2014 Launches the first all factory water cooled Harley-Davidson
With the exception of Harley-Davidson’s V-Rod, which departed from tradition by incorporating a Porsche-designed, liquid-cooled mill, Motor Company bikes have only featured oil and air-cooled engines… until now. 2014 introduces the all factory manufactured water cooled Harley-Davidson
Harley’s new Twin-Cooled High Output Twin Cam 103 mill uses two radiators discreetly tucked into the fairings to feed a 50/50 water/coolant mix into the engine’s cylinder heads, enabling a higher compression ratio (10.1:1, versus 9.6:1), not to mention more consistent performance and thermal relief for riders when ambient temperatures rise. Coolant is circulated through a small pump positioned at the bottom of the bike’s down tubes, and most of the system’s plumbing is hidden between the top of the cylinder heads and the fuel tank.
However, more crucial than the technical intriciacies of Harley’s “Precision Liquid Cooling Strategy” is the question of why they chose to break tradition on the occasion of their 110th anniversary. Contrary to rumors that regulatory restrictions are pushing motorcycle manufacturers to ditch oil and air cooling, Harley insists the move came in response to their extensive customer feedback program (dubbed “Project Rushmore”), which culled data from over 20 focus groups in the U.S. and Europe. Riders, it turns out, don’t like crotch-melting heat (go figure), and cooling the cylinder heads (in much the same way that BMW’s newest R1200GS does) enables a modicum of thermal management without requiring a giant radiator to be bolted ahead of the engine.
Liquid-cooled heads are currently only available on the Electra Glide Ultra Classic Limited, Tri-Glide, and CVO Limited, and should shoppers choose to stick to strictly oil and air-cooled mills, they have the option of putting their dollars towards the standard Electra Glide Ultra Classic model.
As for the future of water cooled Harley-Davidson, company officials are treating their new engine like a noble experiment; in the unlikely event that the luddite minority will shun the idea of greater rider comfort, H-D insists they won’t expand the technology across more bikes unless consumer reaction warrants it.
August 23, 2013 at 1:24:00 PM by Basem Wasef