Road Glide Years to Avoid (A Comprehensive Overview)

Last Updated on November 13, 2023 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

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

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

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.

Fragile 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

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

Brake System Issues

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

Other 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

Recommendations for Good Road Glide Years

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 Glide Bikes

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.

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