Riding the new Road Glide with RDRS

Riding the new Road Glide with RDRS

Harley has got your back


If you’re shopping for the ultimate touring package for your new CVO, Road Glide or Street Glide, then you will be pleased to know that Harley-Davidson’s Reflex Defensive Rider Systems (RDRS) is standard on all the 2020 Touring, Trike and CVOmodels (excluding 2020 Road King® and Electra Glide® Standard).


Back in February, we ran the factory press release about these forthcoming features, but now we’ve had the chance to ride a machine with these features fitted. And what did we find? Read on.


Anyone who has ridden any of the Touring range of H-D machines will know just how comfortable and confident they are on the open road as well as the tighter, twisty stuff. So what’s different about models fitted with RDRS? Well, from the technology point-of-view… heaps! But from the saddle, you may not even notice the difference... until you need it.


We tested the 2020 Road Glide Special extensively over a couple of weeks on full-day rides out of Sydney and can report that the RDRS is almost invisible to the rider. The system resides silently in the background and has got your back when you need it most, namely under emergency braking, wet roads or loose surfaces. Harley-Davidson describes it as “technology designed to match motorcycle performance to available traction during acceleration, deceleration and braking, utilizing the latest chassis control, electronic brake control and powertrain technology.”


Thinking back over our experience during riding, two instances come to mind. On one occasion, we were pulling out of a roadside stop and the rear wheel momentarily lost traction in the gravel. On its own, not a dangerous event, but one that could lead to an embarrassing drop. Quick as a wink, the power decreased, the wheel stopping spinning and we were away. On the other occasion, we came into a tight corner perhaps a little too hot and needed to dab the brakes mid-turn. Next thing we know, the bike is steady, upright and stable. Rider skill? Perhaps, but either way, our invisible friend made sure things stayed manageable.


Bear in mind that most of the Touring bikes, with a pillion, will top half a tonne on the road and any rider, regardless of skill, will be grateful of any assistance in a tight spot. Let’s be honest, how many times have you quietly thanked the ABS when someone has turned in front of you or braked suddenly? I rest my case.


According to H-D tech, the system will apply the required braking to the front or rear regardless of which the rider applies. Cornering Enhanced Antilock Braking System (C-ABS) is a variant of ABS that takes into account lean angle when applying brakes while Cornering Enhanced Traction Control System (C-TCS) is designed to prevent the rear wheel from excessive spinning under acceleration when going straight or cornering. Additionally, Drag-Torque Slip Control (DSCS) and Vehicle Hold Control (VHC) all combine in the RDRS system to create a more confident ride, and as Harley-Davidson says, “No matter how good you are, this will make you a better rider.”


So, if you are planning a bike purchase that will see you - and maybe your partner - on the road for long periods on a variety of road conditions, knowing that H-D’s RDRS package is there - even if you don’t need it - is a comforting thought.


Drop by your Harley-Heaven dealer today to discuss which Touring model best suits your purpose.

Disclaimer: Available traction is determined by the road/tyre interface. The systems

bundled into the RDRS are only able to adjust brake pressure or powertrain torque in

an attempt to keep the forces at the tyre from exceeding available grip. These

technologies do not have the ability to increase grip, or to intervene when the rider has

not made a brake or throttle application (e.g. coasting through a corner with the clutch

disengaged). RDRS is not a system to directly influence vehicle direction. This is a key

difference between motorcycle RDRS and Automotive Stability Control. The rider is

ultimately responsible for steering and path corrections.


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