Considering the growing popularity of the trike market -- and we don't mean the old VW-based creations made popular in the seventies -- we wonder why it took Harley-Davidson so long to introduce its own three-wheeler. Based on the Electra Glide Touring chassis, the Tri Glide uses a belt final drive to connect a new air-suspended rear differential to the six-speed Cruise Drive transmission common to all Harley Big Twins. At the front, rake and trail have been increased to lend a bit more stability to the package while a steering stabilizer is intended to reduce front-end wobble. For the ultimate in ease of use, consider the optional electric reverse gear for an additional $1,195. Dual 15-inch rear wheels come fitted with P205/65R15 tires.

The same Tour-Pak from the Ultra model works on the Tri Glide along with the normal "bat wing" fairing that Harley-Davidson has made famous over the years. Moving all this mass down the road is a new fuel-injected Twin Cam 103 V-Twin engine that offers up 101 lb.-ft. of torque. A six-gallon fuel tank ought to keep you going about as long as your bladder can handle, and the standard cruise control will get you where you need to go with a minimum of fuss. While we personally prefer to tour on two wheels, we're sure HD will find a few buyers for the new Tri Glide, even at its $30,000 suggested retail price, which is actually a decent deal considering how much a conversion kit runs these days.

[Source: Harley-Davidson]

Press Release:

HARLEY-DAVIDSON INTRODUCES TRI GLIDE ULTRA CLASSIC

Designed from the Frame Up for Reliable, Comfortable Three-Wheel Touring

Harley-Davidson brings original-equipment design, quality and service to the three-wheel motorcycle segment with the introduction of the 2009 Tri Glide Ultra Classic motorcycle. Based on a new chassis designed specifically for this three-wheel application, the Tri Glide offers the classic styling and popular touring features of the Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide in a vehicle that will be sold and serviced by the network of Harley-Davidson dealers and covered by a two-year Harley-Davidson limited warranty. The Tri Glide will have an MSRP of $29,999.

Harley-Davidson launched a "wheels-up" strategy in the development of the Tri Glide, and has created a frame and associated chassis structure that is engineered specifically to handle the loads generated by the steering forces and weight of a three-wheel vehicle. Changes to the front-end geometry enhance steering control by reducing steering effort up to 25 percent. The forks have been lengthened by 1.775 inches compared to the regular Touring motorcycle, and rake is increased from 29.25 degrees to 32.00 degrees. A steer damper controls coast-down wobble, and minimizes bumps and other road inputs during turning events.

Harley-Davidson has designed a new rear-axle assembly for the Tri Glide that utilizes an aluminum center section with steel axle tubes. The Tri Glide retains the high-strength and low-maintenance advantages of belt final drive, and the smooth operation of a rubber-cushioned, compensated rear drive. The rear suspension features dual air-adjustable rear shock absorbers.

The Tri Glide is powered by a Twin Cam 103 V-Twin engine with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI), rated at 101 ft. lbs. of torque. It retains the 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission used on Harley-Davidson Touring motorcycles, but adds an optional electric reverse ($1,195) integrated with the rear differential assembly that is engaged with a handlebar-mounted reverse module. The Tri Glide has dual front disc brakes and a Hayes Brake dual-disc rear brake system with a lever-actuated, integrated park brake.

Classic Harley-Davidson Styling

The Harley-Davidson styling department gave the new body components of the Tri Glide clean lines that integrate with the existing Ultra bodywork, especially the Tour Pak luggage compartment and the passenger seating area. The new bodywork is painted with the same quality OEM paint and process used on all Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and is a perfect color match for the tank and front fender. The composite rear fenders complement the lines of the front fender. Because the rear fenders are each a separate piece from the rest of the rear bodywork, they can be removed individually for repair or replacement, or when required to service the Tri Glide.

The molded-composite trunk provides 4.5 cubic feet of storage space and can be accessed through a rear hatch. The trunk and Tour Pak have a combined capacity of 6.56 cubic feet and are rated to carry up to 80 pounds. A single key will handle all luggage locking functions, and activate the ignition. Dual mufflers with tapered end caps exit below the trunk. Brake/tail/turn lights are located on each fender, and the Tri Glide retains the Tour Pak lighting used on the Ultra Classic, including the LED side running lights. Matching front and rear black and machined split seven-spoke cast aluminum wheels provide the Tri Glide its integrated and true, factory-built look. The 16-inch front wheel is three inches wide and carries a MT90B16 motorcycle tire, while the 15-inch rear wheels are five inches wide and are fitted with P205/65R15 tires.

Forward of the rear wheels, the Tri Glide retains the style and features of the Ultra Classic Electra Glide, including the distinctive "bat wing" fairing, auxiliary driving lamps, and deep-skirted front fender. A low-profile chrome console tops a six-gallon fuel tank. The fairing holds complete instrumentation and the 80-watt Advanced Audio System with CB radio and passenger intercom system. Adjustable air deflectors on the fairing and vented fairing lowers allow the rider to control wind flow for comfort in warm or cool weather. Cruise control is standard equipment.

The Tri Glide Ultra Classic will be offered three colors: Vivid Black, Dark Blue Pearl, and Red Hot Sunglo.

FLHTCUTG Tri Glide Ultra Classic features:

* Three-wheel specific frame
* Rubber mounted Twin Cam 103 engine with ESPFI
* 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission
* Black powder-coated engine with chrome treatment
* Brembo dual-disc front brake system
* Hayes Brake dual-disc rear brake system with integrated park brake
* Six-gallon fuel tank
* Electronic Throttle Control
* 2-1-2 exhaust system
* Engine isolation system
* Isolated Drive System
* Triple Circuit Damping (TCD) front forks
* Air-adjustable rear suspension
* Bat-wing, fork-mounted fairing
* Full instrumentation
* 80-watt Advanced Audio System by Harman/Kardon
* 40-watt CB radio and intercom system
* Cruise control
* Shorty antennas
* Clear-lens reflector-optics auxiliary lamps
* Fiberglass adjustable King Tour-Pak with passenger backrest
* Tour-Pak mounted tail/stop light
* Rear luggage trunk
* One-piece, two-up Electra Glide comfort-stitch touring saddle
* Vented lower fairings with integrated storage compartments
* Adjustable fairing wind deflectors
* Steering damper
* Optional electric reverse
* Optional Smart Security System