Harley-Davidson's 2017 Suspension Upgrade

Riding the updated suspension that accompanies the new Milwaukee Eight

2017 CVO Street Glide
2017 CVO Street Glide. Wearing the Arai Corsair-X helmet.Brian J Nelson / Tom Riles

Style and soul. The sound, the feel, an American tradition. These have been the things that drive us towards Harley-Davidson. The suspension was always something we would upgrade after the fact, but H-D has finally stepped up their game and brought real, high performing suspension to their touring models.

2017 Road King
Getting soaked on the 2017 Harley-Davidson Road King, but not my feet! Love those Bates Marauder.Brian J Nelson / Tom Riles

We recently were invited out to rainy Tacoma, Washington with a few other magazines to test out the new 2017 Harley-Davidson Touring models. 2017 brought some huge changes to their touring lineup, including a totally new motor, the Milwaukee-Eight, and what we are here to talk about today, the revamped front and rear suspension.

Up front the new Touring model fork tubes feature the new Showa Dual Bending Valve technology (SDBV) suspension, and the rear is now equipped with new emulsion-technology shocks.

2017 Street Glide
2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide with Screamin' Eagle Mufflers and Air Cleaner!Brian J Nelson / Tom Riles

SDBV really shines when it comes to keeping that front tire firmly planted on the ground. That translated to a better handling ride because all those small bumps in the road, that are constant, aren’t continuously breaking the contact between tire and pavement. I never experienced a front-end wobble or weave, nor did the chassis sway from the rear. Digging into the corners you can feel that the bike is sturdy and definitely inspires confidence in the sweepers.

Lets move to the back of the bike, which is now outfitted with new emulsion-technology shocks.

2017 Street Glide
2017 Harley-Davidson Street GlideBrian J Nelson / Tom Riles

That’s right, no more leaky air shocks that need to be adjusted after every long haul or if it sits for a month or two. Also a nice feature, the new shocks offer 15 to 30 percent more pre-load adjustment than previous standard Touring shocks, with a single knob to hydraulically adjust pre-load. As long as you don’t change your riding weight/cargo capacity, you set it once and forget about it. Want to take a passenger? Just pop off one saddlebag and make adjustments by hand… No special tools required!

Harley-Davison’s new Touring Model suspension stands out the most for me. The new Milwaukee-Eight also helps immensely and the two combined make for an ear-to-ear-grinning ride. but having the bike handle night and day differently from last year is what I find myself talking about the most.