2017 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide Review
The 2017 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide is sure to fall into that time-honored tradition of flagship motorcycles, with its brash and timeless styling. And while we stood around the bikes in Tacoma, Wash., it seemed that the engineers and staff just had that much more excitement brewing when in close proximity to CVO (Custom Vehicle Operations) models.
Billed as a step-above-the-rest bike since 1999, the CVO models have pulled on the threads coming out of the custom builder. In this case—the custom bagger scene—they used ideas and trends that we’ve all ogled. No matter your preference of ride, they’re eye-catching and they aren’t shy about it.
Sitting at the heart of this steel-framed beast is the all-new Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine. While the standard new Milwaukee-Eight 107 is quite an accomplishment and truly impressive, the 1868cc Milwaukee-Eight 114 is the undeniable star of the three-engine Milwaukee-Eight lineup.
Producing a claimed 124 ft/lbs of torque at just 3250 rpm, the 114 is heavenly, and I say that while being completely taken by the newly introduced 107. It’s difficult to improve on something that, in terms of tractability, was flawless. However, more power is an always appreciated solution, and that’s exactly what Harley intended to do with the 114.
[Read our 2017 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra Review]
Featuring eight-valves, and more electronic support than we’ve ever seen on a H-D, the engineering staff, led by Alex Bozmoski (Chief Engineer-New Product at Harley-Davidson), has done an impeccable job.
Off the line, the 2017 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide wants to pull. With its seven cubic inch bump from the Twin-Cooled Twin Cam 110 that came before, that isn’t really a subtle suggestion either; it’s a demand of the engine. On paper, it doesn’t seem like you’re getting much more and, prior to this, I never felt like I was the guy to seek that out. As I soon discovered, I am very much that guy.
Through all six gears, power is delivered perfectly. There are neither hiccups in fueling, nor flat spots that my derriere could detect. The Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 114 propels the 867-pound (claimed curb) CVO Street Glide to ticket-worthy speeds in a hurry.
Lugging the 114 down below 1000 rpm doesn’t faze it; the big twin will pull from anywhere. Bozmoski warned me prior to setting out that I was in for something different, and he was correct. I found the rev limiter, simply because it pulls all the way up to that point—shocking, considering that performance certainly trailed off in the upper rpm range on previous models. It was then that Bozmoski’s words took a bit more footing in my mind.
The biggest takeaway with the new Milwaukee-Eight powerplants is how they’ve been honed down, focusing on the pure elements that make up a dyed-in-the-wool American V-twin. H-D hasn’t seen a significant engine update since the Twin Cam in 1999. In the fast-moving motorcycle world, that’s an eon. If you read nothing else, go home knowing that it is still very much an American V-Twin, proud and defiant in nature.
Not just about power, the Milwaukee-Eight 114 motor has been designed with other pleasantries in mind. Although the seat height hasn’t changed this year, for shorter riders, the proposition of wielding a fully decked out bagger isn’t as imposing as it was. The Milwaukee-Eight 114 also has a narrower engine profile, so riders can now sit more comfortably.
Heat was one of the biggest items to tackle when it came to designing these new Milwaukee-Eight engines, and it’s something that veterans of the V-twin platform will notice immediately. Engineers took the time to move heated components away from the rider as they worked on the engines ability to cool and maintain optimal temperatures. The result is not only more comfort, but now that will allow for more control when it comes to fueling and thus passing those growing emissions standards globally.
The swept bars and floorboards keep me in a more upright riding position, which is incredibly enjoyable and in no way taxing. Lean back and relax, or get into the bars for the twisties, and the CVO Street Glide allows for a good amount of movement.
Given that the CVO Street Glide can get up and go in a hurry, you’ll be assured to know that it can handle quite well. Harley-Davidson has also upped the ante in terms of suspension.
For 2017, all Harley Touring models will be making use of 49mm Showa Dual Bending Valve forks that feature 4.6 inches of travel. In the rear, you’ll find new Premium emulsion shocks with hand-adjustable spring-preload, though only just a hair over two inches of travel.
Regardless of the limited movement of the rear axle, it adds up to suspension that works wonderfully. While tackling some tight roads, as well as logging-truck-abused twisties, I had all I needed. The Touring bikes, thanks to their upgraded suspension, can now deal with those fast, hard, hits that we all know, and absolutely did not love.
Turning the CVO Street Glide, if I may be so cheesy as to invoke the bikes namesake, truly does gently glide into corners. With a bit of suggestion, the bagger tips in and holds its line flawlessly. That doesn’t mean you can’t make corrections; it’s happy to avoid unexpected road debris without upsetting the chassis.
