ROAD TEST: 2018 Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide Ultra Limited CVO Review

Ziplining Wrightwood

BoomerVentures: Koz and Christina

Every year Harley-Davidson unveils their Custom Vehicle Operations motorcycle line-up. These incredible CVO’s are manufactured in limited numbers at a premium price.  This 115th anniversary special edition Electra-Glide Ultra Limited CVO was #2 of 1200.  Decked out with amazing paint and Harley-Davidson’s most powerful engine to date, it is adorned with every bell and whistle available from H-D, and is an absolute CVO stunner.  I picked up this beauty to review from the rider’s seat; for the (almost more important) passenger road test, I enlisted the willing assistance of my girlfriend Christina for her take as well.  And as we know, happy passenger, happy ride, right?

We will be ridin’ high to Wrightwood to experience “Ziplines at Pacific Crest.” PC Zipline is home of two of the most thrilling zipline courses in the nation.  They are located just 75 miles from Los Angeles in the quaint town of Wrightwood in the San Gabriel Mountains. They have two amazing zipline courses that are literally built in the trees. Surrounded by spectacular views, Christina and I found ourselves zipping from one platform to the next at high speeds that define what we motorcyclists love best.

Launching onto the freeway, this motor-journalist is reminded why we also love Harley-Davidson so much. The TC117 engine is immediately palpable, taking this salacious 944-lb bike into the fast lane with unbridled fury.  Damn this bike sounds good stock!  I need to see how well-behaved this behemoth is on the twisties, so off to the mountains we go.

The deep Odyssey Blue paint with an elegantly sweeping silver arc graces the saddlebags, allowing the eye to enjoy the stylish design without a single interruption of either contrasting paint or pin stripe. The Screamin’ Eagle twin cam 117 ci with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) claims 125 ft. lbs. of torque at 3500 rpm. I am at 100mph in a blink of an eye, and it’s a rush. This bike inspires a commanding sense of authority and confidence. Twist the throttle, knock through the gears and nothing remains in the rear view mirror for very long. Once you have this power, you use this power.  Not that I condone such behavior, but it’s good to know the thrust is there when you need it. The clutch requires a heavy hand primarily because of the strong torque of the powerful 117ci engine.  I eventually found the friction zone was very low in the clutch’s pull range and got used to it pretty easily.    

The Angeles Crest

Angeles Crest Highway is one of Southern California’s best motorcycling roads. From Tuesday through Thursday, you will virtually own the 60 some odd miles of glorious twisties. Spectacular views adorn the expansive panorama.

I suggest stopping by Mt. Wilson Observatory on the way which is only five miles off the highway. This year, Mt. Wilson marks the 100th year anniversary of the solar telescope. This included a rare, media-only celebration event during the time we were there, allowing attendees into the 60-foot tower of the telescope (never included in public tours). The views from the observatory are worth the visit, along with a tour of the grounds’ visitor center.

Riding High

Arriving in Wrightwood we check in to PC Ziplines, one of the most thrilling zipline courses in the nation, offering heights of up to 300 feet off the forest floor, with lengths of over 1,500 feet. Hitting 60 mph, we were flying high amongst the treetops and there was no turning back. Nine ziplines total, not to mention the advanced course! PC Zipline’s Mountain View Tour provides a completely unique zipline adventure with an additional bonus experience—imagine leaping backwards off a tree platform, hundreds of feet in the air in controlled free-fall.  We both loved the experience and suggest this adventure to anyone and everyone, young or old.

The Angels Suite

We stayed at the Rhinestone Rose B&B, which offers really cool themed rooms and couple of private cabins. “The Hideout” touts a 1920 gangster era theme, replete with a gun under the pillow, just in case the cops show up. “The Angels Suite” (for the high-riders among us), offers privacy and a detailed array of romantic amenities including a plush bedroom with a fireplace, a sunken bathroom with a towel heater and heated toilet seat, a covered patio and an outdoor porch. Outside our suite was our own kitchen, and around the corner, a great room where we stretched out and enjoyed an action thriller on a big screen TV, topped off by freshly made popcorn from an old-fashioned popcorn machine.

