Ever since their introduction, I had been hoping for an opportunity ride one of the 2007 Harley-Davidson motorcycles. When Ken Stone, Sales Manager at Blue Springs Harley-Davidson , offered to make one available for a test ride article, my acceptance was immediate and enthusiastic. I was eager to experience the performance improvement resulting from the new Twin Cam 96 engine coupled with the 6-speed transmission introduced on the Dyna models last year and standard on all of Harley’s big twin bikes for 2007. I selected a Dyna Wide-Glide to facilitate some side-by-side comparisons with my Twin Cam 88 equipped 2000 FXDWG. Arrangements were made for Mike Schweder, Cycle Connections’ Editor-in-Chief, to participate in the evaluation and for Dave Miller to shoot photos.
We were fortunate to have really nice Missouri weather on the Saturday scheduled for the ride. When Mike and I arrived at Blue Springs Harley-Davidson, Ken had a beautiful suede blue Pearl/vivid black Dyna Wide Glide ready to go. As we walked around the bike, our attention was immediately drawn to the new 96 cubic-inch mill. It’s really a brand new motor, not just an update of the Twin Cam 88. There are more than 700 new part numbers associated with the TC96, and the only unchanged areas are the cylinders, rocker arms, rocker boxes, and components in the top section of the engine. The displacement increase from 1450cc to 1584cc was accomplished by increasing the stroke from 4.00 inches to 4.38 inches without changing the 3.75-inch bore. At 3,500 rpm, the new motor produces up to 93 ft. lbs. of peak torque compared to up to 82 ft. lbs. generated by the TC88. The crankcase has been redesigned with the starter now bolted directly to the inner primary housing, eliminating the need for a starter jackshaft. Internal oil passages between the motor and tranny replace external oil lines and fittings for a cleaner look. Pistons and connecting rods are lighter resulting in reduced reciprocating mass and less vibration. Several modifications in camshaft design increase engine durability and decrease noise.
All of the new Harleys are equipped with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection. New injector nozzles improve fuel atomization and spray and deliver improved fuel economy while reducing exhaust emissions. A new oil pump assembly provides a 10 percent increase in flow and 23 percent more scavenging capacity.
Every Harley Big Twin model now features the 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission that made its debut in the Dyna line for 2006. The main objective of the 6-speed tranny was the reduction of engine rpm at cruising speeds. However, that’s just the beginning of the improvements. Harley set out to tighten up gear ratios, ease shifting, and improve the “feel” of the transmission. For second through fourth, straight-cut gears were abandoned in favor of helical-cut gears. Steel “dog rings” replaced moving gears to actuate shifts reducing the rider’s effort required to change gears. Harley-Davidson engineers optimized gear ratios based on the increased torque of the TC96 motor in order to improve acceleration. Top gear engine rpm has been reduced by about 11 percent, from 3,227 to 2,859 rpm at 75 mph.
For the first part of our test ride, I rode the new bike and Mike rode mine. After a few miles at cruising speed on Interstate 70, we stopped and switched places for the return trip. Then we headed for Fleming Park where we could see how the bikes performed on the winding, hilly roads around Lake Jacomo. My observations are reported in the next paragraph, and Mike's follow.
I immediately noticed a difference in seating position. The seat height is not quite two inches higher on the new bike, and the front pegs are a couple of inches lower. Since I have short legs, I thought the 2007 FXDWG was a bit less comfortable when stopped, but more comfortable while rolling. The reduction in clutch effort felt good. The difference in torque was amazing, as was the reduction in rpm in top gear. Long trips at interstate speeds will definitely be less tiring and more economical with the new engine and transmission. The front forks and overall frame were beefed up starting with the 2006 FXDWG resulting in a more solid feel while negotiating curves. I really liked the appearance of the new Wide Glide. The thicker mini ape hanger handlebars with internal electrical wiring, wide 49mm front forks, stretched gas tank, bullet style turn signals, wider rear fender, and the 160mm rear tire are all improvements introduced between the 2000 and 2007 model years. This year, the passenger backrest is gone, adding to the sleek look. I prefer having the backrest, particularly when packing for a trip and needing a support for my T-bag. Harley has a thick accessory catalog, so the addition of a backrest would not be difficult. It was certainly interesting to see how progressive and innovative Harley-Davidson has been over the last eight model years. I’m very happy with my 2000 Wide Glide, but I would highly recommend the 2007 model to anyone shopping for a new scoot.
