Devastating Road Glide Problems: A Comprehensive Guide

Last Updated on January 9, 2024 by Pittalks

As a motorcycle enthusiast, you might agree that there’s no sweeter symphony than the roar of a Harley-Davidson Road Glide. This iconic vehicle embodies the spirit of adventure and freedom, a symbol of the open road. However, like any mechanical wonder, it’s not immune to occasional hiccups. In this guide, we delve into the most common Road Glide issues, their likely culprits, and how best to address them.

Problems Encountered by Road Glide Owners

Here's a red and black example of a Road Glide with a Milwaukee Eight engine.

To provide a more comprehensive understanding, let’s delve deeper into the common problems faced by Road Glide owners. For instance, the oil leak issue in the 2012 Road Glide Custom is often traced back to worn-out gaskets or improper sealant application. Similarly, the throttle issues in the 2015 model are not just limited to post-handlebar change scenarios; they can also arise from software glitches in the throttle-by-wire system. Understanding these nuances helps owners in precise troubleshooting and maintenance. So let’s dive in a little bit!

2012 Road Glide Problems

This model had some notable issues, including:

Oil Leaks

Most of these leaks were traced back to faulty gaskets or seals, leading to unplanned repair costs for owners.

Related to this section: Harley Oil Pressure Problems? Read This! (Help Is Here)

Fragile Ignition Switches

The bike often faced problems related to broken ignition switches. This issue hindered the normal start-up process and led to issues like stalling, a silent starter, and dashboard lights flickering.

Brake System Issues

Brake problems were another common grievance. The failure of brakes increased risk and inconvenienced riders.

Beyond the oil leaks and ignition switch issues, some 2012 Road Glide Custom owners have also reported challenges with the bike’s suspension system, particularly when carrying heavy loads or riding on uneven terrain. This highlights the need for periodic checks and potential adjustments or upgrades to the suspension components to maintain ride quality and handling.

2015 Road Glide Problems

This model year had its own unique set of problems:

Throttle Issues

After changing handlebars, some users reported problems with the throttle-by-wire (TBW) system.

Error Codes

Users often reported getting error codes P1510, P1511, and P2176, related to the EFI system and throttle position.

A Quick Note On The Error Codes

Understanding the technical aspects, such as error codes, can be crucial for Road Glide owners. For instance, error code P1510 indicates a problem in the EFI Limited Performance Mode, which can be triggered by various factors including sensor malfunctions or software issues. Error code P1511, related to the EFI Power Management Mode, often points to problems in the electronic throttle control. Detailed knowledge of these codes can significantly aid in diagnostics and timely repairs.

Additionally, the 2015 Road Glide model has been noted for occasional challenges with its infotainment system. Some riders have experienced issues with the system’s responsiveness and connectivity, which, while not directly impacting the bike’s performance, can detract from the overall riding experience. Keeping the system’s software updated and checking connections can help mitigate these issues.

2017 Road Glide Problems

Owners reported engine problems, including premature wear, engine knock, and loss of power.

Knocking Engine

This model was particularly prone to engine knock problems, usually linked to a defective piston.

Intermittent Electrical Issues

The bike had several electrical issues, ranging from simple problems like blown fuses to serious issues like wiring shorts.

Also worth mentioning, the 2017 Road Glide Special has seen some instances of issues with its cooling system, particularly in hotter climates or during extended rides. This can lead to overheating, which not only affects performance but can also cause long-term damage if not properly managed. Regular checks of the coolant levels and the cooling system’s components are advisable to prevent such issues.

A 2022 Harley Davidson Road Glide Special in Redline Red sporting a 114ci Milwaukee Eight engine

22 RG ST Model

Owners reported sudden, unexplained power cuts during rides. In addition to the power cut issues in the 22 RG ST model, there have been reports of occasional difficulties with the bike’s ABS system. These issues can range from warning lights on the dashboard to less responsive braking under certain conditions. Regular checks and servicing of the ABS system can help ensure its reliability and the safety of the rider.

21 Road King Problems (Special Model)

Similar to the 22 RG ST, the 21 Road King Special model also had instances where it would suddenly die mid-ride.

Related: What Year Harleys to Avoid (A Comprehensive Guide)

In addition to the issues already mentioned, it’s important to note that these problems can vary in severity and frequency among different bikes. While some owners may experience these issues more prominently, others might find their Road Glide models relatively trouble-free. This variability underscores the importance of regular maintenance and prompt attention to any signs of malfunction, ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of these iconic motorcycles

The Worst Year for the Road Glide

Identifying a single “worst” year for the Road Glide is challenging, but the 22 RG ST and 21 Road King Special models seem to have more reported issues.

Are Road Glides Generally Reliable?

Despite these issues, many owners praise their Road Glides for their comfort, smooth ride, and excellent handling. The large cockpit, ample storage, and high electrical capacity make it a popular choice for long-distance riders.

Related: Road Glide Years to Avoid (A Comprehensive Overview)

Road Glide Problems: FAQs

What are the common problems with the Road Glide?

Sudden power cuts and unreliable Bluetooth connectivity are some of the common problems reported by Road Glide owners.

Are all Road Glides affected by these issues?

No, these issues seem to be more prevalent in certain models, specifically the 22 RG ST, 21 Road King Special, and the 2018 model.

Is the Road Glide a reliable bike?

Despite the reported issues, many owners find the Road Glide to be a reliable bike, praising its comfort, smooth ride, and excellent handling.

What was the worst year for the Road Glide?

While it’s hard to pinpoint a single “worst” year, the 22 RG ST, 21 Road King Special, and the 2018 model have been reported to have more issues.


The Road Glide is a symbol of freedom and adventure, a testament to the spirit of the open road. However, like any mechanical marvel, it’s not immune to occasional hitches. This guide aims to help owners and enthusiasts better understand these issues, their potential causes, and the best ways to address them. With informed decisions and preventive maintenance, you can continue to enjoy the thrill of the ride without worry.

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