The Harley Davidson Street Glide first hit the market in 2006 and was an instant hit.
The Street Glide is a hard-bag-and-fairing equipped touring bike with an air-cooled, four-stroke Big-Twin Engine, all fashioned into a beefy Harley-cruiser package.
It’s much more American-looking than the Japanese and European tourers that came before it.
This article digs into the most common problems with the Harley-Davidson Street Glide.
Table of Contents
1. Faulty Display Screen
One of the issues Street Glide owners report is the display screen going black or flickering and changing screens sporadically while riding.
“I have a 2021 Street Glide–yes, it has a warranty, but the dealer couldn’t find the issue when it was there… the infotainment screen goes black. And now the issue is back five days later. The gauges won’t work; the fuel pump will prime, but nothing happens. If I tap the handlebars, everything starts to light up, and if I tap them long enough while trying to start the bike, it will fire up bike has stock bars.”
In this situation, the culprit seemed to be a loose connection in the bike’s wiring harness.
The Street Glide owner mentioned that they had a sound system upgrade installed recently.
Sometimes, even the dealership technicians make errors during accessory installations.
- The Street Glide‘s fairing includes a complex infotainment suite with a 5” screen and dynamic display.
- The display screen lets riders cycle through vehicle stats, trip info, navigation maps, music selection, and settings.
- The complex fairing also includes multiple lights and instrument gauges, all of which integrate into an elaborate wiring harness regulated by a CPU.
If your HD Street Glide has a faulty connection in its fairing, light system, or handlebar controls, its Infotainment display screen may turn black or act erratically while riding.
Here’s a description of the problem from two other real-life Street Glide owners.
“My ‘21 Street Glide been acting funky on the screen. It flips through all pages really fast. Then I shut the bike off and reboot and carry on.”
“My screen will go black fuel pump will prime go to fire the bike and nothing. If I tap on the handlebars, the screen will come back on, and the bike will fire up and stay rubbing from the vibration of the bike.”
2. Fuel Pump Brakes Easily
One of the problems Street Glide owners commonly report is the fuel pump’s tendency to fail, causing starting issues and stall outs.
As the following Street glide owner explains, the first symptom of a failing fuel pump on a street glide is typically the same as running out of gas, except you still have half a tank.
“I have a 2010 street glide, and yesterday started having problems starting the bike after riding for a while and turning it off. It would turn over but not start, we happened to be at a gas station, and there was still about a half tank in it, but I filled it up, and it started fine. We rode for a few hours and stopped multiple times, and the bike started fine and ran fine, and then we took a break and wouldn’t start again, and it was down to about half a tank of gas again.”
- The Street Glide Fuel Pump’s regulator shell tends to crack.
- Once the shell has been compromised, the airflow through the crack causes an intermittent drop in fuel pressure.
- In some cases, a break as small as a pinhole can be enough to cause pressure loss inside the fuel tank.
- A loss or drop in fuel pressure can cause a no-start condition.
- In the situation described by the rider above, the fuel level goes down and exposes the cracked shell to the air. Once the hole is no longer submerged in fuel, the air changes the fuel pressure, causing the Street Glide to stall.
“The pin holes in the hoses are so small you cannot easily see them. The only way to make sure is to put some pressure into the lines when full. What I did was install a 2-foot length of hose on the output port, fill my mouth with water, and force it into the tube. Pinhole located.”
The shell is the fuel pump part in which the pressure regulator and fuel filter are installed.
The fuel filter goes into one end of the shell, and the regulator rests underneath the other side.
If you’re here because you’re experiencing fuel pump failure on a Street Glide, inquire about the shell warranty if you get the replacement parts from a Harley shop.
If there were a safety recall on your year model Street Glide, Harley would fix it under warranty forever, even if you aren’t the original owner.
3. Clutch Failure
Harley Street glides have experienced various clutch failures on and off for years. Harley still uses the old-school chain-driven primary concept in most of their motorcycles – chain drives wear out the transmission and clutch components much quicker than the shaft drives and gear-driven primaries used by many modern competitors.
Furthermore, 2014 Street Glide models were on the long list of Harley fitted with a faulty clutch master cylinder component that year.
The faulty clutch master cylinder failed to hold the pressure required to keep the clutch disengaged when the rider pulled on the clutch lever.
“My 2014 Street Glide has a little over 600 miles, and today I noticed some strange sounds coming from the clutch while pulling it in when shifting or standing still. I hear a slight clicking or scraping sound while holding the clutch. It’s not loud, but it’s there. I also have a very hard time finding neutral on this bike.”
In severe cases, the clutch slips into re-engagement at a difficult time, causing the motorcycle to lurch forward and fall over or crash into a fence or wall.
2017 and 2018 Street Glides were commonly affected with a similar issue; this time, the faulty clutch master cylinders were leaking hydraulic clutch fluid.
As the cylinder drains itself of its fluid, the clutch lines lose the pressure needed to disengage the clutch, causing the same hazardous situations described above.
