The 2017 Harley-Davidson CVOs with the new 114-cube twin-cooled Milwaukee Eight engines are now even smoother and more sophisticated.
In recent years, Harley has finally allowed Aussie journalists to ride and review their expensive Custom Vehicles Operations motorcycles.
These have usually been reserved just for customers, but now journos are able to tell customers exactly what the experience of riding CVOs is like.
Harley changes its CVO range every year or two to keep the range exclusive so the Road Glide Ultra has been dropped from the line-up.
The range now includes the Street Glide and Limited with the 114 mill, plus the most popular of the CVOs, the Pro Street Breakout with the same 110 air-cooled engine. (The only changes for the Breakout in 2017 are a choice of three colours, including the new Starfire Black/Scorched Apple combination.)
The CVOs not only come with a bigger engine than the “regular” Harleys, but also with every extra creature comfort and bling you can think of.
This year the bigger engine is the delightful eight-valve Milwaukee Eight 114-cube (1868cc) V-twin which has precise liquid cooling between the exhaust valves of the heads where the engine is hottest.
Few onlookers would be able to tell it is liquid cooled, because the small dual radiators are discretely tucked into the lower fairings.
The previous CVO Screamin’ Eagle 110-cube (1801cc) V-Twin produced 156Nm (115.1 ft lb) of torque at 3750rpm, whereas the new 114-cube (1868cc) Milwaukee Eight produces 165Nm at 3250rpm.
It is an absolute thumper with a deeper gurgle like a bear with a sore throat!
In roll-on comparisons with the 107-cube V-twin, the CVO engine pulls away steadily in the higher gears.
While the CVOs have always had smoother engine and transmission than the regular Harleys, this is another step up again.
The new rubber-mounted, counter-balanced engine is so smooth, the cowbell horn hardly moves at idle and the mirrors don’t get blurry.
It’s also much more mechanically quieter due to a lighter single camshaft with hydraulic tension chain drive which is mechanically less complex and creates less friction and noise.
And because the engine is quieter, there is no clatter bouncing back off the fairing to interfere with the glorious exhaust note or the notes from your favourite tunes pumping out of the crystal-clear and powerful 600-watt Boom! Audio system.
Apart from the 114 Milwaukee Eight, the new CVOs also get improved ride and handling from the new suspension introduced to the 2017 Touring range.
The result is a plusher ride, yet a more dynamic handling experience that improves cornering clearance, sharpens steering and lightens handlebar feedback at low speeds.
Also new for 2017 are Contrast Chrome Slicer wheels and a reshaped seat that offers the best rider comfort we’ve felt yet. Hours on US highways slipped by without being a pain in the butt.
The CVO Limited features a new custom paint scheme in four new colour combinations, while the CVO Street Glide motorcycle now also comes with the four-speaker, 600-watt Boom! Audio system, power locks for the saddlebags and fork controlled by a single security and locking key fob, and a re-styled seat cover.
FXSE CVO Pro Street Breakout $42,495 ($42,495) – $44,500 NZ
FLHXSE CVO Street Glide $48,995 ($47,995) $51,495 NZ