2008 Harley-Davidson CVO Models

Big Motors, Big Tires, Big Paint, and Big Fun

For the past decade Harley-Davidson Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) has taken the notion of the factory custom motorcycle to its extreme. Each year the CVO team of designers and engineers takes current and past (as in the FXR2 and FXR3) model platforms and digs deep into the Parts and Accessories and Screamin' Eagle product offerings to create limited-production factory custom and performance motorcycles. A big plus for the rider/buyer is the bikes cost a lot less to buy complete as CVO models than to equip a stock model with all the extra parts and accessories. In addition to upgraded motor and trim parts, the CVO line also features paint schemes and graphics not found on any other H-D production bikes. Being H-D's 105th anniversary, there is also a CVO paint and graphics package that includes gold leaf graphics and numbered cloisonn.

We had the opportunity to get an inside look into the CVO operations at H-D's Milwaukee, WI, base. All CVO bikes are assembled in either Kansas City or the York, PA. plants. Aside from historical and technical presentations and discussions with designers and engineers, we toured the Pilgrim Road Powertrain Operations factory and the Calibre, Inc., paint facility. All of the custom paint and graphics on the CVO bikes is done by hand in their Grafton plant. We got to ride and evaluate each of the four models around beautiful farmlands and lakes, trying our best to avoid rain and tornadoes.

For 2008 H-D has four new CVO models to choose from; two in the touring family-the Electra Glide and Road King, one Softail, and a Dyna. One of the most noticeable performance upgrades is the return of the 110ci Twin Cam motor powering each bike. The three rubber-mounted chassis receive the original A version of the Twin Cam while the solid mount Softail gets the counterbalanced Twin Cam B motor. These 110s aren't just bored-out 96 inchers, either. Aside from the 4-inch bore forged pistons and wrist pins, the heads, cases, and cams are unique to these mills. The automatic compression-release-equipped cylinder heads breathe through high-flow intake ports and huge 2.08-inch intake valves. Increased compression (9.3:1) and improved squish areas combine for better drivability and power across the board. For comparison's sake, the 110ci motor puts out 23 percent more torque than a stock Twin Cam 96. Each of the motors, transmissions, and inner primaries also gets H-D's new (and exclusive to CVO) granite and chrome powertrain finish that contains stainless steel flake in the paint.

Like the rest of the '08 Big Twin lineup, each CVO bike features the Cruise Drive six-speed tranny but use an easy-to-squeeze hydraulically activated nine-plate wet clutch. A big development included on the two touring CVOs is the addition of antilock brakes (ABS) coupled to Brembo calipers and floating rotors. H-D engineers designed the completely hidden ABS pickup within the wheel bearing and spacer-the presence of one wire near the caliper is the only giveaway that such high tech wizardry is present. Additionally, the Ultra and Road King are devoid of throttle cables. Instead, a drive-by-wire throttle control is employed that uses no cables. A hidden wire within the throttle assembly communicates throttle position to the ECM. Based on other engine operating parameters a signal is sent to the injectors and a motor in the throttle body to control butterfly opening. Another upgrade on the touring bikes is the Isolated Drive System located within the rear wheel that dampens power pulses encountered during acceleration, cruising, and shifting.

Take a look below at the newest CVOs, their features, and general riding impressions. For more info contact Harley-Davidson at www.Harley-Davidson.com, or call 800-443-2153 to find a dealer near you.

FXSTSSE2 Screamin' Eagle Softail Springer

One of the first things you notice about the SE Softail Springer is the bold, muscular Springer frontend dressed up in a new fender and mounting bracket system. Adding to the beefy look is a 130mm radial tire wrapped around a chromed aluminum, 10-spoke, 18-inch Revolver wheel. Like the frame, swingarm, and oil bag, the rigid fork legs and upper triple clamp are color matched to the paint scheme. Accessories such as the grips, pegs, brake, and shifter pedals come from the Centerline collection. Out back a wide Bobtail fender, complete with tri-bar LED taillights, hovers above a fat 200 tire. A new single, floating rear brake caliper slows down the 17-inch wheel.

