Project Rushmore is qualified by Harley-Davidson as “the largest scale new model launch” in its 110-year history. In addition to new electronics, infotainment with touchscreen features, the Rushmore Project includes a long list of upgrades to provide the 2014 Touring & Trike models with more power (more roll-on power, brisker passing performance), and rider control in a variety of situations (Reflex™ Linked Brakes with ABS that dynamically optimize front/rear brake balance when the motorcycle is above 20 to 25 mph, new electronic clutch control requiring less pressure, new front suspension with larger fork sliders and stiffer triple clamps for improved steering response, brilliant headlamps to make the motorcycle conspicuous to others)
What surprised me somewhat among the many press releases provided to the media is the relatively small volume of information given to us regarding the High Output Twin Cam 103 (Original Equipment on the 2014 Harley-Davidson Road King®, Street Glide®, Street Glide® Special, and Electra Glide® Ultra Classic® motorcycle models) and especially on the Twin-Cooled™ High Output Twin Cam 103™ (featured in the 2014 Ultra Limited and Tri Glide™ Ultra models.)
Why so? Is it that Harley-Davidson is conflicted with the necessity of engine development initiatives (giving power hungry bikers what they want while satisfying EPA regulations) and the desire not to scare the Harley purists reticent to any innovation including a liquid cooled engine and its required radiator? The High Outpost Twin Cam 103 is a straightforward improvement with a new camshaft to optimize bottom-end torque and a new high-flow airbox improving legroom and airflow around the rider. It is stated to deliver 5% more torque than the standard Twin Cam 103™ powertrain. The new Harley debate is centered around the Twin-Cooled™ High Output Twin Cam 103™ version equipping the 2014 Ultra Limited and Tri Glide™ Ultra models. Some say sacrilege. Others point out the necessity to make Harleys function better and applaud the company for its engine evolution/innovation.
Not the first time Harley-Davidson offers a liquid-cooled motorcycle. Since 2001, the V-Rod is equipped with the liquid-cooled Revolution 60° V-Twin engine. But it is on a very different motor developed jointly with Porsche. Two years ago a new patent obtained by Harley with coolant circulating through the cylinder heads was posted in my website and all over the net. Coolant is contained in a a small 1.1 quart radiator. Twin cooling cools the heads around the exhaust ports to deliver at or near peak performance under all operating conditions and temperatures. Harley states a higher compression ratio increasing efficiency and horsepower. The 2014 Ultra Limited and Tri Glide™ Ultra models also got a new airbox for increased airflow and a new cam to optimize low-end torque. Harley-Davidson mentions that it’s got the fastest 60 to 80 mph 5th gear roll on in the history of Harley-Davidson, meaning the most passing power. On top of all that, it puts less heat on the rider and passenger on hot days and in stop and go traffic.
Is there reasons for some to feel “offended” by the new Twin-Cooled™ High Output Twin Cam 103™? I let you debate. But it’s true that Harley-Davidson will have extreme difficulties to hide a radiator on its cruisers line-up. Except if going for a complete body restyling of all its models. A huge task that may be imposed by EPA regulations that would take years to accomplish. Today, Harley Davidson gives the rationale by stating that a liquid-cooled engine was the only possible evolution of its engine, making the following statement: ““If you started in 1909 with the very first Harley-Davidson V-Twin engine and worked your way up through every engine, every innovation, every improvement, every ride, every durability test in all those years and countless miles since, you arrive at the Twin Cooled High Output Twin Cam 103™ engine, the top of the line. 103 cubic inches of air and precision cooled Harley-Davidson®V-twin power.” And of course, we all wonder, what can be next?