Custom – Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide 117 Test: Really Ostentatious Custom! – Street Glide CVO 117 test page 1: Quality Street

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Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide 117 Test: Really Ostentatious Custom !

Custom - Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide 117 Test: Really Ostentatious Custom! - Street Glide CVO 117 test page 1: Quality Street

The latest generation of the Harley-Davidson V-twin achieves the impressive displacement of 1923 cc (117 "cubic inches" across the Atlantic). The very high-end Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) Touring bikes are as usual the first to enjoy: test drive of the spectacular Street Glide CVO 117 on MNC !

Street Glide CVO 117 test page 1: Quality Street

If Harley-Davidson is starting a surprising transition to electric mobility with its and its different forms of, the fundamentals are not neglected. The proof with the usual increase in displacement of the biggest of its engines, passed from 114 to "cubic inches": from 1868 to 1923 in good old cubic centimeters ! 

  • MNC test : Harley-Davidson Electra CVO Limited 114, no limit 
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This increase introduced on the is the result of the bore increased from 102 to 104 mm, while the – long – stroke remains at 114 mm. Logically, the efficiency of this partially water-cooled V-twin increases a notch compared to the "114" tested by MNC on the and. But only one step up: the power goes from 102 to 106 hp and the torque from 165 to 166 Nm (details in).

Not a great gain for this almost 2-liter engine? Certainly. But at Harley, the race for performance is not an obsession: priority to pleasure! And pleasure, this magnificent mechanical cathedral distills it with each of its slow revolutions, sticking perfectly to the majestic attitude of the Street Glide CVO which serves as the backdrop for this MNC test..

An Electra on a diet

A quick lesson for our readers unfamiliar with Harley-Davidson motorcycles: the Street Glide is a lighter version of the Electra Ultra Glide, the American manufacturer’s two-wheeled limousine. Its truncated windshield, its thinned upholstery – exit the cozy "armchairs" with armrests at the rear – or the removal of the top-case bring it down to 400 kg (428 kg for the Electra). Yes: we said "light", not "light". Shade !

Custom - Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide 117 Test: Really Ostentatious Custom! - Street Glide CVO 117 test page 1: Quality Street

Listed at a price of 39,990 euros, the Street Glide CVO is also the gateway to the exceptional world of "Custom Vehicle Operations", these motorcycles pampered in every detail – factory preparation way – on which traditionally appear the mounted in displacement. The crown jewels of Harley, sort of.

This parallel with jewelry is nothing to exaggerate, as CVO motorcycles are in full view with their magnificent glitter paint and their refined surface treatments. The Street Glide CVO 117 is no exception: the rays of the delicious spring sun make its twin with polished fins sparkle, its long satin mufflers and the chrome sleeves of its Showa fork..

This ostentatious display of "American-style" luxury could border on bad taste, especially as it also includes a very conspicuous perforated air filter cover, red-outlined cylinder head covers and shiny crankcases. But it is not: the Street Glide CVO has a timeless elegance coupled with a haughty class. Clearly, she is furiously chic !

Watts to your ears…

The other feature of this Street CVO is its sound installation, the envy of all festival organizers: the GTS "Stage 2" Boom Box which includes three amplifiers of 75 watts per channel and six loudspeakers. Two speakers take place on its rigid suitcases, otherwise too narrow to accommodate a helmet but deep enough to store boots during a stage.

 Custom - Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide 117 Test: Really Ostentatious Custom! - Street Glide CVO 117 test page 1: Quality Street

This real rolling disco balances 900 watts in the ears: the power of the bass is such that their pulsations go up to the handlebars, forming a striking echo with the remarkably well channeled vibrations of the motor. Equally stunning is the crystal-clear treble purity.

Rock, jazz, rap, variety: all genres are audible up to 130 km / h, speed at which the engine turns at 3000 rpm in sixth. Not to mention a GPS with very intuitive handling thanks to the large touch screen (6.5 inches) and a Bluetooth connection to connect a phone and intuitively scroll through the playlist, contacts and SMS (preferably when stopped!) From the practical controls in joystick shape.

Lovers of mechanics will be content to savor the musicality of the Milwaukee-Eight engine (for eight valves), which takes advantage of its air filter and its "Screamin Eagle" exhausts to snore more powerfully than the standard Street Glide. Too bad the metallic clicks of the tumbled distribution spoil its dull backfiring.

Custom - Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide 117 Test: Really Ostentatious Custom! - Street Glide CVO 117 test page 1: Quality Street

In terms of unfortunate details, let us also quote the firm clutch lever (in addition to being non-adjustable), the selection by slow and noisy double branch, the hellish neutral point to find and the heat releases that cook the right calf. The absence of a reverse gear is also criticized on such a heavy and expensive motorcycle.

Admittedly, its ultra low saddle (695 mm) facilitates maneuvers because the feet touch the ground from 1.70 m, despite the uncomfortable spacing generated by the 22.7 liter tank. But solid support is not enough: pushing back its four quintals is a test of strength, mediated by lazy management. Blame it on the wide and high front wheel (130/60/19), the tank carrier wheelbase (1625 mm!) And the generous caster angle (26 °).

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This aspect can constitute a physical and psychological brake for certain "bikers", especially the older ones who are however – on paper – more likely to be able to afford it. What would encourage them to prefer a standard (without top case) or one, equipped with a reverse gear in addition to being 35 and 64 kg lighter (365 kg for the Honda and 336 for the BMW)? Likely, in some cases even inevitable.

