Ready for another anniversary bash? Even though Milwaukee’s Harley-Davidson didn’t start selling bare engines and motorcycles until 1905, the company was founded in 1903, making the HOG — the firm’s nickname and its stock symbol — 120 years old this year. And that, as with Porsche and Lamborghini among others, means some special editions and a slate of events. Harley’s teased what’s ahead with hints about two new motorcycles from the 24-year-old Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) department. CVO could be considered a much older analogue to Indian Motorcycle’s Elite bikes, meaning we’re about to get limited-edition factory specials. Lead designer Brad Richards said he’s brought “a greater degree of visual change than any generation prior” of the Street Glide and Road Glide.
There’s already a 2023 CVO Road Glide on sale, but one of the new bikes is a mid-year remake with new features. Looking no further than the headlight, we can hear the howling from some Harley faithful. Instead of the dual round lamps Road Glides have worn since the model’s introduction in 1998, the single headlight in the coming CVO Road Glide is meant to look like two stacked rectangular elements. Turn signals have been integrated with the new lamps instead of resting at the end of stalks bolted to the fairing. All around that, there’s “an aggressive update” to the motorcycle’s sharknose fairing with much sharper angles and more raked windscreen.
On the CVO Street Glide (the bike at left, above), the batwing fairing takes on even more sharpness. The current round “Omega” headlight goes square-oval, a new housing running underneath, above a deeper cut between the cockpit and front fender. Here, the turn signal stalks mounted to the forks are transformed into highly swept, slashing lines along the fairing wings.
This is all a pretty big deal. The full reveal doesn’t happen for another two months, at the Harley-Davidson Homecoming on June 7. That’s when we’ll find out more about the new Milwaukee-Eight engine, new suspension, and new infotainment system.
Until then, there’s this quote from CEO Jochen Zeitz: “With the introduction of the all-new CVO Street Glide and CVO Road Glide, we’ve completely reimagined two of Harley-Davidson’s most iconic motorcycles and redefined the boundaries of CVO in the process … ushering in a new era of innovation, design, engineering, and technology [and] taking the Grand American Touring experience to another level.”