Harley’s Premium Hot-Rod Bagger

Harley-Davidson’s Custom Vehicle Operations department puts together what one could call showroom-custom bikes that include many of the features that buyers commonly add on post-sale and borrows much of the Infotainment system used on the big touring models. For 2017, this hot-rod bagger featured a new-and-improved suspension system to the table; and for 2018, it features the with the all-new, 117 cubic-inch, Milwaukee-Eight engine. Power output falls well above the 100 pound-foot mark — not surprising with a CVO machine — so it falls into the power-cruiser/stoplight-burner category. Performance, good looks and barrels of that Harley mystique push the CVO Street Glide over the top in my book, so join me while I check out the details of this vanity-stoking sled.

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

  • 2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide
  • Year:
    2017- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Milwaukee-Eight 117
  • Displacement:
    117 cubic inches
  • Price:
    39949
  • Price:

Design

2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide
- image 732773
Featuring the Boom!™ Box 6.5GT Infotainment system, the CVO Street Glide comes with plenty in the way of entertainment and techno-gadgetry.

The CVO SG leads the way with a cut-down front fairing that retains the full length of the classic dresser fender, but with shorter sides and no trim. The beer-can fork covers come shot in monochrome to tie the various elements together visually, which is nice, but I think I prefer chrome in that particular spot, myself. A cut-down windshield rides atop the batwing fairing for that boulevard bruiser look. The pared-down deflector helps keep the upper lines at the entry nice and clean, and the mirrors come tucked away in the wingtips of the bat to keep it that way.

With the Boom!™ Box 6.5GT Infotainment system, controls and instrumentation are found in the inner fairing, and that includes the AM/FM/Weatherband receiver, Bluetooth receiver and USB/iPod/iPhone port for your portable jukebox needs. A Vehicle Information Center displays ambient air temp and oil pressure with a TPMS function for your peace of mind on the open road as well as around town. The front pair of 6.5-inch speakers ride in the inner fairing with the rear pair in the forward corner of the saddlebag lids for plenty of volume; all the better to hear over the wind noise and share your tunes with the rest of the class. A hands-free mobile-phone interface with VR rounds out the gadgetry.

The upper lines ride down the tank console to the scoop of the rider’s saddle that rests at a mere 27.2 inches off the ground unladen, and squats almost another inch with a 180-pound rider mounted up. Theoretically, this makes the SG CVO low enough for just about anyone to be able to flatfoot the thing, but the 877-pound wet weight means you’d still better pay attention when you put your Fred Flintstones down, or you may get to find out what it’s like trying to stand one of these beasts up. Power-actuated saddlebag and steering locks make sure it’s tough to rob your stuff from your SG, or haul one off in its entirety.

Chassis

2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide
- image 732781
Steering geometry and wheelbase make the CVO SG very stable on the straights but still capable of leaning 31-degrees to the left and 32-degrees to the right without it turning into a wrestling match.

As usual, the factory starts out on a welded frame made of tubular, mild-steel members, with a yoke-style, rectangular cross-section swingarm to finish out the bones. The double-downtube/double-cradle frame comes with its steering head set at 26 degrees of rake with 6.7 inches of trail and a 64-inch wheelbase, numbers that make the SG very stable on the straights but still capable of leaning 31-degrees to the left, and 32-degrees to the right without it turning into a wrestling match.

Dual front discs work with the all-around, four-pot Brembo calipers, and the CVO SG comes with ABS and H-D’s Linked-Brakes feature that sends a portion of the rear braking effort to the front calipers for balanced brakes in panic-stop situations. Harley stopped short of gracing the SG with adjustable front forks, but it did boost fork diameter up to 49 mm last year and added Showa’s Dual Bending Valve technology to the mix for a cushier ride with 98 mm of travel. A set of emulsion shocks supports the rear, and it comes with a handwheel-adjustable preload feature that allows you to make tool-free tweaks to the ride stiffness in response to variable passenger and cargo loads.

Lean Angle, Right (deg.): 32
Lean Angle, Left (deg.): 31
Wheels, Front Type: Gloss Black and Contrast Chrome Talon
Wheels, Rear Type: Gloss Black and Contrast Chrome Talon
Brakes, Caliper Type: 32 mm, 4-piston fixed front and rear

Drivetrain

2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide
- image 722023
The biggest improvement from 2017 was, of course, that all-new powerplant, and 2018 sees another upgrade to the Mil-8 117.

The biggest improvement from 2017 was, of course, that all-new powerplant. Branded the Milwaukee-Eight, it gets its name from the total of eight valves split between the two heads, and these poppets are actuated by the standard, external-pushrod valvetrain that helps define the look of the engine along with the 45-degree angle of the jugs. This thing is huge, folks. For 2017, the 4-inch bore and 4.5-inch stroke displaces a total of 114 cubic-inches (1,868 cc), but the vibration-attenuating steps taken by the factory keep it from shaking like you’d expect from a large Harley. For 2018, the factory swapped out the 114 for the new-for-2018 Milwaukee-Eight 117 (1,923 cc), pretty much the same with a little bit bigger bore.

