Pros: Gorgeous, one of best handling Harleys, zero depreciation, rubber mouting
Cons: A bit expensive, dyna-chassis look (not a softtail look),
Just as the title implies, the Dyna Wide Glide is truly a gem in the developmental history of Harley - The bike continues to be touted as the best handling big-twin in Harley's lineup, as quite deservedly... The Wide Glide is built on the proven Rubber-mounted "Dyna Glide" chassis- The "dynas" are well known for excellent handling, great road manners and of course for the anti-vibration properties of the rubber engine mounts. Ironically, since 1999, when the 84 c.i. big-twin evolution was replaced by the 88 c.i. evo, the rubber mounting became less of an important factor -- for the 88's twin-cam design is better balanced than the older 84 and inherently vibrates alot less... Nevertheless, the Wide Glide has lost no popularity over this, and is still one of the most sought after bikes in the Harley line.
Before I get started on the review, first a bit of history on the development of the Dyna Chassis... Throughout the 70's, Harley Devidson had undergone some significant changes- involvement of AMF etc etc. In the late 70's, the motor company needed some kind of new excitement to spruce up the V-twin aura -- enter the Low Rider. The Low Rider, like what would evenutally become the wide-glide, was built on a chassis very different from the Harley hard-tail/soft-tail design... The rear suspension had a different style swingarm which help incorporate much more performance oriented geometry to make the chassis a much more ideal highway-riding motorcycle. In the late-mid eighties, The evolution engine became even more notorious for being a virating beast - a true "knock your fillings out" motor which some severely undesireable traits for those looking for longer rides -- This made for ideal experimentation with a rubberized engine-mount design which became an instant success because it made to shake-and-break big-twin EVO more friendly and more capable for touring on non-electra glide models (Electra Glide was Harley's touring model- known as a "dresser") now with the introduction of the rubber-mount dyna-chassis, it was capable to have a sharper looking big-twin (non electra glide) which was alot more aggressive looking and also alot light, as the electra glide was weighed down by luggage and a big beefy front end. In short, Harley had taken a sportster-style front end, and incorporated it with a newly designed back-end, (dyan suspension) and added rubber mounting to make the whole thing an ideal all-day rider!
So enter the 2000 Harley Davidson FXDWG Dyna Wide Glide... Truly, still one of the most attractive Harley's around and well deservedly known for having "The Best Front End Harley Ever Produced" The Wide Glide is as capable as a highway long-haul tourer as it is an around town "jaws dropping" sharp looking Hog.
Again, the Wide Glide begins with Harley's awesome Dyna Chassis - a great rear suspension and great all around handler. Next comes the (now changed since 1999) 88 cubic inch V-twin Evolution engine.. Now handsomely equipped with tons of chrome accentuation and the imfamous dual-overhead cams which help take some of the vibration out of the beast WITHOUT even considering the rubber mounting. The typical wrap-around rear fender is replaced by the sleek and sharp looking "Bob-tail" rear fender along with an ultra sharp 21" laced front wheel, ape-hanger handle bars and the legendary "Wide Glide" front end - which is of the same sportster-inspired dyna front-end but with a twist - it is WIDER. The bike comes equipped with factory staggered-shorty pipes and forward-mounted controls. Truly a comfortable machine with alot of great attributes and alot of character - For around 17,500 MSRP, while it may sound expensive, you get alot of bang for your buck - Believe me!
The 88ci Evo has more power over the 84, and obviously comes with more reliability thanks to the cam arrangment - however there are some things that just have to be done to the Wide GLide to take it from factory form and give it the power it rightly deserves:
1) Carbeuretors: LIke all factory bikes, the Dyna Wide Glide comes very lean from the factory- this is true of just about every new bike, sportbike, japanese tourer, harley or otherwise. Rejetting the carbs will help richen up the mixture and make the bike run with more power and authority -
2) In addition to the carbs, the engines breathing could use some attention too: Replacing the stock air-cleaner with an aftermarket air-cleaner with help the engine get more air in...
3) RIdding yourself of the slightly-too-quiet staggered shorty pipes and replacing with an aftermarket system will help the engine's exhaust flow more freely: Air cleaner + Exhaust + carbs = more air in and out combined with a more fuel-rich mixtture. This boils down to about 11-13 more horsepower - obviously a substantial difference.
