The absolute tippity-toppest of the best features and tech the factory has to offer

LISTEN 09:51

Harley-Davidson’s 2021 CVO Road Glide is a bona fide showroom showstopper with lots of chrome and a trio of new paint packages. Powered by a top-shelf Milwaukee-Eight 117 engine – the largest production engine from the MoCo to date – this machine rolls with stock ride safety-control features that keep all that power under control. Stock bags and fairings complete the bagger ensemble to make this a viable bike for performance-minded riders looking to tour, cruise, or just boulevard bruise.

  • 2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
  • Year:
    2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Milwaukee-Eight 117
  • Displacement:
    1923 cc
  • Top Speed:
    107 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    41399
  • Price:

2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Design

  • LED lighting
  • Restyled Instrumentation
  • Harley-Davidson Audio powered by Rockford Fosgate
  • Standard-length saddlebags replacing extended-length bags
2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
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2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
- image 967176
2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
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Harley keeps to the overall look as established by the previous CVO Road Glide model, generally speaking, but the differences make all the difference in the world on at least one of the three trim packages available this year. The Sunset Orange and Sunset Black Fade package trades in most of the blackout treatment from last year in favor of plenty of bling in its chrome forks, bars, turn-signal housings, exhaust, engine trim and more. However, the single-tone Bronze Armor model carries a Contrast Smoked Satin finish at the fork sliders, exhaust and engine trim along with the same blackout bits from last year. The Black Hole model takes the monochromatic treatment to the nth degree with gloss black paint on the bodywork and blackout just about everywhere else.

Across the board, the CVO Road Glide carries a classic-styled front fender below the frame-mount Sharknose fairing that separates this family from the Batwing FL models. Around behind the broad front fairing and its chopped down smoked glass you’ll find the instrumentation in a pair of analog gauges for speed/tach, LED indicator lights and a color TFT interface screen for the Boom! GTS Infotainment System. The Infotainment System bundles a host of capabilities together that cover your on-road communication, navigation, and weather update needs, plus it literally rocks with Rockford Fosgate components in the Stage II audio package.

A high-rise handlebar starts the rider’s triangle out with lots of pullback that delivers a tiller-steering feel at the grips and provides for a comfortable, upright riding position. Forward footboards establish the bottom leg of the triangle to put your feet in the windsock position, though since they aren’t quite as far forward as forward controls proper, it should make for a comfortable middle ground over a wide array of body types.

If you weigh at least 180 pounds you can count on a 25.9-inch saddle height while seated, and that should be very confidence-inspiring once you deploy your Fred Flintstones at lights or in the parking lot. The rear end is kept clean with no Tourpak or passenger backrest to clutter up the lines. Stock hard bags mount the rear speakers in their lids to finish out the top-notch sound system and new for this year, the CVO Road Glide has standard-length saddlebags replacing extended-length bags from last gen.

2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Chassis

  • Frame-mounted fairing
  • Hand-adjustable rear suspension
  • 21-inch front and 18-inch rear cast-aluminum, laced-spoke rims
  • Stock ABS
2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
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2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
- image 967179
2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
- image 967178

Built around the classic FL frame, the CVO Road Glide maintains the large double downtube/double cradle format and fat front end that have always marked H-D’s touring family. The steering head rides at 26 degrees which is kinda’ short for a bagger, but an offset in the forks puts the effective fork angle at 29.25 degrees which is closer to expectations. Not only are the forks of a large diameter, but they carry the old-school beercan skirts over the upper fork tubes that make them look fatter yet.

Harley’s Knockout wheels round out the rolling chassis with a 21-inch hoop ahead of a fat 18-incher out back, but the rims themselves are something of a curiosity. On the previous model the Knockout rims were cast, but this year, rims with the same name are actually laced, three-piece units that add a bit of curb appeal all their own. Dunlop hoops line the wheels with a 130/60 and 180/55 on the front and rear respectively.

A hand-adjustable rear suspension lets you quickly dial in the preload in response to changes in passenger/cargo weight. The front forks are non-adjustable, but they are Showa’s Dual Bending Valve units that deliver dynamic, demand-driven damping changes for a superior ride to plain vanilla forks.

At 893 pounds soaking wet, this is a lot of bike to keep under control. Toward that end, the factory chucked on all-around 300 mm discs with four-piston calipers to bind them – dual brakes up front, of course – with stock ABS protection as the first of many ride-quality and safety features.

