Wednesday, September 30, 2009

2010 Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide Ultra Classic

2010 Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide Ultra Classic - front view - copyright 2009 Jeffery Blackwell

The first thing I noticed about the trike was that it was backed into the parking spot.

Readers may know that I am not that into Harleys, but even at ten paces this struck me as an unusual machine. For one thing, it seemed all Harley, front to back. Every other three-wheel H-D I have seen was an after-market affair, but this bike’s running gear and bodywork looked seamless, and Harley-Davidson badges and etchings outnumbered the U.S. Marine Corp insignias.

2010 Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide Ultra Classic - engine detail with Marine insignia - copyright 2009 Jeffery Blackwell

After giving it the once over, but leaving my camera in the car, I entered Black Canyon to complete my original mission. Coffee. Walking towards the counter, I saw Dennis sitting alone at a table reading the paper. I knew the Harley had to belong to him, because printed across his chest, his T-shirt read “got freedom?”

(This is a game I like to play by myself – or sometime with others. When you walk into a smaller restaurant or coffee shop, and you notice an unusual vehicle in the lot – try to identify the owner of said machine. I am usually pretty good at it, although it can be tricky.)

2010 Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide Ultra Classic - instruments - copyright 2009 Jeffery Blackwell

“Yep, that’s mine” Dennis told me. Dennis confirmed that his bike came right from the H-D factory with all three wheels, and, yes, it does have a reverse gear. He’s had it about a month and has logged some 1,300 miles, hurrying to get it through its break-in process. He’s trailering the bike down to Tennessee soon to meet some friends and ride the infamous “Tail of the Dragon”, a tangle of a road that has 318 corners in just 11 miles.

2010 Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide Ultra Classic - rear view - copyright 2009 Jeffery Blackwell

Out in the parking lot, I asked Dennis about three-wheeling vs. two-wheeling. He admitted that “You lose the freedom of the road – that’s what I call it…”, as he grabbed imaginary handlebars, and tilted at his hips - one way then the other. “With this, instead of leaning, you use your arms to steer.”

But Dennis praised the handling and comfort of the three-wheel ride, and added that his wife really liked the feeling of stability. And being able to control the radio from the back seat.

2010 Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide Ultra Classic - Dennis - copyright 2009 Jeffery Blackwell

2010 Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide Ultra Classic - U.S. flag reflected in chrome - copyright 2009 Jeffery Blackwell

I urged Dennis to take it easy on the Dragon’s Tail, three wheels or not, and he climbed aboard his Tri-Glide, released the parking brake and took off, flags flying.


  1. Wonderful fun and great machine once you figure out how to steer and NOT lean it through the turns.

  2. Jack D -

    Yeah, that's what Dennis said. It's almost more like driving a very agile car, because you actually steer the thing with your arms.

    Here's an interesting alternative, with one wheel in the back!

    - Jeff


Thanks for commenting! Double clutch!!