It’s a hot-rod bagger with Harley’s largest factory-installed engine to date

Harley-Davidson makes progress on its 100-new-bikes promise with the mid-year release of the updated CVO Road Glide. Built with a bagger-tastic bent, the revamped custom Road Glide carries the largest production Big Twin the MoCo has built to date. Under the hood you’ll find H-D’s new safety and ride-quality electronics along with the usual top-shelf infotainment goodies, and it all comes wrapped in bodywork that makes a solid connection to the current popular custom culture.

  • 2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Milwaukee-Eight 117
  • Displacement:
    1923 cc
  • Top Speed:
    107 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    40999
  • Price:

2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Design

  • Blackout styling
  • LED lighting
  • Top-shelf Boom! Box GTS Infotainment with wireless headset
  • Kahuna™ Collection accouterments
  • Exclusive Knockout™ wheels
  • Molded saddlebags with One Touch latches
  • Riding modes
2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
- image 883957
2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
- image 883942
2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
- image 883943

At a glance, the new CVO Road Glide looks a lot like the existing Road Glide Special, but as usual, the devil is in the details. A 21-inch, Glass Black and Contrast Smoked Satin Knockout wheel leads the way below a fender that maintains its full length but carries cut-back sides that leave most of that big, beautiful front wheel in plain sight.

The beefy fork sliders sport a smoked chrome finish with blackout beercan fork skirts to cover the inner fork tube and protect the fork seal. It’s matched by a blackout lower tripletree, blackout bullet turn-signal housings, and a dark insert around the dual headlights, all with LED projectors that really put out the lumens.

The darkness continues aloft and alow at the vented flyscreen that replaces the windshield, handlebar, mirrors, and the engine guards that’ll protect the mill somewhat in a drop/slide. I say “somewhat” because although we commonly call them “crash bars,” they really don’t offer much protection in an actual wreck and are only effective in a slow-speed or dead-stopped drop.

Around the backside of the fairing are a pair of round gauges for the speedo and tach with the usual LED idiot lights for the main instrumentation, but the touchscreen TFT display just above them take care of all the really yummy stuff. It acts as a rider interface for the infotainment system that is powered by H-D’s new Boom! Box GTS, and sports hands-free calling, weather, and GPS features along with all your favorite jams. Not only that, but the system networks with your smartphone via the H-D Connect app to provide extra security and monitoring options, up to and including a tracking feature so if some creep boosts your bike, you can track him down and handle your business. Er, I mean call the cops. Yeah, that’s what I meant...

A fat, six-gallon fuel tank defines the flyline behind the fairing and establishes a downward slope that is picked up and extended by the bucket seat. Laden, the seat rides at 25.9 inches off the deck, if you weigh at least 180 pounds; lighter riders will wind up between that mark and the 26.8-inch unladen seat height.

A wide pillion pad, fold-up footpegs, and a grabstrap make up the passenger’s amenities with a pair of 1.2 cubic-foot, hard-side saddlebags that provide some secure dry storage. A pair of sound drivers in the lid match another pair in the front fairing to deliver a surround sound effect for both pilot and pillion. A pair of vertical taillights ride on the filler panels between the bags and the full-length rear fairing, and the license mounts to the fairing itself with a taglight – all LED – to finish out the gear in the rear.

2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Chassis

  • Reflex™ Defensive Rider Systems (RDRS)
  • Showa’s Dual Bending Valve suspension
  • The only 21-inch front wheel in Touring class
  • ABS and Vehicle Hold feature
2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
- image 883958
2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
- image 883938
2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
- image 883948

As ever with H-D’s “FL” family of bikes, the revised CVO Road Glide comes built around the factory’s heaviest frame. A large, stout backbone provides the main structure, and a full downtube/cradle section supports the engine; none of that stressed-engine business to be found here. Mild steel is the material of choice with welded tubular members, and it has bolt-on rear fender supports to finish out the standing structure.

The swingarm is a full yoke with a rectangular cross-section for strength. It relies on dual shocks for support and damping, and it comes with an easy-to-reach handwheel for quick and easy preload adjustments. That’s the only suspension tweak though, as the 49 mm forks come sans variable values. The factory makes up for the lack of adjustability up front with Showa’s Dual Bending Valve feature that delivers demand-driven damping for a ride that is certainly superior to plain vanilla, but having said that, this is definitely an area where H-D has some room for improvement.

