The Harley Davidson Street Glide is one of the most popular touring motorcycles in North America.
It’s an affordable, stripped-down version of the full-dressed Electra Glide, stocked with a chopped-down windscreen, no front fender trim, no Tour Pack, and its rear air-adjustable suspension is closer to the ground.
Its minimalist bagger vibe is stylish in town and makes sense for long trips, but can they withstand the test of time?
Read on to find out…
Here is the short answer to how long Harley-Davidson Street Glides last:
The Street Glide can last for well over 75,000 miles and often exceed 100,000 miles. They are a reliable, robust motorcycle choice provided they are ridden, maintained, stored, and serviced properly. Based on an annual mileage of 4,000 miles, a well-kept Street Glide can last over 18 years.
How Many Miles Can a Harley-Davidson Street Glide Last?
Street Glide owners who service their bikes per the maintenance schedule have clocked over 100,000 miles and counting, and this isn’t uncommon.
On used motorcycles site like Autotrader, you can even find models with over 120,000 miles.
However, this lifespan isn’t guaranteed and it requires responsible ownership to hit high numbers.
How long a Street Glide lasts is largely dependent on the owner and how they well look after their bike.
One of the most important factors is following the service schedule outlined in the owner’s manual – adherence to routine maintenance is critical.
Don’t be fooled into thinking a service consists of nothing more than an oil and filter change – Harley’s dealership mechanics hit a long, detailed checklist.
That’s not to say you’re incapable of wrenching on your own Street Glide – on the contrary.
A decent home mechanic can maintain their Street Glide, providing they use the maintenance and inspection checklist provided in the manual it came with.
- To be clear, when your service manual says “inspect and adjust as needed,” they mean more than just looking at each part.
- For example, inspecting, lubricating, and adjusting your clutch cable, and not just looking at it and calling it good, is vital to keep your bike in good working order.
Your riding style will also have a big impact on how long your Street Glide lasts – using smooth controlled acceleration can limit wear and tear on major engine components.
Those who are mindful of how they’re using their bike and not constantly pushing it to its limits are the ones whose bikes last the longest.
To ensure your Street Glide lasts as long as possible:
- Wash it regularly – this help keep dirt out the engine and prevents rust
- Protect it from the rain and sun – this will help preserve parts and the paintwork.
- Use smooth acceleration and braking – reduces wear and tear on parts
- Use ethanol free gas – helps reduce grime build up in the engine
- Ride it regularly – parts break down and fail much easier if they’ve been sat around for long periods of time.
What is Considered High Mileage for a Harley-Davidson Street Glide?
A Harley-Davidson Street Glide is considered high mileage after 40,000 miles by the used motorcycle market, but this has little bearing on the actual lifespan of the motorcycle – the used market assumes all Harleys are ridden hard and passed through the hands of multiple owners.
A low-mileage used Street Glide might be more expensive than a high-mileage one, but that doesn’t mean the previous owner took care of it or that it will last longer – low mileage could indicate that it was sat unused for extended periods.
A used Street Glide with a high mile reading on the odometer that was carefully maintained, ridden responsibly, and stored correctly will outlast a low-mile bike that sat outside in the rain and neglected.
When assessing a pre-owned Street Glide you should consider the following:
- Service records: Some owners are very meticulous and may have receipts and documented history of everything concerning their Street Glide and this is good evidence of a bike valued, appreciated, and cared for properly; regardless of the mileage.
- Check the VIN: Harley Davidsons have a high theft rate so you want to make sure you’re not looking over a stolen bike – you’ll need to physically check the numbers and make sure they haven’t been re-stamped.
- Assess the bikes overall condition: If you can see signs of neglect or repairs that have been left for a long time it can give you an idea of the type of owner your dealing with. Conversely, if the owner has all related receipts and you can detect attention to detail with the smaller points on the bike such as waxed paint, matching tires etc you know you’re headed in the right direction.
- Take it for a test ride: You’ll likely have to leave the money for the bike with the owner and maybe your drivers license – a test ride can highlight any major issues.
- Bring a checklist: Take a checklist with you of things to go over to make sure you dont’ forget anything. Familiarize yourself with the model beforehand and don’t be afraid to take your time or walk away from the sale.
High mileage doesn’t necessarily mean short life, but it almost always means a lower price.
What Are the Best Model Years to Buy and Avoid?
Best Year: 2014
When released, the 2014 Street Glide was the most significant product launch in the company’s history.
It came stock with a unique twin-cam mill that pushed 95.6 foot-pounds of peak torque power, compared to the 88.9 of its predecessor with horsepower peaking at 76 versus 69.4.
These bikes were noticeably more powerful.
2014 also introduced the hydraulic clutch, stiffer more lightweight wheels for better handling and Reflex-linked ABS brakes that dynamically optimize front/rear brake balance.
Another new feature was hand-adjustable suspension that you can easily tweak to suit the bike’s load thereby minimizing the effect of potholes, bumps, cornering and acceleration/deceleration forces.
Load = combined weight of the rider, passenger, riding gear, accessories and cargo.
If you’ve got the budget we’d also advise going for the most recent model as these feature all the latest updates.
Worst Years: 2018 Harley-Davidson Street Glide
Harley faced multiple recalls in 2017, including on the Street Glide. 2018 was set out to be their bounce-back year – unfortunately, similar factory production problems prevailed for Street Glides including a recall for a failing clutch.
Consumer Reports put the 2018 models at the bottom of the barrel, with riders complaining about:
- Failing Clutch
- Brake Problems
- Oil Pump Issues
- Gear Box Issues (related to the failing clutch)
You may also be interested in our article: Are Harley Davidsons Worth the Money?
What Usually Breaks First on a Harley-Davidson Street Glide?
