2023 H-D’s CVO Road Glide Motorcycle Review

It was back just before the turn of the millennium when H-D first kicked off their CVO program, which was created to offer their customers high-end factory produced custom motorcycles straight out of the factory.

It also allowed the engineers and designers to up the ante when it came to styling and accessorising the CVO models.

Equipped with luxury additions, modified with performance-orientated parts and painted with two-tone or three-tone premium colours.

These limited-edition models are only ever produced in small numbers and are always in high demand.

The CVO’s Performance Will Surprise You

Now because of this high demand, we usually don’t get to throw a leg over the CVOs, mainly because they’ve already been sold before they even arrive here in the country, and H-D don’t really have the need of promoting them.

Sure they’re a little more expensive, but when you consider what you’re getting for your money, it’s no surprise they’re snapped up before they’ve even been uncrated.

But this time around, it seems Harley-Davidson want to show off their new toys, and we’ve been given the CVO Road Glide to test.

The biggest upgrade on the 2023 CVOs comes in the form of the new 121-cubic inch M8 motor, which equates to an eye watering 1983cc, and now features Variable Valve Timing (VVT).

As we know, H-D have already introduced VVT into the Pan America and Nightster, but it’s the first time they’ve implemented the system into one of their tourers, and it makes a significant difference.

Without getting too technical, VVT alters the timing of the valve lift which in turn broadens your overall powerband while also improving torque management and efficiency.


It’s In The Details

There have also been some other significant engine modifications which include a new intake tract, increasing the throttle body from 55 to 58mm.

The addition of a higher-lift cam with longer duration as well as fitting a single counter balancer to reduce vibrations.

You’ll also notice the design of the motor is slightly slimmer than before, which adds to the comfort for the rider without it sitting close to your legs.

As you can see it’s also water cooled, with a slim designed radiator mounted at the front, which not only aesthetically looks good.

But is clearly not an afterthought like we see with some other leading manufacturers by fitting something large and bulky.

The CVO Road Glide and CVO Street Glide feature ride modes as well; Sport, Road and Rain, along with another mode to customise your own settings to suit.

They also include all the Rider Enhanced Safety Features; Cornering ABS, Electronically Linked Brakes, Cornering Traction Control, Drag Torque Slip Control, Tyre Pressure Monitoring as well as Vehicle Hold Control.

Something else to take into account, unlike before where you could only attach your phone via Bluetooth, it’s now been set up to enable you to connect your Bluetooth headset.

And as you can see, the switchgear has been redesigned as well, with a few additional buttons to control the extra functions on the Infotainment System, which now includes a few more options.


Impressive Performance And Appearance Enhancements

And that new 12.3-inch (320mm) TFT digital display screen is brilliant.

Not only is it much larger, it also offers a lot more features than before.

You might have also noticed it’s got a Stage II Rockford Fosgate audio system, which includes both front speakers and rear pannier speakers.

And man does it crank! It’s like rolling down the road on a huge stereo.

And those newly designed contoured panniers not only look great but are also slightly larger than previously.

More upgrades include the dual Brembo radial mounted brakes, with an increase from the 300mm rotor to 320mm.

And that, accompanied with 300mm single disc at the rear, all equates to some serious stopping power when you need to jump on the anchors.

And when it comes to suspension, it’s an entirely different ride on the new 47mm inverted front end along with those upgraded rear shocks which now offer an impressive 76mm of travel, an extensive increase of 50% than before.

What I do think though, is that in the near future we’ll see Electronic Suspension integrated into H-D’s touring platform, similar to the system on the Pan America, which would also include Adapted Ride Height.

Obviously it’s a cost issue at the moment, but give it time and I’m sure we’ll see it soon.


Own The Brand New CVO Road Glide, But Be Quick…

To be honest, the new CVO reminds me of Project Rushmore back in 2014, when the touring range received one of the biggest overhauls the Motor Company had ever taken on.

And now, the new CVOs with the 121 VVT motor, revamped suspension and redesigned aesthetics, it reminds me of something similar.

After such a major overhaul and redesign – it’s almost like a new bike.

There has also been a little noise from some critics that the Shark Nose and Batwing fairings make the bikes look like Indians.

Well, that’s an interesting comment, considering it was way back in 1969 that H-D produced and released the first ever Bat Wing fairing bike.

While they were also the first to release the Shark Nose fairing – I think it’s fair to say those facts put that argument to bed.

So if you’ve ridden a Road Glide or Street Glide before, why not take it to the next level and try a CVO.

We had the Dark Platinum colour on our test, which is also available on the CVO Street Glide, while both models are available in Whiskey Neat w/ Raven Metallic as well.

Although as previously mentioned, you better be quick, because there’s a good chance they’ve already sold out.

Check out our LiveToRide magazines for even more intriguing material to keep your riding love alive.

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