When it comes to cruiser-style motorcycles it doesn’t get much better than Harley-Davidson
’s Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) collection. These high-end, American-made street bikes blend boutique hardware, sophisticated electronics, and paint with an elevated degree of fit and finish. This gives the rider the best of both worlds: the exclusiveness of a one-off custom with the everyday reliability of a production motorcycle from a prestigious American factory.
For this coming year, Harley will continue to offer four CVO models to choose from, including three touring capable sleds and one unique crossbreed that blends the best of both the touring and boulevard cruising segments. A multitude of paint schemes give prospective owners up to 11 different flavors in which to experience premium CVO ownership.
Each CVO model uses an up-spec Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 V-Twin with 1803cc of power. This fuel-injected and air cooled motor is the largest-displacement engine produced by The Motor Company and is only available from the factory in CVO models. Power is augmented via a manual 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission and hydraulically assisted clutch with power being diverted to the rear tire through a belt final drive.
The engine is hung with rubber mounts to the steel frame to help isolate vibration. The three dedicated touring machines are all built around the recently redesigned single-spar steel frame and swingarm engineered to withstand the demands of fully loaded pavement pounding for tens of thousands of miles. This updated chassis is a tremendous improvement over pre-2009 model year H-D touring bikes and allows these machines to be ridden with far more control at an elevated street pace.
Suspension consists of a conventional fork and twin rear shocks. (The Electra Glide and Road Glide offer air adjustment). Each CVO rolls on Dunlop’s latest Multi-Tread dual-compound tires which offer a softer, stickier rubber compound on the edges of the tire for use during cornering and a more durable compound at the tire’s center for straight-line touring. This gives the rider enhanced traction in the corner without compromising tread life.
In the electronics department each CVO benefits from an anti-lock braking system (ABS) used on each of the three hydraulically controlled disc brakes (two at the front, one at the rear). Each bike also features electronic cruise control and an integrated iPod compatible audio system (complete with a custom-etched iPod nano, except for the Electra Glide Classic). Further electronic goodies come in the form of key-less ignition and a security system with an integrated siren.
All CVO models feature brilliant paint, color-matched components and expert craftsmanship that is on par with the best motorcycles being produced in Europe and Japan. A plethora of chrome accessories straight from the pages of the Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Accessories catalog are also liberally applied. Each bike also rolls on a unique, eye-catching set of wheels. CVO models are backed by a two year, unlimited mileage warranty. Now that we’ve discussed some of the standard features let’s look at each model in more detail.