EDITOR’S COMMENTS: I currently ride a 1999 Fat Boy with an 80 cubic-inch Evolution engine, so when I approach cruising speed I’m always searching for another gear, which is never there. I’ve ridden to Daytona, Sturgis and all over the country, and the one thing I’ve always wished for more than anything else is another gear so I could, drop the RPMs, pick up speed and cruise on down the highway! I figured if I had another gear I might also be able to squeeze in a few more miles between fuel stops.
So when Stripe called and told me Ken Stone had invited us to take one of their new 2007 Harley-Davidson’s out for a road test I felt like a kid in a candy store! Ever since the new 2007 models came out I’d wanted to ride one just to see for myself how much torque the new Twin Cam 96 cubic-inch engine had and how well the new 6-speed transmission worked.
As Stripe already mentioned, we decided to test ride the new 2007 Wide Glide so we could compare the new model to his 2000 Wide Glide, which has a Twin Cam 88 cubic-inch engine. When both bikes were parked next to each other I noticed some obvious cosmetic changes. I really liked the larger front forks and the bullet style turn signals were very sleek. While standing behind the bikes the 2007 model had a much wider tire and fender, which was a huge improvement. I’ve always wondered why they put such narrow wheels and tires on Harleys. The only change I didn’t care for was the redesigned battery cover.
The first time I rode the 2007 model I was amazed at how easy the clutch was to operate. There was very little resistance, which made shifting a breeze, especially when combined with the new transmission. You would really appreciate this clutch when you're caught in heavy traffic or riding in a parade. When twisting the throttle there was a significant increase in torque and what I liked most was being able to shift into sixth gear and feel the RPMs drop as your speed continued to increase. Wow! To say I was impressed by the new 2007 model would be an understatement. Way to go Harley-Davidson!
The following is a list comparing data for the 2007 (bold) and 2000 Dyna Wide Glide. The information was obtained from Harley-Davidson literature.
Length (In.): 97.5 ... 94.5
Seat Height Unladen (In.): 28.5 ... 26.8
Ground Clearance (In.): 6.20 ... 5.38
Rate/Trail (Degrees/In.): 34.0/5.1... 32.0/5.1
Wheelbase (In): 68.3 ... 66.1
Dry Weight (Lbs.): 650.0 ... 612.0
Engine: Twin Cam 96 ... Twin Cam 88
Bore X Stroke (In.): 3.75 X 4.38 ... 3.75 X 4.00
Displacement (C.I./C.C.): 96.00/1584 ... 88.00/1450
Compression Ratio: 9.2:1 ... 8.9:1
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection ... Carburetor
Oil Capacity (U.S. Qt.): 3 ... 3
Fuel Capacity (U.S. Gal.): 5.1 ... 5.2
Gear Ratios (Overall):
First: 9.312 ... 10.110
Second: 6.421 ... 6.958
Third: 4.774 ... 4.953
Fourth: 3.926 ... 3.862
Fifth: 3.279 ... 3.150
Sixth: 2.790 ... None
Torque (Ft. Lbs. @ 3,500 R.P.M.): 93.0 ... 82.0
Brakes, Dia. X W. (In. Front/In. Rear): 11.8 X .20/11.5 X .23 ... 11.5 X .20/11.5 X .23
Wheels: Laced 21-inch front, 17-inch rear ... Laced 21-inch front, 16-inch rear
Miles Per Gallon: 53 hwy, 34 city ... 50 hwy, 42 city
Lean Angles (Right/Left): 32 degrees/35 degrees ... 31 degrees/32 degrees
NOTE: When viewing the comparative photos, it is important to remember that my 2000 Dyna Wide Glide has a number of added accessories while the 2007 is bone stock. My handlebars are 3 inches taller than stock and a bit wider with the front turn signal stems relocated to facilitate mounting of a detachable windshield. I replaced the mirrors, footrests, shift linkage, and tank panel and added chrome pieces here and there.
Bike review and photos by Stripe
and Mike Schweder
Additional photos by Dave Miller
Special thanks to Ken Stone and Blue Springs Harley-Davidson