The twin-cooling feature circulates coolant around the exhaust port to draw off that most-hateful heat before it gets kicked out to wash over the rider. Not only does this make for a more comfortable ride, but it increases performance across the board. Best of all, the little radiators come tucked away well out of sight within the engine guard-mount leg protectors, so it retains that straight-up, air-cooled look we all know and love.

Ready for the power? Harley claims a total of 124 pound-feet of torque with this mill, and that’s enough to put it as one of the most powerful production V-twins in the world, at least in the grunt department. Ponies is another story...

Engine: Milwaukee-Eight® 117
Displacement: 117 cu in
Compression Ratio: 10.2:1
Exhaust: Dual, with crossover
Engine Torque: 124 ft-lb @ 3,500 rpm

Price

2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide
- image 722022
For a change from the norm, H-D has no tiered pricing for different levels of paint treatment; all color choices run $39,949.

For a change, H-D has no tiered pricing for different levels of paint treatment. The factory offered a quartet of packages last year to include all new custom colorways — Candy Cobalt/Indigo Ink, Dark Slate Candy/Arctic Black, Starfire Black/Atomic Red, and my favorite, the Sunburst Orange/Starfire Black number — for a flat $37,799 across the board. For 2018, the single price of $39,949 will get your choice of Dark Alloy/Black Denim, Orange Lava/Black Denim, or Gunship Gray. As usual, California riders can expect to pay another two Benjamins for their special emissions package.

Colors:
2017: Candy Cobalt/Indigo Ink, Sunburst Orange/Starfire Black, Starfire Black/Atomic Red, Dark Slate Candy/Arctic Black
2018: Dark Alloy/Black Denim, Orange Lava/Black Denim, Gunship Gray
Price:
2017: $37,799
2018: $39,949

Competitor

2015 - 2018 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero / Vulcan 1700 Voyager
- image 716654
2017 Indian Chieftain Limited & Chieftain Elite
- image 733331
The whole 'boulevard-bruiser bagger' look is really popular right now with lots of manufacturers putting out something within the genre.

The whole boulevard-bruiser bagger look is really popular right now with lots of manufacturers putting out something within the genre, so since I had no shortage of potential rivals, I picked a couple of rides that might appeal to the same sort of riders.

First up, we have Harley-Davidson’s oldest domestic foe, Indian Motorcycle with its top-of-the-line bagger, the Chieftain Elite. Visually, the two could be brothers from another mother with similar fairings topped by chopped down screens over custom-looking fenders. Indian leaves its signature figurehead on the shelf, leaving the Chieftain’s fender as clean as the unadorned SG’s. The Chieftain runs Indian’s Thunder Stroke 111 mill that uses a little oil cooler between the downtubes, but has nothing like the Harley’s hybrid cooling system to hide, so the engine guards remain clean.

Similar flylines give way to similar bags and overall looks, and honestly, both are little more than rolling slices of Americana. Harley manages to milk a bit more out of its new Mil-8 powerplant with 124 pounds o’ grunt versus 119.2 pound-feet from the Thunder Stroke, but that’s a difference that will hardly even register on the old heinie dyno, and both plants deserve respect for their stump-pulling torque figures. Both carry some sort of advanced infotainment system as well, so Harley doesn’t get to 94skate on that bit. The numbers work against Harley at the checkout, though, with a lofty $39,799 tag over the $31,499 sticker on the Chieftain Elite. Guys, name power is worth a lot, but maybe it ain’t worth that much? Just sayin.’

Next up I’d like to take a gander at the Vulcan 1700 Vaquero from Kawasaki. I reckon this ride might appeal to someone looking for the looks of the SG CVO, but maybe not all the features and definitely not the price. In the looks department, Kawi didn’t land far from the mark with one notable exception; rather than using a fork-mount fairing that turns with the steering like the H-D and Indian, Kawi went with a frame-mount fairing that stays fixed. I prefer the fork mount, but to each his or her own. The Vulcan carries fairing lowers similar to the SG, so both have that beefy front end that I do like. Kawi even stuck a sound system on the thing, so you can take your tunes with you, but don’t expect the same level of sophistication that you get with the other two, at least not in this department.

The Vulcan comes stock with ABS, and like the SG, has an electronic brake-balancer that works to ensure even braking pressures to further bolster contact-patch integrity. Kawi’s engine is a little on the small side at 1,700 cc, and it predictably falls on the low side in pulling power with only 107.6 pound-feet of torque. Having said that, the Vaquero is still a power cruiser, and anything over 100 pounds of grunt deserves some respect.

Kawasaki sticks the knife in and gives it a twist in the checkout line — the Vulcan 1700 rolls for a mere $16,799, less than half the price of the SG. Granted, you won’t get the cool infotainment stuff or some of the other features, but if you’re just interested in the looks of the genre, it’s hard to go wrong with the Vaquero. Just depends on what your priorities are.

