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2013 Harley-Davidson CVO Road King

Monday, August 20, 2012
Harley-Davidson’s Road King has played an important developmental role in the Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) program, the Screamin’ Eagle Road King making its debut in 2002. The following year Harley introduced the 103 cubic-
The 2013 CVO Road King has comfortable  upright ergos  a well-padded saddle and an adjustable windscreen so riders can easily log long miles.
The 2013 CVO Road King has comfortable, upright ergos, a well-padded saddle and an adjustable wind vent so riders can easily log long miles in style.
The CVO Road King goes Boom! thanks to a 200-watt amp and four speakers  two 5x7s in the saddlebag lids and two 5.25-in. speakers in the fairing lowers.
The CVO Road King goes Boom! thanks to a 200-watt amp and four speakers, two 5x7's in the saddlebag lids and two 5.25-in. speakers in the fairing lowers.
inch Twin Cam engine on the 2003 Screamin’ Eagle Road King. The platform was shelved from the CVO program for a few years, then came back in 2007 outfitted with the first 110 cubic-inch Twin Cam V-Twin. Its last CVO appearance was in 2008, but it’s back again this year with a few new wrinkles.

The 2013 CVO Road King is still powered by Harley’s Twin Cam 110 engine, the added power suiting this touring platform. The big mill resides in a chassis set up for long hauls like the vaunted Ultra Classic Electra Glide in a motorcycle that weighs 78 pounds less. Geared to provide Harley’s dependable low-end punch, its gearing is wide so getting up to highway speeds only takes a few shifts. Most of our freeway miles were spent in the generous range of fifth gear, saving “Cruise Drive” sixth gear for long stints on open road to drop rpm and prolong engine life.

Jumping from the CVO Breakout to the CVO Road King during the 2013 Harley CVO press launch, we immediately noticed the lighter clutch pull. Seeing how our run down central California’s Hwy 1 had been met by rockslides closing the freeway to one lane and construction bringing traffic to a halt altogether, having a lighter pull and requiring less effort to balance it at the point of engagement was beneficial. Even at low speeds the bike’s fairly low center of gravity, its seat a laden 26.5 inches off the ground, keeps it manageable.

Once in motion, the Road King lives up to its name on the uneven coastal roads as its suspension provides a plush ride. The healthy 41.3mm tubes of the telescopic fork and the preload adjustable rear smoothes out the road so that the rider is cushioned from most of the road’s uneven ebb and flow. The rear is hand-adjustable for preload but requires the quick removal of the hard saddlebag. We were riding solo so we ran with the stock settings which still left a solid feel to the rear.

As signs warn of 25 mph switchbacks and long sweepers bridge canyons on Hwy 1, the 2013 CVO Road King is holding its line tightly. It’s steady and true when banked over and its floorboards are up high enough to give riders plenty of lean. Its 180mm rear and tighter rake help it transition more smoothly than the 240mm CVO Breakout which pivots more slowly around its big back end.

A detachable windshield and big headlight sit on top of meaty fork tubes  anchoring the front of the 2013 CVO Road King.
We can vouch for the effictiveness of the Vented Wind Splitter windscreen on the 2013 CVO Road King.
On a crisp California coastal morning  we were thankful for the 2013 CVO Road Kings vented windscreen and fairing lowers.
The suspension on the 2013 CVO Road King soaks up bumps like a champ and the floorboards are up high enough to give riders healthy turning clearance.
Long floorboards and easy-to-reach bars leave riders perched comfortably upright in the CVO Road King’s well-padded leather seat. Large, hard locking saddlebags easily have enough room to hold a few day’s provisions for a person traveling solo. The extended bags have a custom fascia filling in the space between them and the rear fender and rear LED lighting has been integrated into the bodywork. The combination of leg fairings and a mid-height windshield provide a generous buffer between rider and the wind.

The windshield on the 2013 CVO Road King has a small, hand-adjustable vent situated in the center of it that allows riders to tailor the wind coming from underneath the wind screen. With the Wind Splitter vent fully opened, it diverted air almost completely over me at six-feet-tall. With it fully closed, air would come over and under the mid-height windscreen and buffet my head. Fortunatley, it’s easy to set the vent where you want it while rolling with gloved hands.

Besides the Vented Wind Splitter windscreen, the 2013 CVO Road King is the first of its kind to receive factory-installed audio which has been developed to run iPod devices. An iPod plug-in sits in the left saddlebag while the audio controls are controlled via a mount on the handlebar. The system has a 200-watt amp powering two 5x7 speakers in the saddlebag lids and two 5.25-inch speakers in fairing lowers. Because the speakers are located in the upper half of the fairing lowers, with a three-quarter helmet on it sounds like the music is in my helmet because it’s rising up from underneath, a really cool effect.