Frame: Mild steel; tubular frame, two-piece stamped and welded backbone; cast and forged junctions; twin down tubes; bolt-on rear frame with forged fender supports; MIG welded
Swingarm: Mild steel, two piece drawn and welded section; forged junctions; MIG welded
Front Fork/ Travel: 49mm Dual Bending Valve/ 3.6 in. (91 mm)
Rear Shocks/ Travel: Premium Low Hand-Adjustable Rear Suspension/ 2.2 in. (55 mm)
Rake (steering head): 26°
Fork Angle: 29.25°
Trail: 6.8 in. (173 mm)
Lean Angle (J1168): Right: 34°, Left: 34°
Tires: Dunlop® Harley-Davidson Series, bias blackwall front and rear
Tire, Front: D408F BW 130/60B21 M/C63H
Tire, Rear: D407 BW 180/55B18 M/C80H
Wheels: Gloss Black and Contrast Chrome Combo
Wheel, Front: 3.5 in. (89 mm) x 21 in. (533 mm)
Wheel, Rear: 5 in. (127 mm) x 18 in. (457 mm)
Brakes, Front: Dual 300 mm floating rotors, 32mm, 4-piston fixed caliper
Brakes, Rear: 300 mm fixed rotor
Brakes, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS): Standard

2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Drivetrain

  • Exclusive-to-CVO Milwaukee-Eight® 117 V-Twin engine
  • 126 pound-feet of stump-pulling torque
  • Reflex™ Defensive Rider System (RDRS)
  • Ample roll-on anywhere in rev range
2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
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2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
- image 967186

So far the overall package of the CVO Road Glide is fairly close to standard for H-D’s touring lineup, but the beating heart sets it well apart from the rest of the big bikes in the lineup with a monstrous,117-inch (1,923 cc) Milwaukee-Eight mill. That’s right sports fans, this is the largest production engine to date built by the MoCo. The 104 mm bore and 114 mm stroke turns in a compression ratio of 10.2-to-1 that will tolerate mid-grade pusholine. A single cam times the four-valve heads via external pushrods with a return to the classic pushrod-tube geometry as opposed to the look of the Twin-Cam engine, and naturally that effects the nosecone area as well to make this Mil-8 look much more like the engines of old.

Output is clocked at 126 pound-feet of torque at 3,750 rpm and this engine has something to give in every gear and at any rpm with a solid roll-on that is unmatched by non-CVO models. It will get up to speed quicker than the less-noble models, but is still governed to around 107 mph so it’s no faster than the rest of the lineup, maybe just a bit quicker in spite of its great heft.

The higher electronics bring a level of control and safety that were unheard of from America’s longest-running brand just a few short years ago. H-D’s Reflex Defensive Rider Systems adds a corner-sensitive component to the ABS that calculates the available traction and modulates its interventions accordingly plus there’s a Linked-Brake feature that shares braking effort between front and rear. The corner-enhanced wizardry continues into the traction control system as well, and to round out the package, a cornering Drag-Torque Slip Control reduces the backtorque in the system. That last bit combines with a slip-and-assist clutch for a double layer of protection.

Engine: Milwaukee-Eight® 117, Pushrod-operated, overhead valves with hydraulic, self-adjusting lifters; four valves per cylinder
Displacement: 117 cu in (1,923 cc)
Bore x Stroke: 4.075 in. (104 mm) x 4.5 in. (114 mm)
Engine Torque (J1349): 126 lb-ft (171 Nm) @ 3,750 rpm
Compression Ratio: 10.2:1
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Air Cleaner: Paper, washable
Exhaust: Dual, with crossover
Lubrication System: Pressurized, dry-sump with oil cooler
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio
Final Drive: Belt, 32/68 ratio
Clutch: Mechanically 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

2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Price

2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
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2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
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2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
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As usual for CVO models, the price remains the same regardless of color choice. Choose between Sunset Orange & Sunset Black Fade over chrome, Black Hole with edgy red graphics over blackout treatment or Bronze Armor with Contrast Smoked Satin finish for $41,399.

Standard Equipped: ABS Option, Reflex™ Defensive Rider System (RDRS), Security Option, Cruise Control Option, Premium Radio Option
Warranty: 24 months (unlimited mileage)
Color: Sunset Orange/Sunset Black Fade, Black Hole, Bronze Armor
Price: $41,399

2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Competitors

2018 - 2021 BMW K 1600 B
- image 811329
2020 Indian Challenger Limited
- image 869861
2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
- image 967180
2020 Honda Gold Wing
- image 964314

Honestly, the CVO Road Glide is more-or-less without peer in an actual apples-to-apples comparison, so let’s take a look at some of the machines that will appeal to the same sort of riders.

Indian Challenger Limited

2020 Indian Challenger Limited Exterior
- image 869876

Indian covers the domestic market with its Challenger Limited.The Indian Challenger Limited rocks the new PowerPlus V-twin with an impressive output that is clocked at 128 pound-feet of torque and 122 horsepower. A slip-and-assist clutch, traction control, and ride modes give it some built-in safety even if it falls short of the level of fandanglery brought to bear by the CVO Road Glide. Price works out in Indian’s favor at $27,999.

Honda Gold Wing

2020 Honda Gold Wing
- image 964312

The next obvious competitor is Honda’s Gold Wing that has an almost fanatical following in the States. It rolls in a bagger configuration with its characteristic, 1,833 cc flat-six engine and enjoys a reputation for an eagerness in the curves that belies its great size, and at $23,900, it wins at the checkout, too.

