Street Glide Years to Avoid (A Comprehensive Overview)

Last Updated on January 12, 2024 by Pittalks

Harley Davidson’s Street Glide motorcycles have long been a symbol of style, power, and the open road. Known for their sleek design and powerful performance, these bikes have garnered a dedicated following. However, like any vehicle, not all model years are created equal. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the Street Glide years to avoid, highlighting the common problems, touching on a few good years, and providing essential tips for potential buyers.

Why Some Street Glide Years Should Be Avoided

Here's an example of a red Harley Street Glide with a Milwaukee Eight engine.
While this is a 2020+ example, there are still some strenuous details you should be aware of.

Variability in Quality

The manufacturing processes and materials used in creating Harley Davidson motorcycles can vary significantly from year to year. This variability can lead to certain model years experiencing more issues than others, affecting the overall reliability and performance of the bike.

Potential for Expensive Repairs

Selecting a Street Glide from a problematic model year could result in expensive and frequent repairs. It is crucial for potential buyers to be aware of these issues to make an informed decision and avoid unexpected costs down the line.

General Advice for Used Motorcycle Purchases

When considering the purchase of a used motorcycle, it is important to conduct thorough research, ask the right questions, and if possible, have the bike inspected by a trusted mechanic. This due diligence is especially crucial when looking at Street Glide models known to have issues.

Detailed Analysis of The Street Glide Years To Avoid

In this section, we provide a detailed analysis of specific Street Glide model years that have been known to experience issues, helping you understand what to look out for and avoid. I’m going to leave a quick summary via list, and then dive deeper for each respective section:

  • 2009: This year’s model had problems with the saddlebags, brakes, and fuel gauge. Riders reported poor fitting of saddlebags, water leakage due to poor seals, and faulty fuel gauge readings.
  • 2014: This model year saw a host of problems, including electrical system malfunctions, clutch slippage, and front suspension issues. Riders experienced intermittent power loss, malfunctioning gauges, and a harsh ride due to front suspension problems.
  • 2016: This model year witnessed issues with clutch faults and Bluetooth connectivity. The clutch master cylinder had a reduced ability to disengage the gear, leading to difficulties in shifting gears. Additionally, riders faced problems pairing their devices with the bike’s Bluetooth system.
  • 2018: This model year was notorious for brake and clutch issues. Riders reported poor caliper performance, frequent brake seizures, and clutch problems due to a faulty master cylinder.
A red example of a 2009 Street Glide from Harley Davidson, one of the more problematic models

2009 Street Glide

  • Issues and Symptoms: Problems with saddlebags, brakes, and fuel gauge. Riders reported poor fitting of saddlebags, water leakage, and inaccurate fuel gauge readings.
  • Real-Life Examples: Numerous online forums and reviews detail the frustrations of owners dealing with these issues.
  • Pre-Purchase Checks: Ensure saddlebags are secure and in good condition, check brake functionality, and verify fuel gauge accuracy.

2014 Street Glide

The 2014 models were marked by a host of issues, including faulty saddlebag mounts, head buffeting, and rough idling and stalling, leading to a massive recall of over 185,000 bikes in the U.S. alone.

  • Issues and Symptoms: Electrical system malfunctions, clutch slippage, and front suspension issues. Riders reported intermittent power loss and malfunctioning gauges.
  • Real-Life Examples: Recall issued due to these prevalent issues, affecting a significant number of bikes.
  • Pre-Purchase Checks: Test all electrical components, check clutch functionality, and assess front suspension for any signs of issues.

2016 Street Glide

The 2016 model had its fair share of issues, with a recall issued for defective clutch master cylinders. The clutch would fail to disengage after the bike had been parked for extended periods.

  • Issues and Symptoms: Clutch faults and Bluetooth connectivity issues. The clutch master cylinder had reduced ability to disengage the gear, leading to shifting difficulties.
  • Real-Life Examples: Specific cases of riders experiencing gear shifting challenges and Bluetooth pairing problems.
  • Pre-Purchase Checks: Ensure smooth gear shifting and test Bluetooth connectivity with your device.

2017 and 2018 Street Glide

The 2017 and 2018 models were notorious for their clutch and brake issues. The brakes were known for poor caliper performance and frequent seizing up, often attributed to premature failure of the brake lines. The clutch problems were due to a manufacturing defect with the master cylinder’s internal seal, leading to a build-up of air pressure within the system and preventing it from functioning correctly.

  • Issues and Symptoms: Clutch and brake issues, including poor caliper performance and frequent brake seizing.
  • Real-Life Examples: High incidence of complaints and issues reported for these model years.
  • Pre-Purchase Checks: Thoroughly test clutch and brake functionality, looking out for any signs of malfunction.

