ROAD TEST: 2014 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited CVO Review – Mounting Rushmore

Story Koz Mraz • Photos Ron Sinoy

_DSC3113I had the opportunity to “mount” Rushmore, Project Rushmore that is. The 2014 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited CVO Project Rushmore is replete with the notoriously muscular and warm, 110 c.i. engine. The perfect ride to test the benefits of Harley’s new twin cooled engine – a real benefit here in Southern California (and certainly in the Southwest!) Cruising Pacific Coast Highway means a lot of stop and go traffic and feeling like a Lobster in a pot. There’s always discord when it comes to air-vs.-liquid cooling, but I don’t subscribe to someone else’s idea of “cool” and the new HD touring line is very appealing. Two Twin-Cooled High Output Twin Cam 103ci & 110ci versions are based on Harley-Davidson’s current v-twin. The motor’s fins are still the primary cooling area but, with some clever design work, there is now a pair of radiators neatly installed in the lower fairing on the pair of “Ultra Limited” models. Water is routed only through the two cylinder heads, which have been specifically cast with horse-shoe shaped channels around the exhaust valves and via a series of rubber pipes, water is taken back to the pair of heat exchangers. The system is controlled by a thermostat and uses an electric pump to circulate the coolant. For those fearsome that a damaged radiator ruins their ride, the twin-cooled will run reasonably happily without the cooling system if damaged and the coolant starts to leak.

_DSC3172So I fired up the CVO Rushmore with baited breath…just how would the new Liquid Cooled Rushmore sound….Wow! I have a feeling Harley dedicated some serious thought to that very question and the answer is amazing. The specs on H-D’s site don’t address anything exhaust-related and I don’t know if they use special pipes on the CVO, but a beautiful note emanates at idle and resounds at full throttle. Personally I would not change a thing on this motorcycle, but then again, with a price tag of $38,999, I guess you’re not supposed to have to.

My “event coordinator” and I took a long, leisurely ride down PCH to test out this new Rushmore. The 110 is Harley’s largest power plant and much has been published regarding the benefit of torque and sheer power. Now, because this motor runs cooler, Harley-Davidson has been able to increase its compression ratio from 9.6:1 to 10.1:1. Along with this increase and a change in the air box design, the High Output 103 offers, according to Harley-Davidson, around 10.7 percent more peak torque than the standard 103 engine. That percentage torque increase is about the same for the CVO 110 Twin-Cooled engine. Truly and asset while pushing around over 1,000 lbs. of bike and rider. At 944 lbs. the CVO Ultra Limited is not for the faint of heart or those short on inseam. With a seat height of 29.1 inches you need to be able to plant both feet firmly on the ground at stops. I am 6 foot, and had no issues but a friend of mine who stands 5’6” was on his tip toes while seated.

_DSC3252Harley added one inch of passenger space and a redesign of arm rests and seat makes apparent that this motorcycle is all about Mama. She absolutely loved the extra room (but I do miss having her as a backrest, she does not) and no more knocking helmets at quick stops. Front riding position seems more erect, no rider triangulation stats to pull from, just a feeling. I must add the new driver seat design is awesome. The perfect deep-dish yet plush padding married to a lip for lower back support.

All 2014 Touring and Trike models, with the exception of the Road King, are equipped with hydraulic clutch control. This set-up considerably reduce the effort a rider needs to operate it and Harley-Davidson claims it will never require any adjustment or servicing during the life of the bike. The new hydraulic clutch definitely reduces fatigue. In fact it feels like an on/off switch easily activate by two fingers. Not complaining, just have to get used to it.

All 2014 Touring models are available with the new Harley Davidson Reflex Linked Brakes with ABS. It comes standard on the Street Glide Special, Electra Glide Ultra Classic and Ultra Limited. The system combines ABS with both front and rear electronically linked to achieve the best brake balance. Linked braking is activated at speeds over 20-25mph and works by using either just the brake lever or foot brake. At speeds less than 20mph the brakes will revert to working independently. On the move though, the linked braking applies the correct braking force to both the front and rear in proportion to how much the rider needs to slow the bike down. It also remains active under the 20mph threshold in extreme braking situations so the rider can maintain control at all times. We headed up Ortega Hwy. to the Lookout Roadhouse and I gotta tell ya, the braking on a bike this size is awesome, truly confidence inspiring.


One of the highlights of the 2014 Harley-Davidson Touring models, and aside from all the mechanical changes, is the huge step forward in digital technology. You can link it up to the radio, satellite or via your  phone or iPod. There’s also Bluetooth connectivity, voice recognition (via a microphone/headphone fitted to the rider’s helmet), text to speech technology and a sophisticated GPS navigation system. Plus there is still the regular rider to passenger intercom and CB systems. The entire system (there are two versions 4.3 and 6.5GT) is operated by a pair of five-way joysticks mounted on the left and right of the bars that allow a rider to operate it on the move.

The 4.3 is also Bluetooth compatible for cell phones and using a headset a rider can make and receive calls without taking their hands off the handlebars. And it can receive text messages, which can be viewed or listened to. You get all the same features as the 4.3 but a bigger 6.5-inch color screen, a more comprehensive GPS system, set-up for Sirius/XM satellite radio, plus an extensive voice-recognition menu that allows the rider, again via a head set, to control and operate their phone, but also media, radio and navigation. Like everything in this menu-driven touch screen modern age there is is a learning curve, just like your phone.

Harley-Davidson says it they spent hundreds of hours in the wind tunnel updating the batwing fairing, which has been on its bikes since 1969. It still looks very much the same but there is now a more pronounced ‘eye-brow’ over the headlamp and larger coverage in front of the hand controls. On the Ultra models there are also re-designed wind deflectors on the lower edges that you can set up to your liking. On the outside, just below the screen, there is now a black intake vent. This can be opened or closed and has been designed to reduce head buffeting to the rider by up to 20 percent. This baby really works, taller riders (myself included) were sometimes right in the airflow as it came over the screen. With the air vent open it creates a back draft behind the windscreen pushing oncoming air even farther away from the rider. The Daymaker headlight and passing lamps are awesome, truly a godsend for the midnight rider in all of us.

Finally the hard saddlebags on all of the bikes have been updated with latch handles on the inside of bag, facing the fender. You can open them with one hand while seated on the bike and grab a bottle of water. They feel really sturdy as does the revised Tour-Pak on the Ultra models. It has a little more capacity (around 4%) than the previous version and inside has a retractable tether so you’ll never catch the cord again when closing the lid. Also there are down facing LED’s on the tour pack that light up the inside of the saddlebag at night. Awesome job HD designers!

So what’s the take on mounting Rushmore? Of Harley’s claimed 100 new bold and minor tweaks, Hurrah!.. the new saddlebags alone have me cheering. Of the Twin Cooled Rushmore? again from both event coordinator and myself, a resounding Hip Hip Hurrah! We can now look and feel much cooler in our stylish black leathers on hot summer days.

About Koz Mraz

Koz Mraz has published over 200 tour stories and articles for Quick Throttle Magazine, Baggers Magazine, American Iron, Cruiser and Bikernet. His book, Piers of the West Coast, explores piers from Mexico to Canada. In Motorcycle Mysteries, Koz travels to fascinating and unique destinations. His popular Tales of the Midnight Rider series: Midnight Rider on a Graveyard Run, Thundertaker, Hoka Hey and Neptune’s Net are available on AMAZON. “I’ve spent much of my life exploring the roads less traveled. Whether journeys are well planned or impromptu it’s always the unexpected that casts the spell of adventure.” Koz Mraz