It’s impossible to ignore the gleam of chrome coming off Harley-Davidson’s 2013 Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) line. The 2013 Breakout, its tins the recipient of a 10-step sanding process, is shooting the reflection of the sun off the tank up under the rim of my sunglasses as avenues lined with multi-million dollar homes reflect in its polished metal. We rumble past posh estates and personal wineries as we sample some of the finest from The Motor Company, the CVOs the result of a year’s hard work by a team whose sole purpose is to make the production models stand apart from the crowd. At their disposal are premium Screamin’ Eagle parts, an unparalleled factory paint program, and the most potent stock powerplant available from H-D, the Twin Cam 110. Motorcycle USA spent two days flogging the four new CVO models recently, rumbling out of Carmel Valley and down California’s scenic Hwy 1 to Big Sur before shooting inland to the torrid Salinas valley, trekking over 300 miles on everything from twisting, bumpy farm roads to open highway.
While the introduction of a new Softail model headlines 2013 CVO news, the program serves as a platform to launch the latest developments in H-D research and design, too. This year sees the first production Harley- Davidson with an LED headlamp called the Daymaker
(Left) Here’s a shot of the punch and spread of a stock Harley headlight.
(Right) Here’s a shot of the punch and spread of the new Daymaker LED headlight on
the 2013 CVO Road Glide Custom.
that debuts on the 2013 CVO Road Glide Custom. Visually, the Daymaker has space-age apppeal, twin lamps with multiple bulbs lurking beneath the lip of the signature Sharknose fairing of the CVO Road Glide. The Daymaker is claimed to increase both punch and spread, giving riders 30 feet more punch over halogen lamps (345 ft. to 315 ft.) and a 55-foot wider spread (120 ft. to 65 ft.) Harley achieved this while concurrently reducing power consumption by a claimed 50%. We can confirm that the Daymaker LED Headlamp does indeed live up to its name after a nighttime road-side demonstration where we witnessed the pattern of the Daymaker compared to a stock Harley and saw how much more of the road gets illuminated by Harley’s new LED system.
The popular Road King returns to the CVO lineup for 2013, last appearing in 2008. The 2013 CVO Road King is the first version with a factory-installed audio system, including a 200-watt amp, two 5×7 speakers with bridged tweeters in the saddlebag lids and two 5.25-inch speakers with bridged tweeters in fairing lowers. Harley also chose the 2013 Harley CVO Road King to debut its detachable vented Wind Splitter windscreen, a small hand-adjustable vent cut into the middle of the windscreen that allows riders to manage air flow. Another new gizmo on the CVO Road King is programmable back lighting on the gauges in its lower-profile console, a feature that’s been increasing popular in four-wheeled vehicles.
All four of Harley’s 2013 CVO models receive a “New Assist & Slip Clutch Pack” with its slip feature aimed at reducing loading of the driveline during downshifts. Its new internals are claimed to give the clutch pack a longer life. The clutch lever itself has been reshaped to reduce reach slightly while they’ve adjusted the hydraulic clutch actuation to make for an easier pull at the lever, too. Harley says peak force required has been reduced by 10% while hold-in force has been cut by 17%. In real-world application, the 2013 CVO
The 2013 CVO Road Glide Custom is the first production Harley equipped with LED headlights called the Daymaker.
Breakout still required a firm squeeze to pinch the lever in while clutch lever action on the 2013 CVO Road King was light and easy to modulate.
The launch of the 2013 Harley-Davidson CVO line lands on an anniversary year and all three of the road bikes are available in 110th Anniversary Editions. The 2013 CVO Road King, CVO Road Glide Custom and CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide are decked out in special badging, fuel tank medallions, and an exclusive Diamond Dust and Obsidian paint scheme. All of the CVOs come with Harley’s Smart Security System and a new indoor/outdoor storage cover with CVO logo.