114 Cubes of Pure Rock and Roll
Story: Gary Koz Mraz, Photography: Riles & Nelson
The baddest bike on the Harley-Davidson block is without doubt the 2017 Custom Vehicle Operation (CVO) Street Glide. The 1868cc Milwaukee-Eight 114 is the undeniable rock star of the new three-engine Milwaukee-Eight lineup. Producing a claimed 124 ft. /lbs. of torque at just 3250 rpm, the 114 is a monster. Harley-Davidson claims the Milwaukee-Eight 114 accelerates 8 percent quicker 0-60 and 12 percent quicker 60-80 than the Twin Cam 110™. After spending three days and hundreds of miles on her, I don’t dispute that. For me the 110’s throttle response was a bit twitchy and she ran hot; not so for big brother. With smooth throttle response these are the most powerful, coolest-running motors Harley has ever built. Few onlookers would be able to tell it is liquid cooled, because the small dual radiators are discretely tucked into the lower fairings.
Heat was one of the biggest items to tackle when it came to designing these new Milwaukee-Eight engines, and it’s something that veterans of the V-twin platform will notice immediately. Engineers took the time to move heated components away from the rider as they worked on the engines ability to cool and maintain optimal temperatures. The result is not only more comfort, but now that will allow for more control when it comes to fueling and thus passing those growing emissions standards globally.
Some of the other benefits of the Milwaukee-Eight redesign are less mechanical noise, four valves per cylinder, single chain-driven cam, dual spark plugs, counterbalanced and rubber-mounted. Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle® Performance will offer a full selection of street-legal performance components for the non-CVO Milwaukee-Eight engines, including Screamin’ Eagle® Milwaukee-Eight™ Stage I, II and III kits that deliver up to a 24 percent increase in torque over the stock engine. They have reduced the engines width noticeably and I like having more space between the engine and my long legs. Harley states that it also affords more security and comfort for lower inseam riders.
I rode several of the CVO Street Glides during the three day press ride because I just wouldn’t give ’em up. All the new touring motorcycles have a new suspension with 49mm Showa Dual Bending Valve forks that feature 4.6 inches of travel. In the rear, you’ll find new Premium emulsion shocks with hand-adjustable spring preload, though only just a hair over two inches of travel. The Street Glide uses the shorter suspension travel for that slammed stance. We did some very aggressive riding and I was grinding down the floorboards in tight turns. Even though the rear shocks are hand adjustable, if you’re looking for a two-up touring motorcycle you might consider the CVO Ultra limited 114 instead. All in all, single rider, the Street Glide held its own against all other Harley’s in the Washington State Mountains.
CVO’s get the revised Bosch ABS with electronic brake-force distribution and all touring-class Harley’s have Brembo brakes for powerful deceleration. Squeeze the front lever gently while riding at pace and the bike comes to gentle stops. If you prefer the foot pedal, the Reflex Linked system applies braking power to both wheels without touching the hand lever. For a bit more aggressive braking, you simply ask a bit more of it, and the CVO Street Glide, with its three 300mm rotors and ABS will stop you safely. Harley-Davidson designers spent some serious design effort on the exhaust note of the new engines and the CVO’s sing a beautiful song. “We’re killing the noise so we can keep the music.” They stated. The EPA sets a maximum sound level, measured in a specified way.
Radiated sound is partly exhaust rumble (good) and partly mechanical. Mechanical noises often include energetic high frequencies (clicking, gear whine, etc.), so identifying and suppressing them allows that energy to go into a “richer exhaust note.” They also said that part of that is because the low mass valves create less valve-train noise. With less valve-train noise and less cam noise, you get a different experience when you rev it up. It sounds more like a race engine and it does sound good, check it out for yourself at any H-D dealership.
No respectable rock star would perform without a powerful sound system and the CVO Street Glide does not disappoint. Complete with a full color LCD display screen controlling the Boom! Box 6.5GT audio system and GPS has a four-speaker, 600-watt audio system that will rock your world. Using the systems touch screen or the hand controls is a snap, as well. I only have one gripe: When using a USB stick the system has only 2 options: First, it will only play all songs on all folders alphabetically, second, you can “Shuffle” all the songs. This means if I’m hankering to hear Zeitgeist by Black Sabbath it’s the luck of the draw or, I got a long way to go.
Also new for 2017 are Contrast Chrome Slicer wheels, power locks for the saddlebags and fork controlled by a single security and locking key fob, and a re-styled seat cover. The CVO Street Glide is available in four new color combinations for 2017. Candy Cobalt/ Indigo Ink (as tested) Sunburst Orange/ Starfire Black, Dark Slate Candy/Arctic Black and Starfire Black/Atomic Red.
From the ample storage space to the tried-and-true Batwing fairing, everything works as intended. Wind noise is reduced while in the cockpit of the CVO Street Glide and I hit everything from drizzle to downpours. Since the CVO Street Glide has lowers road splash and cold winds was dramatically reduced.
So what’s it really feel like riding one if the most powerful, ascetically stunning Harley-Davidson motorcycles on earth? You attain rock star status, thumbs up abound by onlookers, gawkers gather at every stop and other Harley riders know this is something very special. The CVO Street Glide 114 ci is not a poser in big hair and spandex, this Street Glide has got the moves like Jagger. Legitimate rock star presence that rubs off on its owners. A cocktail of comfort and power, shaken and stirred with bold and brash. Turned up to 11, the extra performance and refinement justifies the $40K price tag.