Harley-Davidson announces new liquid-cooled motors (with video!)

The Road King and Harley-Davidson's other new 2014 bikes will be on display at Digby's Wharf Rat Rally this weekend.
The Road KIng and many of Harley-Davidson's other models have been upgraded for 2014.
The Road KIng and many of Harley-Davidson’s other models have been upgraded for 2014.

Harley-Davidson has announced they’re going to include liquid cooling on the 2014 Electra Glide Ultra Limited, and  Tri Glide Ultra and CVO Limited.

The MoCo's biggest news is their new liquid-cooled Big Twin.
The MoCo’s biggest news is their new liquid-cooled Big Twin.

The MoCo is calling the new motor their “Twin-Cooled” engine, and it’s coming in 103-inch and 110-inch sizes (the CVO gets the 110-inch, the other two bikes get the 103-inch).

The motor is similar to the new liquid-cooled BMW R1200GS, in that the liquid-cooling is minimalistic; Harley-Davidson has hidden a radiator between the frame downtubes, and run some plumbing to cool the motor’s heads, but it’s not as comprehensive a system as is found on their V-Rods (which, contrary to rumour, will be back next year) or other Japanese cruisers.

Other upgrades to the Big Twins include new headlights, upgraded switchgear and a tricked-out communications system.
Other upgrades to the Big Twins include new headlights, upgraded switchgear and a tricked-out communications system.

There are obvious advantages to this new arrangement; Harley-Davidson can now boost compression in their motors (they’re already touting the increased power output of the engines), and it will also help in the ongoing battle to meet emissions standards.

The official company line says “It’s got the fastest 60 to 80 mph 5th gear roll on in the history of Harley-Davidson.” Their website says the new motor’s “nominal” torque rating is 106.2 ft-lbs of torque at 3750 rpm.

The new liquid-cooled engine isn’t their only news, though. Harley-Davidson announced Project Rushmore this week. It may sound like a bit of a lame pun, but once you get past the name, they’ve announced quite a few upgrades across their lineup.

The Big Twins also get other tweaks; some see new gauges or upgraded chassis, and of course, there's new paint.
The Big Twins also get other tweaks; some see new gauges or upgraded chassis, and of course, there’s new paint.

Along with the three bikes getting the new liquid-cooled motor, the Road King, Street Glide, Street Glide Special, Electra Glide Ultra Classic and CVO Road King all get the air-cooled High Output Twin Cam 103 motor that puts out 104.7 ft-lbs of torque at 3250 rpm, up from the previous 103’s 100 ft-lbs at 3250 rpm. The extra power comes from a new camshaft and re-designed airbox.

Braking, a longtime bugbear for Harley-Davidson riders, is getting upgraded for the Project Rushmore bikes. Now they have linked ABS braking available, which will surely benefit coffee-shop cowboys who are afraid to use anything beside the rear brake pedal. The safety department also added LED and dual halogen lighting.

For riders who want to stay plugged in while they’re on the road, Harley-Davidson is also including what they call an infotainment system. This touch-screen system (with colour screen) allows you to integrate your GPS, smartphone and MP3 player, and offers Bluetooth capability. It offers voice-recognition technology (claimed to be the first such system offered as OEM standard) and also offers support for intercom and CB systems.

For a more comfortable ride, Harley-Davidson’s engineers also re-designed their batwing fairing to reduce buffeting, and the Mount Rushmore bikes also have newer seats that supposedly offer a cushier ride.

Most of the machines get other tweaks as well, some major (stiffer forks) and some minor (re-designed gauges). As well the bikes in Project Rushmore get re-designed bags, sleeker fenders, re-designed switchgear, lighter aluminum wheels.

Harley-Davidson is also offering a host of new paint options, and has made ABS standard on the V-Rods and optional on all Sportsters. The Sportsters also have re-designed hand controls, and owners can choose a keyless fob system for their ignition.

Last but not least, there’s a new CVO in Harley-Davidson’s lineup. For 2014, Harley-Davidson has introduced the CVO Softail Deluxe. This cruiser mixes retro styling with GPS, LED lighting, detachable windscreen and saddlebags.

So, in face of stiffer competition in 2014 from Polaris, especially considering the new Indian lineup, Harley-Davidson has announced a lot of tweaks to their lineup. Will it be enough to maintain their market share? As always, the online commenters are divided on the changes, but more and more buyers claim they’re considering Indian quite seriously. As always, the sales sheets will be the final indicator.


  1. Can there be a clarification from some corners that these are liquid assisted cooling systems for the heads, not completely liquid cooled engines. Hence the name Twin Cool.
    HD freaks would, well . . . freak, if their babies were entirely dependent on a radiator and hoses like the other crap on the roads.

  2. Wow. A “new” Hardley Ableson. They finally invented water cooling. Guess how many horsepower you get with 104.7 lbf @ 3250rpm? Less than 65. That’s right: Less than 65 horsepower is being produced at PEAK torque.

    Never in the history of motorcycles has so much marketing been applied to so many flash paint jobs on so little horsepower.

    Yes, I’m a troll. Please don’t feed me.

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