Archive for Tri Glide Ultra

My Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra experience

Posted in Harley-Davidson, HOG with tags , on February 4, 2014 by bleiglass

In 2014, Harley-Davidson re-launched in Europe the sale of tricycles, the Tri Glide Ultra, and I had the chance to test drive it. Yes, I say drive, as I quickly learned that you do not ride it.

On a motorcycle, you engage the clutch with your left hand, change gears with your left foot and accelerate with your right hand. Fine, but here the Tri Glide Ultra similarities with its 2 wheel motorcycle equivalent stop. Yes, they share the same 103ci big V-twin, but on the Tri Glide you do not feel that this engine is big and heavy, as you never have to hold its weight, its just sits there as any other engine would between your legs. Yes, they share hundreds of pages of the Genuine Motor Parts and Accessories catalogue, but you do not feel them. For example, the seats on the Tri Glide are always levelled, so its shape is less relevant. The position of the footpegs is not really important, as with some excercise you could cut your toenails while driving. Basically you sit in a small cabriolet with the fuel tank and engine between your legs.


You have to forget how to ride a motorcycle, best is you do not know how to ride a motorcycle, as otherwise you are doomed. No countersteering, you have to pull and push the handlebar like a trucks steering wheel, and forget all your advanced riding knowledge about road positioning, the only position is with the front wheel in the middle of the road. Keep your feet all the time on the floorboards, or you end up driving over your own heels – the 2 back wheels are where you put your foot on the ground.


It is a completely different driving sensation, and without wanting to be disrespectful, its best compared to like driving the Harley-Davidson golf cart or a John Deere lawnmower – quickly. It does not matter if its 3 or 4 wheels, and it does not compare to a 3 wheel Piaggio MP3, as the Piaggio frame leans into the curve like a proper motorcycle.

Its a interesting balancing act Harley-Davidson is trying with this Tri-Glide, and if they sell sufficient numbers in Europe they will succeed. The potential buyers have the same profiles as motorcycle dudes and enjoy similar aspects of life and values. They are keen to be part of the Harley family and culture, fitting well into being a member of HOG and a HOG Chapter, as they enjoy the same social aspects of Club Nights, rallies and parties.


But the Tri-Glide needs to sell in numbers, so “Tri-Glide only” driving groups can form, as the riding styles and characteristics are worlds apart. Nobody wants to be the odd one out, but we need to find common grounds as we share the same interests once the engines are switches off. Integration will be a interesting process.