Road Glide Years to Avoid (A Comprehensive Overview)

Last Updated on January 12, 2024 by Pittalks

Harley Davidson’s Road Glide has been a staple in the motorcycle community, known for its unique shark-nose fairing and sleek design. It has captured the hearts of many, providing an unparalleled riding experience. However, like any machine, it has had its ups and downs. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the Road Glide years that you might want to avoid and highlight the ones that stand out for their excellence. So what’re you waiting for? Let’s get rolling.

Why Some Road Glide Years Should Be Avoided

Not all Road Glides are created equal. Specific model years have reported more issues than others, leading to unexpected repair costs and a less than optimal riding experience. By understanding which years to avoid, you can make a more informed decision when purchasing a used bike.

Diving deeper: What Year Harleys to Avoid (A Comprehensive Guide)

Detailed Analysis of Road Glide Years to Avoid

The Road Glide model years 2012, 2017, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018 have been reported to have significant issues. While Harley-Davidson addressed these matters in subsequent models, if you’re considering purchasing a used Road Glide from these years, it’s best to be aware of these potential problems.

Here's a red and black example of a Road Glide with a Milwaukee Eight engine.
While the Road Glide is a newer addition to Harley’s line up, and does not suffer from many of the same problems as older models, there are still some factors to be aware of.

2012 Road Glide Custom

  • Oil Leaks: This model was notorious for oil leaks, often traced back to faulty gaskets or seals.
  • Ignition Switch Issues: Riders faced problems with broken ignition switches, leading to stalling and other inconveniences.
  • Brake System Issues: The failure of brakes in this model added an increased risk for riders.

2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 Models

  • Engine Problems: These years saw various engine issues, including premature wear, engine knock, and loss of power.
  • Quality of Life Issues: Riders reported intermittent electrical issues, excessive vibrations, and intermittent fuel gauge problems, affecting the overall riding experience.

Common Problems Encountered by Road Glide Owners

Road Glide owners of certain models have reported various issues, ranging from oil leaks to engine problems. Let’s delve into these issues in more detail.

A Quickly Knocking Engine

The 2017 Road Glide Special models often had engine knock problems, usually caused by a faulty piston. This resulted in low power, stalling, and other issues.

Discreet Oil Leaks

Oil leaks can lead to significant engine damage if not addressed promptly. Regular maintenance and check-ups are crucial to prevent and address these issues.

Another oil related issue, to be aware of: Harley Oil Pressure Problems? Read This! (Help Is Here)

Unreasonably Weak Ignition Switches

A faulty ignition switch can leave you stranded. It’s essential to ensure that all electrical components are in working order.

Miscellaneous Engine Problems (Of All Sorts)

Engine issues can range from minor inconveniences to major problems that require extensive repairs. Regular maintenance and timely repairs are key.

Example of a 2018 Road Glide CVO with 23" Knockout wheels in destroyer gray with a stage 3 upgrade kit

Brake System Problems

The brake system is a critical safety component. Ensuring that the brakes are in optimal condition is paramount for a safe riding experience.

Miscellaneous Quality of Life Issues

From electrical issues to excessive vibrations, these quality of life issues can significantly impact your enjoyment of the ride. Addressing these issues promptly can enhance your riding experience.

Read more: Devastating Road Glide Problems: A Comprehensive Guide

What Problems Are Most Common?

The most prominent problems among the Road Glide models are the engine problems, specifically in the 2012 and 2017 models. The issues with the ignition switch, oil leaks, and engine problems were notable in the 2012 model, while the 2017 model had problems with engine knock, excessive vibrations, and a faulty fuel gauge.

Recommendations for Good Road Glide Years

Most model years of the Road Glide are good except for the ones mentioned above. In between them, there are a few model years that were recommended by owners. These models have received praise for their improved handling, design upgrades, and overall riding experience compared to previous Road King models.

The 2009 Harley Road Glide Custom, the 2016 Harley Road Glide Ultra, and the 2019 Harley Road Glide Special are often recommended as the best years for the Harley Road Glide. These models introduced significant improvements, including better maneuverability, enhanced control, adjustable passenger backrests, and an improved suspension system.

2009 Harley Road Glide Custom

This model year is often praised for its reliability and performance, making it a great choice for those looking to purchase a used Road Glide.

2016 Harley Road Glide Ultra

With significant improvements and upgrades, the 2016 model stands out as a reliable and enjoyable ride.

2019 Harley Road Glide Special

This model year introduced enhanced control and an improved suspension system, providing a smoother and more comfortable ride.

Maintenance Tips for Road Glides

Regular maintenance is key to ensuring the longevity and performance of your Road Glide. This includes regular oil changes, brake checks, and ensuring all electrical components are in working order.


While the Road Glide is an excellent motorcycle, being aware of the potential issues associated with certain model years can help you make a more informed decision when purchasing a used bike. By choosing a reliable model year and adhering to regular maintenance, you can enjoy the open road with confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Avoid the 2013 Harley Davidson Street Glide Years?

The 2013 Harley Davidson Street Glide is actually considered one of the more reliable models. It boasts a smooth six-speed transmission and has received positive reviews for its performance and durability. If you are considering a Street Glide from this year, you can generally expect a solid and dependable ride. However, as with any used motorcycle, it’s crucial to check the specific bike’s maintenance history and condition before making a purchase.

Which are the Best Street Glide Years?

When it comes to choosing the best Street Glide years, riders often recommend the 2009-2013, 2016, 2019, and 2020 model years. These models have received praise for their significant updates, improved performance, and reliability. The 2009-2013 models, in particular, are noted for their robust build and enduring performance. The 2016 model introduced several technological upgrades, enhancing the overall riding experience. The 2019 and 2020 models continued this trend, offering advanced features and improved reliability. When considering a Street Glide, these model years are definitely worth a closer look.

Are the 2010 Street Glides Model Years Worth Avoiding?

The 2010 Street Glide models are generally considered good bikes. They feature a twin-cam 1584cc engine, providing ample power for a smooth and enjoyable ride. These models comfortably cruise at 80mph and have proven to be reliable over time. As with any used motorcycle, the key is to examine the specific bike’s condition and maintenance history. A well-maintained 2010 Street Glide can be a great addition to your riding adventures.

Leave a Comment