By Bryan Harley, Cruiser Editor

The Road Glide is back

UPDATE Aug. 25, 2014: Since posting this 2015 Road Glide first look, MotoUSA Cruiser Editor Bryan Harley was able to sample the 2015 Road Glide while covering the Sturgis Rally. Read more in MotoUSA’s 2015 Harley-Davidson Road Glide First Ride Review.

It’s back! The Motor Company ruffled some feathers after it had seemingly discontinued its popular shark-nosed Road Glide bagger with the 2014 model year, but fret not, because Harley’s big cruiser has been given the Project Rushmore makeover and returns to the Harley lineup. The 2015 Harley-Davidson Road Glide and Road Glide Special are being revealed today at both the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, and the National Bikers Roundup (NBR) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We speculated its return was nigh after acquiring spy shots early in July. With its official release, we see most of our guestimates stated in the 2015 Harley Road Glide Spyshot article were right on target.

“Road Glide has always had an incredibly passionate following, which is why its return to the model lineup is exciting for our customers and our company,” said Matt Levatich, president and chief operating officer of Harley-Davidson Motor Company, in company PR.

With the Road Glide, its recipe for success wasn’t broken, so changes are subtle but deliberate. Extensive wind tunnel testing helped frame the shape of the new shark-nose fairing, the sides less angular and more aerodynamic. The center of the front fairing has been channeled in order to funnel air to the triple splitstream venting system, like the one on the Street Glide’s updated Batwing fairing. Our Editor said the splitstream venting “dramatically reduced helmet buffeting when we sampled the 2014 H-D Touring Rushmore lineup last summer.” The 2015 Road Glide also receives Dual Reflector Daymaker LED headlights.

Inside the frame-mounted fairing is an updated audio system. The Boom! Box 4.3 infotainment system features two amplified 25-watt speakers and a “Jukebox” media compartment with a USB connector. Riders control the system via twin joysticks on a new, swept-back handlebar. Said handlebar is not only closer to the rider than the previous bar, but its downward bend changes the angle of a rider’s wrists as well. The front end sees stiffer triple clamps and larger steering bearings on the 49mm fork to go along with a 19-inch Enforcer cast aluminum wheel.

As we surmised in the spy shot preview, the 2015 Harley Road Glide will be powered by the High Output Twin Cam 103 V-Twin. That means it’s a rubber-mounted, air-cooled 1690cc V-Twin with an integrated oil cooler. The High Output intake and dual 2-1-2 pipes help give it a claimed 5.7% boost in torque compared to the standard 103. Fueling will be controlled by Harley’s Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection while the standard 6-Speed Cruise Drive transmission will administer power to the rear.

The rear has air-adjustable rear suspension, the same pump system as before where the air valve is located between the saddlebag and rear fender. The 2015 Road Glide Special sees the addition of a convenient hand-adjustable knob. The hard, locking saddlebags have one-touch latches, and though volume wasn’t listed, the GTX saddlebags on the 2013 Road Glide Custom featured 2.6 gallons of storage. Saddlebag fascia keep the design clean, as does the usual high luster Harley paint.

While specifics about the brakes weren’t included in the initial press release, the 2013 Road Glide Custom sourced Brembo four-piston calipers front and back. The dual rotors on the 2015 Road Glide sport a slightly different design. We thought the 2015 Glide might come standard with the Reflex Linked Brakes released in 2014 with Project Rushmore, and while it is available, it is standard fare on the Road Glide Special.

2015 Road Glide Special

The 2015 Road Glide Special has a handful of notable upgrades, albeit for a price, as the Road Glide Special in Vivid Black costs $2,300 more than the 2015 Road Glide. For that sum you get the Reflex Linked Brakes with ABS and the convenient hand-adjustable rear suspension. The Road Glide Special is outfitted with the Boom! Box 6.5GT infotainment system, this one with a touch screen and GPS, in addition to the H-D Smart Security System with a proximity-based key fob.

The other differences are in the styling department; the 2015 Road Glide Special received a painted inner fairing and hand-applied pinstriping.

The 2015 Road Glide will be unveiled Aug. 1, 2014, at the Tin Lizzie Casino in Deadwood before parading down Main Street Sturgis this evening. Harley says the public will have an opportunity to see and test-ride the new 2015 Road Glide and Road Glide Special at Harley-Davidson locations in Sturgis Aug. 2-9 and in Tulsa on Aug. 2. The motorcycles will arrive in authorized Harley-Davidson dealerships on Aug. 26. The 2015 Road Glide in Vivid Black has an MSRP of $20,899 while a solid color lists for $21,399. The 2015 Road Glide Special in Vivid Black starts at $23,199 while a color version has a $23,699 sticker price.