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Road Glide Years To Avoid (Trust Me, It’s For The Best)

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Harley Davidson’s Road Glide, with its unique shark-nose fairing and sleek design, has long captured the hearts of motorcycle enthusiasts. But like any machine, it has had its fair share of issues. This comprehensive guide explores the Road Glide years to avoid and the reasons behind them. So what’re you waiting for? Let’s get to it!

What Are The Road Glide Years To Avoid and Why?

This is a picture of a '23 Harley Davidson Road Glide, with a "no sign" across it. This is used to illustrate that there are certain Road Glide years that should be avoided.

The Road Glide’s model years 2012, 2017, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018 have been reported to have notable problems. While Harley Davidson addressed these issues in subsequent model years, it’s best to be aware if you’re considering buying a used Road Glide from these years.

Read next: What Year Harleys To Avoid?

What Problems Do Road Glide Owners Encounter?

Owners of certain Road Glide models have reported various issues, ranging from oil leaks to engine problems. Let’s delve into these issues in more detail.

Oil Leaks

One of the common problems reported in the 2012 Road Glide Custom model is oil leaks. The leaks were often traced back to faulty gaskets or seals, which necessitated unexpected repair costs for the owner.

Fragile Ignition Switches

The 2012 Road Glide Custom also had issues with broken ignition switches. This issue prevented the usual start of the bike engine and caused problems like stalling on the road, a silent starter, and flickering dashboard lights. Replacement of the switch was the ultimate solution.

Miscellaneous Engine Problems

Some Road Glide owners have reported engine problems, including premature wear, engine knock, and loss of power. This was especially prominent in the 2017 Road Glide Special models, where owners reported engine knock problems caused by faulty pistons.

Related read: Harley Davidson Engine Rebuild Cost

Brake System Issues

Brake problems were another common complaint among Harley Road Glide owners. The failure of brakes led to increased risk and inconvenience for riders, especially in the 2012 Road Glide Custom model.

Knocking Engine

The 2017 Road Glide Special models often had engine knock problems, usually caused by a faulty piston. This resulted in low power, stalling, and other issues.

Related: Road Glide Problems

Other Quality of Life Issues

Aside from the more serious mechanical issues, some models of Road Glide also had quality of life problems that affected rider comfort and enjoyment.

This is an infographic, related to Road Glide models, that says "Other less intensive quality of life issues with the road glide".

Intermittent Electrical Issues

The 2017 Road Glide Special had various electrical issues that ranged from simple problems like blown fuses to more severe issues like shorts in the wiring. Electrical issues can be very frustrating, so it’s crucial to get them fixed as soon as possible.

Excessive Vibrations

Vibration is a common issue of the 2017 Harley Road Glide special. Riders reported vibrations when on the road, often caused by loose bolts in the engine area. This issue can affect rider comfort and handling.

Intermittent Fuel Gauge

Another common problem on 2017 Road Glides is a faulty fuel gauge, caused by an issue with the fuel sending unit. This can be a serious issue as it can give riders an inaccurate reading of their fuel level.

It’s worth noting that many Road Glide owners opt for the following upgrades to combat these issues:
> A Guide to the Best Road Glide LED Headlight Upgrade
> Here Are The Most Comfortable Road Glide Handlebars (Review)
> Update: I Found The Best Road Glide Windshield Upgrade!
> Search for the Most Comfortable Road Glide Seat Is Complete!

What Problems Are Most Prominent?

The most prominent problems among the Road Glide models are the engine problems, specifically in the 2012 and 2017 models. The issues with the ignition switch, oil leaks, and engine problems were notable in the 2012 model, while the 2017 model had problems with engine knock, excessive vibrations, and a faulty fuel gauge.

Related article: 12 Dreaded Harley 107 Problems

Out Of All These Problems, Are Any Road Glide Years Good?

Yes, most model years of the Road Glide are good except for the ones mentioned above. In between them, there are a few model years that were recommended by owners. These models have received praise for their improved handling, design upgrades, and overall riding experience when compared to previous Road King models.

Best Road Glide Years

The 2009 Harley Road Glide Custom, the 2016 Harley Road Glide Ultra, and the 2019 Harley Road Glide Special are often recommended as the best years for the Harley Road Glide. These models introduced significant improvements, including better maneuverability, enhanced control, adjustable passenger backrests, and an improved suspension system.

Related articles:
Harley 107 vs 114
Road Glide vs Road King: What’s The Best Touring Choice?


Ending Thoughts and Main Points

While the Road Glide is a fantastic bike, certain years are best avoided, such as 2012, 2017, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018. For a used bike, it’s essential to learn about its history, including how often it was taken to the dealer or mechanic. All in all, the Road Glide remains a popular choice among motorcycle enthusiasts due to its sleek design and comfortable ride.

Should I avoid the 2013 Harley Davidson Street Glide Years?

No, the 2013 Street Glides have proven to be reliable model years, boasting a smooth six-speed transmission.

Which are the best Street Glide years?

Many riders recommend the 2009-2013, 2016, 2019, and 2020 Street Glide model years for their updates and reliability.

Are the 2010 Street Glides model years worth avoiding?

No, the 2010 Street Glides are considered good bikes featuring a twin-cam 1584cc engine that comfortably cruises at 80mph.


All in all, no machine is perfect, and the Road Glide is no exception. By being aware of potential issues, buyers can make an informed decision and enjoy the open road with their Harley Davidson Road Glide.