Harley-davidson has its eyes set on 2020. It’s kicking off the manufacturing of electric bikes and a new liquid-cooled engine, and breaking into the sportbike genre. It’s going to be a massive year for the company, and a year full of changes for us. While we’d like to complain about not seeing a lot of updates to the touring line, it’s nice to have one constant in this soon-changing lineup. The 2019 CVO gets a larger engine, updates to the infotainment hardware and software, as well as integrated Apple Carplay and an upgraded stereo system, but the base styling and functionality stay the same.
The largest set of updates we see are based around the new Boom! Box infotainment system. All-new Gorilla Glass has a more responsive feel both wet and dry, and is much more durable than previous screens. Start-up time is half what it was with previous systems, and the display is generally simple and easy to read. The controls, however, are the same left-hand/ right-hand controls they have been, and navigating the system is far from intuitive when you’re using anything other than the touchscreen. Apple Carplay was another new integration, but when attempting to use it on two different bikes, with three different cords, it constantly became disconnected and switched to FM and back intermittently. Eventually, I found keeping both my helmet and the motorcycle tethered to my phone easier and more consistent, and I could just navigate Siri with my Sena in my helmet if and when I needed to.
The CVO and Special lines carry on several styling cues from past years, such as the accented rocker box lowers on a blackedout engine—a look we love. The CVO Road Glide and Limited both come with a new Fade-style paint job that’s a little more subtle than traditional CVO paint, but paired with all the trim, engine accents, and a 117ci engine, you’re not sneaking past anybody. New race-inspired paint adorns the Road Glide CVO with the iconic Harley “1” logo, and new minimal lower fairings extend down from the upper shark nose.
In a year with so much big news from Harley-davidson, it’s a little surprising to see only one new model in this year’s lineup (the FXDR 114, so far), but it’s clear the company’s focus is on what’s coming for 2020 and beyond. But for those rooted in traditional H-D, to whom e-bike is a four-letter word, the touring lineup is a welcome constant. Aesthetic lines that haven’t changed dramatically in years and a powerplant that just keeps getting stronger and smoother—there’s not a lot to complain about, except the ever-climbing price tag (CVOS start at $40,000). A larger engine, quicker start-up times on your screen, and a better, louder stereo are obvious choices that most CVO owners are looking for, but Apple Carplay seemed to be both unready and unnecessary. Styling this year appears to be moving forward in a good way, while still offering more traditional two-tone options as well. In an ever-changing world, the fact that these bikes stayed essentially the same might be the best news some Harley-davidson fans hear all season.
“IN AN EVER-CHANGING WORLD, THE FACT THAT THESE BIKES STAYED ESSENTIALLY THE SAME MIGHT BE THE BEST NEWS SOME HARLEY-DAVIDSON FANS HEAR ALL SEASON.”
2019 CVO STREET GLIDE
2019 CVO LIMITED
2019 CVO ROAD GLIDE