Harley Street Gide Owners claim that the first thing to break on their Street Glides is the clutch. Harley’s use chain-driven transmissions. During motorcycle operation, the clutch uses a chain to spin the wheel. Over time, the chain wears the clutch drum into an oval shape.
All motorcycle clutches are prone to wear, but the Harley chain drives on the Street Glide wear earlier than shaft or gear-driven transmissions used by other brands.
Here are some symptoms of a failing clutch on a Harley Street Glide:
- Gear slippage and delayed engagement. We call gear slipping when the Street Glide speed doesn’t change, although the RPMS does.
- Difficulty shifting. Street Glide riders will find it hard to shift if their clutch is worn out. If the gears are stuck, you may not be able to change gears at all.
- Poor acceleration. On a Street Glide with a worn-out clutch, the rider will experience a drastic and noticeable dip in acceleration performance.
How Reliable Are Harley-Davidson Street Glides?
Street Glides are reliable motorcycles provided they’re properly maintained and recalls have been addressed. Many Street Glides were made unreliable by poor customization jobs either by their owners or non-Harley certified mechanics using aftermarket parts.
If you do a bit of digging on Harley forums you’ll find no shortage of praise for Street Glides and there are plenty of owners who have radically tuned these bikes in the right way and get great service and reliability out of them.
You can still find models from 2006 on the roads today which is a testament to their durability and there are reports from owners who have gone past 60,000 miles with no issues at all and still performing great.
There’s not a huge amount of statistical data to go by on these specific models regarding their reliability but what we do know is Harley has earned a somewhat unfair reputation for being unreliable.
This is rooted in Harley’s history – when their bikes first came out, owners had to carry out all their own maintenance which inevitably lead to more breakdowns.
Bloomberg reported that 70% of Harley’s built since the company’s 1903 launch are still on the road today.
This number is pretty impressive when you consider that Harley has sold over 2 million motorcycles over the last eight years.
Since its launch in 2006, the Street Glide has been one of Harley’s most popular bikes, meaning that a big chunk of motorcycles from that two million mark are Street Glides.
Reliability is also heavily dependent on how the bike is cared for, this includes storage, maintenance, riding style etc.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Harley Davidson’s Last?
Harley-Davidson Street Glide Maintenance Costs
The Maintenance cost of a Harley Davidson Street Glide is relatively average and comparable to that of other brands and models. Harley suggests servicing your Street Glide every 5,000 miles. The average price for a service is $400, putting the average maintenance cost of a Street Glide at $1600 a year.
Routine Maintenance Costs of a Harley Street Glide:
|Oil & Filter Change||$110-$160|
|Brake Pad Replacement||$200-$300|
Note: Maintenance costs vary by region.
There are other ownership costs to factor in besides maintenance, such as:
- Jacket = $200
- Gloves = $100
- Winter riding gear = $200-$500
- Rain gear = $75-$300
- Helmets = $100-$500
- Tires = $300-$500
- Fuel = $15 a tank
- Storage =$?
- Insurance =average cost of motorcycle insurance is $721
How Long Do Street Glide Brakes Last
Street Glide brake pads can be expected to last for 10,000-20,000 miles on average although this will vary greatly depending on your riding style.
Aggressive riding habits and poor road conditions can significantly shorten the lifespan of your brake pads.
They should be inspected every 2,500 miles to make sure they’re still safe and in good working order.
How Long Do Street Glide Tires Last?
A rear Harley Street Glide tire is expected to last around 9,000- 10,000 miles if ridden responsibly. A front tire is expected to last between 15,000 and 20,000 miles, however no Street Glide tire should be ridden after five years, regardless of bike mileage.
Tire longevity can vary greatly though depending on riding style and climate.
Check your tire pressure regularly, under-inflated tires can be detrimental due to:
- Decreased handling and riding precision
- Poor fuel economy
- Poor braking performance
Be sure to check out our article: Where Are Harley-Davidsons Made?
4 Tips to Make Sure Your Harley-Davidson Street Glide Lasts Long
Regular and proper cleaning, storage, and maintenance are vital to keeping your Street Glide alive for 100,000+ miles.
It’s also the key to having a smooth, fun, and safe ride, and as you’ll see on the list below, a Street Glide that’s ridden often is a happy, healthy Street Glide.
1) Keep your Harley Clean—Use Harley-Approved Cleaning Products
Keeping your Street Glide free of dirt and grime is a great way to extend its life span, but using corrosive cleaning chemicals will erode and corrode things. Be sure to use products designed to be used on any motorcycle and a Harley Davidson.
A few products you might use to clean your Street Glide:
- Wheel and tire cleaner
- Bug remover
2) Ride your Street Glide Often, Properly
A Street Glide that’s been sitting unused for an extended period is often full of old fluids that, once expired, can cause corrosion to your lines. Ride your bike not just often, but ride it responsibly:
- Avoid starting your Street Glide in the below-freezing temperatures
- Avoid idling your Street GLide for long periods in sweltering weather
- Avoid redlining your Street Glide
- Don’t stunt-ride your Street Glide
3) Follow Harley’s Suggested Schedule For Regular Service Maintenance
Your Street Glide should be serviced per the owner’s manual schedule, every 5,000 miles, and before storing it for long periods. A typical service entails:
- Oil and filter change
- Replace or clean air filter
- Refill fluids
- Inspect tire pressure and tread, replace when worn
- Check brake pads and lines
- Inspect and replace old batteries
- Grease chains
4) Store Your Bike Properly
Keep it away from UV rays, dirt, rain and moisture when not in use.
A good tarp is fine but indoors is preferable.
That said, take care not to store your precious Street Glide in the proximity of corrosive chemicals, as airborne chemicals can cause corrosion as well.