Article By: J. Ken Conte
Originally Published In The February 2019 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
The 2019 Harley-Davidson CVO media launch started out much like other launches in 2018, with rain. By the time we got the run through of everything that was updated on the CVO it became apparent that the FXRG riding gear and helmet were going to come in handy. I was hoping that they would perform their chosen duty, to keep me dry, because it looked as though our road from the Hellwig hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota to the 115th was going to be a wet one. The Harley executives walked through all the upgrades to the CVO’s, and I knew I was going to try and get on the Limited first so I could be as protected from the impending precipitation as possible. The first piece of interest to me was the monstrous 117- inch Milwaukee Eight, with tasteful red rocker accents reminiscent of the 1990 Fatboy, that would be powering the new CVO’s. I couldn’t wait to throw my leg over one; rain be damned! The CVO Limited had the usual amenities including the BOOM! Box GTS infotainment system, a variety of Harley parts from the Kahuna collection and a contrast cut 19-inch front wheel and 18-inch rear wheel. The real comfort came from heated grips and seat (which I used) and the ample tour pack for storage. I greatly appreciated the lowers on the fairing, which, even in the hardest downpours (and believe me we had some DOWNPOURS!) kept my feet perfectly dry.
We left early the next morning, and I made sure I was ready for weather. As we pulled out, I noticed the power immediately, the 117 inch Milwaukee Eight came on smooth and strong with no hesitation and really started to feel its oats in the higher RPM range. We wound our way out of downtown Minneapolis, which gave me a chance to see how the largest of the CVO line, at 901 lbs, stacked up in stop and go traffic, quick maneuvering and questionable street surfaces. What was obviously the behemoth of the group, handled like a the 19- inch wheel up front. We had a few miles when it was dry, and then the clouds opened up. We made our way to the first photo stop, and I have to hand it to Bryan J. Nelson and Kevin Wing, for getting some great shots while riding through some severe rain. I had chosen to be outfitted with the FXRG pants and jacket as well as the Arai FXRG Defiant helmet. They all worked perfectly, keeping the weather out and at the same time allowing breathability. What we didn’t know at that point was that the weather had been severe enough to cause flooding and we detoured for the last half of the day on our way to LaCrosse, WI. I settled in as we road to our lunch stop and realized that some of the other journalists and HD brass were riding less than ideal bikes and knew then that I had hit the jackpot.
The CVO Limited is one of the smoothest, most powerful, wellequipped, stylish bikes on the market. Yes they start at $43,889, which is more than a lot of people will pay for a car, but this bike is ROADWORTHY. I had almost no fatigue from riding the 2019 CVO Limited through some of the most horrendous weather conditions you can imagine. I could see taking this bike on an extended trip, because not only was it comfortable and full of amenities, it was, dare I say, agile and responsive with plenty of power in the motor and equally impressive stopping power provided by the Reflex linked Brembo brakes with standard ABS. The seating position was perfect for my 6-foot tall frame, and the floorboards (both for rider and passenger) are an added comfort bonus which doubles as surplus protection from the elements. The new BOOM GTS infotainment system worked well and paired with my phone. The screens were easy to use and read and made for seamless integration with my phone. I did not have a headset to test out but new this year was the Bluetooth integration for both rider and passenger, eliminating the need for cords. The CVO limited, features Stage 1 speakers front and back and a single 75 watt amp.
The suspension is upgraded on the CVO Limited, with a dual bending valve front suspension and emulsion rear that has a hand adjustable preload depending on how much weight the rider plans to carry. I did have to give up the Limited for the last part of the ride and got on the CVO Streetglide through what seemed like a monsoon. This allowed me to really experience a Wisconsin storm and put the ultimate test on the FXRG gear which passed with flying colors. Unlike previous 19-inch front wheel touring bikes I felt no noticeable difference in handling as I quickly laid it into wet turns. It had no lack of performance and I can say that the class of 2019 CVO’s seem to be some of the best riding touring bikes I have been on. Look for additional reviews of the 2019 CVO Roadglide and Streetglide in an upcoming issue of Cycle Source Magazine.