2017 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide First Ride Review
New Bike Review • by Dain Gingerelli
The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. And that, in a nutshell, explains the difference between an “ordinary” FLHX Street Glide and an “extraordinary” CVO FLHXSE Street Glide as featured here. There’s a lot of bling on this thing.
Ever since the FLHX Street Glide was launched in 2006 it has proven to be a special motorcycle, topping Harley’s sales charts year in and year out. There has always been something extraordinary about the FLHX.
Even so, the CVO-based FLHXSE offers something extra, making it, well, extra extraordinary. As author Marilyn Stemp stated in her book Harley-Davidson CVO Motorcycles: The Motor Company’s Custom Vehicle Operations, the standard-edition FLHX is the “…single street machine that is the motorcycle to any number of people. It’s the mount of choice for fans of badass baggers, stereo-pounding street cruisers, the weekend tour set, even the custom builder’s daily workhorse. In short, the Street Glide motorcycle has it all. That said, once the CVO branch gave it their magic touch, they put the FLHXSE CVO Street Glide motorcycle in a league of its own.”
The FLHXSE’s saga began in 2010, the first year it was launched as a CVO model, and it continues today with the new Milwaukee-Eight-powered model. The Twin-Cooled 114″ Screamin’ Eagle liquid-cooled (cylinder heads only) engine puts a claimed 124 ft-lbs. of torque (at 3250 rpm) to the rear wheel. Compare that to the 111.4 ft-lbs. (3250 rpm) delivered by the FLHX’s air-cooled 107″ M-8 engine, and you understand that there’s something extraordinary twirling around inside the CVO’s Black Granite finish engine cases. Think in terms of more radical cam timing working in harmony with bigger pistons and jugs, the combo assisted by the free-flow Ventilator air cleaner that’s matched with Screamin’ Eagle 4″-diameter touring mufflers and their stylish airflow end caps. The net result is an engine that, when you twist the throttle to put Point A farther in your mirrors, makes you smile knowing just how fortunate we are that man discovered horsepower in the first place. Those muffler cans deliver a stimulating exhaust note, as well, creating an even more satisfying ride.
The ride begins by plopping your fanny onto the sleek low-profile two-piece seat with its custom stitching. Reach for the color-matched handlebar and its Airflow Collection controls before placing your feet onto matching custom full-length footboards, and you settle into a comfortable cruising slouch that lets the iconic batwing fairing and its stubby flared windshield deflect most of the windblast. The color-matched inner fairing shrouds the usual array of analog instruments found on Harley’s other batwing touring models, and the Boom! Box 6.5GT audio/ touchscreen commands center stage in front of you. A pair of hefty speakers on either side, teamed with saddlebag lid speakers, create a sound mix that’ll keep you entertained as you highball down the road toward Point B. And should your ride take you into the dark of night, that Daymaker LED headlight creates its own light show ahead of you; nighttime barely exists with this headlight beaming so brightly.
The FLHXSE’s new 49mm Showa fork dutifully absorbs most of the road bumps, its Dual Bending Valve technology helping deliver constant positive feedback. The Dunlop 130/60B-19″ front tire sticks well under cornering and braking conditions, providing a good feel for the road. Like the FLHX, the FLHXSE’s turn in effort for corners is lighter than most other baggers with handlebar-mounted fairings. And when not cornering the FLHXSE tracks straight and true until it’s time to initiate a turn or negotiate a wide-radius curve.
Traction for the rear multi compound 180/55B-16″ Dunlop is equally good, but the FLHXSE’s Achilles’ heel, in terms of ride, is found in the stubby rear preload-adjustable shock absorbers. The shorter shocks (about an inch shorter than those on Electra Glides) primary purpose is to lower the Street Glide for its cool, street-cruising stance, the resulting rear suspension travel a claimed 2.1″ (versus 3″ on most other FLH models). While the emulsion damping technology does a commendable job absorbing most bumps, the fact remains that two inches is two inches; when rear wheel travel extends beyond that abbreviated range, the shocks abruptly bottom out, and for that split second you’ll feel like you’re riding a 1949 Panhead, not a 2017 CVO Street Glide.
- But wait, there’s more to the story. Be sure to grab a copy of American Iron Magazine Issue #353 at Greaserag.com to find out what else Dain had to say about the CVO Street Glide. There’s also plenty of other cool schwag and specials on motorcycle magazine bundles as well.
2017 CVO Street Glide Specs
Length 96.7″ (2455 mm)
Seat height 27.2″ (690 mm), unladen
Ground clearance 4.9″ (125 mm)
Rake 29.25 degrees
Trail 6.7″ 170 (mm)
Wheelbase 64″ (1625 mm)
Engine Rubber mounted, liquid-cooled, 45-degree V-twin (114″/1868 cc),
Compression ratio 10.5:1
Fuel system ESPFI with O2 sensors
Transmission Cruise Drive, six speed
Front tire 130/60B-19″ Dunlop Harley-Davidson Series
Rear tire 180/55B-16″ Dunlop Harley-Davidson Series
Fuel capacity Six gallons (22.7 L)
Oil capacity Five quarts (4.7 L)
Shipped weight 833 lbs. (378 kg)
Front brake Dual four-piston (32 mm), fixed caliper; 11.80″ x 0.20″ floating rotors (mm), braided stainless steel brake lines; Reflex Linked with ABS
Rear brake Single four-piston, fixed caliper; 11.81″ x 0.28″ floating rotor, braided stainless steel brake lines; Reflex Linked with ABS
Exhaust system Dual, closed-loop meeting worldwide emission standards
Front fork 49 mm Showa Dual Bending Valve technology
Rear shocks Coil over; preload adjustable, emulsion technology with preload adjustability
Front suspension travel 4.6″ 117 (mm)
Rear suspension travel 2/15″ (54.6 mm)
Front wheel 19″ 5-spoke Contrast Chrome Aggressor
Rear wheel 16″ 5-spoke Contrast Chrome Aggressor
Handlebar Stainless steel with Airflow Collection controls
Colors Candy Cobalt/Indigo Ink, Sunburst Orange/Starfire Black, Starfire Black/Atomic Red, Dark Slat Candy/Arctic Black