Harley touring bikes are interesting machines. They span the gamut from sporty to staid.
I've ridden my share - most of my time on my friends Screaming Eagle Electra Glide. Wonderful bike for going down a long straight of highway. And they allow you to ride in colder weather - I can ride my windshield-less Softail Deuce to about 43 degrees, I feel as if I can ride a tourer, behind the batwing, until about 10 degrees lower.
The bike is nice in a straight line, but quite simply, not suitable for a more aggressive riding style. I ride my Deuce the point where when leaning right, I've have to straighten up to avoid a mailbox at the side of the road with my shoulder, and then lean back down. On a recent ride, I hit my right heel and my left peg. This never would have been possible on a road king or a batwing.
We went out with a group not that long ago, and while the three of us up front were pushing it (Deuce, Dyna Super and Dyna Wide Glide), both the Superglide and Crossbones behind us were takin some metal off their boards, and were not able to keep up as a result.
But I digress. The point is, I'd still own a Road King or a Super Glide. They are a good combination between long distance with storage and sporty. I particularly like the two bikes with a 21 inch tire on the front.
I don't understand the UltraClassic thing though. I don't find them pretty - too big and bulky. I'd rather have a 1950's Harley than a 2009 Harley that looks like a 1950's Harley. Harley seems to be so intent on keeping this look that they put a whole new frame under the same sheetmetal and hard bags. I'm glad they gave it a wider back tire - it's been way too long since the typical tire on the back of any motorcycle is a 170 or 180mm, that the tiny tires on the back of the cruisers needed an upgrade. Here we had the biggest of bikes, riding on the smallest of tires.
Perhaps it's the woman who determines the Ultra. I've have an ex-friend who has a Road King and then bought an Ultra. Check the picture above. In my mind, the bike isn't as good looking as a Street Glide or a Road King. The only difference I can see is the standard tour pack and the huge back seat. Now if I'm reading the options catalog right, you can easily add the tour pack to a Street Glide or a Road King, but it's not as easy to replicate the big back seat. Which leads me to believe maybe those guys with the Ultra's aren't in charge of what they are riding anymore - the little woman is.