Throw it out there and see what sticks.
Harley’s Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) program thrives on that philosophy. And whether it’s a Road King, Road Glide, Street Glide, or Electra Glide, Harley bagger owners definitely take notice when CVO launches a new model. For 2013, after a four-year hiatus, the Road King has returned to CVO. And it’s an audiophile’s dream come true.
Nestled in the warm and cozy York, Pennsylvania, plant where the CVO, Touring, and Softail motorcycles are produced, CVO is categorized in the upper echelon of Harley-Davidson’s overall fleet. Consumers automatically associate those three little letters with opulence.
The CVO program came to fruition in 1999 as a way to entice buyers with a “limited-edition” line that included tricked-out, customized Harleys loaded with new Harley parts unavailable anywhere else, exotic leather saddles, heftier Screamin’ Eagle engines, and of course, chrome parts galore. Most of all, CVO was enacted as a rolling advertisement for the new parts set to be released in Harley’s Genuine Accessories catalog, created as a way of seeing what the current custom climate was interested in. And just like in years past, the CVO Road King is no stranger to receiving the royal treatment.
Blasting your favorite Michael Bolton playlist or Yanni Live at the Acropolis out of these
If it’s audio you’re after for your bagger, you’ve come to the right place. Harley’s spruced this King with a speaker smorgasbord. The first factory-installed Road King stereo system features four speakers combined with 200-watt amp output that blasts the included 8GB iPod’s tunes from dual 5x7-inch saddlebag lid speakers and 5¼-inch speakers in each of the lower fairings. All four speakers also include built-in tweeters for even more of a crispy crunch at high speeds. The engineers did their homework because at around 90 mph, the noise elements don’t completely drown out the music. And the speakers don’t inhibit storage space too much in the injection-molded, extended saddlebags.
For $1,000 more the CVO Road King is available as a 110th Anniversary Model, which includes more trinkets than you’d find in an antique store—110th Anniversary serialized cloisonné on the tank console, Midnight Pearl 110th tank medallion, black engine with gloss black covers, and Midnight Pearl engine cover inserts. Just to be clear, not all of the CVO Road Kings are Anniversary models, just one designation which is covered in a svelte 110th Anniversary color option, Diamond Dust/Obsidian with Palladium Graphics. Other paint options include Crushed Blue Sapphire with Cold Fusion Graphics (shown), and Burgundy Blaze with Hot Fusion Graphics. If you hadn’t noticed, Harley implemented a new paint process to the current models featuring hand-finished graphics created with textures and solvents in a multi-step process.
The CVO Road King’s Wind Splitter windshield is removable and features an interesting vent
While on the 110 subject … 110 cubic inches of pure Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam fun is sandwiched tightly in between the single spar, rigid backbone, dual downtubes frame. Pumping out a healthy 118 lb-ft of torque, the 110 delivers immediately when rolling on the throttle. The 110ci Twin Cam is comprised of 4-inch bore by 4.38-inch stroken cylinders, pushrod-operated overhead valvetrain design, and 9.2:1 compression ratio. Controlling the fuel flow is Harley’s Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection system, which does a fine job handling the air/fuel mixing duties since after a quick jaunt up to Big Bear, California, from our usual sea level, the King didn’t hiccup, cough, blow chunks, or anything of that nature. And powering up the steep upgrades was never an issue, even in the lower rpm range.
When downshifting, you’ll notice a pleasant silkiness since the CVO was outfitted with Harley’s Assist & Slip Clutch Pack, which provides a slip feature to reduce loading of the driveline. And the hydraulically actuated clutch reduces lever effort so in stop-and-go traffic, your wrist doesn’t hate you. The clutch lever has also been redesigned with ergonomic comfort in mind.
Also unique to the CVO Road King is Harley’s newest creation, the Vented Wind Splitter windshield. From a functionality standpoint, it works, from a design aesthetic, not so much. We understand the want or the need to feature ventilation options, but the vent seems redundant when the windshield itself is already a quick-detach windshield. Granted, you can’t quickly detach the windshield and stow it somewhere when you’re away from the homestead, but do folks really focus on that enough to warrant the construction of a vent smack dab in the middle of your line of sight. It’s also a tad annoying and intrusive when riding down the road. Harley claims the Wind Splitter was developed to combat buffeting, but at 5 feet 10 inches, and with the vent closed, buffeting wasn’t an issue. Maybe it would help an NBA starting center, but the average guy isn’t going to be affected.
In the Road King’s cockpit, the solo saddle with removable passenger pillion is a nice touch because of its intricate tuck-and-roll stitching pattern. The pad is also cushy and pliable, and perfect for a long trip. Our passenger mentioned that the backrest was “too low,” not giving her the support she wanted, preferring a taller pad.
Providing the information to the rider is a speedo/tach gauge stuffed in the streamlined dash atop the fuel tank. Grabbing the internally wired, chrome 1¼-inch handlebar doesn’t require much of a reach effort, and when coupled with the floorboard, the riding position is comfortable.