What is it about being the first one on the block to get the new toy, like the latest and greatest cell phone or iPod, the "new" whatever it is? This is the excitement the staff at HOT BIKE feels when the new Harley-Davidson Custom Vehicles Operation (CVO) models are released and we get the first run at them. This year marks 11 years of CVO model releases, and Harley has unleashed four new better-than-ever CVO bikes for us to test ride and review.
If you are not familiar with CVO bikes and what makes them different over standard OE Harleys, the differences are that H-D designs and builds limited production, factory-custom motorcycles for customers who appreciate brilliant chrome, exquisite paint, thundering power, and the exclusivity of owning and riding a special motorcycle. Each 2010 CVO model is powered by the fuel-injected Screamin' Eagle Twin Cam 110ci V-Twin, the largest-displacement engine produced by Harley-Davidson. This engine is only available from the factory in CVO models. The CVO bikes are customized using existing, as well as all-new exclusive to CVO models components from the Harley-Davidson Genuine parts catalog, and are often used to introduce new custom components and techniques before they are offered as individual accessories. The bikes are backed by a two-year, unlimited-mileage warranty
This year we were flown out to Half Moon Bay, California, to the Ritz-Carlton where the comfort of the big fluffy bathrobes and the 10 oversized soft pillows per bed felt as good as the new seats on the CVOs. This was a great place to start our trip and we looked forward to the opportunity of riding along the central California coastline. The coolest part of the trip was riding the CVO models for the first time. Since nobody has seen these bikes yet, gas stops usually took awhile as we explained to curious folk who we are, what biz we have on these bikes, and what kind of models we were riding. But it's a small price to pay to be one of the lucky individuals to have such an opportunity.
FLHTCUSE CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide
MSRP $35,999 and limited to a production of 3,450 units. We started out on the oldest in the CVO lineup, the Ultra Classic Electra Glide. The Ultra is back for its fifth year and is built on the same Touring chassis as introduced in 2009 on the OE Glide. The stiffened single-spar backbone frame and newly designed and color-matching frame and swingarm are a huge improvement. In the handling department, the ride was nice and very smooth. As we were riding the twisty roads, the bike was easy to lean over at different speeds. The Ultra has excellent stopping power, especially for a bigger bike.
New styling cues on the Ultra included Harley's Roulette wheels, a 17x130 for the front and a 16x180 for the rear. The rear of the bike had some of the most noticeable changes from previous CVO Ultra models. This one comes with a color-matched and LED-equipped Tour-Pak with integrated brake and taillights and a push-button LED on the underside of the pack for illuminating down into the saddlebags. Switching from an incandescent bulb taillight to LED lighting not only offers brighter lights, but it also frees up storage capacity within the Tour-Pak.
Another upgrade is the change from Powerlet-type 12-volt sockets to cigarette-lighter-style outlets. Fender filler strips and engine guard fairing lowers also match the paint scheme of the inner fairing assembly. The Ultra also features an 80-watt Harmon/Kardon Advanced audio system with CB, intercom, and navigation systems. For comfort and tour-ability, the Ultra now has an adjustable rider backrest and a two-way adjustable (up/down, in/out) lumbar support in the passenger backrest. The Ultra's color schemes are Scarlet Red Pearl/Dark Slate with Flame graphic, Riptide Blue/Titanium Dust with Flame graphic, and Burnt Amber/Hot Citrus with Flame graphic.
FLHXSE CVO Street Glide
MSRP $30,999 and limited to a production of 3,500 units. Harley calls the CVO Street Glide "The ultimate hot rod bagger." It features the Screamin' Eagle Twin Cam 110 engine, and the six-speed Cruise Drive transmission featureing a new helical-cut fifth gear. The Street Glide features new 18-inch front and rear Agitator contrast chrome wheels with matching floating rotors, hydraulic rear shocks with adjustable preload, a low-profile custom seat with matching passenger backrest, and a lowered-and-trimmed front fender. The new extended saddlebags are a one-piece, injection-molded, full-depth design that offers increased capacity. Color-matched rear fascia panel fills the space between each saddlebag and the rear fender, and it incorporates LED stop/tail/turn lights.
A new custom paint scheme is offered in three-color combinations, with color-matched front fairing skirt, upper fork slider covers, and license plate light cover. The Glide's paint schemes are Candy Concord with Pale Gold Leaf Graphics, Spiced Rum with Gold Leaf Graphics, and Tequila Sunrise with Pale Gold Leaf Graphics. The bike wouldn't be complete without standard ABS and cruise control, security alarm, and a 40-watt Harmon/Kardon stereo system. Enhancing the Glide's looks are the Rumble Collection grips, footboard inserts, passenger and shifter pegs, and brake pedal pad. This was a bike I enjoyed riding! There is plenty of room for gear on the Glide without it being oversized, and the bike has lots of power and is comfortable. I would like to get my hands on this model for our next trip to Sturgis.