In the morning, Loretta cooked a nice traditional breakfast for all of her guests, so you don’t have to worry about your morning meal.

Wrightwood Restaurants

Between the fine dining of the Blue Ridge Inn, or hearty breakfast and lunch at the Evergreen Café you will find something to your liking. Mexico Lindo has classic “south-of-the-border” cuisine, while the Grizzly Café has a wide selection of burgers and steaks. The Yodeler offers a decent selection of craft beers, while The Raccoon Saloon is the biker’s fave. The Village Grind coffee shop offers the high-rider’s cappuccino and lattes. Thankfully, there is NO fast food available in Wrightwood.

BOOM with A View

If you’re going to live in the saddle of Harley’s top-end touring bike, you deserve better sound than most people have in their living rooms.  The Harley-Davidson Boom Audio Infotainment System pumps 200 watts out of four 5.25 inch speakers. Your music is easily audible at freeway speeds. The large 6.5 inch screen full-color touch screen is always visible and the handlebar control switches are located where you intuitively want them to be, easily reached without removing your hands from the grips. With Voice Activation for your music, phone and GPS the miles fly by as the Angels trumpets are blaring! Christina loved having control of her back speakers. When she was feeling a bit “born to be wild,” she could crank up the tunes and enjoy her 360 view in her own world.

The blue stitched passenger pillion is one inch wider and one inch longer than before. They squeezed 2 more inches of room between the speakers, moved the saddlebag guards down for more legroom and the perfect height, width, shape, contour, and texture of the leather and lumbar support. What you end up with is the back and arm rests that hug you when needed or offer room to breathe. Christina kept boasting about the comfort. For her, this bike is a passenger’s dream for long sojourns.

The cockpit seat is sculpted with a deep stitched bucket and narrow neck, this ultimate touring saddle relieves pressure on your thighs, while the driver back support adds additional comfort for a wide variety of rider sizes. Also, the lower seat height of 27.5 inches laden, puts your feet close to the road for stability and confidence. Important for a motorcycle weighing 944 lbs. in running order.

Both rider and passenger are in control of the independently adjustable heated seats while lumbar support will help those passenger miles pass by comfortably. Heated hand grips, cruise-control that’s easily operable via controls on the right handlebar, and ABS contribute to its list of touring luxuries. Another luxury item is its one button power locking system. Owners can lock or unlock the ignition, saddlebags and Tour-Pak luggage using the key fob. The fob is an important device to the CVO Ultra as it also activates the Smart Security System and the bike won’t start unless the key fob is within range.

No Mountain is Too High

Riding high comes at a price; a jaunt on Harley-Davidson’s most expensive motorcycle will run you $42,949 for custom color or $43,949 for 115th Anniversary Odyssey Blue (as shown).  These special motorcycles sell out every year because CVO trumpets, “I have arrived” in style and comfort. This big bike is big fun and if big bucks are at the bottom of your deep pockets act fast! There are only 1200 of these babies available.

Adventure Wrap-Up:

Wrightwood’s Mountain Experience:  Just 70 miles from LA and $10 for gas.

Ziplining with PC Ziplines:  Starting at $109.

A Relaxing Stay at The Rhinestone Rose Inn:  $150.

The Pleasure of Riding the Angeles Crest Highway on Harley’s 115TH Anniversary Edition Electra-Glide Ultra Limited CVO:  Priceless

PRICING

  • CUSTOM COLOR $42,949
  • ANNIVERSARY COLOR $43,949
  • ABS OPTION Standard
  • SECURITY SYSTEM OPTION Standard
  • CRUISE CONTROL OPTION Standard
  • CALIFORNIA EMISSIONS $200
  • FREIGHT $435

ENGINE

  • ENGINE Twin-Cooled™ Milwaukee-Eight® 117
  • BORE 4.075 in.
  • STROKE 4.5 in.
  • DISPLACEMENT 117 cu in
  • COMPRESSION RATIO 10.2:1
  • FUEL SYSTEM Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
  • EXHAUST Dual, with crossover

