A blue 2024 Harley-Davidson Road Glide is shown parked at a Harley-Davidson dealer.

Is the 2024 Harley-Davidson Road Glide the Ultimate Touring Bike?

When you’re looking to get out on the open highway, not just any touring motorcycle will do. You need the right engine to cruise or show a little muscle, the right seat designed to sit for hours, and the right storage for all your gear. Not only that, but you also need a motorcycle that has a true touring bike soul.

The new 2024 Harley-Davidson Road Glide is such a machine. Part touring bike, part cruiser, and all Harley-Davidson, this flagship bike from the brand’s Grand American Touring lineup is made to explore what the world has to offer. Nearly half a century after its ancestors first hit the roads, the 2024 Road Glide remains a popular option at any Harley-Davidson dealer, especially among bikers who like having a ride they can customize for a unique experience.

Is it the ultimate touring bike? That’s a strong question, but we don’t ask it lightly. After all, Harley-Davidson is a touring leader, and the Road Glide is one of its leading motorcycles. Let’s get under the fairing of the redesigned 2024 Road Glide to see what it offers. While we’re there, we’ll compare it to a few touring bike competitors and see how it truly stacks up.

Building on a Legacy

First, a little history on how the Harley-Davidson Road Glide came to be. The story goes back to the 1980 model year when Harley-Davidson introduced the Tour Glide. Among other things, it was the brand’s first motorcycle with a five-speed transmission, and the Shovelhead engine had three-point rubber mounts to reduce frame vibration. Future upgrades included the Evolution engine in 1984, an electronic ignition, a lower seat, high-performance brake calipers, and luggage locks, making the Tour Glide the undisputed touring bike leader of its time.

After a nearly two-decade run, the Harley-Davidson Tour Glide was discontinued in 1996. Just two years later, though, its offspring arrived in the form of the Road Glide. Originally built on the same platform as the Tour Glide, the past quarter century has seen the Road Glide take on an identity of its own. Now, with the redesigned 2024 Road Glide, you have the latest edition of a proven bagger name.

The Latest V-Twin Power

Now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of what makes the 2024 Harley-Davidson Road Glide great. The baseline for the series is the 2024 Road Glide Limited, which has not been changed since last year and is anything but limited in terms of performance. This bike uses the Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-Twin engine, displacing 1868 cc. That’s enough for 93 hp and 122 lb-ft of torque. This is the same engine the base Road Glide used last year, but the 2024 redesign brought much more power.

The standard Road Glide now uses the Milwaukee-Eight 117. This 1917 cc engine, combined with liquid-cooled cylinder heads and a 2-1-2 dual exhaust and tapered mufflers, is good for 105 hp and 130 lb-ft of torque in stock configuration. Admittedly, this isn’t quite as brutish as some of the Road Glide’s rival baggers. The latest Indian Challenger, for example, has 122 hp and 128 lb-ft of torque, while the BMW K 1600 B is clocking in at a whopping 160 horsepower.

But for a mid-level rider or someone who isn’t concerned with zipping past everyone in sight, the Road Glide will be plenty powerful, especially considering that the Milwaukee-Eight 117 is also known for an exhaust rumble that screams Harley-Davidson. If you need a heavier dose of power, there’s the 2024 CVO Road Glide ST with the Milwaukee-Eight 121 High Output. This steps things up to 127 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque without adding any weight for better responsiveness.

A close-up on the handle of a black 2024 Harley-Davidson Road Glide is shown.

An Ultra-Comfortable Ride

Of course, when you’re riding all day (and part of the night), the most important thing is that your touring bike should be comfortable. All the power in the world won’t mean much if your back hurts an hour into a planned six-hour trip. Interestingly, the engine design is part of what makes this beast so cozy. It has a lower profile than previous Harley engines, providing more legroom to larger riders. The new Milwaukee-Eight 117 also has better heat management and vibration absorption, so you don’t end up in a hot, shaky mess.

The 2024 Road Glide also has a lower 26.6-inch seat height. Compare that to the Honda Gold Wing, which has a seat 29.3 inches off the ground, making it hard for many riders to touch the ground. The Road Glide also has everything else to enjoy a ride, including forward floorboards, a hand-adjustable rear suspension, and a triple-vented fairing for better ventilation. Swept-back handlebars keep you in a relaxed, upright position. Beyond the stock saddlebags, you can add luggage racks, a bigger fairing, and other accessories for the most ergonomic and practical touring bike yet.

Classic Style and Cutting-Edge Tech

There’s no mistaking the look of a Harley-Davidson Road Glide. From the iconic shark-nose fairing to its sleek enclosed saddlebags and contrast-cut aluminum wheels, the Road Glide has all the trappings of a retro grand touring motorcycle. At the same time, it unmistakably projects power. This is most noticeable in the engine design, which can best be described as looking like a bodybuilder ready to bust out of his shirt.

Beneath these swaggy looks are the added features you need for a fun, safe trip. Harley-Davidson has outfitted the 2024 Road Glide with a new Skyline infotainment system featuring a standard 12.3-inch full-color touchscreen, the largest in its class (the Indian Challenger still uses a seven-inch screen). A pair of 5.25-inch speakers put out 100 total watts of ear-bending sound, and you can use wireless Apple CarPlay or USB-C inputs for a custom playlist.

When it comes to rider safety, anti-lock brakes and all-LED lighting are standard. Unlike the Indian Challenger, you also get electronic linked braking (ELB), which applies braking power to both wheels, regardless of whether the front brake lever or rear brake pedal is applied. This produces faster, more stable stopping. For 2024, Harley-Davidson also added a standard Cornering Enhanced Anti-Lock Brake System, Cornering Enhanced Traction Control System, Cornering Drag-Torque Slip Control System, and much more, making it feel like you’re riding on rails.

A blue 2024 Harley-Davidson Road Glide is shown at a side angle while parked.

What Something More? Try a Special Edition Road Glide

As we’ve touched on, one of the reasons the Road Glide succeeds is that you can personalize it to your riding preferences, such as removing the saddlebags and crash bars. Harley-Davidson can add plenty more bells and whistles, too. We’ve already mentioned the CVO Road Glide ST sport touring bike with its bigger engine and raised suspension, and the Road Glide Limited, which has added cargo capacity and comfort.

Do you want to truly go all-out? The 2024 CVO Road Glide is the most advanced Road Glide yet. It’s armed with a Milwaukee-Eight VVT 121 engine that deals 115 hp, yet somehow gets better fuel mileage than the stock trim. Customizable ride modes, a Rockford Fosgate audio system, Brembo brakes, Showa forks, and a high-flow exhaust are some of the other ways the CVO Road Glide is the best around.

A Touring Bike for the Modern Rider

Serious motorcycle touring has demands unlike any other type of riding. It’s a case where you need a little bit of everything and require comfort and ergonomics above all else. The 2024 Road Glide shows again why it’s been at the head of the touring motorcycle class. It is ultra-comfortable, powerful enough to make a statement, and customizable in your garage or from the factory at an affordable price. Just talking about it makes us want to hop on and experience the ultimate touring bike.