Harley-Davidson reveal new engines for 2017 range

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Harley-Davidson have unveiled the complete range of new touring models which now feature the company’s most-powerful engine yet – the new Milwaukee-Eight V-twin.

The Milwaukee-Eight is, slightly confusingly, the ninth large-capacity two-cylinder engine in the history of the company, and is one of two major updates for 2017 – the other being new suspension front and rear.

A new engine for Harley-Davidson is a big deal. This is a clean sheet design that actually has three variants based around the same engine. There are two 1745cc (107cu.in) motors and they’re joined by a larger, higher-performance 1870cc (114cu.in), which is used exclusively in the CVO custom specials.

Scott Miller, Harley’s Vice-President of Styling and Product Development Strategy, said: “These are the most powerful, most responsive and most comfortable Touring motorcycles ever offered by Harley-Davidson.”

Chief Powertrain Engineer Alex Bozmoski added: “While respecting the essential Big Twin character, we’ve created an all-new motor. Every aspect of performance, durability and styling has been improved as a direct response to the voice of Harley-Davidson customers around the world.”

The Milwaukee-Eight changes

The engine delivers more power, more torque, larger displacement, four-valve heads and a higher compression ratio. Harley have tried to give some clue as to how much faster the bikes are by stating they are “two-to-three bike lengths faster from 0-60mph” and “one-to-two bike lengths faster from 60 to 80mph in top gear” which isn’t overly scientific, but we get the idea.

Fuel economy is claimed to be better thanks to the cleaner-running four-valve and twin spark per cylinder head design which allows for much more easily regulated and controlled fuelling and combustion. Combined with the liquid-cooling on two of the variants, it means the engine is much more efficient.

Harley claim that heat management for rider and pillion comfort is also improved, thanks to a new exhaust which has seen the routing changed. The rubber-mounted engine is narrower and fits into the frame better with a slimmer primary drive along with reduced vibration and a lower idle speed. It also features a single internal counter balancer that cancels 75% of primary vibration at idle for a more-refined feel.

Milwaukee-Eight 107

This is the base model engine which retains the classic Harley 45° V-twin cylinder angle with oil-cooled cylinder-heads and will be fitted to the Street Glide Special, Road Glide Special, Road King and Road King Classic along with the three-wheeled version, which is called the Freewheeler.

Milwaukee-Eight 107 Twin-Cooled

The Twin-Cooled version gets liquid-cooled cylinder-heads and while
Harley never talk about power figures from their engines we understand from documents filed in America this motor will produce 92bhp; a significant improvement over the standard 107 motor. This engine will be going into the Ultra Limited/Ultra Limited Low, Road Glide Ultra and three-wheel Tri Glide Ultra models.

Milwaukee-Eight 114

This is the top of the performance tree and MCN has discovered this 1870cc
V-twin is producing 100bhp at 5020rpm – the highest power level outside of the V-Rod range ever seen from Harley. This 114 motor gets liquid-cooled cylinder-heads and has been allocated to the CVO models including new CVO Limited and CVO Street Glide machines.

Harley’s suspension upgrades

Both ends of the touring models have been changed to increase comfort as well as keeping the extra performance under control. New ‘emulsion-technology’ rear shock absorbers offer between 15 and 30% more preload adjustment depending on the model with a single adjuster knob for changes.

The front suspension now features Showa Dual Bending Valve (SDBV) technology that has come from racing developments first seen on the track in cartridge-style forks offering linear damping and reduced weight.

We expect the range to start arriving in UK dealers from September 26, 2017.

CVO Limited, £32,395

Higher capacity 1780cc 114 Milwaukee-Eight motor with liquid-cooling and 100bhp, plus new suspension front and rear, and LED rear light.

CVO Street Glide, £30,545

Performance bagger with audio system and the Twin-Cooled 114 engine with 100bhp, new suspension, power-locking panniers and steering lock

Road Glide Special, from £20,995

1745cc base-model 107 Milwaukee-Eight engine, plus new suspension front and rear

Road Glide Ultra, from £23,195

1745cc ‘Twin-cooled’ version of the new 107 engine, which is liquid-cooled. Also gets the new suspension

Road King, from £18,695

Most affordable end of the touring range, with the 1745cc base 107 engine, plus new

Road King Classic, from £19,195

Same as the Road King but a more classic style with traditionally- styled bags, spoked wheels and whitewall tyres and more

Street Glide Special, from £20,695

Bagger variant with the lower-powered 1745 cc 107 engine, plus new suspension

Electra Glide Ultra Ltd, from £23,245

Built for long distance riding and packing the Twin-cooled 107 engine, plus new suspension. Also available as a Ultra Ltd Low version with a lowered seat height 

Freewheeler trike, from £23,295

The Freewheeler trike “represents iconic Harley-Davidson hotrod-inspired styling and attitude that just happens to be on three wheels.” It uses the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine, along with the exhaust pipe and catalytic converters being repositioned away from the passenger for less heat and a more comfortable ride, and improved fuel economy.



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Andy Downes

By Andy Downes

Former MCN Senior Reporter