He Said

“As ever, Harley’s CVO line doesn’t fail to impress. I’ve always liked this particular look, and even without the full Infotainment kit, what you get is pretty sweet to be sure. But, the real jewel for me is that big, new engine, and that alone moves this ride nearer to the top of my very improbable wishlist.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer,Allyn Hinton, says, "With the new new engine this year and new suspension last year and you can really feel the difference. The increased power and torque over the Twin-Cam 110 is noticeable, even on last year’s 114. The ride is plush and the heat that washes up over you at a stop light is significantly less with the twin-cooling system. The instrument cluster is easy to read and the CVO SG is very comfortable for long trips in the saddle."

Specifications

Engine:
Engine: Milwaukee-Eight® 117
Bore: 4.075 in.
Stroke: 4.5 in.
Displacement: 117 cu in
Compression Ratio: 10.2:1
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Exhaust: Dual, with crossover
Dimensions:
Length: 95.9 in.
Seat Height, Laden: 7 26.1 in.
Seat Height, Unladen: 27.4 in.
Ground Clearance: 5.1 in.
Rake (steering head) (deg): 26
Trail: 6.7 in.
Wheelbase: 64 in.
Tires, Front Specification: 130/60B19 61H
Tires, Rear Specification: 180/55B18 80H
Fuel Capacity: 6 gal.
Oil Capacity (w/filter): 5 qt.
Weight, As Shipped: 842 lb.
Weight, In Running Order: 877 lb.
Performance:
Engine Torque Testing Method: J1349
Engine Torque: 124 ft-lb
Engine Torque (rpm): 3,500
Lean Angle, Right (deg.): 32
Lean Angle, Left (deg.): 31
Fuel Economy: Estimated City/Hwy: 41 mpg
Drivetrain:
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio
Gear Ratios (overall): 1st 9.593
Gear Ratios (overall): 2nd 6.65
Gear Ratios (overall): 3rd 4.938
Gear Ratios (overall): 4th 4
Gear Ratios (overall): 5th 3.407
Gear Ratios (overall): 6th 2.875
Chassis:
Wheels, Optional Style Type: Texture Black and Contrast Black Anodize Talon or Gunship Gray and Contrast Black Anodize Talon
Wheels, Front Type: Gloss Black and Contrast Chrome Talon
Wheels, Rear Type: Gloss Black and Contrast Chrome Talon
Brakes, Caliper Type: 32 mm, 4-piston fixed front and rear
Electric:
Lights (as per country regulation), Indicator Lamps: High beam, running lights, front fender running lights, directional lights, neutral, low oil pressure, engine diagnostics, accessory, speakers, turn signals, security system,gear indication, battery, low fuel warning, cruise control, ABS, miles to empty display, fog/aux lamp indicator, Tire Pressure Monitoring System indicator
Gauges: Custom gauges styled to complement each CVO vehicle. Display features odometer, trip A, trip B, range to empty and gear indicator; and larger tell-tale indicators.
Infotainment:
Infotainment system: Boom!™ Box 6.5GT
Watts Per Channel: 150
Speakers: 6
Speaker Size: Stage II
Headset Specifications (if equipped): Boom Audio Wireless Headset
AM/FM: Standard
Weather Band (WB): Standard
SD Card, Flash Drive and MP3 - via USB Connection: Supported
SiriusXM Presets: 20
Languages: English (US), English (UK), French (Canada), French (Europe), Spanish (Mexico), Spanish (Castilian), German, Italian, Portuguese
Hands-free Mobile Phone - via Bluetooth: Standard
Voice Recognition Languages: Phone functions only: English (US), English (UK), French (Canada), French (Europe), Spanish (Mexico), Spanish (Castilian), German, Italian, Portuguese
Voice Recognition Languages: Tuner/Media/Navigation: English (US), English (UK), French (Canada), French (Europe), Spanish (Mexico), Spanish (Castilian), German, Italian, Portuguese
Rider/Passenger Intercom: Standard
Vehicle Information Screen (Air temperature, oil pressure and EITMS): Standard
Text-to-Speech (TTS) Languages: English (US), English (UK), French (Canada), French (Europe), Spanish (Mexico), Spanish (Castilian), German, Italian, Portuguese
USB: USB/MTP/iPod/iPhone
Bluetooth Phone/Media: Supported
DETAILS:
Luggage Capacity: Volume 2.4 cu. ft. (0.068 m3)
Warranty: 24 months (unlimited mileage)
Colors:
2017: Candy Cobalt/Indigo Ink, Sunburst Orange/Starfire Black, Starfire Black/Atomic Red, Dark Slate Candy/Arctic Black
2018: Dark Alloy/Black Denim, Orange Lava/Black Denim, Gunship Gray
Price:
2017: $37,799
2018: $39,949

References

Indian Motorcycle Chieftain Elite

2017 Indian Chieftain Limited & Chieftain Elite
- image 733330

See our review of the Indian Motorcycle Chieftain Elite.

Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero

2015 - 2018 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero / Vulcan 1700 Voyager
- image 716650

See our review of the Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: harley-davidson.com, kawasaki.com, indianmotorcycle.com

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