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A silver 2023 Harley-Davidson Street Glide is shown parked near a motorcycle.

Going the Extra Mile to Build Rider Confidence: Harley-Davidson Rider Safety Enhancements

The 2023 Harley-Davidson Street Glide is one of the most iconic touring bikes in the industry, and a cornerstone in the Grand American Touring lineup. The Street Glide, like every Harley-Davidson powerhouse, appeals to riders that appreciate the soul-satisfying rumble of a Milwaukee V-Twin engine. Who doesn’t pause at the signature “potato, potato, potato” rumble when a Harley-Davidson road hog is nearby?

With the 2023 Street Glide, you get even more than this rumble. You’re in the saddle of a custom bagger with the heart of a road warrior. It’s a hot rod on two wheels, but Harley-Davidson strips it down and gives you more opportunities to customize the Street Glide to your needs. While many immediately associate color options and the signature chrome that defines the Harley-Davidson lineup, the Street Glide offers even more in terms of rider safety and how the bike handles. It’s what Harley-Davidson calls “Rider Safety Enhancements,” a suite of technologies formerly known as the Reflex Defensive Rider System.

Rider Safety Enhancements sounds far less intimidating than its previous name, but what’s so remarkable about this system? Sure, it gives you the option to add antilock brakes and a tire pressure monitoring system, but there are several other critical technologies worth considering. Here’s a closer look at those features and how they dramatically improve your confidence in the saddle of a powerhouse like the Street Glide.

A silver 2023 Harley-Davidson Street Glide is shown riding on a road.

Rider Safety Enhancements: Purpose-Engineered Tools

As riders, we’re incredibly vulnerable in the saddle, with nothing shielding us from traffic or debris beyond a windshield and our gear. This vulnerability creates heightened situational awareness, putting us on constant alert as we monitor our surroundings. As you sit at a red light, you’re looking at every driver to see who’s paying attention long enough to stop. On the highway, you’re searching for the safest route to give you an opening and prevent you from getting locked in between vehicles. It’s vigilance to the umpteenth degree.

While this situational awareness is necessary, Harley-Davidson does everything possible to give riders more confidence in the saddle for unexpected situations or dicey road conditions. This confidence is available on the Street Glide via the Rider Safety Enhancements. The suite, which was first introduced in 2020, has since become optional on the Grand American Touring lineup and reflects the efforts of Harley-Davidson to heighten rider safety and assist riders of all skill levels.

Antilock Brakes and Electronically Linked Brakes

Harley-Davidson gives you the option to customize the 2023 Street Glide with various Rider Safety Enhancement tools. These technologies start with the basics, like anti-lock brakes, electronically linked braking, and a tire pressure monitoring system. Riders know the significance of anti-lock brakes when braking aggressively in urgent situations, as the technology prevents the wheels from locking up, resulting in a skid and loss of control.

Moreover, we appreciate the smoothness of electronically linked brakes. This means that whether you pull the hand lever to apply the front brake or use your foot to engage the rear brake, both brakes will be applied. This technology has been around on other bikes for years, and it’s great to see it applied to a Harley-Davidson.

But the real interest is in other tools, like Vehicle Hold Control and corner-specific technologies that offer next-level confidence, and differentiate Grand American Touring bikes like the Street Glide from its rivals.

A person is shown sitting on a silver 2023 Harley-Davidson Street Glide.

Vehicle Hold Control

My mom tells the story of learning to drive a manual transmission car, and rolling backward on a hill as she frantically learned the balance of navigating the clutch, brake, and accelerator in the correct order. It’s the same premise on a motorcycle, but instead of a high-strength steel frame around you, rolling backward on a bike can quickly put you in harm’s way. That’s where tools like Vehicle Hold Control come into play.

Vehicle Hold Control minimizes the risk of the Street Glide rolling back on a hill after stopping by keeping pressure on the brake. It’s a situation most riders fear, but it’s easily mitigated with tools like Vehicle Hold Control. The technology streamlines the “dance” or the balance you need between the clutch, throttle, and brakes. While it’s possible to hold, then release the rear brake pedal while operating the throttle and clutch with your hands, it’s a delicate balance, especially on a bike as large as a Street Glide. With Vehicle Hold Control, instead of worrying about the brakes you can focus on the clutch and throttle alone. More importantly, the tool is simple to engage by applying extra pressure to the front or rear brake in any condition.

Cornering Enhanced Electronic Linked Braking and Antilock Braking System

The tires on a motorcycle are typically different sizes, with the 2023 Street Glide riding on a Dunlop 130/60 B19 in the front and a Dunlop 180/55 B18 at the back. The slightly different sizes mean the tires rotate at different speeds when turning, which also affects the traction patch on the tire or the area that grips the road. The Cornering Enhanced tools in the Rider Safety Enhancements suite account for this difference and heighten how bikes like the Street Glide perform when turning.

Cornering Enhanced Electronic Linked Braking applies the same methodology as standard electronically linked brake by working together whether you engage the hand lever or rear brake pedal. However, the system is more responsive and does a better job of balancing the front and rear brakes by tailoring the linking to the rider’s brake input based on the lean angle of the Street Glide. As a result, there’s an ideal proportion of brake pressure between the front and rear brakes to help the rider maintain control. The Cornering Enhanced Antilock Braking System adopts a similar approach, considering the lean angle as it actively prevents the wheels from locking up when braking in urgent situations.

A white 2023 Harley-Davidson Street Glide is shown riding on a highway.

Cornering Enhanced Traction Control System

A traction control system is straightforward. It optimizes the tire’s grip with the road to help you maintain control without spinning the wheel under too much power. However, Harley-Davidson takes this technology further with its Cornering Enhanced version that accounts for the bike’s lean angle and gives riders more control over when and how the feature works. For example, you can switch between Standard and Rain Mode, or turn the system completely off, depending on the conditions.

Cornering Enhanced Drag-Torque Slip Control System

As you’re riding, you may notice the rear wheel of your bike slips when you slow down and abruptly shift gears. It’s especially common when traveling in slippery or wet conditions, but it doesn’t have to be with tools like the optional Cornering Enhanced Drag-Torque Slip Control System. This technology monitors for wheel slippage as you decelerate and automatically adjusts how the Milwaukee V-Twin engine distributes torque, matching that delivery based on the wheel’s performance, the bike’s speed, and its lean angle to avoid tire slippage.

a white 2023 Harley-Davidson Street Glide is shown parked near a garage.

Engineering Confidence in the Saddle

Harley-Davidson doesn’t settle for the status quo in any area, from the design of motorcycles like the Street Glide to the innovative technologies available to riders. This is especially apparent in the Rider Safety Enhancements that let riders customize the level of confidence they want in the saddle. As a result, Harley-Davidson puts you in control, letting you add everything from antilock brakes and electronically linked brakes to a tire pressure monitoring system and Vehicle Hold Control. But even that isn’t enough for the American motorcycle pioneer.

Harley-Davidson offers a suite of Cornering Enhanced tools that account for one of the greatest joys of riding a motorcycle: riding the twisties. Riders aren’t always looking for the straightaways to push the envelope at highway speeds. Instead, they’re looking for winding backroads with hairpin curves that challenge their skills and send their adrenaline mile-high. For Street Glide riders, Harley-Davidson gives you the confidence to pursue the biggest thrills in the saddle courtesy of cornering-specific technologies working behind the scenes.

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