were characterized by a narrow front end, a low-slung frame, and a distinctive “boat tail” rear fender.
Second Generation (1986-1994): In 1986, Harley Davidson redesigned the Super Glide, giving it a more contemporary look. The second-generation models featured a wider front end, a larger fuel tank, and a stepped seat. These changes aimed to improve rider comfort and provide a smoother riding experience.
Third Generation (1995-2005): The third-generation Super Glide, also known as the Dyna Glide, was introduced in 1995. It featured a stiffer frame and a new suspension system that enhanced handling and ride quality. The third-generation models retained the classic Super Glide design cues while incorporating modern engineering advancements.
Fourth Generation (2006-2017): Harley Davidson launched the fourth-generation Super Glide in 2006 as part of the Dyna family. These models received significant updates, including a new frame design, improved suspension, and a larger fuel tank. The fourth-generation Super Glide models showcased a more aggressive and muscular appearance.
Fifth Generation (2018-present): In 2018, Harley Davidson rebranded the Dyna lineup, including the Super Glide, as the Softail lineup. The fifth-generation Super Glide models feature a completely redesigned chassis, now utilizing a single, hidden rear shock absorber for improved comfort and handling. These models also incorporate modern technologies and offer a range of customization options.
Design: The Harley Davidson Super Glide is a classic cruiser motorcycle with a design that combines elements of a chopper and a bobber. It features a low-slung profile, a long and lean silhouette, and a minimalist aesthetic. The Super Glide typically sports a wide handlebar, a solo seat, and a chopped rear fender, giving it a sleek and aggressive look.
Engine: The Super Glide is powered by a robust V-twin engine, which is a hallmark of Harley Davidson motorcycles. The specific engine model may vary depending on the year of the bike, as Harley Davidson has used different engines in different generations of the Super Glide. However, most Super Glide models are equipped with an air-cooled, four-stroke, twin-cylinder engine with a displacement ranging from 1,450cc to 1,800cc. These engines are known for their low-end torque and a distinct rumbling sound.
Performance: The Super Glide offers a powerful and smooth riding experience. Its V-twin engine delivers ample torque, providing strong acceleration and a satisfying cruising experience. While it is not designed for high-speed performance, the Super Glide offers a comfortable and stable ride for extended journeys on highways or winding roads. The suspension and braking systems are designed to provide a balanced and responsive ride, ensuring control and confidence on the road.
Features: Harley Davidson Super Glide models often come equipped with various features to enhance comfort and convenience. These may include features such as a windshield, forward-mounted foot controls, a digital instrument cluster, a dual exhaust system, LED lighting, and ABS (anti-lock braking system). Some models may also offer additional accessories and options such as saddlebags, backrests, and upgraded audio systems.
- Windshield: A windshield is a popular accessory for the Super Glide, offering protection against wind and debris while riding at higher speeds. It can help improve rider comfort during long rides.
- Forward-mounted foot controls: The Super Glide typically features forward-mounted foot controls, which position the rider’s feet in front of the engine rather than beneath the rider. This riding position provides a more relaxed and stretched-out posture, enhancing comfort during extended rides.
- Digital instrument cluster: Many Super Glide models come equipped with a digital instrument cluster that displays important information such as speed, odometer, fuel level, and engine diagnostics. The digital display offers clear visibility and often includes additional features like a clock, trip meter, and gear indicator.
- Dual exhaust system: The Super Glide often sports a dual exhaust system, which not only enhances the bike’s aesthetic appeal but also contributes to its distinct Harley Davidson sound. The dual exhaust setup can provide improved exhaust flow, resulting in better performance and a deeper exhaust note.
- LED lighting: Harley Davidson has been incorporating LED lighting technology into their motorcycles, and the Super Glide is no exception. LED headlights, taillights, and turn signals offer better visibility and longer lifespan compared to traditional halogen bulbs. They also add a modern touch to the bike’s overall design.
- ABS (Anti-lock Braking System): Many Super Glide models feature ABS, a safety system that prevents the wheels from locking up during braking. ABS helps maintain stability and control by modulating the brake pressure, reducing the risk of skidding and allowing the rider to maneuver more effectively in emergency situations.
- Saddlebags: Saddlebags are a popular accessory for the Super Glide, providing additional storage space for carrying essentials during longer rides. They come in various sizes and styles, allowing riders to customize their bike’s storage capacity while maintaining a cohesive aesthetic.
- Audio systems: Some Super Glide models offer optional audio systems, typically consisting of speakers and a head unit mounted on the handlebars or within the fairing. These audio systems allow riders to enjoy their favorite music or radio stations while on the road, enhancing the overall riding experience.
|Specification||Wide Glide||Super Glide|
|CC||1,746 cc||1,746 cc|
|RPM||5000 RPM||3000 RPM|
|Exhaust||Chrome, Tommy Gun 2-1-2 collector exhaust with dual mufflers.||Dual 2:1 Bootlegger Exhaust System|
|Seat height||26.8 inches||27.6 inches|
|Power||77.78 HP||65 HP|
|Top Speed||105.6 mph||105.6 mph|
|Length||95.7 inches||92.9 inches|
|Suspension||beefier front end with a wide triple clamp and a large 49mm front fork||narrower front end and a smaller front fork|
|Price||Approx. $ 17.000||Approx. $15.000|
|Price for Used||Varies: From $5.000||Varies: From $5.000|
Harley Davidson Wide Glide vs Super Glide – Detailed Comparison:
Design and Styling:
When it comes to design, both the Wide Glide and Super Glide exude classic Harley-Davidson aesthetics. However, they have distinctive styling cues that set them apart. The Wide Glide embraces a more aggressive and muscular appearance with its wide-set front end, thick forks, and chunky tires. It has a raked-out front end, giving it a low and mean stance. On the other hand, the Super Glide has a more traditional cruiser look. It features a slimmer front end and a sleeker profile. The Super Glide’s design is more streamlined and less flashy compared to the Wide Glide.
