The Harley-Davidson FLH touring motorcycle is for long-distance, open highway riding.
The Harley-Davidson FLH motorcycle is the Hydra-Glide touring bike produced by Harley-Davidson Motorcycles of Milwaukee. The company launched the FLH, with its Hydra-Glide hydraulic telescopic front forks, in 1949. Subsequent FLH models include the Electra-Glide and Duo-Glide. The FLH models belong to the FL family of large bikes that originated in 1941 and still continues, as of 2011.
Harley-Davidson’s FLH touring bikes had a wide following for more than a decade after being introduced, but the British imports such as Norton and Triumph were lighter, faster, and had attracted a younger generation of riders. Japanese motorcycles also were beginning to make inroads in the North American market by the 1960s. The big bike market was in poor shape. The only FL bikes, the FLHPs, seemed to be doing well as specially equipped motorcycles for police departments. Sales improved with the introduction of the 65-horsepower Shovelhead engine in 1966, and electric starter and larger battery in 1966. Still, these were heavy bikes at more than 780 lbs. Yet the FLH was ideal for long-haul highway driving, once the owner got used to the FLH’s massive weight.
Dressing the FLH became common in the late 1960s. Although Harley-Davidson had been offering optional saddlebags and windshields since 1956, its accessories lineup by 1969 was more sophisticated and attractive to buyers. Fiberglass fairings, a rugged luggage case mounted atop the rear fender and re-styled saddlebags made of waterproof fabrics instead of leather were available.
FLH Engine Specs
An air-cooled, 1206 cc, four-stroke V-twin engine powered the 1970s FLH Electra Glide models. The engine had an 8-to-1 compression ratio, a 3.4-inch bore, 4-inch stroke and two valves per cylinder to generate 58 horsepower. It had a top speed of 84 mph. A chain-driven four-speed transmission transmitted the power from the carbureted engine to the wheels. By 2010, the Electra Glide Classic, identified as the FLHTC, was equipped with an air-cooled, 1584 cc, V-twin four-stroke engine with a 3.8-inch bore and 4.4-inch stroke. It had a 9.2-to-1 compression ratio and was equipped with electronic sequential port fuel injection to develop 93 foot-pounds of torque. The 2010 Electra Glide Classic had a belt-driven six-speed transmission to match the engine.
For the 1977 FLH models, the Harley rode on 5.10-by-16-inch front and rear tires. It featured front and rear single disc brakes for stopping power. It didn’t shed much weight since the mid-1960s, tipping the scales at about 761 lbs. The fuel tank held 6.61 gallons. In 2010, it was a different bike. The 2010 Electra Glide Classic featured a 26-degree raked front fork and 1.62-inch telescopic damped front suspension with 4.6 inches of travel. The rear suspension was air-adjustable with three inches of travel. The 130/80-B17 front tire rode on a 17-inch wheel while the rear 180/65-B16 tire was mounted to a 16-inch wheel. The front and rear 11.8-inch disc brakes had four-piston fixed calipers. The fully dressed Electra Glide Classic’s weight ballooned to 827 lbs. It sat on a 63.5-inch wheelbase and was 98.3 inches long. The frame cleared the ground by 5.7 inches. The bikes gasoline tank held six gallons.