I am legend

The Harley-Davidson Electra Glide turns 50

• The first generation of the
Electra Glide onto the market • The electric starter is the namesake
• Even model generations later, the Electra Glide remains the ultimate tourer

The art of star divination is certainly not for everyone, but its accuracy is sometimes surprising. 1965 was the year of the snake - at least that's what the Chinese horoscope says. Those born this year are strong, persistent and proud. This actually fits a certain Milwaukee lady from the 1965 class like a glove - but let's not get ahead of the story!

It is the year in which the first space walk takes place, the paraglider is invented and the Mont Blanc tunnel is opened, Doctor Zhivago's love affairs make moviegoers watery and the Beatles produce their fifth album with “Help”.

The flagship of the Harley-Davidson fleet can already look back on an impressive pedigree in 1965, as over the course of its first 17 years of production, the large touring machine equipped with a Panhead engine had benefited from numerous optimizations that were reflected in its name.

Harley named the comfortable travel bike “Hydra Glide” after replacing the spring fork with a telescopic fork. This became the “Duo Glide” in 1958, when a chassis with a swing arm and spring struts replaced the rigid frame.

But from 1965 onwards, a small white button on the handlebars made the visible difference to all its predecessors. It activates an electric starter, which saves the driver from having to start the high-compression twin. And he is the reason for the introduction of a legendary name that many tourers and supertourers made in Milwaukee still bear today: “Electra Glide”.

A lot of water has flowed down the Milwaukee River since then. Generations of V-twins as well as new chassis and comfort features served in the Electra Glide types. It was these machines that had a lasting impact on the image of the Harley-Davidson brand. In 1999, the first edition of the current "Twin Cam" engine debuted in the model family, and since 2009, Harley's touring models have had ABS brakes as standard. In 2011, the 1,690 cubic centimeter Twin Cam 103 entered the series, and for 2014, the model family was revised and optimized from head to toe as part of the large-scale Rushmore project - with a particularly high-torque High Output V2, with electronic brake force distribution, and new lighting - and infotainment technology as well as optimized panels, seats and cases.

So the ultimate queen of the highways is easily taking the motorcycle world by storm, even at 50 years old. With an independent character and a large portion of charm, charisma and style. The Chinese were damn right – at least this once!

Text & Photos: Copyright Harley-Davidson

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