2012 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide FLHXSE3
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By Toph Bocchiaro, Photography by Courtesy Of The Harley-davidson Motor Company, Toph Bocchiaro
Since its debut for the 2006 model year, the Harley-Davidson Street Glide has been at the top of the touring class as well as one of the most popular bikes in Harley’s stable. While the idea for the Street Glide was to take an Electra Glide and essentially make it cooler by the subtraction and addition of accessories, the OE (Original Equipment) Street Glide as offered from the dealer is still rather understated as custom bikes go.
For the better part of Harley’s illustrious 100-plus year history Harley provided a canvas to riders and then stocked dealerships with parts and accessories (P&A) to tailor and customize as wanted and needed. As the 20th century was fading and perhaps due to extenuating circumstances the factory started the Custom Vehicles Operations (CVO) division to offer factory customized, limited-edition motorcycles. Over the years a few generalizations regarding CVO bikes have become apparent. We say generalization because it is unlikely there is a CVO rulebook somewhere deep behind the red-bricked Juneau Avenue headquarters. The first of the CVO bikes was based on the famed FXR chassis that was a half-decade since discontinued by 1999. Over the first two years of the CVO program Harley offered three different iterations of the FXR: the FXR-2, -3, and -4 and each was powered by the 80ci Evolution motor that ironically was also phased out on the rubbermount Big Twins in 1999. The Softails carried the venerable Evo one more year, into 2000, when the balanced Twin Cam motor debuted for the solid-mount Big Twin motorcycles. Like its future siblings the CVO FXRs were prettied up with the addition of Harley-produced paint sets only available on the CVO, along with wheels and lots of chrome goodies. Much of the paint and graphics processes are done by hand and with the highest quality control to assure the premium and unique qualities expected of a CVO.
For those of you following Harley and the CVOs the bikes did carry the Screamin’ Eagle moniker, beginning in 2000 with what would become the future of the program: Screamin’ Eagle Road Glide with a 95ci Twin Cam motor. The black and orange bike with white highlights had a large and bold Screamin’ Eagle graphic that stretched from the rear of the saddlebags to the front of the fixed fairing. There was a more subdued version of that bike as well. That styling idea of offering paint schemes from wild to more subtle on each CVO model has also become somewhat of a trademark of the CVO bikes. Since the CVO FXRs all of the CVO models has been based, sometimes loosely, on an existing model in the OE lineup.
By Toph Bocchiaro
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