Best And Worst Years For Road Glide – Years To Avoid?

Harley Davidson (HD) Road Glide is an alternative to something we call “badass”. People worldwide love it for its super sleek, low-profile look. Likewise, Road Glide (RG) is the best choice if you want a better HD touring motorcycle for comfort.

RG comes with a cushioned seat and frame-mounted fairing to provide excellent wind protection. Also, it provides the rider with plenty of storage space and a mighty engine for long-term support in touring. Despite the numerous positive aspects, some critical issues with some model years exist. So, what are the road glide years to avoid?

Many users have complained of technical problems for the 2012 and 2017 year models. Still, Harley solved the problems in the following years’ releases. You should pick 2009, 2016, and 2019 models for the Harley road glide best years.

Best And Worst Years For Road Glide

Which Harley Road Glide Years To Avoid

Which Harley Road Glide Years To Avoid

Harley started producing Road Glide motorbikes in the 1990s. But the bike becomes popular at the end of the century. For example, the 1998 model is the most known bike in the Road Glide lineup. After that, the manufacturer focused on improving or adopting new technology to offer the riders the best act at on- and off-tracks. Therefore, some model years appear less promising than others, such as the 2012 and 2017 models.

2012 Harley Road Glide Custom

2012 Harley Road Glide Custom

The 2012 Road Glide Custom appears in the market with an air-cooled twin cam 103 engine and 6-speed transmission. This configuration has brought much attention to the bike. But, several complaints have lowered its popularity. Consequently, these complaints concern the oil leaking at the base, broken ignition switch, warped rotors, and broken rear belt.

Oil Leaking

2012 RG custom had often had oil leaks at its base. Usually, the faulty gasket or seal causes this problem. The rider had to spend money to repair the oil tank.

Broken Ignition Switch

The broken ignition switch was another severe problem of the 2012 RG custom. It prevented the usual start of the bike engine. Also, it created issues like the bike stalling on the road, a noiseless starter, and flickering dashboard lights. Replacement of the switch was the ultimate solution.

Engine Problems

Some Road Glide owners have reported engine problems. These problems include premature wear, engine knock, and loss of power. Even sometimes, the engine stalled on the road, risking the rider’s life. A quick visit to the technician became mandatory when the engine problems started.

Brake Problems

Some reports were about the brake problems of Harley RG custom. The failure of brakes led many owners to suffer more. For example, the rider needs to hold the brake on a ride. Somehow, the brakes fail to stop the motorcycle which led the state bad and surprising.

2017 Harley Road Glide Special

2017 Harley Road Glide Special

This model year has a single cam, pushrod V-twin 1.75cc engine. It, too, appears as a famous model year among the Harley fans. But technical faults include heavy vibrations, electrical, faulty fuel gauge, etc. Henceforth, there was room for improvement, but the later models became more famous.


Vibration is a common issue of the 2017 Harley Road Glide special. Even the riders get vibrations when they are on the road. Mostly, the loose bolts on the engine area caused these sensations. If you want to buy this model year bike, you should keep in mind this vibration.

Electrical Issues

These issues range from simple things like blown fuses to more severe issues like shorts in the wiring. Electrical issues can be very frustrating. So, it is vital to get them fixed as soon as possible.

Fuel Gauge Not Working

This is another vital problem on 2017 Road Glides. It is caused by an issue with the fuel sending unit. The owner needs to take the bike to the dealer or any qualified mechanic to fix the fuel gauge.

Engine Knock

2017 RG bikes often have engine knock problems. Usually, a faulty piston causes this problem. It results in low power, stalling, etc., issues.

Which Harley Road Glide Best Years

Which Harley Road Glide Best Years

Most model years of Road Glide are good except the two I have explained above. Below are some recommendations if you want to buy a used or a new bike:

2009 Harley Road Glide Custom

2009 Harley Road Glide Custom

This RG custom came with an air-cooled 1584cc Twin-Cam 96 engine and 6-speed manual transmission. It gets better torque (125 Nm) than earlier models. Also, the design of the tires was very low-profile. The redesign of this motorbike helps to solve the previous framing issues. Again, the newly calibrated front and rear end offered the riders better maneuverability.

2016 Harley Road Glide Ultra

Many owners or riders have given appreciation for this year’s Road Glide. There was a huge upgrade from previous models. It came with triple clamps and enhanced control on the bike. Additionally, some notable things about this 2016 model are saddlebag features adjustable passenger backrests.

2019 Harley Road Glide Special

2019 Harley Road Glide Special

It is one of the latest model years of Road Glide from Haley Davidson. The manufacturer had focused on the overall improvement of the bike. As a result, the bike gets an enhanced suspension Showa seat for a memorable ride. Also, the latest authoritative Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine becomes the power source for the 2019 RG special motorcycle.

Read More: Harley Davidson Jacket


Indeed, the Road Glide is a great bike. But certain years are best avoided, such as 2012 and 2017. If you are looking for a Road Glide, steer clear of the 2019 model year. It has the latest, productive Milwaukee-Eight V-Twin 1868cc engine.

You should always look at what owners/riders say about a particular model year of Road Glide. It clarifies whether you should pick the HD bike or not. For a used bike, you should learn how often it was taken to the dealer or mechanic.

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