DIMENSIONS

  • LENGTH 102.4 in.
  • SEAT HEIGHT, LADEN 727.7 in.
  • SEAT HEIGHT, UNLADEN 29.9 in.
  • GROUND CLEARANCE 4.9 in.
  • RAKE (STEERING HEAD) (DEG) 26
  • TRAIL 6.7 in.
  • WHEELBASE 64 in.
  • TIRES, FRONT SPECIFICATION BW 130/80B17 65H
  • TIRES, REAR SPECIFICATION BW 180/65B16 81H
  • FUEL CAPACITY 6 gal.
  • OIL CAPACITY (W/FILTER) 5 qt.
  • WEIGHT, AS SHIPPED 906 lb.
  • WEIGHT, IN RUNNING ORDER 944 lb.
  • LUGGAGE CAPACITY -VOLUME 4.7 cu ft

PERFORMANCE

  • ENGINE TORQUE TESTING METHOD J1349
  • ENGINE TORQUE 125 ft-lb
  • ENGINE TORQUE (RPM) 3,500
  • LEAN ANGLE, RIGHT (DEG.) 34.3
  • LEAN ANGLE, LEFT (DEG.) 33.4
  • FUEL ECONOMY: ESTIMATED CITY/HWY 541 mpg

DRIVETRAIN

  • PRIMARY DRIVE Chain, 34/46 ratio
  • GEAR RATIOS (OVERALL) 1ST 9.593
  • GEAR RATIOS (OVERALL) 2ND 6.65
  • GEAR RATIOS (OVERALL) 3RD 4.938
  • GEAR RATIOS (OVERALL) 4TH 4
  • GEAR RATIOS (OVERALL) 5TH 3.407
  • GEAR RATIOS (OVERALL) 6TH 2.875

CHASSIS

  • WHEELS, FRONT TYPE Gloss Black and Contrast Chrome Slicer
  • WHEELS, REAR TYPE Gloss Black and Contrast Chrome Slicer
  • BRAKES, CALIPER TYPE 32 mm, 4-piston fixed front and rear

ELECTRIC

  • LIGHTS (AS PER COUNTRY REGULATION), INDICATOR LAMPS High beam, running lights, front fender running lights, directional lights, neutral, low oil pressure, engine diagnostics, accessory, speakers, turn signals, security system,gear indication, battery, low fuel warning, cruise control, ABS, miles to empty display, fog/aux lamp indicator, Tire Pressure Monitoring System indicator
  • GAUGES – Custom gauges styled to complement each CVO vehicle. Display features odometer, trip A, trip B, range to empty and gear indicator; and larger tell-tale indicators.

INFOTAINMENT

  • INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM Boom!™ Box 6.5GT
  • WATTS PER CHANNEL 75
  • SPEAKERS 4
  • SPEAKER SIZE Stage I
  • HEADSET SPECIFICATIONS (IF EQUIPPED) Boom Audio Wireless Headset
  • AM Standard
  • FM Standard
  • WEATHER BAND (WB) Standard
  • SD CARD, FLASH DRIVE AND MP3 – VIA USB CONNECTION Supported
  • SIRIUSXM PRESETS 20
  • LANGUAGES English (US), English (UK), French (Canada), French (Europe), Spanish (Mexico), Spanish (Castilian), German, Italian, Portuguese
  • HANDS-FREE MOBILE PHONE – VIA BLUETOOTH Standard
  • VOICE RECOGNITION LANGUAGES: PHONE FUNCTIONS ONLY English (US), English (UK), French (Canada), French (Europe), Spanish (Mexico), Spanish (Castilian), German, Italian, Portuguese
  • VOICE RECOGNITION LANGUAGES: TUNER/MEDIA/NAVIGATION English (US), English (UK), French (Canada), French (Europe), Spanish (Mexico), Spanish (Castilian), German, Italian, Portuguese
  • RIDER/PASSENGER INTERCOM Standard
  • VEHICLE INFORMATION SCREEN (AIR TEMPERATURE, OIL PRESSURE AND EITMS) Standard
  • TEXT-TO-SPEECH (TTS) LANGUAGES English (US), English (UK), French (Canada), French (Europe), Spanish (Mexico), Spanish (Castilian), German, Italian, Portuguese
  • USB USB/MTP/iPod/iPhone
  • BLUETOOTH Phone/Media Supported

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