A 21-inch front wheel makes for a nice offset against the 18-inch rear wheel to round out the rolling chassis with a 130/60 and 180/55 on the front and rear, respectively. The rubber comes with an “H” rating, which puts it toward the slow end of the spectrum, but that’s not a surprise given the fact that this is by no means a go-fast bike, and is built more for comfort than brute speed. All around 300 mm discs and four-piston calipers take care of business under the ABS protection that comes stock along with a Vehicle Hold feature that helps with takeoffs on a grade.

Frame: Mild steel, tubular frame, two-piece stamped and welded backbone, cast and forged junctions, twin downtubes, bolt-on rear frame with forged fender supports, MIG welded
Swingarm: Mild steel, two piece drawn and welded section, forged junctions, MIG welded
Forks, Front: 49 mm Dual Bending Valve
Shocks, Rear: Premium low hand-adjustable rear suspension
Suspension Travel, Front/Rear: 3.6 in. (91 mm)/2.2 in. (55 mm)
Rake: 26°
Fork Angle: 29.25°
Trail: 6.8 in.
Lean Angle, Right/Left: 33.7°/33.9°
Brakes, Front: Dual 300 mm floating rotors, 32 mm, 4-piston fixed caliper
Brakes, Rear: 300 mm fixed rotor, 32 mm, 4-piston fixed caliper
ABS: Standard
Wheels: Gloss Black and Contrast Smoked Satin Knockout
Wheel, Front: 21 in. x 3.5 in. (533 mm x 89 mm)
Wheel, Rear: 18 in. x 5 in. (457 mm x 127 mm)
Tire, Front: D408F - BW 130/60B21 M/C63H
Tire, Rear: D407 - BW 180/55B18 M/C80H

2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Drivetrain

  • 1,923 cc Milwaukee-Eight 117 engine
  • Harley’s largest factory-installed engine to date
  • High-performance “Screamin’ Eagle® Heavy Breather” intake
  • 126 lb-ft @ 3,750 rpm
  • Carbon-reinforced belt drive
2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
- image 883956
2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
- image 883935
2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
- image 883939

Woo wee sports fans; this is a big engine in the CVO Road Glide. The Milwaukee-Eight 117 runs a 104 mm bore with a long, 114 mm stroke for a whopping, 1,923 cc displacement and relatively mild 10.2-to-1 compression ratio that may tolerate mid-grade fuel. It’s an air-cooled, 45-degree V-Twin with the classic single crank throw and off-balance firing order to give it that distinctive H-D lope at idle, but it does come with a small oil cooler for an extra layer of protection for the engine’s crucial lifeblood.

The “Eight” component of the Mil-8 engine moniker refers to the 8 overhead poppets in the heads, four each. It uses the old-school pushrod actuation system, and since the factory abandoned the Twin Cam layout, it uses a single cam for all four lifters which returns the pushrod geometry back to the Evo-and-earlier style.

A single throttle body handles the induction control. Harley joins the rest of the world in the electronics department with two riding modes (Rain and Not Rain) and traction control on top of the usual tire pressure-monitoring system and cruise control. It’s impossible to overstate the significance of the electronics, because they finally put H-D on a somewhat equal footing with the other major marques.

Power flows through a slip-and-assist clutch and six-speed transmixxer before it heads to the rear wheel via a carbon-reinforced belt drive with 126 pound-feet of soul-crushing torque that comes on at 3,750 rpm.

It's a heavy machine at 893 pounds wet, but it will come off the line like a champ all the same.

Top speed is governed at 107 mph.

Engine: Milwaukee-Eight® 117
Bore x Stroke: 4.075 in. x 4.5 in.
Displacement: 1,923 cc (117 cu in)
Compression Ratio: 10.2:1
Engine Torque (J1349): 126 lb-ft @ 3,750 rpm
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Exhaust: Dual, with crossover
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio
Final Drive: Belt, 32/68 ratio
Clutch: Hydraulically actuated 10 plate wet Assist & Slip
Transmission: 6-speed Cruise Drive
Gear Ratios (Overall): 1st: 9.593, 2nd: 6.65, 3rd: 4.938, 4th: 4, 5th: 3.407, 6th: 2.875

2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Pricing

2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
- image 883951
2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
- image 883949
2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
- image 883950
Yeah, it's a CVO, so the $40,999 starting MSRP should come as no surprise.

