Waiting for the 2013 CVO Road King Screaming Eagle Custom

Sometimes local Harley-Davidson dealerships offer great ideas, and this weekend during their 2012 new bike launch, mine in Guildford offered me the opportunity to test ride a 2011 CVO Road Glide Ultra. More and more of my fellow Chapter Members call a “CVO” their own, and I was curious to better understand these 3 letters.

In a nutshell CVO means 2 things: a impressive high end 110 cubic inch Screaming Eagle engine, coupled with lots of chrome and accessories. This all does not come for free, but adding all shiny parts together, it’s a bargain, though a bargain at a very high level.

If you like fairings on a Harley-Davidson, the Road Glide is a Marmite option, you like it or hate the “Shark Nose” fairing bolted to the motorcycle frame, while the Electra Glide “Bat Wing” fairing is moving with the handlebar, bolted to the front fork.

As some of my readers may recall, I called a Honda Goldwing GL 1800 my own for 10 years before moving to the Harley-Davidson 2010 Road King Classic, and sitting on this Road Glide, I felt somewhat beamed back into a well known time. A time I tried to escape with the much more naked Road King.

A windscreen is not a fairing, and I must admit, as nice as they look, the 6 diamond cut gauges are useless to me, as I can not read them while riding. I wear prescription glasses that do not focus on such short distances. All I can see is the odometers big handle pointing to 10 or 1 o’clock, knowing that it means I am riding at 50 mph or too fast. Diamond cut sparkles are in this world of blurred recognition a further distraction, and if the Volt Meter shows 11 or 11.5 V becomes a very irrelevant information. No, fairings overloaded with gauges and switches, as nice as they may look to enthusiasts, are not yet my cup of tea again. Maybe in a couple of years, maybe decades, when the slightest of wind disturbances around the more simple windscreen become a physical challenge. Road King 1: Road Glide 0.

The Road King offers little protection for the legs, but on the Road Glide ride I for the first time realised the heat generated by the exhaust pipes many riders complain about. The reason must lie in the front crash bar mounted leg protectors, who dutifully channel away wind and rain from your legs, but they allow a hot furnace to slowly burn your right tight. Road King 2 : Road Glide 0.

The silky smooth 110 cu.in. Screaming Eagle engine is a dream. Tough the demo bike just had done 130 miles in its short life, and I did not want to push it, this not yet run in engine easily showed its muscle, and it did not even have open pipes yet. Road King 2 : Road Glide 1.

And then there is the music system, able to transform every Glide into a bass thumping disco machine. Nice, sometimes, but not a must, as all these modern gadgets of mobile phones, BlackBerry’s and intercom, bike to bike CB and iPod connections are the modern tools and toys I just try to escape when riding my bike for pleasure, and I am happy to leave them at home or in the office, or, as we can not free us fully from the digital links to the world, keep them switched off during the ride in my saddlebags. Hand signs and light signals with my fellow riders did just fine during the last 20.000 miles. Road King 3 : Road Glide 1.

Thankful and with a smile I returned the fob of the 2011 CVO Road Glide, and after a few words Michael the salesman noted in his book: call Axel once they launch the 2013 CVO Road King – which last happened 5 yeras ago, in the 2008 line-up. This said, the 2012 CVO Road Glide Custom, without the “ultra” top box, really looks stunning…


7 Responses to “Waiting for the 2013 CVO Road King Screaming Eagle Custom”

  1. harleyd16@sbcglobal.net Says:

    Joey V. Get YOUR shit straight. HD made a Road King Custom SE in 2008.

  2. if you need crash bars, stay home – Road Kings Rule – Full Baggers are for sissies

  3. I liked reading your review. Good point about the fairing and engine heat. I hadn’t heard it before.

  4. First off, there’s no “G” at the end of Screamin’
    Second, H-D stopped building the Road King Custom in 2007 (due to slow sales of that model, so I doubt it will be coming back)
    And lastly, you refered to “crash bars” which the company calls “ENGINE GUARDS.”
    Get your shit straight, before you talk about Harley-Davidsons!!

  5. I couldn’t agree more about the gauges. I really don’t care for needless distractions when I ride. I don’t even use an audio system or ear phones and an iPod. A big part of my riding therapy is the sound of the road and the world around me while I ride. I prefer to get lost in my imagination brought on by the sounds of my engine and the wind. This includes even the longest of rides.

    Sometimes I stop and look at sounds systems, and I’ll admit when I’m on a group ride it’s pretty cool when I pull up next to one of my fellow riders who is jamming to the Beatles on their speakers, but I just don’t think I’ll ever put speakers on my bike. I’m just an old chopper guy at heart.

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