2010 CVO Softail Convertible (front) and Ultra Classic Electra Glide
2010 CVO Touring Bikes
Each year, in addition to the regular factory offerings Harley-Davidson unleashes an exclusive line of limited edition bikes under the Custom Vehicle Operations moniker. Usually shortened to CVO, these machines are the biggest and baddest bikes coming out of the Milwaukee manufacturer, although the bikes are assembled in York, Pennsylvania. A select group of engineers and artisans create cutting-edge bikes that incorporate the latest technology and innovations aimed at the premium crowd. Big motors, big paint, and big style are targeted to H-D's core and primarily affluent customers.
In H-D speak these are their Alpha customers who are achievers, accomplished, and exclusivity driven individuals. They enjoy a taste of the exotic and being a member of an elite group of Harley owners. Although the CVO bikes come loaded with accessories CVO owners still shell out the most cash on parts and accessories. CVO motorcycles create aspiration among prospective buyers who seek the ultimate in rideable art while still having a bike that comes with full factory and dealer support.
This year's crop of four CVO bikes contains three Touring models and a Dyna Fat Bob. Returning for its fifth iteration is the Ultra Classic Electra Glide with the interminably long FLHTCUSE5 designation. Added to the stable is the brand new FLHXSE Street Glide and a brand new touring capable Softail Convertible (FLSTSE). Each of the bikes features a fuel injected 110ci Twin Cam motor bedazzled in Granite finish and mated to the standard Cruise Drive six-speed tranny. CVOs are the only bikes that roll out of the factory with the 110-inch mill. Each model is decked out with the latest accessories and lots of chrome.
A handful of journalists were whisked away to the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay located south of San Francisco. We got to ride some amazing twisty mountain roads as well as cruise along the Pacific in Santa Cruz. This was the perfect setting to enjoy the pinnacle of the H-D food chain.
It was a tough decision to look at the newest CVO, the Softail Convertible, and immediately think of touring. In PR speak the newest Softail quickly converts from touring to cruising. CVO team manager Jeff Smith demonstrated the no-tool conversion by quickly removing the fairing and windshield, leather saddlebags, and the passenger seat with sissybar. So a capable two-up bike can be stripped to a solo boulevard cruiser in less than two minutes. The bike rolls front and rear on 18-inch Stinger wheels, with matching rotors and sprocket. Speaking of wheels-these are probably the nicest looking factory wheels I've ever seen. They are constructed from cast aluminum and have the intricate look of 3-D wheels with the pattern going to the edge of the rim. They are also lighter than forged aluminum wheels due to the fact that the 'spokes' are hollow. A fat 130mm tire up front is joined on the rear by a 200mm radial Dunlop. New fenders with a full-coverage wide rear fender and a trimmed front cover each tire. The Stinger brake rotors received styling attention too with the semi-wave pattern cut into the perimeter of the stainless steel friction ring. The Convertible comes in three two-tone color schemes, with a color-matched frame, swingarm, frame inserts, and oil tank.
CVO Street Glide
Beautiful Stinger wheel on Softail
Heated seats and passenger lumbar control on the Ultra