2017 Harley Davidson Tourers (3)

After pictures of a new Harley-Davidson V-twin surfaced on the internet recently, dubbed the “Milwaukee Eight”, H-D has given fans a first look at its 2017 range of touring rigs carrying the new powerplant. As surmised, the new 1,753 cc mill is installed in the 2017 H-D Road King, Street Glide Special, Road Glide Special and Road Glide Ultra models.

H-D has said that it was important the heritage of its trademark air-cooled V-twin be preserved in the new engine, which features visually dominating cylinder heads, and a slimmer barrel fin design at the waist. The air-cleaner housing now harks back to the Shovelhead engines of H-D’s AMF era.

More torque is expected from the new engine, which now features four-valve heads that are said to provide 50% greater intake airflow, and better exhaust. Fuel economy is also said to be improved, with vibration reduced and overall power output increased.

The Milwaukee Eight will come in three versions, the standard air-cooled V-twin and a “Twin Cooled” version – using liquid-cooled cylinder heads – both displacing 1,753 cc, and a 1,870 cc Twin Cooled power plant for H-D’s Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO). The traditional gear drive for the cams is now gone, replaced by a timing chain with an automatic hydraulic tensioner, with pushrods actuating hydraulic tappets.

A counter balancer has also been designed into the Milwaukee Eight, cutting down on 75% of engine vibration, but still managing to retain that characteristic H-D “rumble”. This was in response to H-D finally recognising that it has a worldwide fanbase, and some of its customers expect a certain degree of refinement from an engine.

2017 Harley Davidson Tourers (4)

Suspension for the 2017 H-D lineup of tourers has also been upgraded, with new forks and rear shock absorbers. The front forks now comes with variable orifices in the damping valves, giving both low-speed stability and high-speed bump compliance, while the rear absorbers feature damping adjustment that doesn’t require tools, with ride height adjustable with an inch of range.

All in all, the new Milwaukee Eight represents a serious amount of investment for H-D, and it hopes the current evolution of its V-Twin will appeal to both the traditionalist Harley rider, while also drawing in a new breed of customer.