And despite its size, you’ll have about over 30 degrees of lean angle to work with before you start finding the hard parts, which a giddier rider might make his mark on fairly quickly.
All-important stopping power is a subject that I’m quite pleased to report works as intended. Brake feel, for all of the Touring bikes, is a bit masculine, but precise. Squeeze the front lever and a single finger amount of input should be enough to scrub off speed while riding at pace and coming to gentle stops. If you prefer the foot pedal, the Reflex Linked system applies braking power to both wheels without touching the hand lever.
For a bit more aggressive braking, you simply ask a bit more of it, and the CVO Street Glide, with its three 300mm rotors, will keep you safe. Of course, you’ll also find a competent ABS unit keeping an ever-watchful eye on you.
That’s the ride, but how does the 2017 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide make me feel? That’s one of the all-important questions about a CVO. When I stood with helmet in hand, the entire 2017 Harley-Davidson Touring lineup ahead of me, my eyes were drawn to the Sunburst Orange and Starfire Black emblazoned bike. With five-spoke Contrast Chrome Aggressor wheels, adorned on this particular model, it does standout among the brash lineup. It was the loudest looking machine in the lot, and I was going to take it on its maiden voyage.
The Motor Company has never been a brand about subtlety; the exhaust note should be representative of that. The distinctive sound makes the presence of Harley-Davidsons known in the best way possible.
From the ample storage space to the tried-and-true fairing, everything works as intended. Wind noise is reduced while in the cockpit of the CVO Street Glide, and I was protected from the elements, which I certainly faced while in the rainy northwest. While following my compatriots, the fairing dealt which splash from cars and motorcycles well, and kept me protected from a biting windblast.
Complete with a full color LCD display screen controlling the Boom! Box 6.5GT audio system and GPS, those of you who like to jam some tunes while riding will be able to listen to things with a fair amount of clarity, and you’ll be able to find your way home.
Using the systems is a snap, as well. Either make use of the touchscreen—not recommended while riding—or the hand controls. Everything works in a shockingly intuitive manner, which cannot be said about many bikes on the market.
The new CVO Street Glide is a motorcycle for someone that wants it all, and feels too much is never enough. It’s for the rider that wants to revel in the idea of what a Harley-Davidson is—proud, low-slung, and marches to the beat of its own drum.
More than a Street Glide with some exquisite makeup, the CVO Street Glide is a proper touring machine, as well; comfort, power and a nearly service-free engine reinforce that point. If you sit back one Friday afternoon and throw the dart at the map, you’ll be getting back home with a little bit more style when you return on Monday.
Photography by Riles & Nelson
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- Helmet: Shoei RF-1200
- Jacket: Held Harvey 76
- Gloves: Tour Master Summer Elite 3
- Jeans: Pando Moto – Karl Indigo
- Boots: TCX X-Blend Waterproof
2017 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide FLHXSE Specs:
- Motor: Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 114
- Bore x stroke: 4.016” x 4.500”
- Displacement: 114 cubic inches (1868cc)
- Maximum torque: 124 ft/lbs @ 3250 rpm
- Valve trail: Single cam w/ pushrods and 4 vpc
- Compression ratio: 10.5:1
- Fuel system: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection
- Transmission: 6-speed Cruise Drive
- Clutch: Hydraulic w/ Assist & Slip
- Front suspension: Non-adjustable 49mm Showa Dual Bending Valve forks
- Rear suspension: Spring-preload adjustable Premium emulsion shocks
- Front tire: 130/80-19; Dunlop Harley-Davidson D408F
- Rear tire: 180/55-18; Dunlop Harley-Davidson D407
- Front brakes: 300mm full-floating rotors w/ 4-piston fixed calipers
- Rear brake: 300mm fixed rotor w/ 4-piston fixed caliper.
- Linked braking: Standard
- ABS: Standard
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- L x H x W: 96.7 x 38.2 x 53 inches
- Wheelbase: 64 inches
- Fork angle: 29.25 degrees
- Rake: 26 degrees
- Trail: 6.7 inches
- Lean angle r/l: 32/31 degrees
- Seat height laden/unladen: 26.3/27.2 inches
- Curb weight: 867 pounds
- Fuel capacity: 6 gallons
- EPA estimated fuel consumption: 43 mpg
2017 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide Colors:
- Candy Cobalt/Indigo Ink
- Sunburst Orange/Starfire Black
- Starfire Black/Atomic Red
- Dark Slate Candy/Arctic Black
2017 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide Price:
- MSRP From $37,799