BMW K 1600 B

2018 - 2021 BMW K 1600 B
- image 811333

If German technology is more to your liking, the K 1600 B hits many of the same high points as the above with a six-banger of its own. The mill churns out 129 pounds o’ grunt, right on par with the rest of the field, and sports a generous electronics suite all for $23,195 to fit into the pattern that leaves H-D looking very proud indeed.

Read our full review of the Indian Challenger Limited.
Read our full review of the Honda Gold Wing.
Read our full Review of the BMW K 1600 B.

He Said

H-D’s Custom Vehicle Operations never disappoint, from the cutting-edge tech to the powerful engines. If you think that the price is a turnoff, you may be right for much of the market, but there are some who would see that sticker as an opportunity to own something with a certain level of exclusivity baked right in. This is the absolute tippity-toppest of the best features and tech the factory has to offer.

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The CVO really is the cream of the crop in features and quality. The new CVO Road Glide has three styling choices that take the design from a bright powertrain and chrome details with two-tone paint, down the spectrum to a combination of dark and bright finishes, and ending with a very dark, menacing look and monochrome paint. There’s really a styling personality for every buyer. The Mil-8 117 is a monster in a good way with an amazing amount of torque low in the rev range and roll-on no matter where you are.”

2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Milwaukee-Eight® 117, Pushrod-operated, overhead valves with hydraulic, self-adjusting lifters; four valves per cylinder
Displacement: 117 cu in (1,923 cc)
Bore x Stroke: 4.075 in. (104 mm) x 4.5 in. (114 mm)
Engine Torque (J1349): 126 lb-ft (171 Nm) @ 3,750 rpm
Compression Ratio: 10.2:1
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Air Cleaner: Paper, washable
Exhaust: Dual, with crossover
Lubrication System: Pressurized, dry-sump with oil cooler
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio
Final Drive: Belt, 32/68 ratio
Clutch: Mechanically 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 down tubes; bolt-on rear frame with forged fender supports; MIG welded
Swingarm: Mild steel, two piece drawn and welded section; forged junctions; MIG welded
Front Fork/ Travel: 49mm Dual Bending Valve/ 3.6 in. (91 mm)
Rear Shocks/ Travel: Premium Low Hand-Adjustable Rear Suspension/ 2.2 in. (55 mm)
Rake (steering head): 26°
Fork Angle: 29.25°
Trail: 6.8 in. (173 mm)
Lean Angle (J1168): Right: 34°, Left: 34°
Tires: Dunlop® Harley-Davidson Series, bias blackwall front and rear
Tire, Front: D408F BW 130/60B21 M/C63H
Tire, Rear: D407 BW 180/55B18 M/C80H
Wheels: Gloss Black and Contrast Chrome Combo
Wheel, Front: 3.5 in. (89 mm) x 21 in. (533 mm)
Wheel, Rear: 5 in. (127 mm) x 18 in. (457 mm)
Brakes, Front: Dual 300 mm floating rotors, 32mm, 4-piston fixed caliper
Brakes, Rear: 300 mm fixed rotor
Brakes, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS): Standard
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length: 96.9 in. (2,460 mm)
Overall Width: 38 in. (965 mm)
Overall Height: 50.4 in. (1,280 mm)
Seat Height, Laden: 25.9 in. (658 mm)
Seat Height, Unladen: 26.8 in. (680 mm)
Ground Clearance: 4.9 in. (125 mm)
Wheelbase: 64 in. (1,625 mm)
Weight, As Shipped: 860 lb. (390 kg)
Curb Weight: 893 lb. (405 kg)
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating: 1,360 lb. (617 kg)
Gross Axle Weight Rating: Front: 500 lb. (227 kg), Rear: 927 lb. (420 kg)
Luggage Capacity -Volume: 2.4 cu ft (0.068 m3)
Fuel Capacity: 6 gal. (22.7 l) with 1 gal. (3.8 l) reserve
Fuel Economy: 41 mpg (5.7 l/100 km)
Electrics:
Battery: Sealed, maintenance-free, 12V, 28-amp/hour, 405 cca (per Battery Council International Rating)
Charging: Three-phase, 48-amp system (600W @13V, 2000 RPM, 625W max power @ 13V)
Starting: 1.6 kW electric with solenoid shift starter motor engagement
Headlamp: LED 34-watt, 915 lumen low beam, 37-watt, 915 lumen high beam.
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: Display features odometer, trip A, trip B, range to empty and gear indicator; and larger tell-tale indicators.
Electric Power Outlet: Electric power accessory port in fairing
GPS System: New Boom!™ Box GTS audio system with GPS and touchscreen
Details:
Standard Equipped: ABS Option, Reflex™ Defensive Rider System (RDRS), Security Option, Cruise Control Option, Premium Radio Option
Warranty: 24 months (unlimited mileage)
Color: Sunset Orange/Sunset Black Fade, Black Hole, Bronze Armor
Price: $41,399

Further Reading

Harley-Davidson

50 New Harley-Davidson Models In Five Years?
- image 788828

Read more Harley-Davidson news.

TJ Hinton
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 full bio
About the author

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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