Similar to the 2013 CVO Breakout, the CVO Road King has a new low-profile console but with programmable back lighting. The flush mount gas caps are a classy upgrade to the six gallon tank. An analog speedo/tach is still mounted at the top of the tank-mounted console, just below the line of sight. There is a digital gear indicator located in the speedo but it’s a small number that’s difficult to see.

The 2013 CVO Road King now goes Boom!, can carve a fluid line through a turn, has Dunlops that provide ample grip, and its ergos and seat are all-day comfortable. Its suspension does a splendid job of sheltering riders and the Twin Cam 110 gives it that extra pep to its step when it comes time to get up to the speed of traffic. For a bike that’s been a workhorse for The Motor Company, it only seems fitting that the 2013 CVO Road King is available as one of the three 110th anniversary special editions. Mirror Chrome Agitator Wheels, the rubber and chrome Slipstream Collection of grips and foot controls, and an extended reach heel/toe shifter single out the CVO Road King from its stock counterpart. It’s mid-priced among 2013 CVO models at $29,999 with 3620 units being produced by The Motor Company. Of that 3620 total, 900 of those will be the special 110th Anniversary edition with special badging and the Diamond Dust and Obsidian paint.

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jerha1340   February 8, 2013 06:38 AM
I really like that RK. I would love to trade even for my Classic 93 RK. I think I could get more women on the new RK than my older one. I also have a Busa to help me get the women but last year I had to ride nearly 200 miles between the two. I shouldn't have to put that many miles on them this year because I'm buying a new Lexus.
enntense   October 27, 2012 11:54 PM
I'd doubt my ability to control one, that's for sure! About the same horsepower as my Hypermotard, and three times the weight..Ouch. And as for the whole smelling the roses thing...Buying a bike , then having a huge fairing that blocks wind from hitting your entire body isn't smelling the roses, its called riding in a car. I personally have ridden a road king, I challenge you to go to a Ducati dealer and take a Diavel for a spin.
Poncho167   September 25, 2012 04:52 PM
What does this mean

"you doubt your ability to control one."

That statement doesn't sound like the underpowered Harley. Yes, this is as good as it gets with a Davidson, but in comparison to many bikes it is a dog in performance. Not everyone admires them like you do. I never have that is why I will never buy one or like the antique look. To each his own. Keep the exhaust stock and we will all get along.
Fiberguy   September 21, 2012 06:01 AM
As an owner of a 2013 CVO Road King (110th) I will tell you. It is an absolutely unique ride. We do spend alot of money for these, and there are 3000 of them running around, but for those people that love to bash Harleys, I say - You obviously have never ridden a Harley, probably because you cannot afford one, or you doubt your ability to control one. You love to write negative things every chance you get, but you show your respect when one pulls up next to you. You stare, going over every inch, to see any subtle part that the owner has added or changed, and you think "Nice" when you spot them. That is the way it should be. Talk your crap, but stay out of my way. You do not understand the concept of "Smell the Roses". You know it, can recite it, but definately do not understand it. Carpe Diem, my friend.
spokes   August 24, 2012 12:57 PM
I really would like to buy a Harley Davidson, but I just don't get it, I realize they're not going to make a sport bike but why can't they make something besides cruisers? Same goes for Victory. It seems to be too much to ask that an American manufacturer build a standard with decent ground clearance and steering geometry that will go around corners without dragging the footpegs at walking speed.
Mitch   August 22, 2012 11:29 AM
wmg. Yes most CVO models are tacky or gimmicky looking and all of them are unreasonably over priced but I think that is what makes them appealing to the people that buy them. Many of them know that they are not actually buying 30k + worth of bike but rather are purchasing a feeling of exclusivity which isn't easy to do when everyone and their lawyer owns a Harley as well. I'm surprised they don't just have the price badged in chrome on the tank and fenders since the point of buying a 30k Harley is to let people know that you spent 30k on a Harley. =)
Hecklerboy   August 21, 2012 01:35 PM
Let the Harley bashing begin...
wmg1299   August 21, 2012 08:39 AM
I like a lot of the newer H-D designs, but I just don't get the whole CVO thing. I have a fondness for stripped-down an blacked-out Harley's. If I were going to spend $30,000 on a "custom" bike, I wouldn't want one that is exactly like 3,620 others. I'm probably not the customer they are going for anyway. If you gave me $30k to drop on a motorcycle, I'd consider myself wasteful if I didn't come back with at least three bikes.