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A new adventure - Appalachia aboard a Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide


by Luc Brière ,

Getting up at 4:30am for the drive to Toronto was brutal, given that I had hardly slept in anticipation of this trip. I was looking forward to seeing my good buddy "California Don" and the beautiful Kilby, riding to the middle of the US on some of the nicest roads I will find, aboard the 2009 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide, complete with exclusive looks and a reputed 100hp. The chassis and suspension of the Touring (FL) family was redone completely for 2009 and I am looking forward to seeing for myself all the good stuff that others have been saying about the bikes.

The usual 500km drone on the 401 got me to the Harley-Davidson Canada offices where my Metallic Silver beauty was awaiting at the door, all revved up and ready to go. The sky was blue, the temperature perfect, and I could hardly believe my luck. This is not my first ride on a Bagger, so stuffing my gear in the smallish bag was done in short order, with the help of a tank bag to complete the job.

The chassis and suspension of the Touring family was redone completely for 2009.

The first 120km to Buffalo became a getting-to-know-you session, with the new 6-speed box easy to use, the long 6th gear proving to be too much so for anything but cruising above the speed limit, and the engine showing some unhappiness below 100k/h - best you downshift at that speed, especially for passing. My first impression was that the engine is somewhat abrupt when snapping the throttle open or shut, likely a consequence of the emission control programming. On the other hand, H-D have silenced the engine so effectively, to leave more room for the exhaust sound, that you can actually hear the drive belt working away back there.

"Yes Mr. Customs Officer, I am working, this is a road test... tough sledding but it has to be done." His face was a mixture of envy and frustration, and I left before he turned on me.

Today's 400 km all-Interstate ride takes me from Toronto to Canton, OH, and I will switch to secondary roads tomorrow, along the Ohio River towards Louisville (KY), a 700km jaunt.

There was one anxious moment about 200km from my destination when I applied the brakes to disable the Cruise Control, and the engine dropped to idle. A few kliks of riding in first gear at idle gave me time to think about hotel reservations, tow trucks and other expenses, on my way to an exit and a service station. Once there, I pushed and pulled at various sensors, a modern version of a California tune-up, just to make sure that everything was awake. The thing restarted easily and ran perfectly from then on, as I rode on wondering if the gremlins would strike again.

In the end, I made it to port all right, and will ride another day. See ya!

The Big Adventure - Day 2

The Big Adventure - Day 3

The Big Adventure - Day 4

The Big Adventure - Days 5 and 6

Photo Credit : Luc Brière