4. Weak Brakes/Brake Failure
Harley-Davidson Street-Glide owners often report dissatisfaction with their Street Glides brakes, especially considering the bike’s weight and high center of gravity. Some riders upgrade their brakes with a better system, frustrated that they didn’t get higher-quality ones on a motorcycle that costs almost $30k.
“Having replaced the front [brake] cartridges and rear [brake] units with Ohlins, the ride quality is much better but shows up the frame for its deficiencies.”
In fact, so many Street Glide owners experienced problems with their bike brakes that Harley eventually issued a massive recall on Street Glides manufactured between 2008 and 2011.
That said, the fault wasn’t totally HDs this time around.
- According to Harley-Davidson, the Street Glide’s ABS fluids must be flushed at least once every two years, regardless of how many miles the bike has been ridden.
- And while this information is outlined in the service manual, many Street Glide owners refer to the mileage reading as their Maintenance guide, missing the instructions regarding the two-year shelf life of the brake fluid.
- After two years, the ABS brake fluid starts to clump up with deposits.
- These deposits interfere with the brake’s hydraulic functioning, leading to weak braking, malfunctions, or even total brake failure.
Even though brake-fluid-flushes are part of routine maintenance, HD dealerships will flush the brake fluids on any affected Street Glide for free and replace it with a higher quality brake fluid that won’t degrade so severely even after its expiration.
More than a few riders blame the poor brake performance on the Street Glide’s brake calipers’ weak design, saying their disapproval of its stopping power has nothing to do with the fluid issue.
“… a ton of money to pay for an engineering nightmare of a problem. Reading about issues like that makes me think I have already bought my last HD bike. I am having severe issues with my rear brakes, and I cannot get over how they are designed. The caliper can flop around when you take the pads out. Really? “
5. Faulty Oil Pump
One of the most common problems frustrating owners of 2017-2019 Street Glides is oil sumping.
Oil sumping is where oil builds up in the crankcase and cam gearbox instead of returning to the oil reservoir.
The general cause of the sumping issue on the Street Glide’s engine was believed to be a faulty stock oil pump, though I was unable to confirm if Harley ever acknowledged the problem with an official recall.
Once the oil gets stuck in the crankcase and cam gearbox, the oil supply in the reservoir dwindles, increasing the metal-on-metal friction and overheating elsewhere in the engine.
Harley-Davidson redesigned the primary chain case on the 2020 Street Glide to have vents for oil draining and upgraded the oil pump design to reduce the sumping.
They install these ventilated primary chain cases on older models to alleviate the sumping.
“My 2018 had the [oil sump] issue. Checked the tranny fluid, and [it was] bone dry. I loosened the primary cover, and [oil] poured out. Have 20K on the bike. I took it to my shop, installed an oversized rod and vents, and haven’t had the problem since.”
Some HD owners report that installing the primary case upgrade on the older models doesn’t always fix the sumping.
“16000 KM on [my Harley]. I did the oil change last week and had no oil showing on the tranny dipstick. I leveled the bike pulled off the primary cover, and oil poured out.
I showed the pictures to the Harley shop manager, whose response was, ‘What, the vent kit is supposed to fix this.’ They did nothing else because I already had the ‘Fix.’”
Pros and Cons
- Long Lasting Engine
- Lots of Customization Upgrades
- Harley makes Replacement Parts for All Year Models
- Signature Harley-Davidson Style, Sound, and V-Twin rumble
- Hard Bags
- Stacked Infotainment System
- Tough and well-lit front fairing
- Hard bags
- Fun to ride
- Industry-Leading Harley-Davidson Warranty Coverage
- Hard-Body Touring Cases
- High Resale Value
- Low Insurance Cost
- Fuel Pump Breaks Easily
- Faulty Display Screen
- Oil Sumping
- Clutch Failure
- Weak Brakes
- Suspension should be Better at the Price
What Do the Reviews Say?
The [Street Glide’s] M8 107CI [engine] is a great workhorse, with oodles of torque and a matched power delivery to equal relaxed motorway cruising along with satisfactory acceleration, given its all-up weight. Good economy, all considered (48mpg from new to date). Reliable with power where it’s needed, rather than the 114, which has more top-end power and is slightly at odds with its purpose.
Having replaced the front [brake] cartridges and rear [brake] units with Ohlins, the ride quality is much better but shows up the frame for its deficiencies. The front brake feels spongy but brings the bike, which is of considerable weight, to a halt without alarm. The ABS system is faultless.
“Other than not having heated grips as standard on this bike (It now is on new 2021 models), it’s got a wealth of kit as standard, which neither detracts nor enhances the bike as a purchase but is appreciated more when living with the bike. The standard Sound/Sat Nav/Media system is faultless and a great enhancement for long distances, but you have to create a ride on the Sat[ellite] Nav[igation] in order to get your performance readout. It would be nice if the system actually gave you a readout after or during every ride.”
What’s the Resale Value of a Harley-Davidson Street Glide?
What are Some Alternatives to the Harley-Davidson Street Glide?
|Harley-Davidson Street Glide||$21,499||38|
|Harley-Davidson Road Glide||$26,699||38|
|Honda Gold Wing||$23,800||38|