Harley-Davidson Launches New Models and New Technology for 2020
These Are The Next Components of "More Roads To Harley-Davidson"by TJ Hinton, on LISTEN 09:12
Harley-Davidson announces new models and new technology for 2020, as standard on some models and as options on others. New Softail models, a new CVO, and some long-awaited technology finally arrive to bring Harley closer to the 21th century than it has ever been before.
What’s New From Harley-Davidson?
It’s that time of year yet again and Harley-Davidson doesn’t disappoint with its 2020 offerings. I like my crow served alongside a generous slice of humble pie – a pairing that many of you naysayers and haters will soon be presented with – so it is with great pleasure that I lay out exactly what the MoCo has been up to. To be fair, I knew some of these technologies were coming down the pipe based on the experimental features that were mainly concentrated on the trikes last year, but I gotta’ admit that I’m surprised at how advanced the new goodies actually are, and how prolific.
The factory backs up its new tech with a fistful of new models, and that’s good since the clock is ticking on its stated goal of producing 100 new models for the decade between 2017 and 2027.
Harley-Davidson Offers a New CVO and A New Touring Model for 2020
H-D’s Custom Vehicle Operations division is on the cutting edge of the factory’s tech progression, so credit for the new tech partially goes to that sector, but it’s the finished products that ultimately put it on the map. This year, the MoCo expands its top-drawer touring lineup with the addition of its touring trike – the Tri Glide – to its classic CVO Limited and contemporary CVO Street Glide models. The CVO Tri Glide comes with the factory’s new tech on board as part of the standard equipment package, and the King of Paint lives up to its name with new and unique color combinations and finishes, all driven by its largest-displacement engine, the massive Milwaukee-Eight 117.
Harley dropped the CVO Road Glide and added the new Road Glide Limited to its non-CVO lineup for 2020. Harley powers the Road Glide Limited with its mid-size Milwaukee-Eight 114, and naturally, a robust infotainment system rides along to help break up the monotony of long trips and let you field phone calls under way.
Harley-Davidson Softail Line Expands With a New Low Rider S and Updated Heritage Classic
Additions to the Softail family for 2020 include two models: the new performance-oriented Low Rider S that places an emphasis on performance, and an updated Heritage Classic that takes us back to the custom bikes of yesteryear. Harley’s mid-size Mil-8 114 drives the new Low Rider S, and premium suspension components that couple with the recently revised Softail frame deliver a ride that’ll appeal to all you fiery-eyed pegdraggers out there. The factory tapped coastal builders for design inspiration that shows itself in the raised bar, solo seat, gangster flyscreen fairing, and generous blackout treatment.
As for the Heritage Classic, it replaces the previous version with re-styled bits and bobs and sheds the blackout in favor of new bright colors, plus, it’s absolutely dripping with chrome. Seriously, you need to poke a hole in a piece of paper like you’re viewing an eclipse to look at this thing in broad daylight.
In keeping with its old-school touring roots, the new Heritage Classic has a tall, clear, detachable windscreen for rider comfort along with cruise control and ABS for another helping of comfort and safety. Like the previous gen, it totes a Mil-8 107 plant that’s also wrapped in chrome, but the 114 cc version retains the blackout finish of the outgoing 2019 model. Classic touches such as hard bags, a skirted saddle, and decorative studs finish off the look to make that crucial tie-in with Harley’s deep historical roots.
The Harley-Davidson LiveWire Finally Makes The Lineup for 2020
Oh, and last but certainly not least, there’s the all-electric LiveWire that Milwaukee teased us with for the last couple of years. That’s right y’all, the factory has finally let loose of its most progressive and sporty machine to come out in half a century. By “sporty,” I mean sportbike-like in its design, but that makes sense given the nature of both the machine and its target market.
Like most of the electric bikes currently on the world stage, the LiveWire is set up for maximum ease-of-operation. Having done away with both the both clutch and shifter, it delivers true twist-and-go riding that’ll make it a breeze to ride, even for the inexperienced riders. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details here, but will hit on the one metric that, so far, is the big stumbling block for the EV sector in general, and bikes in particular: range. From a single charge. the LiveWire can deliver up to 146 miles of city riding with a 95-mile range in combined mileage – plenty to make it viable for real-world commutes and weekend fun alike.
