Harley Davidson Dyna 1450

Super Glide vs Wide Glide & The Mysterious Death of Dyna

For rookies in the world of Harley, one of the most common questions is about the difference between super glide and wide glide.

To be honest, it was something that confused me too, when I started my motorcycle journeys. And with a carryover of the names from the past, things can get even more confusing.

As Harley Davidson has been around for more than 100 years, its history is as fascinating as the iconic sound of its engine.

So, what’s all the noise about Dyna super glide vs wide glide?

Keep reading and you’ll find out.

The Harley-Davidson Super Glide

Harley Davidson Super Glide
ozz13x, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Super Glide marked the launch of the FX series of motorcycles by Harley Davidson. The design was the brainchild of Willie G. Davidson, the styling director of the brand. 

The FX Super Glide was launched in 1971. It was the first factory custom from Harley Davidson. (And that was the period when motorcyclists were often regarded as “outlaws”)

The term FX stood for “Factory Experimental”. The bike combined the frame and rear suspension of the Electra Glide FLH with the telescopic forks and wheels of the Sportster model.

The only problem?

The market response was lukewarm at best. Many riders felt the boattail rear fender was one of the worst features of the bike.

In 1977, came the FXS Low Rider. It had the Fat Bob tanks, alloy wheels, and extended forks with a 32° rake.

And boom! The model was an instant hit.

Since then, various FX models were launched and older features were often reintroduced. In 1991, Harley introduced Dyna chassis. Its specialty was a rubber-mounted engine. 

Harley Davidson Super Glide Sport
Image credit: Flickr user Dave_S. CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/david_e_smith/15389464175

A large number of high-performance Dyna models were introduced for the next few decades including the Dyna Glide.

(Not to forget Sons of Anarchy, a tragic ode to the Dyna fans)

Like many others, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that Harley will kill the Dyna and replace it with the Softail chassis from 2018.

What’s different about the Softail?

Firstly, it has hidden shock absorbers in the rear suspension. Next, Harley trimmed a lot of weight from the models and made them more corner-friendly. As a result, both the lean angle and power-to-weight ratio increased. 

However, the Softail is best suited for a single rider and lighter loads.

Even so, Harley vets who shook their heads at the loss of the beloved Dyna agreed that the new models feel fast and nimble on the freeway.

In a nutshell, the Dyna is dead. And the reasons behind it are still unclear. 

But its legacy lives on through the owners. And who knows, it may even make a comeback after a few years’ break. 

(With Harley, you can “never say never”.)

The Harley-Davidson Wide Glide

Harley Davidson Dyna Wide Glide
Cjp24, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The FXDWG Dyna Wide Glide was introduced in 1993. Many consider it as one of the most stylish Dyna Glide models with a rugged chopper-like look and a beefy, low profile. It came with a wide, raked fork—from where it got its name.

In 1999, the Wide Glide came with the 1,450 cc, air-cooled Twin Cam 88 engine. In 2008, the Wide Glide took a break for two years. 

But it came back strongly in 2010, with a bigger 1,690 cc, fuel-injected, air-cooled Twin Cam 103 engine.

Any Wide Gilde rider will admit, this is a motorcycle that performs equally well on freeways, as well as winding country roads. And for a large bike, it’s surprisingly nimble and great fun to ride.

Overall, if you want a classic, relaxed cruiser, the Wide Glide is one of the best.

However, the Wide Glide rode into the sunset with the retirement of the Dyna frames. But the Softail models like the Street Bob, Low Rider, and Fat Bob did absorb some of its best features.

What’s the Difference Between Wide Glide and Super Glide?

Harley Davidson FXDX Super Glide Sport
Image credit: Flickr user Dave_S. CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/david_e_smith/7401980436

Keep in mind that both the designs come under the Dyna framework of models and have some similar features. And over the years, Harley has developed multiple variations of these motorcycles.

That makes comparing such a wide range of Harley models a difficult task. There are pros and cons of each model and everyone has their own favorites. A head-to-head comparison isn’t practical.

Still with me? Great!

Let’s focus on the meat and potatoes of the two models.

  • Since both bikes have Dyna DNA, they look similar. The front end of the Wide Glide is wider. The Super Glide has a typical Harley design with a narrow front. If you aren’t a fan of the chopper-style, you will prefer the Super glide.
  • Admittedly, the Wide Glide has a more comfortable stock seat. If you’re on a long road trip, the Wide Glide offers more space to change positions as needed. Keep in mind, the Wide Glide also has bigger handlebars. Overall, for a shorter rider, the Super Glide would be the better choice. For riders above 6 feet, the Super Gilde can feel a bit cramped.
  • In terms of power, both models come with twin-cam engines. Some bikers say that the Wide Glide rides faster. But that can depend on a variety of other factors.
  • The ride quality can be marginally better in the Wide Ride. But the Super glide isn’t too far behind either. However, the Wide Glide is a great performer during cornering.
  • The Dyna Wide Ride comes with a higher price tag than the Super Glide. That said, the entire Dyna lineup from Harley is expensive. 

So, Dyna Wide Glide vs Super Glide, which is the best choice?

Fact is, both are great models that offer solid performance. 

If you ask me, I’d say the main difference is the size factor. If you want a bigger bike with more space, pick the Wide Glide. And if you want a versatile bike that offers good value, the Super Glide can be a better choice.

Even so, there are many riders who swear by the 1970s chopper-esque design that the Wide Glide represents.

Note, none of the models are market leaders when it comes to raw performance. In the end, it all depends on your preferences.

Wonder how Harley Davidson motorcycles are made? Check this out!

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between a Dyna Wide Glide and a Dyna Super Glide?

Both models are designed on the discontinued Dyna chassis. There are no major differences between the models in terms of power and performance. However, The Wide Glide is more expensive and has a chopper-style design. Also, its large size and space make it more suitable for taller riders.

What’s better, Super Glide or Wide Glide?

Both Super Glide and Wide Glide are excellent models. The choice will depend on your preferences in terms of design and the price factor.

Is a Harley Super Glide an excellent first bike?

As long as you drive safely, and into Harleys, the Dyna Super Glide can be a good first bike.