Riding the SE Softail Springer was a blast. Although not a light bike, the relatively steep rake of the forks made the handling crisp and predictable. Stability was enhanced with so much rubber rolling on the ground. When pushed hard in corners there is a tendency for the Springer to flex, which is not unexpected with this type of fork setup. Reach to the forward controls was in the medium range of stretch-putting the legs in a 3/4-outstretched position. This bike would fit the under six-foot crowd perfectly, right out of the box. Although coming in with 110 lb-ft of crank torque, vibrations felt through the solid mount engine were well tamed, owed in some part to the motor's internal counterbalancers. Visually, the Inferno orange with Firebird flames paint on the Softail was the most eye catching of all the bikes.

Flhtcuse3 Screamin' Eagle Ultra Classic Electra Glide

Returning this year is the big daddy of touring bikes: The SE Ultra Classic Electra Glide. As if all the options and goodies found on the stock Ultra aren't enough for you, the CVO team put together an amazing package combining performance, function, and styling. On the function side, aside from the aforementioned ABS brakes and throttle control, the Ultra receives a welcome six-gallon fuel tank. An Ultra King Tour-Pak with color-matched wraparound lights and luggage rack help stow away riding gear. The hard saddlebags and Tour-Pak have a power locking system that can be actuated with a remote control key fob. Adding stylistically to the package is a dual control heated leather seat with passenger and rider backrests as well as heated grips from the Ironside collection.

Cartridge-style telescopic forks and air-adjustable rear shocks handle suspension duties. A downtube-mounted oil cooler prettied up with a chrome cover cools the oil in the big bike. As with the rest of the 110ci motors, the Ultra's was smooth and powerful. Due to the large volume of the dual four-inch touring mufflers, the Ultra pumps out 115 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. Because the Ultra is on the heavy side of the lineup the bike doesn't feel fast, yet it gets up and goes when you twist the wick, settling nicely once cruising along in Sixth gear. A welcome, albeit counterintuitive, feature is the ABS brakes that function to prevent wheel lockup during hard braking. Instead of modulating the brakes like a traditional braking system, with ABS you give it all you have until the bike stops. When engaging the ABS (which only operates when needed in emergency situations) by heavy brake application there is a slight chirp from the wheels before the computer controls braking modulation to bring the bike to a controlled no-skid stop. Harley engineers demonstrated stops from speed on a gravel covered test area to illustrate ABS in a more controlled environment. With ABS disabled on an outrigger-equipped bike the motorcycle slid and attempted to high-side during heavy braking. However, when the ABS was functioning, the rider came to a controlled stop even though the brakes were applied at full strength. If you're wondering where they hid all the ABS hardware, the ABS module is contained under the side cover where the cruise control unit used to reside. The cruise is now incorporated into the bike's ECM motor-driven throttle control.

The SE Ultra is the bike you want to eat up the interstate in style and comfort. All of the creature comforts of the stock Ultra plus dozens of other accessories and features are included on the CVO.

FXDSE22 Screamin' Eagle Dyna

The '08 SE Dyna is the CVO crew's second iteration based on the Super Glide platform. Changing from last year are the lowered, inverted forks still retaining a 21-inch hoop and tire. On the rear the traditionally mounted, adjustable vertical shocks are covered with chrome that complements the rest of the gleaming metal on this bike. This year's CVO Dyna comes in lowered, thanks to a new seat, combined with a 1.5-degree reduced rake compared to the previous SE Dyna. Cleaning up the cockpit area are internally wired handlebars with an integrated 4-inch spun aluminum tach. Accessories from the Stealth collection abound on this bike in such places as the footpegs, brake pedal, and shift peg. Keeping with the clean, smooth theme are the flush mount gas cap and chrome fuel gauge containing LED indicators. The pro-street theme is carried through the bike's stance and frame-mounted chin spoiler.

Thumbing the high-torque starter brings a gentle rumble through the straight-cut mufflers with chrome end caps. Putting the 105 lb-ft of torque through the gearbox spins up the lightest of all the CVOs bringing up the rpm's quickly. Motor vibes are minimized through the rubber-mounted frame, allowing easy viewing through the mirrors. The riding position on the Dyna can be described as stretched out, with a long stretch to the forward controls. Riders under 5 feet, 9 inches will possibly find the reach to be too much. Throwing the Dyna around the curves was improved over last year's model thanks to the improved chassis geometry working with the rear 170mm tire.