New Harley-Davidson Technology Includes Cornering-Enhanced Linked Brakes and Cornering-Enhanced Traction Control
Now for the new Harley-Davidson tech goodies. I’ve never made secret my love for America’s longest-running motorcycle manufacturer, it’s true, but in fairness, I’ve never hesitated to call it out on its apparent stick-in-the-mud approach to the progression of technology in the motorcycle sector, either. Well, I’m happy to report that H-D has shut my mouth on that front, bigly. Some of the new tech is for comfort, some is for security, but all together, they collectively raise the MoCo back to a competitive level within the tech-minded market.
Harley dubbed it the Reflex™ Defensive Rider System, and like so many of the other top manufacturers, it bundles a whole host of features together under its banner. It starts off with the Cornering-Enhanced Electronic Linked Braking (C-ELB)feature that still balances braking effort between front and rear just as the old Linked Brakes system did, but as its ingeniously clever name suggests, it measures the lateral forces on the chassis and bases its level of intervention on the calculated traction.
Same with the Cornering-Enhanced Antilock Braking System (C-ABS) that measures the G-forces acting on the bike and modulates its responses based on same. A Cornering-Enhanced Traction Control System (C-TCS) rounds out the lean-sensitive delightfulness. It improves safety on loose surfaces and in wet conditions and comes with two performance profiles and an OFF setting if you’re into the full-raw power delivery.
As for some sort of backtorque-limiting feature, the factory put together a pair of systems that are designed to keep that rear wheel from breaking loose on hard downshifts and rolloffs. The Drag-Torque Slip Control System (DSCS) and Cornering Enhanced Drag-Torque Slip Control System (C-DSCS) crack the throttle to control and prevent wheel-slip to complete the traction-protection features.
Harley equips the RDRS system as standard on all 2020 CVO models, trikes, and the LiveWire. The RDRS system is optional equipment for all touring models with the exception of the Electra Glide Standard.
Harley-Davidson Offers Hill-Hold Control and Tire Pressure Monitoring
For stability on inclines, you can count on the Vehicle Hold Control that holds the rear brake for you so you can put your right foot on the ground, ideally along with the left foot as well, to keep your balance while waiting for a light on a hill. When you take off, it disables itself, so it’s a set-it and forget-it kind of device.
Lastly is a Tire Pressure Monitoring System that actively keeps tabs on the air in your hoops and notifies you in real-time if there is an issue that needs to be addressed. Given how important proper tire inflation is to overall traction, it’s safe to say this system delivers more safety than is immediately apparent on paper.
VHC and TPMS are standard on 2020 CVO and Police models and optional on all U.S. 2020 Touring models. The exception is the Electra Glide Standard, which does not come with VHS.
Get Peace Of Mind With Harley-Davidson’s Connect System
Peace of mind can be hard to find when your sled is out of sight, so the H-D™ Connect system looks to be very comforting. It allows you to monitor your bike via your smartphone and the H-D App, and not just for security either. It also acts as a repeater for all the critical metrics to include battery charge state for both the LiveWire and the conventional models, TPMS, fuel level, and available range. Plus, if some reprobate does boost your bike, the GPS function will allow you to track him down, er, I mean help you guide the authorities. Yeah, that’s what I meant...
Harley-Davidson Is Stepping Up Its Game for 2020
That’s all we’ve got from Milwaukee so far for the upcoming model-year, and as you can see, I wasn’t kidding about H-D stepping up its game ahead of MY2020. Credit where it’s due, I’m proud of them and pleasantly pleased with the progress to say the least, but I’d also finish with it’s about time. Harley has been behind the electronic curve for far too long in my estimation, and it looks like the factory agrees and has taken steps to address its lag in progression. I mean, it had to, and soon, or be relegated to the history books.
Harley-Davidson CVO Tri-Glide
See our review of the Harley-Davidson CVO Tri-Glide.
Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic
See our review of the Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic.
See our look at the Harley-Davidson LiveWire.
Harley-Davidson Low Rider S
See our review of the Harley-Davidson Low Rider S.
Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited
See our review of the Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited.
Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard
See our review of the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard.
See our review of the Harley-Davidson Freewheeler.
Read more Harley-Davidson news.