Since its debut in 1999, the Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) initiative has served as an exclusive assortment of top-shelf Harley-Davidson cruisers. Though inspired by the company’s mass-produced offerings, the CVO (or Screamin’ Eagle, as they were called pre-2009) tag brings jazzed-up components for an unmatched experience. But 2023 marks the 120th anniversary of the bikemaker, and it’s only fair the MoCo went all in with this year’s CVO lineup.

Enter the 2023 CVO Road Glide and Street Glide. Unlike previous CVO motorcycles, these just-announced baggers just share the names with the mass-produced 2023 Road Glide and Street Glide, while doing their own thing everywhere else. More importantly, they feature a few firsts for the company’s bagger lineup and mark a new revolution for the worldwide hit bikemaker.

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The CVO Road Glide And Street Glide Debut Harley-Davidson’s All-New Engine

2023 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide Road Glide
YouTube via Toan Bui
The CVO Road Glide (left) and Street Glide (right) are set for a massive overhaul

The 2022 CVO lineup featured Harley’s Milwaukee Eight 117 engine. This 1,917cc V-twin has been a staple in CVO motorcycles since 2018 and even serves duty in non-CVO cruisers now. That will change for 2023 though, as the new CVO Road Glide and Street Glide debut an all-new Milwaukee Eight 121 powerhouse. It not only displaces 66 cubic centimeters more but also welcomes a variable valve timing system.

The VVT will be a first for any Harley-Davidson bagger–we’ve only seen it on the Revolution Max 1250 engine so far–and promises to spread the grunt all around the rev range. Not to mention, it’ll be a new lifeline for the air-cooled engine against the ever-choking emission norms. Once out, we expect the 121ci mill to make its way onto several Harley-Davidson Grand American Touring motorcycles and gush out upwards of 110 ponies and 125 pound-feet. This is speculative, however, as HD has remained mum on the output figures.

The CVO Road Glide And Street Glide Have Advanced Underpinnings

2023 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide Full
No more round projector headlights here. The Street Glide now has full-LEDs

Like the engine, the current-gen CVOs differ little from the non-CVO motorcycles, comprising similar telescopic forks, monoshock, and wheels. All this will undergo an overhaul in 2023. Instead of the basic suspension, the new CVOs will ride on upside-down forks and monoshock, likely the same adjustable Showa units as the Sportster S.

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These will join hands with new cross-spoke wheels (inspired by the BMW R 1250 GS) which house bigger, floating disc brakes and upgraded Brembo calipers. The wheels remind us of Harley-Davidson’s Combo Cast wheels (sold as an accessory) while the calipers appear similar to the Pan America 1250. It’s safe to say this new suspension and brakes will ultimately replace the age-old setup on non-CVO models as well, which, in our opinion, marks a new chapter for Harley. It also shows the bikemaker is finally changing its ways to become a better bikemaker and match up to its rivals.

The CVO Road Glide And Street Glide Promise An Unmatched Design And Features

2023 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Full
The new Road Glide has wide all-LED headlight up top, with unique DRLs

The next revelation for the new CVO cruisers will come in terms of design. Taking a fresh approach, the Street Glide bids adieu to its round headlight to welcome an omega-shaped LED flanked by sleek LED DRLs, while the Road Glide has a wide, angry-looking all-LED headlight complete with even wider DRLs. Both motorcycles also flex new fairings (batwing for the former and shark nose for the latter) that boast several cuts and creases for a more muscular appeal.

A similar treatment follows outback, courtesy of the redesigned saddlebags, exhausts, and vertical tail lamps. These, together with the new tank and tinted visors, create a unique aesthetic for both baggers. Oh, and in case you’re curious, the CVOs will come in two colors - light grey and deep orange.

Behind the fairing, Harley-Davidson has equipped the cruiser motorcycles with an all-new instrument cluster. It deletes the analog dials you see on the 2022 variants and flexes a massive iPad-like display. Safe to say this will let you access a plethora of electronics - rider aids, TPMS, cruise control, hill hold assist, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay. We also expect more features like an electronic windscreen, louder speakers, and heated seats/grips. Speaking of seats, both the rider and pillion saddle appear new (with thicker cushions).

2023 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide And Road Glide - Launch And Price Details

2022 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide Close-Up
The CVO Street Glide is set for a massive overhaul

As revealed by Harley-Davidson, the CVO Street Glide and Road Glide will break cover on June 7, 2023. We expect them to creep ever closer to the $50,000 MSRP, given the extra equipment and revisions. Not to mention, the 2022 models already cost a bombshell $41,899. With the hike, the CVO duo will cost considerably more than its long-distance rivals, the $35,999 Indian Challenger Elite and the $32,900 Honda Gold Wing Tour Airbag variant. However, the bikemaker has always pitched its Custom Vehicle Operations initiative to its “Alpha Customers” who are HD loyalists and pride themselves on riding the finest Harley has to offer. And when you bring this into picture, the CVOs seem destined for success.