As is frequently the case with CVO models, the CVO Road Glide comes in only one color: Premium Sand Dune. Harley covers your new ride with a 24 month, unlimited mileage warranty.

Standard Equipment: ABS Option, Reflex™ Defensive Rider System (RDRS), Security System Option, Cruise Control Option, Premium Radio Option
Warranty: 24-month unlimited mileage
Color: Premium Sand Dune
Price: Custom Color: $40,999

2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Competitors

2020 Indian Challenger Dark Horse
- image 869240
2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
- image 883954

As someone who is decidedly not a fan of H-D’s Sharknose fairing, I am keenly aware of the fact that fans of the fixed fairings are likely not fans of the fork-mount barndoors, and vice versa, so with that in mind, I went straight to Indian Motorcycle for its version of the shark and quickly settled on the Challenger Dark Horse.

Indian Challenger Dark Horse

2020 Indian Challenger Dark Horse
- image 869228

Lookswise, these two are like brothers-from-another-mother. The wide, frame-mount fairing on the Challenger sets the stage and the generous blackout treatment makes the same connection to the custom culture. Personally, I think the inverted front forks on the Indian give it a more modern look, but this is offset somewhat by the classic war bonnet fender ornament and full-length front fender.

The Challenger rocks a teardrop tank for more custom flavor and finishes off with a pair of large, hard-side saddlebags to meet H-D eye-to-eye, but it falls behind a skosh in the sound-delivery side of things with only two fairing-mount drivers against Harley’s four-speaker setup. Beyond that, Indian’s infotainment system is every bit as luxe as Harley’s with all of the same sort of functions.

The Challenger also meets H-D in the electronics field with the same traction control and ABS features as the Road Glide, but Indian ups the ante with a Bosch inertial measurement unit that adds a lean-sensitive component to the mix for a definite advantage.

As for power, Indian tapped its new PowerPlus engine rather than its earlier Thunder Stroke. It’s liquid cooled and packs in 108 cubic-inches (1,769 cc) with 128 pound-feet of torque on tap. That’s only a two pound advantage, but considering it comes from a smaller mill, it’s pretty impressive.

Six-speed trannys and slipper-clutches abound for drag-torque protection, and despite the fact that H-D has the technology, Indian alone runs with a electronic drag-torque mitigation feature for even more protection on hard engine-braking actions.

The similarities between these bikes far outweigh the differences, so Indian really puts the screws to H-D with its $27,499 pricetag versus Harley’s $41k sticker, and that is liable to steer some business away from Milwaukee and toward the Polaris-owned Indian company.

Read our full review of the Indian Challenger Dark Horse.

He Said

“Harley-Davidson’s Custom Vehicle Operations division puts out some really to-shelf stuff, and the updated CVO Road Glide certainly does not disappoint. Personally, I’d do the custom work myself, but I have the education and experience to do so, and I don’t begrudge anyone who’d rather have a factory custom such as this. Even the price may be a selling point as it offers an element of exclusivity that is bound to appeal to some well-heeled riders out there.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “This was a little surprise. I thought Harley dropped the Road Glide out of the CVO line for 2020, but here we have a 2020.5 release. The knock-out wheels were from 2018, and last year, the CVO Road Glide was the only bike in the Touring family that came from the factory with a 21-inch front wheel and that has carried over to 2020. This is a nice hot rod bagger; but of course it is, it’s a CVO, though it isn’t as hot rod as a lighter bike with the same Mil-8 117. The CVO Road Glide is a big, heavy bike, but it’s a torque monster and your hienie dyno will feel all 126 pound-feet of it. The engine is tuned for highway performance, so it’s not really much of a commuter but honestly, who pays this much money and then uses it as a commuter anyway.”

