2017 CVO Street Glide: First Ride

Harley-Davidson’s top of the touring food chain

custom vehicle operation street glide
2017 CVO Street GlideJustin George

Growing up, I had that one “cool” neighbor on the corner with a killer collection of Harleys in the garage and nudie calendars on the wall. I would go skating back and forth in front of his house trying to catch a glimpse of those calendars and know that, happy to have an audience, he would eventually invite me in and start up one of the bikes. There was a Shovelhead he had owned for ages that he always seemed to be tinkering on, but of all the bikes that he loved to rev up and reminisce on, the one he would pull out of the driveway every day looking like it had just gotten a fresh coat of wax from the detailer was his purple CVO Electra Glide.

My neighbor's CVO (Custom Vehicle Operations) Electra Glide meant that he had made it, and maybe he had. Aside from a teenager with his first bike, I hadn't seen a motorcycle make someone this happy. When you've been bleeding black and orange most of your life, H-D's CVO is the top of the factory food chain. There are many of us who would customize our bike over a longer period of time, most notably because we have to wait for our paychecks, but for the die-hard Harley-Davidson fanatics, the CVO is the peak of factory customization. Nearly 20 years later, I'm throwing a leg over the 2017 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide, and it all makes sense. As if the comfort and performance weren't enough, the jealous stares from guys twice my age, easily making 10 times my salary, don't hurt either.

custom vehicle operation street glide
2017 CVO Street GlideJustin George

When you buy a CVO, you get things that aren’t available on any other Harley-Davidson model. The most important of those things to me is the beefy new Twin-Cooled 114 Milwaukee-Eight. This engine is awesome. It’s smooth, torquey, and has great power throughout the entire rpm range. It’s loud when you want it but with no mechanical noise—just that deep exhaust note we’re looking for. Compared to the 107’s 111.4 pound-feet of torque, the 114 puts out 124, which is a pretty noticeable difference to say the least. Chrome dual exhaust with 4-inch touring mufflers come standard, as well as a high-flow air cleaner just to hop things up even further.

custom vehicle operation street glide
2017 CVO Street GlideJustin George

With the Milwaukee-Eight update, suspension was upgraded across the entire Touring line. New dual-bending valve front suspension and rear emulsion shocks that are easily adjusted make what used to be weak points in H-D’s Touring models now some of their strongest features. The high-end Brembo linked brakes with ABS come stock, making another area that used to need an upgrade now perfectly sufficient. High speeds and low, tight turns and sweepers, the Street Glide held steady and smooth.

When it comes to style, aside from four paint and two wheel options, you’re putting your trust in Harley’s hands on this one—not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. You get the best of everything the factory has to offer from the chrome front end to the Airflow Collection of covers, floorboards, grips, and whatnot. If it’s an option, it’s been upgraded. The paint sets on CVO models aren’t available anywhere else and are just about the best-looking paint you can get from any OEM. The gloss is thick and deep, and the flake is vibrant, even on the black. Those in the know can recognize a CVO paint job a mile away, and their exclusivity is one of the most desired aspects of the line.

custom vehicle operation street glide
2017 CVO Street GlideJustin George

The infotainment and stereo system on this bike don’t just work; they’ve been totally re-engineered and sound loud and clear even at highway speeds. A 6.5-inch touchscreen display allows easy access to the GPS, radio, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and much more. Boom! Stage II three-way speakers are installed in the fairing and powered by a 300-watt amp, with a separate amp channel for the cone woofer, and another one powering the midrange and tweeter. An all-new custom-tuned static and dynamic equalizer keeps your music crisp throughout the revs, raising the volume of your audio along with the noise of your engine. That factory sound system that drops out at anything over 50 mph is no more. This one actually had me wearing my open face to enjoy the stereo and leaving the SENA headset at home for once!

custom vehicle operation street glide
2017 CVO Street GlideJustin George

Getting the best The Motor Company has to offer doesn’t come cheap, however, which is part of what made it such a status symbol for my neighbor back in the day. At almost $38K, there’s a reason these bikes are exclusive. Unlike many customs, the CVO is obviously customized while not being too loud or over the top. There’s a classy contrast-cut 19-inch front wheel, not some 31-inch monster screaming for attention. It’s built to look as good as it can but also function as one of the best touring bikes on the market, which it does. For me, in my late 20s, a CVO is unobtanium, and honestly, I would rather put together something totally unique if I’m going to be spending anywhere close to that amount of money. But if you’re looking for a bike that says you’ve made it, without looking like you’re going through a midlife crisis, the CVO Street Glide is one damn fine motorcycle.

custom vehicle operation street glide
2017 CVO Street GlideJustin George
SPECIFICATIONS
Model 2017 CVO Street Glide
MSRP Starting at $37,799
Engine Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 114
Bore 4 in.
Stroke 4.5 in.
Displacement 114ci
Compression Ratio 10.5:1
Fuel System Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Primary Drive Chain, 34/46 ratio
Exhaust Chrome dual exhaust with 4-in. touring mufflers and touring muffler shields
Wheels, Front Type Mirror Chrome Aggressor Custom
Wheels, Rear Type Mirror Chrome Aggressor Custom
Brakes 32 mm, 4-piston fixed front and rear
Engine Torque Testing Method J1349
Engine Torque 124 ft.-lb.@ 3250 rpm
Fuel Economy, combined city/hwy 43 mpg
Length 96.7 in.
Seat Height, Laden 26.3 in.
Seat Height, Unladen 27.2 in.
Ground Clearance 4.9 in.
Rake (steering head) 26°
Trail 6.7 in.
Wheelbase 64.0 in.
Tires, Front 130/60B19 61H
Tires, Rear 180/55B18 80H
Fuel Capacity 6.0 gal.
Oil Capacity, (w/ filter) 5.0 qt.
Weight, As Shipped 833 lb.
Weight, In Running Order 867 lb.
Luggage Capacity Volume 2.4 cu. ft.