What’s Special About the Limited-Edition 2021 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special?

Earlier this year, the Electra Glide Revival kicked off Harley-Davidson’s new Icons Collection. However, modern recreations of classic models won’t be the only kinds of limited-edition bikes Harley makes. At this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Harley-Davidson revealed a limited-edition version of the 2021 Street Glide Special. But what makes this version of the bagger ‘special’? And is it worth getting in line for?

[UPDATE 8/13/2021: Harley-Davidson recently informed us that the original $38,899 MSRP quote the company provided was incorrect. The company has since corrected itself and said that the 2021 Street Glide Special Arctic Blast truly starts at $32,999 and that the $995 RDRS is optional. This article has been updated to reflect this correction.]

What makes this limited-edition 2021 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special different from a regular Street Glide?

The side view of a white-blue-and-black 2021 Harley-Davidson Arctic Blast Street Glide Special in front of an old building
2021 Harley-Davidson Arctic Blast Street Glide Special side | Harley-Davidson
SpecHarley-Davidson Arctic Blast Street Glide SpecialHarley-Davidson Street Glide SpecialHarley-Davidson Street Glide
Engine1868cc Milwaukee-Eight 114 air/oil-cooled V-twin1868cc Milwaukee-Eight 114 air/oil-cooled V-twin1746cc Milwaukee-Eight 107 air/oil-cooled V-twin
Power90 hp (Roadshow)90 hp (Roadshow)83 hp (based on Cycle World dyno testing)
Torque118 lb-ft118 lb-ft111 lb-ft
TransmissionSix-speed manual with slip-assist clutchSix-speed manual with slip-assist clutchSix-speed manual with slip-assist clutch
Curb weight827 lbs827 lbs829 lbs
Seat height27.2″27.2″27.4″
Ground clearance4.9″4.9″5.3″
Front suspension travel4.6″4.6″4.6″
Rear suspension travel2.15″2.15″2.1″

Mechanically, the biggest difference between the 2021 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special and the ‘regular’ Street Glide is the different engines. However, that’s not the only thing that makes the Special, well, more special.

Firstly, the Special has larger bags and a low-profile engine guard, Ultimate Motorcycling says. It also has a larger color TFT touchscreen display and an upgraded infotainment system with navigation, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay as well as hand and voice commands. Plus, an LED headlight and spoked wheels with an optional blacked-out design.

The side view of a red 2021 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special in front of a yellow building
2021 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special side | Harley-Davidson

So, how does the limited-edition 2021 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special compare to the ‘regular’ model? In terms of equipment, nothing. Even the Reflex Defensive Rider System is optional on the limited-edition. The standard Harley-Davidson Street Glide already has cruise control ABS-equipped Brembo brakes. However, RDRS adds cornering-enhanced ABS, traction control, rear-wheel-slip control, hill-hold assist, and tire-pressure monitoring. In other words, the extra safety features the new Sportster S has as standard.

Instead, the biggest difference between the limited-edition model and the regular bike is the former’s paint job. The paint scheme is called ‘Arctic Blast,’ and it’s applied by hand at Gunslinger Custom Paint in Golden, Colorado. Yes, even that front honeycomb pattern. This explains the bike’s official name: ‘2021 Harley-Davidson Arctic Blast Limited Edition Street Glide Special.’

How much does the limited-edition 2021 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special cost?

A close-up of the front fairing on a white-blue-and-black 2021 Harley-Davidson Arctic Blast Street Glide Special
2021 Harley-Davidson Arctic Blast Street Glide Special fairing detail | Harley-Davidson

The 2021 Harley-Davidson Arctic Blast Street Glide Special starts at $32,999. In comparison, the ‘regular’ Special starts at $27,099; the non-Special bike starts at $21,999. Oh, and if you want the matching Arctic Blast-painted luggage carrier, it’s an extra $1,699.95.

Those who want one of these limited-edition baggers will have to get in line fast. Harley’s only making 500 examples for the whole world, and orders are already open.

Is the special-edition bagger worth buying?

The side 3/4 view of a gray-and-black 2021 Indian Chieftain Elite by a riverside bridge
2021 Indian Chieftain Elite side 3/4 | Indian

Whether or not you add the $995 RDRS, the 2021 Harley-Davidson Arctic Blast Street Glide Special costs roughly $6000 more than the ‘regular’ Special. For some, that might seem like a lot of cash for a paint job.

However, it’s worth remembering that the limited-edition 2021 Indian Chieftain Elite cost about $7000 more than the standard Chieftain. And most of that premium, understandably, came from the hand-applied paint. Though to be fair, the Chieftain Elite also threw in some extra audio and infotainment features.

So, is the limited-edition Special worth waiting in line for? According to NADA Guides, “high-end…and exceptional custom paint jobs” can cost anywhere from $15,000-$30,000. Given that Gunslinger has a decades-long history with Harley-Davidson, the $6000 premium is arguably justified. It just depends on whether or not you like the look or not. And if you don’t, the Special has cheaper colors available.

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