LISTEN 07:43

Harley-Davidson and Project Rushmore is a match made in heaven. The CVO Road Glide Ultra is one of the Harley lineup out for 2016 that benefits from the improvements and innovations of Rushmore, on top of being one of the limited-edition, extra-special swanky CVO line.

CVO — Custom Vehicle Operations — says it all. Everything on the CVO Road Glide Ultra is bigger, badder, faster, smoother, more powerful, more stylish and more luxurious than the Road Glide; but at twice the price, it had better be.

Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Ultra.

  • 2016 - 2015 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Ultra
  • Year:
    2016- 2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Displacement:
    110 cubic inches
  • Price:


2016 - 2015 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Ultra Exterior
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CVO Road Glide Ultra has all the wonderful Rushmore innovations: the dual Daymaker™ Reflector LED Headlamps, brighter brake lights, ergonomic hand controls, awesome Infotainment system with voice activated blah, blah, blah and on and on. What jumps out at me right off the bat, though, is the redesigned shark-nose front fairing. The “Jet stream” wind deflectors and triple Splitstream vents are awesome, but I’ve never been a fan of the frame-mounted fairing. Yes, functionally it rocks, but I don’t care for the aesthetics. Petty, I know and I’ll get over it.

One thing I really like about Project Rushmore is that the folks at Harley also listened to passengers. By getting input from folks who’ve spent countless hours and thousands of miles on the pillion, Harley has given us a larger seat, more legroom, and controls that can be reached and operated with one hand. If you’ve ever ridden 1,200 miles on a seat that’s just a tad too small with saddlebags rubbing your calves, you’ll greatly appreciate these features.

On top of that, as part of the 2016 update, the pillion is an inch wider and longer, and the speakers are moved out a total of two inches. As if that wasn’t enough room, they moved the saddlebag guards down so your passenger has more legroom and is even less likely to rub calves. I just can’t stay in the saddle if the saddlebags rub my legs, ya know?

New for 2016, the CVO Road Glide Ultra comes standard with a tire pressure monitoring system. The tire pressure is viewable through the Infotainment center or the odometer and pop-up messages with low-pressure warnings appear in the Infotainment center.

Two additional new-for-2016 features are the LED front turn signals and a new integrated key fob. The key fob is an all-in-one for the functions of the electric luggage locking system and the proximity-activated security system. This eliminates the need for two separate fobs. The new LED turn signals give you long bulb life and higher visibility — both features that are welcome on a motorcycle.

As a comfort feature, the restyled custom seat with leather inserts comes with suspended, dual control heat for 2016, as well as a narrow-profile primary cover and clutch inspection cover. The new covers give your legs a straighter line to the ground, so even us shorties don’t have to do the bow-legged tippy-toe on the 30-inch seat height.


2016 - 2015 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Ultra Exterior
- image 619367

With the exclusive, 1.25-inch diameter chrome handlebar you get more pullback and height, allowing for an upright, touring posture that is comfortable for the long haul in the saddle.

Brembo brakes: check. Reflex™ Linked Brakes with ABS: check. Locking up a front wheel or going for a slide because of a rear-wheel skid is a thing of the past, even on wet pavement. The CVO Road Glide Ultra has four-piston front and rear calipers and dual front rotors for stopping power at any speed, and the premium adjustable-air rear suspension let’s you fine-tune your ride.

The new Mirror Chrome Slicer custom wheels come with a 90-degree valve stem. I think that’s worth a small mention, but sometimes it’s the little things that impress me the most. To finish up the roundy-round parts, Harley put Dunlop® Multi-Tread 16-inchers on the rear and 17-inchers on the front.


2016 - 2015 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Ultra Exterior
- image 619376

Thanks to the Twin-Cooled™ Twin Cam 110™ engine and six-speed Cruise Drive® transmission, the CVO Road Glide Ultra has the fastest 60-to-80 mph 5th gear acceleration of any bike in the history of Harley-Davidson. That means passing power, sure, but it also means you have the ability to accelerate out of harm’s way when panic braking just won’t do. Shifting is solid, smooth and quiet, and with 115 foot-pounds of torque, you’ll feel like you’ve tamed the monster and now it does your bidding.

