If you are “accomplished,” an “achiever,” “exclusivity-driven” and “affluent,” Harley’s Custom Vehicle Operations wants you. And you had better have heavy emphasis on the “affluent” part, as the price for the four 2010 CVO models ranges between $25,299 and $35,999. I had a chance to spend a bit of saddle time with each of these new motorcycles. All feature the TC110 six-speed motor, stunning good looks, a fun-in-their-own-way ride, and that exclusivity hook. Future issues of American Rider will give you more detail, but for now, here are my brief impressions—in no particular order—of Harley’s crown jewels.
CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide $35,999
Take Harley’s most optioned-out model, the Ultra Classic, and then add more to it, and you’ll have the CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide. Returning for its fifth appearance as a CVO model, this year’s version shows up with an adjustable passenger seat with lumbar support, as well as interior saddlebag lights, a color-matched LED brake and taillight at the rear of the Tour-Pak, a power outlet in the Tour-Pak, and a catalog-load of other goodies.
My riding impression? How about “Elvis, the Vegas Years.” Overweight and overdone, this CVO is in serious need of an intervention. Consider this: the 2007 model weighed in (ready to go) at 888 pounds, and the ’08 version tipped the scale at 902 pounds. And for 2010? Porker alert: 924 pounds! Worse yet, most of this additional weight is up high where it adversely effects handling. It’s a beautiful piece of work, but call Jenny Craig.
CVO Fat Bob $25,299
Returning for its sophomore year is the Fat Bob. Mostly the same as the 2009 version, this year’s edition shows up with unique paint, and a very stylish brown distressed leather two-piece convertible seat, not to mention the attitude that has made this a favorite.
A surprisingly good-handling motorcycle, this CVO Fat Bob comes equipped with forward controls. If you’d like the mid-controls (as available on the standard model) they’re as near as the dealer’s parts counter.
Stylish as ever and more so, the CVO Street Glide offers up better ride quality than that of the standard model thanks to those shocks.
CVO Softail Convertible $27,999
I’m going to go out on a shaky limb and state that this is probably the best Softail motorcycle that Harley has ever produced. Its most obvious feature is its convertibility. With a quickly detachable windshield, saddlebags, passenger back rest, and pillion, in a matter of a minute or so you can change it from a decent tourer to a stripped cruiser. A note about that windshield: as befits the CVO moniker, this shield is beautifully designed and highly functional. I was particularly impressed with its inside finish. Often the parts that only the riders see are neglected style-wise.
As part of the press intro, I rode the CVO Convertible on a 50-mile mountain stretch. With its massive torque feeding a 200mm rear tire, I was continually amazed at how composed this motorcycle was. By the way, the ride harshness I experienced with this issue’s feature bike, the CVO Softail Springer, is mostly absent here. Yes, dragging the floorboards was a given, but it did not upset the handling and the motorcycle tracked through a corner like no previous Softail I’ve ridden. Softails have always had a reputation for being great cruisers, but a step down from the touring category. The Convertible is a game-changer. Harley needs to get this model into the regular lineup ASAP. Hey, why should only the “affluent” have all the fun?
In general, while not immune to our economy’s gyrations, the CVO models have been, and remain, good sellers. Helping this is that “exclusivity” thing; CVO total production is held to no more than 4 percent of the overall company total.