2012 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide FLHXSE3
Milwaukee’s Best Bagger Ever?
By Toph Bocchiaro, Photography by Courtesy Of The Harley-davidson Motor Company, Toph Bocchiaro
Each Thursday throughout the year the teams get together with H-D’s other styling people including Willie G. Davidson to assess progress and make necessary changes. The paint is one of the most distinctive aspects of a CVO motorcycle and a lot of resources go into the choices made here. After the color, the graphics are decided upon. Sketches are made and debated. Colors must be mixed and then tested on real bikes. This process takes about six months and the paint is observed inside, under different lighting conditions, as well as outside in the direct sunlight. It’s a labor-intensive process and serious business—the pride comes through on these bikes. Each CVO model employs differeng levels of “flashy” as well; from subtle paint and graphics to the high-impact “look at my CVO” colors and graphics. All of the exclusive to CVO paint design is done locally in Wisconsin at Calibre where a team of workers attends to the painstaking process of producing what the stylists and designers envisioned. Pinstriping, buffing, and sanding are all done by hand. When we visited the Calibre factory it was surprising to see that all of the pinstripers were women. After our tour of the facility we invited all of the workers to come outside to see their handiwork in person as a group of us rode CVOs from H-D’s factory to Calibre. It was a moving moment to see the pride on these people’s faces and how their hard work and attention to detail was appreciated by riders.
Even the badges that appear on CVOs are unique and a lot of energy goes into making them spectacular. After a drawing is made and decision made the badge is constructed three-dimensionally in a computer program. Even then, the design has to be feasible from a manufacturing perspective and have impact. Paul Martin a graphic designer from the styling department was responsible for the eagle badge on the Street Glide. Paul worked closely with other stylists and led by Brian Nelson, the main content designer. Brian bridges the gap between H-D’s OE styling and that of CVO.
On the motor front CVO gets to try new coatings and configurations before anyone else. In 2011 the Kryptonite bike was a trial for H-D’s black engine. In 2012 the Road Glide will get a black engine while the Street Glide gets a chrome version. Going to a larger motor also necessitates other changes. The exhaust had to be retuned for sound, but it also produces more power. While the engineers were at it, the lower frequency sounds of the exhaust were increased while still staying compliant to federal sound standards. It sounds better to us and that’s ultimately what’s important to riders—looks, sound, and power. To handle the extra power from the larger engine the CVOs employ a hydraulically activated clutch along with a redesigned and heavier clutch spring. The hydraulics make clutch pull easier and another benefit is no maintenance compared to cable actuated clutches.
By Toph Bocchiaro
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