An engine sure of its strength

The Street Glide CVO 117 is therefore not a ballerina: not really a surprise in view of its silhouette! But once launched, its front axle is lighter and its remarkable balance reassures: the bike is self-stable from the first kilometers per hour, well helped by a center of gravity placed at the lowest.

Custom - Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide 117 Test: Really Ostentatious Custom! - Street Glide CVO 117 test page 1: Quality Street

Unsuspected qualities then appear, among which an interesting turning radius and an electronic accelerator as soft as a lamb and precise as a chamois. The crystal-clear connection to the 180/55/18 wheel echoes its smooth and quiet belt drive. Not so demanding after all, this "fat iron lady" ! 

And above all, what an engine! A monument of flexibility and quiet strength, able to descend without a hiccup at 1250 rpm on the first report, then to start again, hammering the ears of a typical "potato-potato". Its significant inertia gives it engine braking and quiet climbs, but far from flat.

The "117" expresses itself wonderfully between 2000 and 4500 rpm, where its tractor couple cheerfully propels the heavy crew. No need to pull the reports up to 5500 rpm from the electronic breaker: the twin has already given everything and makes it known by sustained vibrations at high speeds. And not "" Good vibes " !

 Custom - Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide 117 Test: Really Ostentatious Custom! - Street Glide CVO 117 test page 1: Quality Street

It is an engine with a pleasant roundness, suave and communicative thanks to its melodious sound. An expressive mill if not demonstrative: do not expect breathtaking acceleration and canons from it. A "simple" 80 hp roadster is actually more responsive…

Despite its displacement and 106 hp, the Milwaukee-Eight 117 even significantly lacks punch on the upper gears: downshifting to pass frankly at 80 km / h, at 1750 rpm in 6th, is almost inevitable. In this, the respondent of "107" seems superior to us, undoubtedly because of the less important inertia of its moving parts..

Not particularly efficient therefore, the twin is however terribly endearing with its surly respondent who spices up each of its raises. Its tremors are directly palpable, as if the body were witnessing each turn of its heavy crankshaft. The feeling is unique, almost magical, and tends to sweep away all of its weaknesses !

Middle management

However, the mechanical enchantment comes up against the reality of the cycle part, which is also "rustic" … Still the handling is behind, the ground clearance limited by the imposing steps and the heaviness felt at each change of angle. The Street Glide CVO 117 is an "old-fashioned" custom, which calls for a peaceful ride and maximum rounded trajectories. Who doubted it ?

 Custom - Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide 117 Test: Really Ostentatious Custom! - Street Glide CVO 117 test page 1: Quality Street

On the other hand, the lack of efficiency of the rear shocks is more annoying: as dry as a jerk, these Showa combined – adjustable in preload – hardly absorb any irregularities. This defect already noted by MNC on the is even more present on the Street Glide because of its less important saddle thickness.

On the Electra, the royal comfort of the seat partly erases the irregularities of the bitumen. This "saddle-damping" function is less successful on the Street Glide, for lack of equivalent thickness and support. Result, the lower back is seriously abused on bumpy roads: a shame on a road bike of such caliber.

The fork is more forgiving, but its "spongy" character is detrimental to directional precision. At high speed, this is combined with the lack of rigidity of the double cradle chassis to cause undulations that encourage a lower pace … This questioning of stability – noticeable from 150 km / h in a straight line – becomes worrying when a German motorway provides the opportunity to reach maximum speed (electronic restriction at 180 km / h).

 Custom - Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide 117 Test: Really Ostentatious Custom! - Street Glide CVO 117 test page 1: Quality Street

Oddly, the Electra Glide Ultras tested by MNC – and – weren’t as unstable at high speed, despite sharing frame and geometry with the Street. Same thing with the dynamic benchmark of the Tourer range. The explanation undoubtedly comes from a different distribution of masses and, in the end, less convincing..

Fortunately, the Brembo combined braking is up to the task and allows fairly powerful and gradual decelerations, only via the right pedal. The front brake – activated in an emergency to increase braking force – responds well, while ABS intervenes relatively quietly.

Verdict: luxury custom

The Street Glide CVO 117 is not an ordinary motorcycle, even less reasonable, because of its prohibitive price. It is a luxury item, deliberately sumptuous and deliciously refined. To admire it in all its meticulous details is a real pleasure, coupled with the satisfaction of riding an unparalleled motorcycle since some of its parts are unique to CVOs..

 Custom - Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide 117 Test: Really Ostentatious Custom! - Street Glide CVO 117 test page 1: Quality Street

Impossible, therefore, to transform a "standard" Street Glide into a CVO: enough to justify the monumental price difference of 12,880 euros (!) Between the two versions (39,990 € against 27,110 € for the original Street Glide ). Extravagant? Without a doubt. Unjustified? Not necessarily: it’s a question of purchasing power! And then the exceptional is priceless…

Beyond its splendid appearance, the Street Glide CVO 117 nevertheless suffers from flaws that cannot be overlooked in an objective comparison with the competition. The Indian offers more pep and rigor, the Honda Goldwing is much more comfortable (especially as a duo, read) and a BMW K1600B is more efficient in almost all areas (engine, suspensions and electronics). 

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There remains a splendid silhouette, a mythical name, an exciting multimedia system and above all the pleasure and the unique character of the tumbled "very big twin" … Despite its flaws, MNC would have continued to carve the road far and long in its company: the proof of its enormous power of attraction !

  • All the details of our Street Glide CVO 117 test in photos captioned in

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