So here it is. The difficult sequel.
Our first Harley Davidson review was very much a toe in the water exercise, the intrusion of a two-wheeled machine on hallowed crankandpiston turf always unlikely to leave many of you on the fence. And so far, all is well. We have yet to be bombarded with letters of outrage or a picket line surrounding the office with flaming torches. So we figured we’d give it another crack. And this time, we’ve gone for something a little different.
This is the Harley Davidson CVO Road Glide. Now granted at first glance this hardly seems like a mammoth change of direction, but there are some subtle differences. Unlike for instance the previously featured Softail Slim, a nostalgic nod to days gone-by, the Road Glide is a much more contemporary animal, ‘premium tech’ and ‘style’ two of the most notable elements of the PR prose. And unlike the Slim, which boasted a 103 Twin Cam, the Road Glide harbours a more powerful Screamin’ Eagle 110 beneath its chromed exhaust outlets. Performance, underlined with comfort, appears to be on the agenda here.
Treating the CVO accordingly seems to be a sound game plan. Dutifully then, off comes the Windsplitter smoked windshield, on goes the long sleeve riding jacket and open are flung the garage doors, destination unknown.
It should hardly be surprising that the first thing that knocks my monogrammed socks off is the noise on start-up. No, I’m not talking about Dubai92’s latest top 40 on the onboard sound system (which, by the way, is unbelievably good!). No, the swooning in this case is courtesy of the burble emanating from the dual chrome exhausts as the Screamin’ Eagle is fired into life. Certainly the innovative 2-1-2 layout of the exhaust – which directs heat away from the rider – is greatly appreciated on the burning Dubai asphalt later on, but the enthusiasm of the engine notes really takes some beating.
To make sure I’ve got my eye in on the Road Glide before tackling the twisties, I stick to the open roads for the first stint, giving me ample opportunity to soak up the character of this particular Harley. And ‘character’ is certainly the word. Candy Cobalt. Twilight Blue. Contrast Chrome. ‘Agitator’ wheels. An instrument cluster with the feel of an aircraft cockpit. And a Harley D moniker adorning enough surfaces to ensure the identity is not lost on me. Even the neon under-lighting on the dash – which may be hit and miss with some of you – I find endearing.