Harley-Davidson Road Glide review

Harley-Davidson Road Glide: My experience and opinion on design, handling and the special models

Personal insights and experiences with the Harley-Davidson Road Glide

The Road Glide from Harley-Davidson is a motorcycle that always gets people talking. It's fascinating to hear how opinion on the Harley-Davidson Road Glide has changed over time. Known for its fixed fairing, the Road Glide is a unique model in the Harley-Davidson lineup that is causing debate among many bikers.

As an enthusiastic motorcyclist, I have ridden the Harley-Davidson Road Glide again and again and can now say that it has completely convinced me. At first I was skeptical, especially because of the fixed paneling, which initially seemed unusual to me. But over time, I have developed a deep affection for this particular feature.

My long-term experience with the Harley-Davidson Road Glide: “A change in preferences

Over the years I have had the pleasure of driving almost all versions of the Road Glide. Surprisingly, it is the fairing that makes cruising on this bike a special experience. There is an incomparable feeling as I smoothly push the machine into the corners and then pull it out of the corners with powerful thrust.


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This experience showed me how tastes and preferences can change with time and driving experience. What initially seemed like a potential disadvantage has, for me, become one of the Road Glide's greatest advantages. It's this unique combination of style, performance and riding experience that makes the Harley-Davidson Road Glide an all-time favorite for me.

Road Glide ST 117
Road Glide ST 117

The LED reflector headlights

The LED double headlights are not only an eye-catcher, but also provide additional safety. They ensure that the Road Glide has a serious presence on the road. When it approaches, the car driver begins to think within a split second whether he should continue driving or not. In fact, according to my experience, in 7 out of 10 cases it happens that I am not given the right of way. I couldn't find this rate with other models that only have one flashlight.

The Road Glide double reflector LED
The Road Glide double reflector LED

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Thunderbike Harley-Davidson

The Road Glide models in the 2023 model year

120th Anniversary Road Glide Limited CVO 2023

The Road Glide models in 2023 really offer Harley-Davidson lovers something special. In addition to the already limited special version, there is the real gem, namely the 120th Anniversary Road Glide Limited CVO 2023 (FLTRKSEANV). This model is not only doubly limited, but also a homage to the classic version. Its elaborate paintwork with the majestic eagle, which extends from the front over the tank to the cases, gives it a unique charm.

The 120th Anniversary Road Glide Limited CVO 2023: A Stylish Masterpiece

The golden emblems add accents and make them a real eye-catcher, even if the price is certainly not to be overlooked. The 120th Anniversary Road Glide Limited CVO 2023 is a masterpiece for those who value exclusivity. While retaining the style that made the model so distinctive. The 120th Anniversary Road Glide Limited CVO 2023 (FLTRKSEANV) could potentially be the last of its kind in the classic version.


Enthusiast motorcycle collection and ST models

Then there is the Fast Johnnie from this year's Enthusiast motorcycle collection, where Harley-Davidson wants to keep the classic muscle car culture alive, where their first racing mascot “Johnnie the Pig” adorns the tank. What I heard wasn't really well received in all countries. The Fast Johnnie paint design in Celestial Blue with white race stripes still comes across well and, as a price advantage, in addition to the paint, the 117 engine and the limited edition, the two large tourers have a Screamin' Eagle exhaust installed ex works.

Enthusiast Collection | 2023 Almost Johnnie - FXLRST
Enthusiast Collection | 2023 Almost Johnnie – FXLRST

Harley Factory Group 2022

Road Glide ST 117 and Fast Johnnie models: “Performance and style in one”

The Fast Johnnie models are actually an extension of the very successful ST models. They are all about performance, so they are all single-seaters, have a reinforced chassis and of course the extremely powerful 117 Milwaukee-Eight engine. If money is no object, a Road Glide ST 117 with the Sharknose fairing is one of my favorites. I was on the Lofoten Islands in Norway in 2022 with the Road Glide ST 117.

CVO Road Glide 2023

This year Harley-Davidson introduced the new CVO models. The Road Glide CVO has already become cool, I was able to drive it through the curves in the USA beforehand. I have noticed that the decision of whether to go for a Road Glide or a Street Glide has now become easier.

CVO Street Glide vs. CVO Road Glide: Modern designs and the feeling of conquering the road!

While my colleague was immediately convinced by the CVO Street Glide, I was captivated by a similar feeling with the CVO Road Glide. No one can convey this feeling that I own the street better. With the new CVO models, Harley-Davidson has also brought a completely new and more modern design to the road. With the Skyline OS, both CVO models now have a fully digital instrument unit.

2023 Harley-Davidson CVO Skyline OS - denial and Embargoed Until 6/7/2023; 10:00AM CST - 2023 Key Features. CVO Road Glide.
2023 Harley-Davidson CVO Skyline OS

Harley-Davidson 2024 : What will the next Grand American Touring generation bring?

The only question now is what will Harley-Davidson carry over into the next 2024 Grand American Touring generation for the 2024 model year. You currently still have the option of choosing the classic model versions. The current tourers have been sold out and Harley-Davidson is currently running a few discount campaigns, which can make you think twice.

Road Glide Special 114

In the current case it is about the Road Glide Special model year 2023 in Industrial Yellow / Vivid Black and the engine in Black finish (surcharge €2560). The Road Glide Special is another case like that, I rode the new CVO in the USA, but when I got back and was about to go on my next tour towards Dresden , Prague and the European Bike Week , I was on it Special felt at home again. You can clearly notice the differences in performance and handling - these are two completely different models. Nevertheless, I like the feeling of a heavy machine that I'm traveling with.

Mallorca Bike Week 2022

Influence of the handlebars on the driving experience: Harley-Davidson models in comparison

Basically, the models drive similarly, but they convey a different feeling. The new high handlebars play a big role. The driving experience is noticeably different and when the arms are raised higher, you are in a corresponding rider mode. What I'm trying to say is that a different handlebar can give you a completely different driving experience and definitely improve handling.


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Comparison of Harley-Davidson engines: From 103 Twin Cam to Milwaukee-Eight

The Road Glide Special has the 114 Milwaukee Eight engine installed, which has plenty of power. You'll certainly notice the difference to the 117 Milwaukee-Eight, but it's not as serious as if I were to switch from the 103 Twin Cam to the Milwaukee-Eight. Here we are talking about less consumption, more power and a completely different performance development. Although the 103 is very reliable and has proven itself over the years, I would always prefer the Milwaukee-Eight.

Harley-Davidson Road Glide: My experience 4
The CVO Road Glide Limited model year 2016 on the beach at Rømø in Denmark

CVO Road Glide Limited

Of course, we can't forget the CVO Road Glide Limited model from 2016 with the powerful 110 Screaming Eagle engine. I often traveled with this model in 2016. With careful maintenance and adequate warm-up of the engine before revving it, especially in the later model years, this engine is absolutely capable of touring.

The 110 is not only very fast, it can turn powerfully, you experience a completely different Harley character than you are used to. Its bad feature is that the engine can get very hot, especially at high temperatures in summer, but it confidently reaches the 200 km/h mark, which you wouldn't immediately expect from this heavy machine.

Long-distance tests with the Harley-Davidson: “From the North Cape to Andorra”

The CVO accompanied me on my impressive tour of Russia via Finland and was also my faithful companion on the annual trip to the European Bike Week at Lake Faaker See.

For me, the journey to Lake Faak means around 1,300 kilometers, which I often cover quickly in order to cover the route in one go. That adds up to around 2,600 kilometers for a round trip, which puts an enormous strain on the engine - including full throttle, traffic jams, cold and heat. But so far every engine has survived these strains effortlessly.


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Road Glide Limited

It was particularly challenging for the 2017 Road Glide Limited, with one of the first 107 Milwaukee-Eight engines. I traveled to 14 European countries with this bike in 2017 and covered an impressive 30,000 kilometers in six months.

It's not just one travel experience that counts, at the end of the trip it's the unforgettable ones that count!

But these kilometers not only represent the distance traveled, but also the unforgettable experiences that I experienced together with the Road Glide. That year my trip took me to the North Cape, St. Petersburg, St. Tropez and Andorra - just to name a few of the numerous destinations.

Conclusion: Why current Harley-Davidson tourers continue to impress

I see no reason why the current tourers shouldn't be enough. Of course there are always innovations, but when I think about all the great experiences and motorcycle tours I have had with the Milwaukee Eight Tourers, it is clear that ultimately it is the motorcycle itself that matters, not its design. It doesn't matter whether it has the latest features or not. What’s important is that you like the bike – that’s the most important thing. In the end, what matters most is that you have fulfilled your dream of owning a Harley-Davidson; everything else fades into the background!

Text: Volker Wolf / Harleysite Photo credits: Harley-Davidson & Harleysite


CVO Street Glide and Road Glide

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