With Harley’s recent discontinuation of the Dyna, we thought we’d honor the venerable model on #ThrowbackThursday with this review of the 2012 FXDC Dyna Super Glide that originally ran in American Iron Magazine March 2012. – AIM
Harley’s best kept secret– By Dain Gingerelli
I’LL LET YOU IN ON A LITTLE SECRET: IT DOESN’T TAKE a king’s ransom to own a new Big Twin, and though you’re sometimes tempted to trade your firstborn for a new Harley, you don’t necessarily have to go to that extreme, either.
Instead, go to your local Harley-Davidson dealer and tell the salesperson that you want to buy a new FXDC Dyna Super Glide Custom. And, based on the Motor Company’s suggested MSRP, it’ll cost you under $ 13,000. That’s if you go with the standard Vivid Black paint scheme, never a bad choice no matter what variation of America’s favorite V-twin motorcycle it appears on.
Beyond the Vivid Black paint scheme, here’s what you get for $ 12,999 — a motorcycle. We could conclude this road test with those two words and you’d have the complete story, too, because the FXDC Dyna Super Glide Custom is a Harley-Davidson that’s distilled to the very essence of what motorcycling is supposed to be. There are no frills and no add-ons like windscreens, sound systems, chopper-like custom parts, performance-related components, or anything else for that matter to confine this bike to a particular market niche. The result is a Dyna that’s as close to being a conventional motorcycle as any you’ll find wearing the Bar & Shield logo.
Conversely, by sticking to the basic common denominator of what two-wheel riding is really all about, the FXDC checks in as the most versatile model in Harley’s 2012 lineup. Think of it as a jack-of-all-trades model. In fact, in a book (Art of the Harley-Davidson) that I recently coauthored with photographer David Blattel, I wrote “Simply, the Dyna Super Glide Custom [FXDC] model is a good, solid, all-around motorcycle that rewards its owner with a pleasurable ride no matter what the road conditions. This Dyna model can handle them all: traffic-congested city streets, meandering back roads, or long and boring stretches of interstate. Regardless of where you ride, the Dyna motorcycle serves up a comfortable ride so you always feel confident about the next mile.” I still stand behind those words. Especially after recently spending some time aboard this Big Blue Pearl model (add another $ 385 to the MSRP for this paint option).
Interestingly, the Custom is one of only two models in the Big Twin lineup (the Dyna Street Bob is the other) that retains the 96″ engine. Harley lists the 96″ engine’s maximum torque at 92 ft-lbs. at 3000 rpm, and with a claimed dry weight of 648 pounds, the FXDC boasts a rather favorable power-to-weight ratio. Consequently, when you twist the throttle grip and run the Custom through its Cruise Drive transmission’s six speeds, you’re rewarded with surprisingly snappy acceleration. While it’s certainly not in the league of foreign, hyper-performing crotch rockets, this Dyna nonetheless is one of the quicker Big Twins that Milwaukee offers. Passing power, especially, is impressive. We clocked the FXDC from 60 to 80 mph (in fifth gear) at five seconds. Low-speed acceleration isn’t shabby, either, taking only four seconds to go from 20 to 50 mph (in second gear). Who needs a 103, anyway?
You won’t have trouble stopping the Dyna Custom. Although there’s only a single 11.8″ disc brake on the front (with an 11-1/2″ on the rear), feedback through the controls is positive, requiring only a constant, steady pressure on the hand lever and foot pedal to slow or stop the bike. Again, the Custom’s weight works in its favor, and in a panic situation, we were able to stop the FXDC from 30 mph in 26′. It helped, too, that our Dyna was equipped with the optional ABS (Antilock Braking System) package, so we could squeeze the bejesus out of the front brake lever without the risk of locking the tire and skidding to an unglamorous halt.
Perhaps the most stellar performance figure we attained with our 2012 FXDC relates to fuel consumption. Harley- Davidson advertises a combined 43 mpg (based on EPA certification), but we easily surpassed that with 47 mpg on one tank. That included taking the bike up to 90 mph for several miles to stay with the NASCAR-like pace on the Los Angeles- area freeways, plus cruising through our local mountains where our Dyna easily motored out of low-speed hairpin turns and hammered out long straight sections of road that let us wind back up to 90 mph. And with a 5-gallon fuel capacity, the FXDC’s range can easily exceed 200 miles. Maybe there is something else to be said about that smaller engine.
Beyond its performance specs, though, the Dyna Super Glide Custom offers a smooth, almost cushy ride for such a conventional platform. The rather lengthy 64.2″ wheelbase helps neutralize the effects of most bumps and ripples in the road, and those road surface irregularities that happen to sneak through must then get beyond the suspension that shows 5″ of travel in the fork and 3.1″ in the abbreviated shock absorbers. It’s worth noting, too, that the deeply scooped seat — essential in helping maintain an overall seat height of just 26.3″ — has more padding than you’d expect, offering decent thigh support while allowing your hands and feet to be positioned in a rather traditional manner during a ride down the boulevard or a trip through the local canyon. The midpoint mounted foot controls might create a more cramped feel for taller riders, though. A set of bolt-on highway pegs (if you don’t like what’s offered in Harley’s P&A catalog, there are plenty of aftermarket examples to choose from) presents a quick fix, but you’ll still have to move your feet to the mid-controls when braking and shifting gears. Overall, the seating position is rather comfortable for an all-day ride.
On the other hand (well, butt), the passenger’s seating area is confined to the small wedge of the two-up seat. Moreover, the passenger footpegs are placed rather high in relation to the seat, the overall effect being a tolerable ride, at best, for rider number two.
But whether you’re riding two-up or solo, the Dyna Super Glide Custom presents itself as a fine, everyday bike that also happens to be the most affordable in the Motor Company’s Big Twin lineup. It’s nothing fancy, but at the end of a long ride, there’s no denying that this is a motor – cycle that presents itself well in all street-riding categories.
Find this story and other great motorcycle reviews, tech, DIY and feature articles in back issues of American Iron Magazine at Greaserag.com!!