Engine and Performance:
Both the Wide Glide and Super Glide typically come equipped with Harley-Davidson’s Twin Cam 103 V-twin engine. The Twin Cam 103 has a displacement of 1,690cc (103 cubic inches), providing ample power and torque for cruising and highway riding. The Twin Cam 103 engine is typically air-cooled, which is a traditional cooling method used by Harley-Davidson motorcycles. This type of cooling helps maintain the classic aesthetic while delivering reliable performance. The engine follows the classic V-twin configuration with a 45-degree angle between the cylinders. This design is known for its distinctive Harley-Davidson rumble and character.
Power and Torque: The Twin Cam 103 engine delivers strong low-end torque, which is advantageous for easy acceleration and cruising at lower speeds. The exact power and torque outputs may vary depending on the specific model year and any modifications made to the bike.
Transmission: Both models generally feature a 6-speed transmission, allowing for smooth gear transitions and optimized power delivery across a wide range of speeds. The transmission may be operated using a manual foot shift lever.
Acceleration and Top Speed: The Wide Glide and Super Glide models equipped with the Twin Cam 103 engine offer solid acceleration and are capable of reaching highway speeds comfortably. The specific acceleration and top speed figures may depend on factors such as the rider’s weight, road conditions, and any modifications made to the motorcycle. Both have the same highest speed of 105.6 mph.
Comfort and Ergonomics:
Comfort is an essential factor to consider, especially for long rides. The Wide Glide offers a more laid-back riding position with its wide handlebars and forward foot controls. This configuration provides a relaxed riding posture and a commanding view of the road ahead. The spacious seat also offers good support for the rider and passenger, enhancing overall comfort.
The Super Glide, on the other hand, features a more neutral riding position with mid-mounted foot controls and a comfortable seat. This setup offers a balance between comfort and control, allowing riders to enjoy extended journeys without excessive fatigue.
Suspension: The Wide Glide generally features a beefier front end with a wide triple clamp and a large 49mm front fork, providing a substantial presence and enhanced stability. The Super Glide traditionally comes with a narrower front end and a smaller front fork.
Handlebars: The Wide Glide is known for its ape-hanger style handlebars, offering a high riding position and a more aggressive riding stance. The Super Glide typically comes with mid-rise or mini-ape handlebars, providing a more relaxed riding position.
Foot Controls: The Wide Glide usually features forward-mounted foot controls, extending the rider’s legs forward and creating a stretched-out riding position. The Super Glide, on the other hand, typically has mid-mounted foot controls, resulting in a more neutral foot position.
Seat: The quality of the bike seat is crucial for riders as it directly impacts their comfort and overall experience. If the seat doesn’t provide proper support and comfort, it can lead to uncertainty about whether the bike is the right choice. This becomes even more important during long rides where a comfortable seat is necessary to prevent back pain, discomfort, and fatigue. In this particular scenario, the Wide Glide is better. It features a larger seat that offers enhanced comfort during extended tours. Choosing this Dyna bike not only ensures a luxurious ride but also provides a smoother experience overall.
Technology and Features:
- Instruments: Both the Wide Glide and Super Glide typically feature a classic analog gauge cluster that includes a speedometer, odometer, tachometer, and various indicator lights. Newer models may also include additional features such as a fuel gauge and trip meter.
- Lighting: Both models typically come with traditional halogen headlights and incandescent bulbs for turn signals and taillights. However, newer models may incorporate LED lighting elements for improved visibility and aesthetics.
- Security System: Depending on the specific model and year, both the Wide Glide and Super Glide may offer Harley-Davidson’s factory-installed security system, which includes an electronic immobilizer and keyless ignition.
Tires and Brakes:
The Wide Glide and Super Glide are usually equipped with Dunlop tires. The specific tire sizes and models may vary depending on the model year and individual preferences. It’s important to refer to the owner’s manual or consult with a Harley-Davidson dealer for the recommended tire specifications.
Both models generally come with Harley-Davidson’s standard braking system, which includes a single disc brake at the front and rear. However, it’s worth noting that newer models or customized versions might have upgraded braking systems or optional ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) for enhanced safety and control.
Price is often a crucial factor when choosing a motorcycle. Generally, the Super Glide tends to be more affordable compared to the Wide Glide. The Wide Glide’s larger engine and additional features contribute to its higher price tag. However, prices can vary based on factors such as engine size, optional features, and regional variations.
Conclusion: Wide Glide vs Super Glide – Which one is better?
This comment below perfectly summarizes the battle:
Indeed, both the Wide Glide and Super Glide are exceptional models that deliver reliable performance. In my opinion, the primary distinction lies in their size. If you desire a larger bike with ample space, the Wide Glide is the way to go. On the other hand, if you seek a versatile bike that offers excellent value, the Super Glide might be the better option.
However, it’s worth mentioning that there are numerous riders who wholeheartedly embrace the Wide Glide’s 1970s chopper-inspired design, which adds a unique appeal to the model.
It’s important to note that neither of these models holds a dominant position in terms of raw performance. Ultimately, the choice boils down to personal preferences and priorities.
It may help to consult some of the owners of Harley Davidson Wide Glide and Super Glide. For example, the Reddit thread here discusses the differences from the point of view of the rider: