Custom – Harley-Davidson Electra CVO Limited 114 test: no limit! – Page 2 – Dynamics: torque and comfort … in the saddle


Harley-Davidson Electra CVO Limited 114 test: no limit !

Custom - Harley-Davidson Electra CVO Limited 114 test: no limit! - Page 2 - Dynamics: torque and comfort ... in the saddle

Priced at 29,910 euros, the Harley-Davidson Electra Ultra Limited oversees the American manufacturer’s 2017 range of road bikes with panache. But if your wallet contains 12,000 euros more and your heart is racing at the idea of ​​an engine even more vitamin than its Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 107, the CVO Limited and its new big bloc "114" is made for you !

Test of the most efficient Electra…

Page 2 – Dynamics: torque and comfort … in the saddle

All in contrasts, this Milwaukee-Eight 114! On the one hand, it takes advantage of its – the most notable being its passage from four to eight valves – to improve in terms of approval, as evidenced by its much less firm clutch lever thanks to the use of hydraulic. Two fingers are now sufficient to separate the discs, for the benefit of precision and comfort.

Custom - Harley-Davidson Electra CVO Limited 114 test: no limit! - Page 2 - Dynamics: torque and comfort ... in the saddle

On the other hand, it renews enough components of the Harley signature so as not to offend the "guardians of the temple", such as a selection, say … old fashioned! Like the previous Twin Cam 103, the first pass in a happy "klong", the neutral point is infernal to find and to mount a report without disengaging is a challenge! In addition, the engine still jerks in the frame at idle – now lowered to 850 rpm – causing the mirrors to quiver, yet effective. But these tremors are less pronounced than before…

Klong and velvety sound

These vibrations pleasantly tickle the buttocks after passing through the very comfortable saddle, topped by a backrest as beneficial for back support as it is annoying to step over. But another great novelty: the "vibes" fade and disappear almost entirely by turning the electronic throttle. Note that this "ride-by-wire" now operates two injectors per cylinder and that the latter receive two spark plugs (double ignition). All this for the benefit of controlling pollutant emissions – Euro4 obliges – and consumption, located between 5.85 and 7.24 l / 100 km during our test of almost 500 km. 

As on the air-cooled "107" version, the end result is quite staggering on this "114": Harley has succeeded in isolating and filtering parasitic vibrations – notably by means of a balance shaft – in order to avoid keep only those appreciated by bikers, the famous "good vibes". Very good omen for long journeys, sometimes ended with "numb" ends on previous generations.

The Milwaukee-Eight 114’s sound is more muffled and mellow than the "107", aided by the mufflers and the prominent Screamin’Eagle air filter. On the other hand, the clicks of the tumbled distribution spoil this fizzling slow motion soundtrack a little. By ear, MNC finds these metallic sounds more present since the passage to four valves per cylinder: our allows us to get an idea, with all the reservations relating to the sound recording via a telephone.

Custom - Harley-Davidson Electra CVO Limited 114 test: no limit! - Page 2 - Dynamics: torque and comfort ... in the saddle

Fortunately, the phenomenon subsided quickly with the revving, covered by this usual syncopated sound that evokes some old propeller planes. Round and available, the "114" resumes at 1250 rev / min without knocking until fourth. On higher gears, maintaining 1500 rpm is essential to avoid knocking. However, these appear less abruptly than on the "107", just as the injection seems more precise on the gas stream..

Heady sensations

Overall, the Milwaukee-Eight 114 shows more flexibility and smoothness than the 107, perhaps favored by these Screamin’Eagle components. But above all, its revs gain in intensity and its enormous torque of 165 Nm is expressed quickly! Stalled at 90 km / h just above 2000 revolutions on the last report, the CVO unit then offers an extra punch well felt at 3000 rev / min, then continues to lengthen the pitch up to 4500 rev / min, speed where 107 has already surrendered. 

The accelerations are vigorous and lively, because devoid of linearity and still sufficiently accompanied by vibrations to make them alive. However, if the ultra-present torque provides strong stimuli, the enormous mass to be moved strikes their real efficiency. For comparison, the personal Kawasaki ZZR600 of one of our editors – strictly in its "juice" from 2000! – came out victorious in a recovery test at 90 km / h on the last report, despite its displacement deficit of 1269 cc !

Beyond this aspect of pure performance, the sensations are very present and exhilarating, and this is the essential on this type of motorcycles! Far from us the idea of ​​thinking that the 114 lacks watts: in the wet, its performance is enough to fail the perfectible grip of the original tires (Dunlop D408), stingy in feedback and grip in cold and wet conditions. 

Custom - Harley-Davidson Electra CVO Limited 114 test: no limit! - Page 2 - Dynamics: torque and comfort ... in the saddle

Another notable improvement on this 2017 block: the better dispersion of engine heat, a very critical area previously on the right side as our revealed. Thanks in particular to the rearward catalyst, the Milwaukee-Eight releases significantly fewer calories, especially in the thigh. Now only the calf is still exposed, but much less than on Indian‘s Thunder Stroke 111, for example.

Note that as in previous vintages, the 114 includes an automatic temperature regulation function in neutral which consists of cutting off the ignition of the rear cylinder every second cycle, while continuing to supply it with gasoline. If the overheating remains, the ignition is completely cut off by this device which can be activated manually by turning the accelerator backwards. Practice when approaching a traffic jam or a parade! The excess gasoline is then burned by the catalytic device and its Lambda probes. 

The protection of this CVO is excellent, as before: nothing illogical since the bike has absolutely not evolved at this level! The arms and legs are very well preserved, with two exceptions: the knees and the undersides of the forearms, too exposed to the elements to ride without rain gear in the event of a shower.

Pullman saddle, perfectible shock absorbers

If the new engine undoubtedly crosses a milestone on several levels, the evolution announced by Harley in terms of damping has however left us hungry. As on the, the rear combinations lack progressiveness: "OK" on the smooth asphalt like "highway", they are quickly "KO" on the bumpy of the secondary network … This rather dry damping is however largely erased by the saddle, extremely comfortable without reaching the "canapesque" reception of a . 

In terms of accessibility, the Electra CVO could also be inspired by the Honda: of course, its low saddle (760 mm) spans easily, but the pronounced general width of the motorcycle causes a crippling arch for less 1.75 m. Its 22.7-liter tank also reinforces this annoying characteristic – even a little worrying – during maneuvers with the engine off, during which the high weight is remembered to the "good" memory of the pilot … Because as on the previous generation of Electra , the CVO Limited is not exactly a ballerina !

Custom - Harley-Davidson Electra CVO Limited 114 test: no limit! - Page 2 - Dynamics: torque and comfort ... in the saddle

Whether moving it while stationary or tilting it on an angle, its heavy, lazy steering and strong inertia are always noticeable. An Indian Roadmaster does better in this area, aided by its partly aluminum chassis, lighter and more rigorous than the Harley’s double steel cradle. A smooth and peaceful ride is therefore recommended on the Electra CVO Limited, a finding confirmed by its reduced ground clearance. Its magnificent rubber-covered steps quickly scrape the asphalt, initially folding with no other consequences than a shower of sparks.

But be careful not to insist too much on the inclination, because it is then the exhaust which touches: the risk of losing control then approaches dangerously! The coupled braking developed with Brembo is sufficiently well designed to avoid this kind of situation: the sumptuous "CVO" logo front calipers respond with power, their consistency being ensured by the braided hoses. Very easy to dose and effective, the rear caliper supports their action on strong decelerations if necessary.

Verdict: more than a matter of means, a matter of taste…

Ultimately, does this Electra CVO Limited justify its significant price increase (€ 11,840) compared to the Electra Ultra Limited? From a strict technical point of view, nothing is less certain because its specificities are not worth such an extension, at least by adding them separately. On the other hand, considered as a whole, all of its particularities form an exceptional added value, like the hallucinatory degree of finish and the pretty "house" rooms. The strong engine in sensations completes this exceptional picture. For those who have the means, there is no doubt that this CVO is a must, a kind of hand-sewn "series preparation" … with gold threads !

Custom - Harley-Davidson Electra CVO Limited 114 test: no limit! - Page 2 - Dynamics: torque and comfort ... in the saddle

Still, Harley-Davidson could strengthen this eminently attractive set by filling a few gaps that are difficult to excuse with regard to the price, such as the absence of reverse gear, storage compartment and electric windshield. However, the latter very effectively protects a pilot of 1.75 m and also has a retractable flap to reduce the effect "thrust in the back" at high speed. Simple and efficient. 

But this enveloping bubble is very cumbersome at low speed and when the temperature rises: being able to lower it a little to create a current of air towards the face would be welcome. A luxury which prevails two other "ultra-road": the (manual adjustment) and the (electric adjustment), however 10 000 euros less expensive !

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