2011 H-D CVO
Well it's that time of year once more, where the bikes that Harley-Davison and the editors around here all call the "top of the food chain," the Custom Vehicles Operations program (CVO) bike line, are rolled out. The CVO program was established in 1999 and for the past 11 years, the bikes have simply been getting better and better.
Most of you are familiar with the standard OE Harley lineup, but if you're not familiar with CVO bikes, these are the cream of the crop. The difference is that CVOs are a custom line of motorcycles built in limited production for customers who appreciate brilliant chrome, tons of power, exquisite paint, and the exclusivity of owning and riding a special motorcycle.
The new CVO bikes are announced before the standard OE lineup and are pulled out of the plant for a few lucky editors to get a sneak-peak. This year's CVO press launch has once again set the bar for what to expect from the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. It all started once we arrived at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort inside Incline Village in Nevada. After a brief rundown on the bikes and a hearty breakfast, we got to put in some riding miles so we could bring you our feelings about them and any new gadgets they may have in store.
For 2011, there are four CVO models offered, the FLHTCUSE Ultra Classic Electra Glide, the FLTRUSE Road Glide Ultra, the FLHXSE Street Glide, and the FLSTSE Softail Convertible. All the 2011 CVO models are powered by the fuel-injected 110ci Screamin' Eagle Twin Cam V-twin, only available from the factory in CVO models. The transmission features a helical-cut Fifth gear in the six-speed cruise drive transmissions. An anti-lock braking system (ABS) and cruise control are standard equipment on the CVOs. The bikes are backed by a two-year, unlimited-mileage warranty and will be limited to approximately 2,500-3,000 units each, or less for some models.
CVO Road Glide Ultra
MSRP $35,999 and limited to a production of 3,000 units.
New this year is the Road Glide Ultra, the one bike I have been waiting for. I'm already a fan of the OE Road Glide but to make it into the CVO lineup was a big deal for me. It has all the cool CVO features such as the 110ci motor and six-speed transmission, but the list of new features are what made me want one more than ever. The Road Glide Ultra features an aerodynamic, frame-mounted fairing that offers a lighter steering feel than a fork-mounted fairing, and incorporates dual headlamps and a cockpit-style instrument display. The Road Glide Ultra is also equipped with ventilated fairing lowers. This year a new reshaped and windtunnel-tested 16-inch windshield was added. As a taller rider, I can tell you that in the past I was getting beat up by the wind. Now the windshield has a reduced angle to limit cockpit buffeting. H-D also added wind deflectors that fit onto the top of the engine guard to redirect turbulent air that previously passed between the fairing and the fuel tank and into the rider area. You can still get the air to pass through, but now it feels more directed and less turbulent.
The CVO FLTRUSE Road Glide Ultra in Black Twilight paint with Quartzite graphics.
The CVO FLTRUSE Road Glide Ultra in Frosted Ivory and Vintage Gold paint with Quartzite gr
The FLHXSE CVO Street Glide in Black Diamond and Inferno Orange paint.
The other thing you will notice is the deluxe color-matched Tour Pak luggage carrier with LED brake/tail lamp and Air Wing Tour Pak rack. Also new is the power locking system that provides push-button key fob security for the Tour Pak, saddlebags, and ignition.
Here is the H-D 8GB Apple iPod Nano connected to the audio system through an iPod interfac
It was the word "boom" that we kept hearing from all the H-D people when they were talking about the new upgraded sound systems for '11 CVO bikes. The Road Glide Ultra has a 40-watt-per-channel Harman/Kardon Advanced Audio system featuring four high-performance bagger speakers, along with speakers in the passenger seat area, an XM satellite radio, and a CB/intercom with two headsets. A new amplifier with customized equalization for the new speakers gives a much cleaner sound at higher speeds. Added new this year is an iPod interface and iPod holder located in the right side saddlebag. This system both charges the iPod, and integrates it with the audio hand controls on the bars. If you're without an iPod the good thing is the Road Glide Ultra comes with one; an 8GB iPod Nano with etched Bar & Shield logo.