2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Milwaukee-Eight® 117
Bore x Stroke: 4.075 in. x 4.5 in.
Displacement: 1,923 cc (117 cu in)
Compression Ratio: 10.2:1
Engine Torque (J1349): 126 lb-ft @ 3,750 rpm
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Exhaust: Dual, with crossover
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio
Final Drive: Belt, 32/68 ratio
Clutch: Hydraulically actuated 10 plate wet Assist & Slip
Transmission: 6-speed Cruise Drive
Gear Ratios (Overall): 1st: 9.593, 2nd: 6.65, 3rd: 4.938, 4th: 4, 5th: 3.407, 6th: 2.875
Chassis:
Frame: Mild steel, tubular frame, two-piece stamped and welded backbone, cast and forged junctions, twin downtubes, bolt-on rear frame with forged fender supports, MIG welded
Swingarm: Mild steel, two piece drawn and welded section, forged junctions, MIG welded
Forks, Front: 49 mm Dual Bending Valve
Shocks, Rear: Premium low hand-adjustable rear suspension
Suspension Travel, Front/Rear: 3.6 in. (91 mm)/2.2 in. (55 mm)
Rake: 26°
Fork Angle: 29.25°
Trail: 6.8 in.
Lean Angle, Right/Left: 33.7°/33.9°
Brakes, Front: Dual 300 mm floating rotors, 32 mm, 4-piston fixed caliper
Brakes, Rear: 300 mm fixed rotor, 32 mm, 4-piston fixed caliper
ABS: Standard
Wheels: Gloss Black and Contrast Smoked Satin Knockout
Wheel, Front: 21 in. x 3.5 in. (533 mm x 89 mm)
Wheel, Rear: 18 in. x 5 in. (457 mm x 127 mm)
Tire, Front: D408F - BW 130/60B21 M/C63H
Tire, Rear: D407 - BW 180/55B18 M/C80H
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length: 96.9 in.
Width: 38 in. (965 mm)
Height: 50.4 in. (1,280 mm)
Seat Height: Laden: 25.9 in., Unladen: 26.8 in. (680 mm)
Ground Clearance: 4.9 in.
Wheelbase: 64 in.
Fuel Capacity: 6 gal.
Fuel Economy: 41 mpg
Oil Capacity (w/Filter): 5.2 qt.
Dry Weight: 860 lb.
Curb Weight: 893 lb.
GVWR: 1,360 lb (617 kg)
GAWR: Front: 500 lb (2237 kg), Rear: 927 lb (420 kg)
Luggage Capacity: 2.4 cu ft (0.068 m³)
Top Speed: 107 mph (governed)
Electric:
Lights (as per country regulation), Indicator Lamps: High beam, turn signal indicator, neutral, low oil pressure, check engine, security/fault indication, battery, low fuel warning, cruise control, ABS, tire pressure monitoring system indicator, traction control, rain mode, vehicle hold control.
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 GTS
Type: Full Color TFT
Watts Per Channel: 75
Speakers: 4, Boom! Audio Stage II
Headset Specifications (If Equipped): Boom! Audio 30K Wireless Headset
AM/FM/Weather Band (WB): Standard
SD Card, Flash Drive and MP3 - Via USB Connection: Supported
SiriusXM Presets: 20 - P&A Upgrade (USA & Canada only)
Languages: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese, Russian, Czech, Polish, Dutch, Turkish, Japanese
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, Russian, Czech, Polish, Dutch, Turkish, Japanese
Voice Recognition Languages: Tuner/Media/Navigation: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese, Russian, Czech, Polish, Dutch, Turkish, Japanese
Text-To-Speech (TTS) Languages: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese, Russian, Czech, Polish, Dutch, Turkish, Japanese
Rider/Passenger Intercom: Rider Standard
Vehicle Information Screen (Air Temperature, Oil Pressure and EITMS): Standard
USB: USB/MTP/iPod/iPhone
Bluetooth: Phone/Media Supported
Details:
Standard Equipment: ABS Option, Reflex™ Defensive Rider System (RDRS), Security System Option, Cruise Control Option, Premium Radio Option
Warranty: 24-month unlimited mileage
Color: Premium Sand Dune
Price: Custom Color: $40,999

Further Reading

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TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read More
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All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: harley-davidson.com, indianmotorcycle.com

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