FLHRSE4 Screamin' Eagle Road King

Rounding out the CVO lineup is the SE Road King decked out in leather all around. Aesthetically, big paint and leather seating, backrests, and saddlebags dominate the lowered King. Like the Ultra, the RK also receives the larger fuel tank, cruise control, and the ABS braking system. An exclusive tombstone taillight sits on the wrap around rear fender. Chrome and rubber Ironside collection pieces make the long haul more comfortable with or without the quick detach smoked windscreen.

For some reason, the few CVO RKs we rode all felt to be the strongest performers in the group. Like the Ultra, the Road King has a large capacity dual exhaust system that enables the motor to pump out 115 lb-ft of torque. From right off idle to redline, the RK pulls like a freight train. With the shortest wheelbase of the lot the RK can be handled like a much smaller and lighter bike than it is. It never felt heavy or sluggish, with a very relaxed, comfortable riding position. The seat pocket welcomes the rider to relax and take in the scenery. All without a radio or other gadgets to distract one from the ride. This was the most fun of all the CVOs to ride, a perfect combination of handling, comfort, and style in one custom package.

ENGINE TYPE Air-cooled Twin Cam 110 Air-cooled Twin Cam 110
TRANSMISSION 6-speed Cruise Drive 6-speed Cruise Drive
DISPLACEMENT 110ci (1800cc) 110ci (1800cc)
FUEL INJECTION Electronic Sequential Port FI Electronic Sequential Port FI
FRAME TYPE Rubber Mount Rubber Mount
RAKE/ FORK ANGLE 26/29.3 degrees 26/29.3 degrees
SUSPENSION/FRONT 41.3mm, Cartridge Style 41.3mm
SUSPENSION/REAR Air Adjustable Shocks Lowered, Air Adjustable
WHEEL BASE 63.5 inches 63 inches
WHEELS/TIRE, FRONT 16x3, MT90B16 18x3.5, 130/70R18
REAR 16x3, MU85B16 17x4.5, 170/60R17
BRAKES, FRONT ABS, Brembo Dual Four Piston ABS, Brembo Dual Four Piston
REAR ABS, Brembo Four Piston ABS, Brembo Four Piston
FUEL CAPACITY Six gallons Six gallons
SEAT HEIGHT W/RIDER 28.7 inches 26.3 inches
DRY WEIGHT 864 pounds 754 pounds
AVAILABLE COLORS * 105th Anniversary Crystal Copper * 105th Anniversary Crystal Copper and Black Onyx + $495 and Black Onyx + $495
* Copper {{{Canyon}}} and Stardust Silver * Twilight Blue and Candy {{{Cobalt}}} with {{{Ghost}}} Flame Graphics
* White Frost and Silver Mist • Black Diamond and Silver Dust with Ghost Flame Graphics
MSRP $34,995 $29,290
ENGINE TYPE Air-cooled Twin Cam 110B Air-cooled Twin Cam 110
TRANSMISSION 6-speed Cruise Drive 6-speed Cruise Drive
DISPLACEMENT 110ci (1800cc) 110ci (1800cc)
FUEL INJECTION Electronic Sequential Port FI Electronic Sequential Port FI
FRAME TYPE Solid Mount Rubber Mount
RAKE/ FORK ANGLE 32/26.6 degrees 29/29 degrees
SUSPENSION/FRONT Leading Link Springer 43mm Inverted
SUSPENSION/REAR Hidden, Horizontal Lowered, Progressive
WHEEL BASE 65.2 inches 63.54 inches
WHEELS/TIRE, FRONT 18x3.5, 130/70R18 21x2.15, MH90-21
REAR 17x6, {{{200}}}/55R17 17x4.5, 170/60R17
BRAKES, FRONT Single Piston Dual Piston
REAR Dual Piston Dual Piston
FUEL CAPACITY Five gallons Five gallons
SEAT HEIGHT W/RIDER 24.5 inches 26.5 inches
DRY WEIGHT 719 pounds 678 pounds
AVAILABLE COLORS * 105th Anniversary Crystal Copper and Black Onyx + $495 * 105th Anniversary Crystal Copper and Black Onyx + $495
• Inferno Orange with Fireburst flames • Scarlet Red Pearl and Dark Crimson
* Black Diamond with * Candy {{{Cobalt}}} and Midnight Blue Smoked Candy flames
MSRP $24,995 $24,995