The Navigation Interface Module provides an internal connection to the dash-mounted Road T
Making sure not to get lost, the bike has a Road Tech Zumo 660 GPS navigation system with an integrated interface module that allows verbal navigation commands to be heard through the radio speakers as you are heading down the highway. This was real cool as we never needed to take our eyes off the road. One other thing that was a noticed change was the seat. It has a new shape that is narrower towards the front giving me more reach to the ground at stops. The seat also features dual heat controls and the passenger backrest has adjustable lumbar support. Some of the other eye-catchers include all the chrome pieces like the 18-inch Agitator wheels, internally wired 1-inch-diameter handlebar, and chrome billet muffler end caps with black spears.
The Road Glide Ultra will be offered in three custom color schemes, Rio Red and Black Ember with Quartzite graphics, Charcoal Slate and Black Twilight with Quartzite graphics, and my favorite, Frosted Ivory and Vintage Gold with Quartzite graphics. All I can say about the bike that I wish was different was the amount of time I got to spend with it; it was just too short.
CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide
MSRP $36,499 and limited to a production of 1,500 units.
We also got on one of the oldest bikes in the CVO lineup, the Ultra Classic Electra Glide. This is the "everything bike" in that it has everything that Harley has to offer in a touring bike, from the big 110ci motor to just about every piece of chrome in the catalog. In the handling department, the ride was very nice and very smooth-just what you want for a ride across town or the ride across the country. Once you settle down in the seat and crank up the radio, this was more comfortable than my truck and a hell of a lot more fun to ride.
The FLHXSE CVO Street Glide in Kryptonite and Black Diamond paint.
Being a CVO, it too comes with a 110ci (1,803cc) motor that at 4,000 rpm puts out around 115 lb-ft of torque. The Ultra also has a six-gallon fuel tank and a four-quart oil bag. As I was riding the twisty roads around Lake Tahoe, with a ground clearance of 5.1 inches and a lean angle of 33 degrees on the right side and 31 on the left, the bike was easy to lean over at different speeds. The Ultra has excellent stopping power, especially for a bigger bike. ABS is standard with a single four-piston fixed caliper for the rear and a dual four-piston setup for the front.
The FLHXSE CVO Street Glide in Black Diamond with Crimson and Tag graphics.
Some of the other cool features are the Navigation Interface Module that provides an internal connection to the dash-mounted Road Tech Zumo 660 GPS unit that feeds GPS verbal commands to the radio speakers, as well as the 8GB Apple iPod Nano. The new hammock-style suspended seat has dual-control heaters and a springboard-style suspension system in the passenger seat. One more added comfort piece is the passenger-adjustable lumbar support. The rear of the bike comes with a color-matched and LED-equipped Tour Pak with integrated brake and taillights. Using LED lighting not only offers brighter lights, but it also frees up storage capacity within the Tour Pak. For added safety, new this year is the power locking saddlebags and Tour Pak. The Ultra Classic Electra Glide is offered in exclusive Black Ember and Rio Red paint scheme with Flame graphics, along with a color-matched inner fairing assembly, inner fairing cap, and rear fender filler strips.
The FLHTCUSE CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide in exclusive Black Ember with Rio Red and Fla
This is a big bike coming in at approximately 930 pounds, but out on the road it's not the weight of the bike that you notice, it is how well it handles for its size. The longer I was in the seat, the more comfortable the bike became. All the controls, from the radio and iPod to the GPS system, were easy to manage even with gloves on. The bike was everything you'd want in a touring bike; the one thing that still needs a little improvement is the heat from the motor. With the lower deflector on the engine guards, I noticed a lot of heat once we came to a stoplight; however, I didn't notice it when we were out on the road. The wind is redirected and helps get the heat out of that area, but it's still a bit hot at stops. Overall it is a great touring bike with lots of room for all your gear and needs for any long trip.
CVO Street Glide
MSRP $32,499 and limited to a production of 3,700 units.
