There is a lot of friendly banter between Street Glide (bat) and Road Glide (shark) owners. Most people are partial to the bike they have and will turn a blind eye to whatever pros they hear about the other bike. They have a clear favorite between the two bikes and some either love or hate one or the other, no matter if their shoulders get tired after a long ride or if they get shifted on the roads on a windy day.
I owned a Street Glide for a very brief time before I discovered that I like the Road Glide better. The batwing fairing mounted on the front end made it heavy for me in high winds, to make U-turns, or to maneuver around in a parking lot.
I must admit a few years ago, I always thought the Road Glide was ugly with the previous two-head lighted style fairing, but the newer, more shark-nosed Rushmore fairing is bad ass!
I asked Frank Nusser who owns a Street Glide why he likes his bat, “I like the classic and clean look of the batwing. I enjoy how it feels on the open road and have had no problems with wind. It is a motorcycle; the wind is why I ride. The controls are closer for me to reach and see as well. I feel comfortable and in total control with my batwing.”
Kirk Woodward who has a Street Glide but recently bought a Road Glide said, “with one long day in the wind and as advertised, there is a huge difference in how the Shark handles wind with the fatigue factor going way down compared to my Bat.” He continued by saying, “there are many other things I love about the Shark, but most of those I attribute to the fact that it is brand new and Harley has made a lot of improvements in handling, so much so that this bike almost rides itself and inspires tremendous confidence.”
Hayden James was involved in an accident with his Road Glide earlier this year. He re-capped about what happened, “I slid the bike low side to avoid hitting the trailer. The bike laid down exceptionally smooth for doing 45ish miles an hour. It was not until after the accident, I found out the tires caught traction on the road, and the bike did a barrel roll through the air. The windshield and passenger seat backrest hit the pavement, the bike continued the roll, landed on its right side, and slid 50 feet. All things considered it is mostly cosmetic from sliding, scratched bags, fairing, and bent crash bar. Having gone completely airborne then hitting the ground, I am really impressed. If it were not for the bent crash bars, road rash on the bags, and the broken windshield, you almost wouldn’t be able to tell it was in an accident.”
I asked Ed Collins, a fellow shark owner what his thoughts were on this topic and he said, “Let’s be honest the bat is a creature known for its unique, mysterious, and exceptional style, which can very well be used to describe the Harley Davidson batwing (Street Glide) arguably the most stylish designed motorcycle ever conceived. The shark on the other hand is designed for the long haul, decreasing rider fatigue by taking pressure of prolonged exposure to wind and buffeting from riders’ arms and shoulders and distributed into the frame of the bike.”
All in all, both models have some amazing technology packed into the fairing with the Infotainment systems, touchscreens, speakers, and gauges. We cannot forget the new Milwaukee Eight engine found in all the 2017+ touring models.
So, which one is better? I feel you would have to ride them both to determine that and everyone has a style and preference of their own.