Harley-Davidson’s Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) touring models are the top-shelf factory customs of the Glide family (Street Glide, Road Glide, and Limited) offered by Motor Company to what they call their “alpha” customers. Alphas are the customers who want to attract attention to themselves. They want to have the very best and frequently use the CVO models as their leaping off point for their own accessorizing/customizing efforts. Given the top dog status of the CVO models, Harley’s designers always give the next model year’s offerings something to make them different from any previous Harley. Let’s take a tour of what makes the 2018 Harley-Davidson CVO line special.
The CVO models always have the biggest engine available from the factory. Since the 114 engine is now offered as an option in the Softail line, the CVO models line needed to go one better. While it is possible to build a 117 engine from the Parts & Accessories catalog, the only way to get a 117 cube Milwaukee-Eight engine direct from the factory is in a new 2018 CVO touring model.
Since customizers are putting big, 21-inch wheels on Road Glides, Harley’s designers and engineers decided they’d do it the right way. By adapting the factory front suspension, Harley claims the CVO Road Glide avoids many of the handling pitfalls of less fully-integrated installations. This is one feature that non-CVO customers can add via Harley’s extensive Parts & Accessories catalog.
The CVO Street Glide, more than any other CVO, is a rolling sound system. The 6.5 Boom! audio system features two amplifiers pumping out a massive 900 watts of power through six separate speakers. The sound is so important on the CVO Street Glide that the lowers surrendered the Twin-Cooled radiators to make space for two sets of speakers in front of and below the rider for true surround sound.
In the past, CVO paint options consisted of the same exclusive paint scheme in three different colors. For 2018, each CVO model comes in one of three limited-production patterns for a total of 9 completely different paint options over the CVO line. However, the differences don’t just include the paint. Look that the three bikes above. The engines get their own different treatments, too.
The CVO Limited is the flagship Harley-Davidson. Consequently, something special had to be done to set it apart visually from the other CVO models. The glow coming from below appearance of the fade paint scheme, normally the province of expert paint craftsmen, has now been perfected for use on a mass produced motorcycle. This required dedicating an entire paint bay and all of its robot painters so they could be programmed to accurately recreate the fade on every part of the motorcycle. You won’t find paint like this on any factory motorcycle in the world – except the CVO Limited.