Two models of baggers are battling it out for the Most Popular Model award of the 2017 model year. The deciding factor? The style of front fairing. The Batwing Fairing and the Shark Nose Fairing.
A fork-mounted fairing was first available on Electra Glide models in 1969. This became unofficially known as the "batwing" fairing. Although the batwing fairing was an easily removable option on early Electra Glides, over time the instruments were moved into the fairing making it difficult to remove.
Batwing fairings can be found on the following 2017 models:
- Street Glide
- Street Glide Special
- Electra Glide Ultra Classic
- Ultra Limited
- Ultra Limited Low
- CVO Street Glide
- CVO Limited
- Tri Glide Ultra
H-D released the Road Glide in 1998 featuring the "shark nose" fairing.
Sharknose fairings can be found on the following 2017 models:
The biggest difference between the two fairings is in how they are mounted to the motorcycle.
- The batwing is mounted to the forks of the motorcycle allowing it to turn as the rider turns the handlebars.
- The sharknose fairing is mounted to the frame of the motorcycle. It stays in a "fixed" position and doesn't turn with the handlebars.
As different as they look, they have a distinct and unique ride. Because the weight of the sharknose fairing and the impact of the wind are not felt through the handlebars, a Road Glide rider will feel like the steering control is light and precise.
After hours of research in wind tunnels, both were redesigned recently to feature a "splitstream" vent below the windshield to alter the air pressure in the rider area behind the fairing so you’ll notice significantly less head buffeting at speed.
They both also feature some truly amazing technology packed into the fairing with Infotainment systems, touchscreens, speakers and gauges.
And we certainly can't discount the new Milwaukee Eight engine found in all 2017 touring models.
So which one wins? Honestly you have to ride them both. There is a rider for every motorcycle and your personal preference will win out. Guess you'll have to take them both for a free test ride at Oakland H-D.