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2009 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Review


by Luc Brière ,

Over the past week, I got the opportunity to put a 2009 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide to the test. As the name suggests, this unique motorcycle is a creation of The Motor Company’s Custom Vehicle Operations.

The Road Glide shares its core architecture with other members of the Harley Touring family. This frame, along with the swingarm, is all new and more rigid for 2009. Meanwhile, the wheels and tires are now more appropriately sized for a GT-type motorcycle. The rear tire is wider and has a lower profile, which increases payload capacity, while the front one beefed up from 16 to 17 inches yet also gained a slightly lower profile, thus making riding easier. In both cases, the lower profile means superior tire stiffness for a more stable feel in corners.

The modifications to the Touring models were all designed to improve handling. The CVO Road Glide I tested came as a specially-trimmed package, including distinctive styling, a 110-cubic inch engine (instead of the standard 96"), a lowered rear suspension (which I didn’t like) and finally ABS brakes.

Ergonomics are still the same, starting with a generous seat that offers decent support for the lower back and enough room to move freely and comfortably over miles and miles of road. Also, having floorboards instead of pedals allows the rider to make notable changes to the feet/seat/handlebar triangle. Speaking of the handlebar, it’s wide and offers a nice grip for solid control of the bike.

In typical H-D fashion, the turn signal switches are split on each side. Audio and cruise control buttons are fairly small and therefore less user-friendly. The miniature windshield and massive front fairing, developed through advanced wind-tunnel testing in the 1970s, provide excellent protection against Mother Nature’s elements. On the other hand, this CVO-exclusive windshield is too small to make the radio audible beyond 80 km/h. By contrast, the taller panel of the standard Road Glide lets you enjoy every note of your favorite tunes even at highway speeds.

With regard to comfort, believe it or not, I manage to ride solo for over 7 hours a day, 7 days total, including nearly 16 consecutive hours -- and 1,390 kilometres -- on the very last day. As you can see, the CVO Road Glide provided me with remarkable comfort; otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to travel as much.

This CVO-exclusive windshield is too small to make the radio audible beyond 80 km/h.
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