When I finally had access to the CVO Road Glide, I loved the way it looked and sounded, but I had to get used to the way the throttle-by-wire interacted with the hydraulic clutch. It felt odd and clunky and made the first few miles on the bike not so fun. There was simply no modulation to speak of from the clutch lever. That off and on "lightswitch" feel of the clutch coupled with the slight electronic throttle lag, took some getting used to.
During the CVO's first ride, I tried to take it through the same workout that I did the orange FLTR with great success. As you can guess the CVO is definitely a step up from the stock Road Glide. I loved the 110ci engine and being 5 feet 10 inches, the lowered suspension of this bike kept me from having to tip-toe the bike. The big-inch mill and squatted stance was great for canyon carving as well as looking good, but as with all lowered bikes, it doesn't make for a Cadillac-like ride. The big motor had to slow down much more than the stock bike over big bumps and potholes because of its stance, so the extra cubic inches the bike possesses had to be used with kid gloves when the road got rough.
The only other complaint I really had was the 5-inch windshield that does nothing but look good. Being a minimalist, I would go so far as saying that if you didn't have to have a stereo on your bike, a CVO Road King would be a better choice. The bike was definitely an attention getter and bordered on garish, but with a $30,999.00 pricetag it better be something special. I equate this bike to the brightly hued "hey look at me" Lamborghinis that are popular with the nouveau riche.
The bikes, when compared to one another, truly are different. If money was not an option I am sure most would go the CVO route, but I think most buyers in the real world would start out with the base model and add some bells and whistles as their wallet allowed. I am in no way saying that the CVO is not worth the price of admission, because it is. One look at the CVO and its powerful 110ci motor, painted inner fairing, 18-inch wheels, 1 1/4-inch handlebars, saddlebag extensions, custom stitched seat, custom taillight, and gobs of chrome and you know it is one pimped-out ride. On the other hand, the FLTR's 96ci engine has ample power and is more of an out of the box workhorse that begs to be upgraded to fit your personal taste.
In short, the CVO is for show and the FLTR is made to pack up a weeks worth of clothes and go. Let's just say one is a high-powered cigarette boat and one is a nice cabin cruiser.
If you were thinking about buying either version, I would think long and hard about just what you want to do with it. If you are the kind of person that loves raw power or has to have the top-shelf liquor, the CVO is for you. If you want a nice comfortable bagger that can get the job done well and look good doing it, then the stock FLTR is for you.
After riding both bikes long enough to know them intimately, if I were going to buy a Road Glide, I would buy a stock FLTR, put a 110ci kit in it, add some custom wheels as well as a few other goodies and pocket the extra 15 grand.
As far as ending the frame vs. fork mounted fairing debate, I can honestly say that if I had to choose between a Road Glide and an Electra Glide, I would no doubt go the frame mounted fairing route. B