The CVO Road Glide Ultra comes equipped with the Assist & Slip Clutch Pack. This feature acts as a slipper clutch to reduce back-torque on downshifts and prevent wheel-hop and loss of traction at the rear tire.


2016 - 2015 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Ultra Exterior
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Riders said they wanted a sound system to rival that of any enjoyed by a cage-driver, and Harley listened. The BOOM!™ Audio SiriusXM® radio is standard equipment on the CVO Road Glide Ultra, as is the Jukebox with a USB port for your iPod or iPhone and voice recognition Bluetooth. With 75 watts per channel at one percent distortion and a factory-tuned, optimized equalizer, you can go loud without distortion.


2016 - 2015 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Ultra Exterior
- image 619366
If you can afford it, you won't have to ask how much it costs.

Harley offers custom two-toned paint choices that were new for 2015: Abyss Blue & Crushed Sapphire, Burgundy Blaze & Typhoon Maroon, or Carbon Dust & Autumn Sunset. For 2016, we get all new paint schemes — Ruby Red/Palladium Silver, Stardust Silver/Palladium Silver, and Charcoal Slate/Carbon Dust — and new tank badges.

Whichever color combo you choose, the CVO Road Glide Ultra starts at a whopping $40,299 — $650 more than in 2015. Yes, it’s pricey, but it’s gorgeous and it’s the ultimate bagger for hard-core bagger folks. If you can afford it, you won’t have to ask how much it costs.


2015 - 2016 BMW K 1600 GT / K 1600 GTL / K 1600 GTL Exclusive
- image 660419
2016 - 2017 Honda Gold Wing / Gold Wing F6B
- image 653806

When I look around for something to compare to a CVO bike, I feel like the pickin’s are slim. The CVO line is all about high-end luxury, so how do I match head-to-head a $40,000 motorcycle? There are two bikes that come to mind: a fully-loaded Gold Wing from Honda and a K 1600 GTL Exclusive from BMW. Let’s pick a few points and see how they stack up.

Harley’s Twin-Cooled Twin Cam 110 (1,801 cc) comes in just shy of the Gold Wing’s 1,832 cc engine and it’s shy on torque when put up against the BMW — 115 pound-feet vs 129 pound-feet — but the CVO Road Glide Ultra doesn’t have to wind up nearly as tight to find maximum grunt.

All the competitors come with heated seats and an alphabet soup of technical acronyms, fancy navigation and audio features, and put a high emphasis on comfort. What really sets the Gold Wing apart, for me, is the electric reverse and an airbag. I don’t know of anyone else putting an airbag on a motorcycle….yet, so props to Honda.

Price-wise, the CVO is in last place up against the BMW at $30,395 and the fully-loaded Gold Wing going for 30,599. Are the CVO features worth at extra $10,000? If money were not part of the equation, I’d probably go CVO Road Glide Ultra hands down.

He Said

My husband and fellow writer, TJ Hinton, says, "I like a lot of the features, but they can be had on other bikes, such as the Ultra Limited Low. I never have liked the large fixed fairing and this model is no exception. For the money, I’d go with one of the other baggers that has the batwing front fairing."

She Said

"I like the bike overall and I like the concept. As a passenger, however, I love the bike. It’s Harley at its most elegant — the bagger to make other baggers green with envy."