In addition to making more horsepower - the engine will also have a narrower "vibration range" meaning that despite the smooth characteristics of the new cammed Big-twin, there will always be vibration to deal with. While in stock form, highway vibration can be felt through the controls by your feet- it can get fatiguing and annoying and really put a damper on your long ride. Out of the box, vibration can be felt in 5th gear between about 72 and 83 miles per hour - quite a large range, and obviously a range where alot of touring miles will be put on. With the afore-mentioned work, the vibration range will limit itself to about 77-79 miles per hour - ALOT less range indeed! Even if you care less about more power, I recomend the minor work abouve just to help make riding more enjoyable- even with the dyna chassis, vibration is a chracteristic of any motorcycle - limiting it makes riding less fatiguing and thereby SAFER.
The big-twin comes connected to the stock 5 speed harley transmission. The machine shifts in a clunky manner - typical of all Harley Davidsons. However after breaking in the machine, I noticed a significant smoothing-out in the shifting department - in stead of downright clunky, I guess you could say it is "notchy" = again, a Harley trademark, but thankfully, I can say that the tranny is no worse than most other Harley's I've seen and ridden. Gearing is appropriate and useful - 1st gear pulls quick and hard, dropping into second under power is manageable but still plenty powerful - remember, the inherent characteristic of a v-twin is the engine's torque - While an inline 4 cylinder has ALOT more horsepower, it needs to be kept higher in the rev-range to be useful, and unlike the v-twin it lacks the low-range torque BY FAR.
On the road, the Wide Glide is a dream, and very much lives up to its reputation. The front end really comes alive in the twisties - combined with the Dyna chassis, the bike really shines and is unlike most other Harley Davidsons, particularly the softtails. The dynas were designed to handle better- bikes like the low-rider, convertible and dyna-glide (The Wide Glide's sister bikes in the dyna line) all share great handling characteristics - but none so much as the Wide Glide, thanks to it's namesake wider front end. The pull of the big-twin Evo makes hard-power sweeper turns a pleasure, obviously, no downshifting required- the engine pulls in a very linear manner throughout the better portion of the rev range.
Stock rubber on the Wide Glide is Dunlop. While I'm not a big Dunlop fan, the tires do very well on this bike and will yield substantially better mileage than most other cruiser tires. The stock clutch is linear and forgiving- thankfully too, expecially during the break in, when shifting notchiness will be at its greatest, the clutch engages smoothly and with certainty- good clutchwork is essentially for helping the gearbox break in without too much scrificial wear.
In terms of accesories, the wide glide comes equipped with alot of chrome and those gorgeous laced wheels - 21" for the front! Nice touch! Combined with the ape hangers, bob-tail fender and chrome acentuation, the bike is a delight to look at even in stock form - however there are some accesories which will turn the bike into a reall stunner without brekaing the bank - they are worth mentioning:
Badlander Seat: A "Gunfighter" designed seat, attractively enbossed with a "Harley Davidson" text logo, the badlander looks just like its name implies - BAD and MEAN. The seat is just HOT - add this and the badlander mini-rail (thus getting rid of a rather obtrrusive looking sissy-bar that comes stock) and you have a serious looking machine that just looks ready to party. Progressive rear suspension is a worthwhile option for two-up riding - the quick adjust rear shocks are easy to clibrate and are a big help for two-up twisty riding because they stiffen up to compensate for the weight of the passenger. Other than that, saddlebags and a fork-pouch are just about required for this machine, because I guarentee you won't be able to stay out of the saddle for too long- and even if you're not a fan of touring, with such a wonderful bike with such incredible highway manners, you'd be hard pressed to prevent yourself from being tempted into taking some time off and dissapearing on this bad boy.
Truly a spectacular bike, and clearly one of the pinnacles of Harley Davidson's motorcycle line-up. THe American Tradition continues, only this time, it continues with road-manners are handling characteristics that are truly way above for for the motor company. A wonderful bike, and although priced a bit high (17,215 for two-tone paint) the bike's wonderful attributes make it worth every last penny. Fantastically done, Harley Davidson!