CUS­TOM KING

Could this be Har­ley-david­son’s best bike?

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - PHIL WEST MCN CON­TRIB­U­TOR

They’re big, they’re brash, they’ll re­lieve you of your cash – CVOS. We grab the lat­est fac­tory cus­tom from Har­ley-david­son and ride it on the roads where it was born in the US of A. The Street Glide CVO is a rolling work of art, but does it jus­tify the £30k price tag?

Har­ley’s CVO bikes have al­ways been the very best-ac­ces­sorised and tuned of­fer­ings the his­toric Amer­i­can firm can muster – but its lat­est for 2017 takes even all that a stage fur­ther.

CVO stands for H-D’S in-house Cus­tom Ve­hi­cle Op­er­a­tions depart­ment which, each year, pro­duces a lim­ited edi­tion of a few thou­sand or so blinged and hot­ted up ex­am­ples of a small se­lec­tion of its big twins.

Usu­ally, this means the stan­dard en­gines get Har­ley’s bolt-on Screamin’ Ea­gle per­for­mance up­grade; spe­cial edi­tion, two-tone cus­tom paint is exquisitely ap­plied and the whole thing is slathered with the most al­lur­ing alu­minium bil­let and of­ten car­bon-fi­bre good­ies H-D’S ex­ten­sive ac­ces­sories cat­a­logue can of­fer.

The re­sult is, sim­ply, the best offthe-shelf Har­leys money can buy. No won­der then that, de­spite some­times eye-wa­ter­ing price tags, CVOS are in huge de­mand, of­ten sell-out in­stantly and also keep their value im­pres­sively as used buys.

But with the ar­rival of Har­ley’s new, in­creased ca­pac­ity, four-valve Mil­wau­kee-eight en­gines (see MCN Septem­ber 14), which, in ei­ther oil or liq­uid (Twin-cooled) form power H-D’S 2017 tour­ing fam­ily, sud­denly its CVOS have an ex­tra card to play.

For 2017, Har­ley UK is of­fer­ing three CVO mod­els. The CVO Pro Street Break­out, as tested in MCN ear­lier this year and which is based on the old Twin Cam-pow­ered Break­out, car­ries for­ward into 2017. Of big­ger news is this

‘There’s no get­ting away from it, the CVO Street Glide is sim­ply fab­u­lous. In every way. Al­most.’

is now joined by the new, Mil­wau­keeEight-pow­ered CVO Lim­ited and, here, ar­guably the most de­li­cious of all, the sim­i­larly pow­ered new CVO Street Glide.

And, there’s no get­ting away from it, the CVO Street Glide is sim­ply fab­u­lous. In every way. Al­most.

There are three sim­ple rea­sons for this: First, the stock Street Glide is al­ready a bril­liant bike. Es­sen­tially a chopped-down ver­sion of the full-dress Elec­tra Glide it’s both the quin­tes­sen­tial bag­ger and Har­ley’s (and Amer­ica’s) best-sell­ing bike, full-stop.

For 2017, how­ever, the Street Glide gets the Mil­wau­kee-eight up­grades that have been ap­plied across the whole of Har­ley’s tour­ing fam­ily, namely new, 11% pok­ier, four-valve mo­tor, in this guise in Twin-cooled, liq­uid-cooled form, where twin rads are hid­den in the leg guards (mod­els with­out the leg guards, such as the Road King, get the oil-cooled ver­sion with a sin­gle oil cooler) plus sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved sus­pen­sion.

Then, in CVO form, the 2017 Glide gets even bet­ter yet – im­pres­sively so. First, there’s a big­ger, 114ci, (or 1868cc from 1745cc), Screamin’ Ea­gle tuned ver­sion of the Twin-cooled en­gine. That in it­self boosts peak torque to 122ftlb and is some­thing you re­ally no­tice, es­pe­cially when you re­mem­ber last year’s Twin Cam bikes put out just 93ftlb. That’s a 30% boost right there.

Then come all the CVO good­ies. Cos­met­ics-wise, the CVO Glide is sim­ply lush. From its mouth-wa­ter­ing, spe­cial edi­tion paint to the flush-fit filler, bil­let grips, gran­ite-fin­ished fair­ing in­ners and classy fob-op­er­ated, cen­tral-lock­ing pan­niers.

Ev­ery­where you look, the CVO is mouth-wa­ter­ingly glossy and cool – enough to make the stock Har­ley we also had on test seem al­most ba­sic.

While, fi­nally, the sur­prise cherry on top is the CVO Street Glide’s en­hanced sound sys­tem – and, wow, is it im­pres­sive. With big­ger, 6.5in BOOM! Stage II speak­ers which are pow­ered by a new 600-watt am­pli­fier, the CVO’S sound sys­tem, al­ready im­pres­sive through Har­ley’s slick, LCD touch-screen ‘In­fo­tain­ment’ sys­tem, goes sim­ply into a dif­fer­ent di­men­sion, for pro­duc­tion bikes at least. For­get the tinny, barely au­di­ble sound­track of be­fore, here’s the kind of loud and bass-heavy au­dio pre­vi­ously the realm of hot­ted up hatch­backs.

All of that makes the CVO Street Glide a sim­ply bril­liant bike and prob­a­bly – see­ing as it’s ba­si­cally a blinged up take on the new hot­ted up ver­sion of H-D’S most pop­u­lar ma­chine – Har­ley’s best bike.

My only reser­va­tion, slightly, is its price. At £30,545 the CVO’S al­most a whop­ping 10 grand more than the stock Street Glide Spe­cial (at £20,695) and only a lit­tle less than the full dress Lim­ited ver­sion.

It’s also worth re­mem­ber­ing the CVO Pro Street Break­out has much of the same ap­peal (if not the lat­est en­gine, sound sys­tem and lug­gage) for around £20K.

A bells and whis­tles ver­sion of Har­ley’s best-seller. It’s sure to be a hit

Dash, com­plete with touch­screen sounds sys­tem con­trol

300mm fully float­ing discs with fourpis­ton calipers pro­vide proper power

Even the horn is blinged right up on this throw-ev­ery­thing-at-it ma­chine

Cen­tral lock­ing pan­niers – lug­gage doesn’t get more swanky than this

CVO badges are plas­tered all over it

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