2013 Harley-Davidson CVO Breakout Review

The super-premium custom Softail


The savings from your Ramen noodle diet and windowless apartment living has amassed into a small fortune. And now, after riding the pretenders, graduating in displacement and quality with each pre-owned cruiser purchase, it’s time for reaping the reward for which you’ve struggled. The 2013 Breakout from Harley-Davidson’s Custom Vehicle Operations constitutes a dream bike and its launch, coinciding with your newfound disposable income, could be interpreted as fate.

If ever it was appropriate to plagiarize a cliché, and before I do let me apologize to Tom Riles and Brian J. Nelson (the renowned photographers of motorcycling ilk responsible for the images here): Pictures do not convey the beauty of this new model. Harley’s CVO group prides itself on creating “artistry you want to ride,” and the Breakout embodies this philosophy.  

2013 Harley Davidson CVO Breakout 01

Hard Candy Gold Dust and Liquid Sun with Pagan Gold is a mouthful of a color scheme, but it’s deserved. The process begins with hand-sanding the fuel tank and fenders, then hand-polishing the finish and intentionally leaving subtle swirl marks ghostly visible in tribute to the imperfection of the non-mechanized procedure. The Pagan Gold color is applied followed by a tinted clear coat. The Gold Dust portion is created by sprinkling large metal flakes across a black background then covering with the same tinted clear. The finished product salivates the mouth of a bike enthusiast more than an ice-cream mirage does a desiccated man in the desert.

2013 Harley Davidson CVO Breakout 02 2013 Harley Davidson CVO Breakout 03

The Breakout is also available in a similar Black Diamond and Molten Silver with Crushed Slate color scheme and a third configuration, Crimson Red Sunglo and Scarlet Lace with Hammered Sterling graphics. To create the old school effect on the Crimson Red model, Black Candy paint is sprayed through lace fabric placed onto a Silver base, then topped with a finishing layer of Scarlet Candy. Because the lace is applied by hand, no two painted parts will have duplicate patterns.

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At $26,499, the Breakout is more than just striking colors and hand-worked metal driving its lofty MSRP. New, polished and chromed, 21-spoke cast aluminum Turbine wheels are accompanied by matching sprocket and brake rotors. The 21-inch front wears 130mm rubber and rolls between fork tubes spaced 1.75 inches further apart than other Softail models. A 240mm tire is fitted to an 18-inch wheel beneath the chopped rear fender.

“To create a compact, muscular profile we’ve chopped the fenders to the legal limit so more tire rubber is revealed at both ends of the bike,” says H-D styling manager, Kirk Rasmussen. “We gave the Turbine wheel a good deal of drama by pulling the spoke ridges all the way through to the rim, I think the ridges on the rear wheel look a little scary.

Powering the CVO Softail is a Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110B engine with a Heavy Breather intake. The Electronic Sequential Port Fuel-Injected (ESPFI) motor is manipulated via Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) and produces a claimed 112 ft. lbs. of torque at 3500 rpm. Power is delivered to the rear wheel by way of hydraulic clutch operation, an Assist & Slip Clutch Pack said to reduce driveline load, and a 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission. Weighing in wet at 724 pounds, the Breakout boasts the best power-to-weight ratio of any 2013 H-D model.

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Riding the Breakout requires a mental reevaluation. The act of throwing a leg over the machine elevates your level of cool by a factor of four, and once underway, trolling the local scene becomes a heightened experience of recognized envy.

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CVO engineers managed to reduce the leveraging effect often produced by wide rear tires and keep the Breakout feeling balanced when navigating corners. Cornering performance is restricted by its minimal ground clearance (4.3 in) and suspension travel (4.6 in and 3.1 in, front and rear, respectively), but power delivery and the sound accompanying it is intoxicating as the Breakout demonstrates competence from idle and through the rev range in each of its six gears.

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Like all CVO models the Breakout is equipped with ABS and a keyless ignition but is the only Softail to feature cruise control (positionable in half-mile-per-hour increments). Unlike the other 2013 CVOs, the Breakout does not come in a special 110th anniversary edition.

Akin to the Deuce and Springer CVO Softails before it, the Breakout continues the tradition of exclusivity, performance and style customers have come to expect from Harley-Davidson’s Custom Vehicle Operations.  If you’re drooling but can’t afford admission into the CVO club, start eating Ramen now and saving for the 2014 models.

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2013 Harley Davidson CVO Road King TR3_1358
2013 Harley Davidson CVO Road King TR3_1358
2013 Harley Davidson CVO Breakout 05
2013 Harley Davidson CVO Breakout 05
2013 Harley Davidson CVO Road King BJN40253
2013 Harley Davidson CVO Road King BJN40253
2013 Harley Davidson CVO Road Glide 02
2013 Harley Davidson CVO Road Glide 02
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