Next up was the bike Harley calls "The ultimate hot rod bagger," the CVO Street Glide. This bike begins with the same Screamin' Eagle Twin Cam 110 engine and the six-speed Cruise Drive transmission. It also has a fork-mounted batwing fairing and stretched saddlebags. You will notice though that the Tour Pak and lowers are not there. At a glance there is not a lot of differences in these three models other than the fairing or Tour Pak; the difference comes down to the style. The Street Glide just seems to have slimmer lines maybe due to the low-profile snakeskin-style seat with matching passenger backrest, or the short 7-inch smoked wind deflector. It could be the 19-inch seven-spoke Agitator front wheel with matching 18-inch rear wheel. Whatever it is, the bike has real nice lines. The Street Glide also has the high-output audio system boosted by a new high-efficiency, 100-watt-per-channel amplifier. The audio system also incorporates the iPod Nano with dock and holder located in the right saddlebag.
New this year is the side-fill gas tank with flush-mount cap and LED gauge, and a new low-profile console. But it's the paint schemes that make you really notice the bike. The new paint is offered in four different color combinations, Kryptonite and Black Diamond, Black Diamond and Inferno Orange, Autumn Haze and Antique Gunstock, and Black Diamond with Crimson Tag graphics. The CVO Street Glide is a different bike from the others in its own right, not just on looks but also the way it handles. It is light and not clumsy. At low speeds just moving around the parking lot, it was easy to handle, and out on the road at highway speeds, it was smooth. Not until I looked down to see the speedo, at 80 mph, did I notice I was not just passing cars but more like flying by them. At one point I needed to test out the ABS (damn truck drivers) and with a small amount of brake pulsing at the lever, the bike handled very well. Compare this bike to the Road Glide Ultra and this would be my second choice.
The FLSTSE CVO Softail Convertible without all the detachables.
The FLSTSE CVO Softail Convertible with the bags, two-up seat with sissybar, and the winds
The new hammock-style suspended, dual-control heated seat with leather inserts and reshape
Here is the cut-away of the seat.
Here is what happens to you if you don't follow the speed limit and scrape up the floorboa
CVO Softail Convertible
MSRP $29,599 and limited to a production of 2,400 units.
Last in the lineup and returning for its second year is the Softail Convertible. It may not be the bike you think about in the world of touring, but that is what it is designed to do. Based on the Harley-Davidson Softail platform, the Convertible features a rear-suspension design to look like a vintage hardtail frame, but offers the comfort of a modern suspension that is hidden under the chassis. The powerplant is a fuel-injected Screamin' Eagle Twin Cam 110B V-twin counter-balanced and rigid-mounted to the frame. As far as what places this bike into our touring magazine is that this Softail is two bikes in one. With no tools needed and in less than two minutes, the Convertible goes from cruiser to touring bike with saddlebags, passenger setup with backrest, and a detachable fairing. New this year is the audio system for the Softail built into the detachable fairing. It is compact in size and outfitted with a set of 3 1/2-inch two-way speakers, a 20-watts-per-channel amp, and 8GB iPod Nano with etched Bar & Shield logo and protective CVO pouch. The Convertible is a great bike for the guy looking to load up his gear and head out on the highway hitting all the big rallies. Once he or she unpacks the bags and removes them, it becomes a good looking around-town cruiser. On this trip I was not able to get a lot of ride time on the Convertible but what little I did, I found that it was everything I expected from a Softail. The bike handles great and felt good in the riding position. With a seat height of 24.5 inches, a smaller rider could easily handle this bike. As far as power, it has a 110ci motor and weighs in at 750 pounds, so you can imagine the great throttle response. The new custom colors for 2011 are Scarlet Red Pearl and Dark Slate Pearl with Metal Grind graphics, Midnight Sky and Candy Cobalt with Blue Ice graphics, and Maple Metallic and Roman Gold with Burnished Copper graphics.
We hope to get a little more seat time on all of these bikes, and with any luck, we will bring you more in-depth coverage in issues to come. I'm hoping for both the Softail Convertible and the Road Glide Ultra, but Toph surely wants the Street Glide.