Each year Harley-Davidson®, the iconic American motorcycle-maker, shows off its best and brightest parts, accessories and paint by creating a collection of motorcycles branded with the CVO™ (Custom Vehicle Operations) moniker. This run of limited-production bikes is packed with more than hand-painted bodywork, hoards of chrome, and exclusive new parts and accessories. These CVO bikes have it all: power locks, iPod integration and inclusion, and one model even has an eight-speaker stereo system with 400 watts of audio power.
This year’s release was announced at the sun-soaked and wine-drenched Solage Resort and Spa in Calistoga, CA, a high-dollar town fitting these top-of-the-line models. Let’s see – attend detox yoga or spinning classes, take a dip in the mineral baths, or ride 300 miles around Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties on arguably the poshest motorcycles offered by any manufacturer. It’s an easy decision to make.
Baseline, all 2012 CVO models are built on Screamin’ Eagle® Twin Cam 110 engines with a 6-speed transmission, anti-lock brakes, electronic cruise control, H-D Smart Security System, and commemorative ignition key and display box. From there each takes its own path toward customization. The journey of customizing your own motorcycle is never complete, suggests Kevin Hintz, CVO’s marketing manager. Sourced from brand new and existing parts from the 850-page parts catalog, each CVO exists to show you what’s possible, at a price unattainable if you built it for yourself piece by piece – a shortcut to owning a Custom of One.
The 2012 lineup consists mostly of blinged-out touring models (FLTRXSE, FLHXSE, FLHTCUSE), plus one Softail (FLSTSE). Sorry, folks, no CVO trike; not yet anyway. For those of you who can’t read Harley’s product code that’s a CVO Road Glide® Custom, Street Glide®, Ultra Classic® Electra Glide®, and a Softail Convertible®. There are four bikes in total, with three returning models and one new unit.
2012 CVO Softail Convertible
For the laid-back, slung-low biker’s brew, the CVO Softail Convertible returns for its third year, with a larger and more effective windscreen, allowing the rider to hear the onboard Garmin® 660-based navigation and stereo system.
Utilizing wind-tunnel testing of 200 pressure points on a rider’s body, the additional inch of width and 2 inches of height added to the windscreen removes virtually all high-pressure points for the average-height rider. A venting hole also relieves back pressure. The detachable screen, with its fully contained stereo/GPS system, lockable saddlebags, passenger backrest, and two-piece saddle – the second-lowest of all H-D models at 24.4 inches – gives this model the prize for being two CVOs in one. A stripped-down ape-hangers model in a saddlebags-and-windscreen sheep suit, the Convertible is the cruiser king of the bunch and is available in three exclusive paint schemes. It’s also the only model that isn’t available as a non-CVO, and it’s the only Softail with fly-by-wire throttle and cruise controls.
Possibly the coolest feature of all is the Step to Ride keyless ignition. With the security key fob in a pocket just approach the bike, flip the run/stop switch, and take off. After parking just walk away and the alarm will automatically set itself.
MSRP is only a $100 premium over the 2011 model at $29,699.
2012 CVO Road Glide Custom
New for model year 2012 is the CVO Road Glide Custom; gone is the Road Glide Ultra. This hot-rod cruiser is power packed with a 200-watt Harmon/Kardon® Advanced Audio stereo package to feed the mind, and a heavy-breather-style air intake and black anodized cover to force feed the air-cooled V-Twin®. A custom two-piece saddle offers a solo touring option, and with the detachable passenger pillion in place the Wind Splitter two-step smoked windscreen atop the frame-mounted fairing pushes airflow above both riders. Drop-bottom saddlebags offer more storage capacity for greater escapes.
Three exclusive paint schemes, with uniquely paired saddle colors and materials, are available. Gliding along with this much style will set you back $30,699 (MSRP).
2012 CVO Street Glide
For the party crowd, the urban cruiser, and the audiophiles on two wheels there’s the CVO Street Glide boasting a 400-watt, eight-speaker Boom! Audio™ stereo system that rivals many dance clubs. New custom-molded saddlebag lids hold a pair of waterproof 5-by-7-inch speakers with bridged tweeters for completing the surround-sound experience, although they steal a bit of storage space from the bags.
A low-profile two-piece Solo FL saddle sits atop the Screamin’ Eagle 110 power train, wrapped in a host of screaming fruity colors and rolling on Harley’s Mirror Chrome Agitator wheels: 19-inch up front, 18-inch out back.
The Street Glide, also available in three exclusive paint schemes and returning for its third year in the CVO lineup, is one of the most popular baggers out there. Now it’s the loudest.
This model, as well as the CVO Road Glide Custom, also has an easily accessible, hand-adjustable preload adjustor for the rear suspension only, making the ride for driver and passenger more comfortable as carriage increases. The MSRP is just 0 over the 2011 model year at $32,699.
2012 CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide
For those who want it all there’s nothing left to want when signing on the line for the ’12 CVO Ultra. Built on Harley’s single-spar, rigid backbone Touring chassis the Ultra puts it to the test by carrying individually controlled heated seat and grips for driver and passenger; adjustable passenger backrest and lumbar support; Garmin Road Tech™ Zumo™ 660 GPS system; Mirror Chrome Chisel custom wheels (17-inch front/16-inch rear). There is also a matching Chisel rotor up front; Brembo calipers front and rear; a Boom! Audio High Performance Boom! Bagger 40-watt speakers front and rear; and a Boom! Audio Bass Booster that turns the Tour-Pak into a subwoofer. There’s even an integrated garage-door opener and receiver on this bad boy.
A carry-over feature from last year’s Road Glide Ultra is the power locking system. The key fob remotely locks and unlocks the saddlebags, Tour-Pak, and the ignition and headlock. This Ultra is available in three super-trick paint schemes and has an MSRP of $37,249.
Oozing with attention to detail, design, power, and attitude, these limited production CVO models demand attention. Drop by a local Harley dealer to check them in out in person, and for more information.