Engine: Twin-Cooled™ Twin Cam 110™
Displacement: 110 cubic inches
Bore: 4 inches
Stroke: 4.374 inches
Compression Ratio: 9.2:1
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Engine Torque Testing Method: J1349
Engine Torque: 115.1 foot-pounds at 3,750 rpm
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio
Gear Ratios (overall): 1st - 9.593, 2nd - 6.65, 3rd - 4.938, 4th - 4.0, 5th - 3.407, 6th - 2.875
Exhaust : Chrome dual exhaust with four-inch touring mufflers and touring muffler shields
Rake: 26 degrees
Trail: 6.7 inches
Lean Angle, Right: 31.9 degrees
Lean Angle, Left.) : 31.8 degrees
Wheel, Front: Mirror Chrome Slicer Custom Wheel
Wheel, Rear: Mirror Chrome Slicer Custom Wheel
Brakes: 32 mm, four-piston caliper fixed front and rear
Tires, Front Specification: Dunlop® Multi-Tread BW 130/80B17 65H
Tires, Rear Specification: Dunlop® Multi-Tread BW 180/65B16 81H
Length: 102.2 inches
Seat Height, Laden: 28.4 inches
Seat Height, Unladen: 29.7 inches
Ground Clearance: 4.7 inches
Wheelbase: 64 inches
Screen Size: 6.5 inch
Screen Type: Color
Colour Choices: Orange (default), Blue, Brown, Green, Gray, Purple, Red
Day/Night Dimmer: Standard
Audio output:
Watts Per Channel: 75.0
Speakers: 4
Speaker Size: 6.5 inch
Bass Port Rear Speakers: Standard
Distortion (THD) : one percent
Internal Amp: Standard
External Amp: Standard
Wired Headset: Standard
Headset Specifications (if equipped) : 16-64 ohms
Audio sources:
AM: Dependent on Region
FM: Standard
Weather Band (WB) : Dependent on Region
MW: Dependent on Region
LW: Dependent on Region
MP3 - USB Connection: Supported
SD Card - via USB Connection: Supported
Flash Drive - via USB Connection: Supported
Audio setup:
CB Presets: 6
AM/MW/LW Presets: 6
FM Presets: 15
SiriusXM Presets: 20.0
iPod Device Presets: 20.0
USB-Storage Device Presets: 20.0
WB Presets: 6
Media Player Device Presets: 20
Global Presets: Selectable, up to 20 presets
Favorites: One FAV hardkey plus six favorites
Classic Mode: Selectable
Seek/Scan: Standard
Interface languages: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese
Voice recognition:
Hands-free Mobile Phone - via Bluetooth: Standard
Voice Recognition Languages: Phone functions only: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese
Voice Recognition Languages: Tuner/Media/Navigation: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese
"Vehicle Information Screen (Air temperature, oil pressure and engine temperature)" : Standard
Software Update via USB interface: Standard
Text-to-Speech (TTS) Languages: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese
USB: USB/MTP/iPod/iPhone
Bluetooth Phone/Media: Supported
Rider/Passenger Intercom: Standard
Fuel Capacity: 6 gallons
Recommended Fuel: Premium Unleaded
Oil Capacity (w/filter) : 4 quarts
Weight, As Shipped: 905 pounds
Weight, In Running Order: 943 pounds
Luggage Capacity-Volume: 4.7 cubic feet
Fuel Economy: Combined City/Hwy : 41 mpg
2015: Abyss Blue & Crushed Sapphire, Burgundy Blaze & Typhoon Maroon, or Carbon Dust & Autumn Sunset
2016: Ruby Red/Palladium Silver, Stardust Silver/Palladium Silver, and Charcoal Slate/Carbon Dust
Price: 2015 - $39,649. 2016 - $40,299
Allyn Hinton
Allyn Hinton
Writer and Associate Motorcycle Editor -
If it had moving parts, it had Allyn's interest from a very early age. At age 11 when bicycles were too simple to hold her interest any longer, her father found her taking apart the lawn mower. When he asked why she was doing it, she replied, “I need to see how it works.” That curiosity and mechanical drive served her well over the next 40 years as she pursued careers in both the automotive and motorcycle industries. Having shared her love of motorcycles with her now husband, biker TJ Hinton, Allyn brings that love and knowledge to TopSpeed as writer and associate motorcycle editor.  Read full bio
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