Harley-Davidson 2023 CVO Street Glide and CVO Road Glide

Premium tourers receive big engine upgrades along with new tech and style.

Harley has officially released the 2023 CVO Street Glide and CVO Road Glide models, both featuring the Milwaukee-Eight 121 engine.

H-D dropped the usual vague teaser for its upcoming CVO models back in April, citing a new, bigger 121ci powerplant and improved suspension as the main changes for the mid-year bikes. Now, as promised, comes the full info dump, with Harley filling in the blanks for us and providing detailed specifications for the 2023 CVO Street Glide and 2023 CVO Road Glide. The full announcement touts the aforementioned new Milwaukee-Eight VVT 121 engine that appears on both new 2023 CVO models, as well new, beefier Showa suspension components front and rear, new ride modes, a fresh infotainment system, and reworked key external surfaces like the fairing, fuel tank, and saddlebags to create a more “dynamic flow,” as The Motor Company puts it. There’s lots more to discuss, so let’s get into it.

The main mechanical upgrades are on both CVO models. The marquee feature for both is obviously the new Milwaukee-Eight 121ci V-twin engine, which H-D claims yields approximately 8 percent more torque and 9.5 percent more horsepower than the Twin-Cooled M-8 117 engine. For context, we’re talking a claimed 115 hp at 4,500 rpm and 139 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,000 rpm from the 1,977cc mill, which also employs variable valve timing (VVT). Digging deeper into the M-8 121 engine reveals redesigned liquid-cooled cylinder heads with new channels for coolant flow around the exhaust valves; the aim here is to reduce heat transfer to the rider, especially in low-speed and hot-weather scenarios. A high-performance camshaft with higher lift and longer duration also adds to increased power and torque; compared with the Milwaukee-Eight 117 engine, compression ratio is increased to 11.4:1 on the 121. A single counterbalancer is tuned to cancel any unwanted vibes.

Other refinements to the big 45-degree Vee include a new intake tract and a larger throttle body diameter (now 58mm) positioned closer to the center of the cylinder and to intake valves to enhance airflow. A larger and lighter airbox also replaces the Heavy Breather intake used on previous CVO engines, and is matched to a new high-performance exhaust featuring a larger-diameter muffler (increased to 4.5 inches from the previous 4.0 inches) with a high-flow design.

Another plus for both models is the new suspension, with an inverted 47mm Showa fork offering 4.6 inches of travel up front, but alas, no option for adjustment (believe it or not, that’s still an improvement of 50 percent over the outgoing model). At the back is a pair of Showa outboard emulsion shocks offering a more modest 3 inches of movement, though at least they’re adjustable for preload via a remote hydraulic adjustment knob near the left saddlebag. Rebound damping can also be adjusted for the rear, but it means you’ll be looking at the removal of those saddlebags to gain access.

Braking performance on the new CVO Glides also gets a boost thanks to larger-diameter front discs and premium Brembo components. The dual front disc brakes—now 320mm—are gripped by radially mounted four-piston Brembo calipers, while the single rear brake features a two-piston Brembo caliper with a 300mm disc.

The new fairing also gets a “floating” windshield design with a new adjustable control vane in the fairing center vent of both models, allowing the rider to dial in their airflow, thus balancing air pressure behind the fairing to minimize helmet buffeting at speed. Air deflectors on the fork skirts of the CVO Street Glide can be tweaked to reduce wind turbulence to the rider’s head as well.

There are other subtle design details on both as well, including briefer front fenders, a new 6-gallon fuel tank with a distinctive side bevel, and reshaped saddlebags designed to better flow with the fairings and fuel tank. The new Combo Cast Laced wheels make a bold custom statement with a black machine-cut cast-aluminium rim and laced spokes. Like the CVO Road Glide, the Street Glide will come in two finish options.

Ergonomic issues have been addressed on the new CVO Street Glide as well, with a redesigned seat and padding shaped to place rider’s hips in a neutral position reducing fatigue on the back and neck. The front brake lever is also adjustable for reach to better match rider hand size or preference, and the standard heated grips can be temperature-adjusted on the grip or through the infotainment display.

As for that infotainment, say goodbye to the Boom! Box; you’re now looking at a 12.3-inch TFT touchscreen that’s 90 percent larger diagonally than the outgoing unit and replacing most of the switches on previous CVOs. It’s powered by a new operating system called Skyline which has a fancy new voice recognition system and supports Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay (but not Android as of press time) as well as a host of other add-ons. Both CVO models are also equipped with a premium, high-performance Harley-Davidson Audio powered by Rockford Fosgate Stage II audio system buttressed by a new four-channel, 500-watt RMS amplifier and supported by 6.5-inch fairing speakers and Stage II three-way 5 x 7-inch saddlebag speakers.

That new touchscreen is also the gateway to four new selectable ride modes, a first for the CVO Street Glide and CVO Road Glide models. Each mode (Rain, Road, Sport, and Custom) is configured to deliver a specific combination of power, engine-braking, Antilock Braking (C-ABS), and Traction Control (C-TCS) intervention.

In addition to the cornering ABS and cornering traction control systems, both of the new CVOs also include Cornering Electronically Linked Brakes (C-ELB), Cornering Drag Torque Slip Control (C-DTSC), Vehicle Hold Control (VHC), and Tire Pressure Monitoring (TPMS).

The CVO Road Glide shares most of its other basic surface shapes with the CVO Street Glide too, though it gets new adjustable vanes at the rear edge of its fairing which H-D says can be used to adjust airflow air to the rider’s torso for desired comfort.

The CVO Road Glide handlebar has a wider, flatter bend than the previous shape, which puts the rider’s hands in a more natural position for long-haul riding and also enables 27 degrees of adjustability.

On both bikes, Harley says dry weight has been reduced quite a bit by using different materials and processes. Weight savings are 31 pounds for the CVO Street Glide and 35 pounds for the CVO Road Glide, compared to the older models they replace.

MSRP:$42,999 (base)
Engine:1,977cc, liquid-cooled, 45-degree V-twin; 4 valves/cyl.
Bore x Stroke:103.5 x 117.5mm
Compression Ratio:11.4:1
Transmission/Final Drive:6-speed/belt
Fuel Delivery:Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection
Claimed horsepower:115 hp (86kW) @ 4,500 rpm
Claimed torque:139 lb.-ft. (189 Nm) @ 3,000 rpm
Clutch:Wet, multiplate slipper/assist
Frame:Steel tube w/ two-piece backbone and bolt-on rear subframe
Front Suspension:47mm inverted Showa fork; 4.6 in. travel
Rear Suspension:Dual emulsion shocks, spring preload, rebound damping adjustable, 3.0 in. travel
Front Brake:4-piston radial-mount calipers, floating 320mm discs w/ ABS
Rear Brake:2-piston caliper, 300mm disc w/ ABS
Wheels, Front/Rear:Cast laced; 19 x 3.5 in. / 18 x 5 in.
Tires, Front/Rear:Dunlop H-D Series bias blackwall; 130/60B-19 / 180/55B-18
Rake/Trail:26.0°/6.7 in.
Wheelbase:64.0 in.
Ground Clearance:5.5 in. / 5.7 in.
Seat Height:28.0 in. / 28.1 in.
Fuel Capacity:6.0 gal.
Claimed Wet Weight:838 lb. / 862 lb

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