The Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide is an Investment in Joy and Freedom

The Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide Raises the Bar for Touring Bikes

Harley-Davidson Custom Vehicle Operations is well-known for creating staggeringly good motorcycles, and their latest offering, the CVO Street Glide, is another brilliant example of what happens when the best decide to build the best.

Imagine riding in the sun along Highway 1 in California, the Pacific Ocean on one side of you and beautiful hills on the other. You are sitting on a Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide, a Grand American Tourer and your music is playing through the infotainment system via your smartphone, with the incredible sound omitted from the quad speakers. Life is sweet; you are California Dreaming.

You can have this type of experience on the CVO Street Glide, and it doesn’t have to be in the USA; it could be on Scotland’s renowned North Coast 500 or riding the North East coast of England; the fact is you are riding a Harley, and that is all that matters.

The Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide is also much more than a Tourer; it is as versatile as you want it to be and is equally at home commuting daily through traffic as it is on motorways or Autobahns.

A side view of the bike in a darkened room

Admittedly, it looks like, and is a big bike; however, all the unnecessary weight has been stripped away, and once underway, you’ll find it easy to manoeuvre with more than enough power on tap.

Riding along in sixth gear is an absolute pleasure, and when you need to, a quick flick of the throttle adds a liberal dose of excitement and adrenaline to the always-present feeling of joy.

With the CVO Street Glide, Harley-Davidson Custom Vehicle Operations has increased the engine capacity to 121ci, which is 1977cc. It is the largest engine produced by the company and is liquid-cooled with a radiator between the frame’s front tubes.

The new heads have higher compression than the old engine, and with a larger airbox, new inlet tracts and more significant diameter exhaust gas flow and performance are improved. The engine also has variable valve timing, improving high and low-end performance. Harley-Davidson states 115bhp at 4500rpm and peak torque of 139lft at 3000rpm.

As mentioned, the CVO Street Glide has lost substantial weight using lighter gauge steel for the new fuel tank and lightweight triple clamps, which saves 7 lbs. Overall, the machine is lighter by 30 lbs when compared to the stock model. The increase in performance and loss of weight makes for exciting riding, removing the notion that Harleys are sluggish.

Two of the company's bikes being ridden side by side

The Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide and Road Glide are the brand’s first Tourers to have switchable riding modes, with five available.

Two custom modes allow you to choose power curves, suspension and traction control. The other modes are Rain, which reduces power to the rear wheel; Road, which is for day-to-day riding; and Sport, which is for riding more aggressively.

The CVO Street Glide has improved suspension to cope with the increase in power output, with the 47mm Showa front units and twin shocks at the rear providing more travel to soak up the increasing amount of potholes on British roads—the Handling benefits from these improvements and the weight loss.

The bike being ridden along a tree lined road

The improvements make this bike more manageable, and with better braking and handling and superb technology, it becomes an even more enjoyable ride compared to the previous Street Glide.

The CVO Street Glide is surprisingly agile for a big bike, and it’s equally impressive when it comes to MPG. The gauge hardly moved over an extended ride at nearly all National Speed Limits, and the display showed 55 as the average MPG.

The excellent MPG was reconfirmed when I took the CVO Street Glide onto a friend’s airfield and did some high-speed runs. The airfield runway enabled me to put the machine through high-speed handling tests, braking and changes in acceleration.

My testing was done in between bouts of heavy rain, which made the runway greasy, and although I got the backend out on a few exits from corners in the main, I was more than thrilled with the handling.

Harley has ergonomically redesigned the seat of the CVO Street Glide, which makes rides even more comfortable, and I noticed I didn’t need to keep moving around to relieve pressure.

The riding position is upright, and you don’t have to lean forward to reach anything. A handlebar-mounted, ‘Batwing’ styled fairing plus lower and narrower handlebars help the riding position.

The instrument display on the bike

The new CVO Street Glide has larger panniers than the previous model, with new bodywork, LED headlights and integrated indicators. It also has a superb infotainment system and instrument display, which is easy to use thanks to a 12.3-inch TFT touchscreen display.

Three custom designs are available. Wi-Fi connectivity to your smartphone and satnav is built in, as is Bluetooth, and the audio system has a four-channel 500w amp and four upgraded speakers; two are in the dash, and two are in the panniers.

An image showing the LED display and the switchgear

The switchgear designed to navigate and control your infotainment and displays is incredible, with the right-hand switch pod primarily devoted to the audio system along with the starter and kill switch and right-hand indicator, which doubles as a ride mode selector.

The left-hand unit is similar but devoted to machine functions and information, along with the left-hand indicator switch and light controls. Heated grips as standard are a substantial positive riding in the UK.

The bike in a city at night

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide. It is a true Tourer, but far more than that; it is a bike you want to stay on. Although the price might seem high, it is a quality piece of machinery, and what you are investing in will always put a big smile on your face, which is priceless.

Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide – Where and How?

Pricing starts at £38,300, and a broad range of options and accessories are available, which will allow you to create a unique motorcycle.

The bike is currently available in two paint schemes: Dark Platinum with pinstripe or, for an additional £6,400, Whiskey Neat with Raven metallic. You can learn more at

Read more motoring features and industry news here.

The bike in the Whiskey Neat with Raven metallic colour schemeThe Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide is an Investment in Joy and Freedom 2

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