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

Summary Table of Issues by Model Year

Model YearMain IssuesPre-Purchase Checks
2009Saddlebags, brakes, fuel gaugeCheck saddlebags, brakes, and fuel gauge
2014Electrical, clutch, front suspensionTest electrical components, clutch, suspension
2016Clutch, Bluetooth connectivityTest gear shifting, Bluetooth connectivity
2017-2018Clutch, brakesCheck clutch and brake functionality

What Is The Worst Street Glide Model Year?

While most Street Glide models offer a smooth and luxurious ride, the 2017 and 2018 models have been identified as the most problematic. These model years have been marred by issues with the clutch, engine failure, and oil leaks, making them the most problematic Street Glide years.

Common Problems Across Various Models

While specific issues plagued certain model years, some problems have been common across all Street Glide models. These issues include a stiff clutch lever, oil sumping issues, bad battery, clutch failure, and a defective oil cooler.

Stiff Clutch Lever

A recurring issue across various Street Glide models is a stiff clutch lever, which can lead to a less smooth riding experience. Regular maintenance and lubrication can help alleviate this issue.

Oil Sumping Issue

The oil sumping issue, where oil gets trapped in the crankcase, has been reported in various models. This can lead to sudden power loss, too much oil pressure, and strain on engine parts. Regular oil checks and maintenance are crucial to prevent this issue.

Bad Battery

Models from 2006, 2008, and 2020 have reported issues with the battery dying after sitting for a few days or weeks. Ensuring the battery is in good condition and regularly charging it can help prevent this issue.

Related: Harley Davidson Street Glide Problems: A Comprehensive Guide

Oil pump replacement kit used to replace recalled oil pumps in milwaukee eight engines, including those in the Street Glide

Quick Mention of The Milwaukee Eight’s Oil Pump Recall

The Milwaukee-Eight engine, introduced in 2017, had a significant oil sumping issue leading to a recall. This issue, where the oil gets trapped in the crankcase and doesn’t return to the oil pan, has been reported in various models. It can lead to sudden power loss and strain on the engine parts.

Comparison with Other Harley Davidson Models

Advantages of Street Glide

The Street Glide offers a unique blend of style, power, and comfort, making it a popular choice for many riders. Its sleek design and powerful engine provide an unparalleled riding experience.

Potential Alternatives

For those considering other options, models such as the Road King or Electra Glide offer similar performance with different features and styling.

Decision-Making Criteria

When choosing between a Street Glide and another model, consider your personal preferences, riding style, and any known issues with specific model years.

Recall Information

Historical Recalls

There have been several recalls issued for specific Street Glide model years, addressing issues ranging from faulty saddlebag mounts to clutch problems. It is important to check if the bike you are considering has been affected by these recalls.

Checking for Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website provides a database where you can check for recalls using the bike’s VIN number.

Post-Recall Considerations

If the bike has been subject to a recall, ensure that all necessary repairs and updates have been completed before making a purchase.

Buying Guide and Recommendations

Pre-Purchase Checklist

  • Verify the bike’s maintenance history
  • Check for any signs of wear or damage
  • Test ride to assess overall performance and functionality

Negotiation Tips

  • Use knowledge of known issues and recalls to negotiate a fair price
  • Be prepared to walk away if the seller is not willing to negotiate

Model Year Recommendations

  • Consider models from years with fewer reported issues for a more reliable purchase
  • Research and compare different model years to find the best fit for your needs


Choosing the right Street Glide model year can make a significant difference in your riding experience and overall satisfaction. By being aware of the potential issues and conducting thorough research, you can make an informed decision and enjoy the open road on a reliable and powerful Harley Davidson Street Glide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Harley Street Glide model years are commonly advised to avoid?

The Harley Street Glide models from around 2010 and 2011 are often suggested to avoid due to a higher incidence of reported issues compared to other years.

What issues are commonly reported in the 2010 and 2011 Street Glide models?

Owners have reported issues with the clutch system, electrical problems, braking system complications, and challenges with the infotainment system. There have also been reports of excessive vibration at certain speeds.

Were there any significant recalls for the 2010 and 2011 Street Glide models?

Harley-Davidson has issued recalls for various models, including some Street Glide models. It is important for owners of 2010 and 2011 Street Glides to check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) database or Harley-Davidson’s official website for the most up-to-date recall information.

Are newer Harley Street Glide models considered more reliable than the 2010 and 2011 models?

Newer models generally benefit from advancements in technology and quality control, potentially offering greater reliability. However, it is still crucial to conduct thorough research and read customer reviews before making a purchase.

How does the reliability of the 2010 and 2011 Street Glide models compare to other Harley-Davidson models from the same years?

Reliability can vary across different models and years. While the Street Glide is a popular model, the 2010 and 2011 models have reported more issues than some other Harley-Davidson models from the same years.

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