I'm always a little nervous when Harley-Davidson takes a particular model out of its line-up that's 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 that's 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'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. That's 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. I've never been a fan of this riding style with my arms and legs outstretched before me. Yesterday's 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 Glide's profile has, what I'd 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 don't 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'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 I'd 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 I've 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. I've never experienced any front-end wobble, or uncertainty on the Wide Glide, nor on any of the Dynas or Softails I've 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-Davidson's other bikes with the same Twin Cam 96 cubic inch engine. Harley's 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. It's also one of Harley's 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. I've 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 didn't 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 Harley's 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'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'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 it's called Tommy Gun.
While I'm 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 I'm using it in this article.) Harley's 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. I'm waiting to see who's the first one to replace the drag bars with apes though?
Specs At A Glance: 2010 Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide (FXDWG)
Still grinning after a great day of riding the Wide Glide.
Seat Height: 25.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.7 gallons
Weight: 665 pounds
Price: Starts at $14,499
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.