Harley-Davidson Trike Tri Glide Ultra


This was my first ride on any factory-built production trike and I must say I was impressed. The Harley-Davidson Trike Tri Glide Ultra is big and heavy and wide (obviously) and has the sweetest, rubber-mounted V-Twin, Twin-Cooled, Twin Cam, High Output, Fuel Injected 103 cu in motor. It also includes electric reverse to put complete control at the rider’s fingertips.


How much motorcycle can you fit on three wheels? One look at the Tri Glide motorcycle and you'll have your answer. The Harley trike is everything I love about the Harley-Davidson touring tradition and more. You get all the Harley features and improvements in one package. You also get the confidence of front and rear linked brakes with ABS, because, as sure as the Pope is Catholic, there are times when you need to slow down in a hurry - when the rear brake is applied the system also applies the front brake for maximum stopping power. However, the front brake is independent so you can use it without applying and brake to the rear, and no matter how good you are, this will give you more confidence. This all adds up to better kilometres and more comfort than a Lazy-Boy couch.


Trikes ride a little different to two-wheeled machines. But when they're done right, they have a joy of their own. Harley-Davidson engineers have done a sterling job with their Tri Glide, keeping you comfortable and connected to the road. The frame and chassis structure is engineered to specifically handle the steering forces and weight of a trike.


It’s obvious a lot of thought and design has gone into building the Tri Glide (as with any Harley), everything is made to make riding better, safer, faster, brighter, more comfortable and just plain more enjoyable. Before I climbed aboard the Harley three-wheeler I had my reservations, but after riding back to the office (the long way around from Pretoria Harley-Davidson) I wished I’d fetched the bike from the Cape Town dealership, it was so lekker to ride, not intimidating at all.


The big three-wheeler comes with a pair of P205/65R15 Dunlops on the rear axle and a MT90B16 Dunlop up front. I was expecting a slightly difficult ride, especially in corners, but as per true H-D tradition, the Tri Glide was a breeze, thanks to years of testing and adapting the geometry by the Harley-Davidson research and development team.


Once you get into the plush saddle and get to grips with the trike it all makes sense - the style, the build quality, the class, the power and, oh boy… the ride! I probably will never be able to afford one of these (unless I win a big Lotto), because if I had to buy a Harley trike it would definitely be my third or fourth machine, behind maybe a new Breakout, a Night Rod Special and a Road King Classic, because ultimately, although I love the Tri Glide, I still prefer two wheels to three… and that would only be in my “Harley Garage”.


Words and photos by Kenn Slater


Thanks to Great Than, Pretoria H-D and Harley-Davidson SA for the ride.