2012 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Custom Road Test Rider Magazine

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Harley-Davidson FLTRX Road Glide Custom

2012 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Custom Road Test

good cornering clearance, rake and a frame-mounted fairing, the CVO Glide Custom carves well.

Photo Credit: Wing

August 9, 2012

the menacing, brushed-nickel skulls on its and tank, to the smoky graphics around its sharknose fairing, 2012 FLTRXSE CVO Road Custom means business. the names of its high-end accessories—Agitator Rumble Collection components and Breather air cleaner—are street And Mr. CVO’s Screamin’ Eagle Cam 110 V-twin is the Godfather of the family, the powerful production engine from the Motor Company.

Its torque will make you an you just can’t refuse.

1999, Harley-Davidson’s Custom Operations has been building customs that get noticed by much everyone, like the blond who sashayed by at the gas station and “Nice paint job!” as she the two-tone Maple Metallic/Vivid color scheme. (She no chuckled to herself at the clashing of my yellow Shoei helmet and red suit.) The dark, glossy is best appreciated in bright where the bronze metal sparkles brilliantly, like a speedboat or El Camino on a summer Never have I ridden a that’s drawn so many knowing nods and long, stares.

Custom touches brushed-nickel skull medallions on the and fuel tank, hand-laid and Real Smoke graphics.

model year, Harley’s Vehicle Operations selects models, and then adds the Cam 110 engine, exclusive components, accessories and innovative paint to create limited-edition motorcycles with curb appeal. For the CVO lineup includes the Softail Street Glide, Ultra Electra Glide, as well as the Glide Custom you see here November 2011).

The leaner, meaner Road Custom replaced the standard Glide for 2010, and 2012 is the year it’s gotten the CVO treatment. Other FLTRXSE schemes include White Pearl/Starfire Black and Candy Blue, and all feature Real graphics and a color-matched, custom Touring seat with a pillion (ours is brown gold stitching).

Strapped to Tuning’s dyno, the CVO Road Custom belted out 90.5 and 109.0 lb-ft of torque, over 100 lb-ft of torque on tap 2,300 to 4,700 rpm—by far the numbers we’ve ever for a Harley-Davidson. Black powdercoated and the 110 ci (1,802cc) V-twin has a bore and of 4.0 x 4.4 inches, a 9.15:1 compression two pushrod-actuated overhead valves per and self-adjusting hydraulic lifters.

The V-twin jiggles your handles at idle but lopes smoothly at speed, transmitting little vibration to the rider. Sequential Port Fuel meters air and juice precisely, and a dry-sump lubrication system everything well oiled. is sent to the rear wheel via actuated wet clutch, 6-speed Drive transmission with a shifter and belt final

Working the clutch gave my hand a workout, shifting was in lower gears and finding at a stop was challenging, but gear were generally trouble-free.

The FLTRXSE rolls on Contrast Agitator Custom Wheels in sizes shod with Harley-Davidson Series tires.

by Harley’s Electronic Throttle (throttle-by-wire), which eliminates throttle cables, response to the grip is immediate and addictive. chrome exhausts, which black billet end caps engraved chrome “spears,” mildly at steady throttle but a loud report during acceleration. On an already loud-n-proud such as this there’s no need to bolt on straight

On the open road, the Twin Cam 110 and spins a mere 2,200 rpm in the top gear, illuminating a small “6” on the speedo. The 6-gallon fuel has a low-profile console housing a CVO graphic, a flush-mount chrome cap on the right side and a chrome, fuel gauge on the left. We 37.2 mpg during this in a mix of riding conditions with and a passenger, good for 223 miles on a tank of premium.

Complementing the note is a block-rockin’ Harmon-Kardon Audio CD/FM/AM/WB system, a 200-watt amplifier hidden in the and MTX Audio two-way, 5- x 7-inch and 2-inch tweeters mounted on the It also comes with an 8GB iPod nano etched the Bar Shield logo—a nifty that was notably absent our test bike—plus iPod and a connector and holder in the right-side

A button on the left handlebar the speed-sensitive volume and one on the right between modes, advances etc. Both my iPhone and Classic worked without any but the FLTRXSE owner’s manual that compatibility with other than an iPod cannot be guaranteed (with my Classic plugged in, I received a message that “iPods hard drives could be probably due to vibration).

The stereo delivers thunderous loud enough to be heard decent clarity at 75 mph while a full-face helmet, shield and earplugs in. On a war horse such as I recommend keeping Wagner’s of the Valkyries” in the single-disc CD player.

damping and preload adjustment is in the rear shock; compression is in the right.

While certain features of the CVO Road Glide lend themselves to wild-child the bike is actually mild with responsive handling, ergonomics and good wind Since 2008, Harley’s models have been together by a tubular-steel double-cradle with a two-piece backbone and downtubes, plus a bolt-on and steel swingarm.

The stout handles the FLTRXSE’s 847-pound and ample torque with delivering a rock-solid ride and handling. The frame-mounted fairing handling feel compared to one fork mounted, and the 28-degree keeps steering sharp. Add in cornering clearance—30 degrees 32 degrees right—and a modest rear tire, and you’ve got a for an enjoyable ride on any smoothly road.

Bumpy roads are things start to unravel, because the slammed rear has only two inches of travel. The dual shocks, which 40mm pistons, compression in the right shock, and rebound in the left with a remote preload adjuster, are premium compared to the air-adjustable shocks in the $19,499 base-model Road Custom.

But regardless of quality, mass and can quickly overwhelm such a range of travel, bottoming out on bumps and bouncing the rider out of the The non-adjustable fork with 4.6 of travel offers decent most of the time, but it reacts to sharp-edged bumps.

The Screamin’ Twin Cam 110 is Harley’s most production engine, good for horsepower and 109.0 lb-ft of at the rear wheel.

Harley-Davidson FLTRX Road Glide Custom

The CVO Road Custom’s 19-inch front/18-inch Contrast Chrome Agitator Wheels increase wheel by 1 inch in the front and 2 inches in the compared to the standard Road Custom, raising the seat by a half-inch and adding a bit more clearance. Dunlop Harley-Davidson tires offer good grip and turn-in, but their low reduces bump absorption and contributes some harshness to the

Agitator floating front match the wheels, and all three of the discs are squeezed by Brembo calipers with braided stainless steel brake and standard ABS. The brakes plenty of stopping power but not much feel at the lever and

From the reach to the internally handlebar to the shape and 27.5-inch of the dished touring seat and the of the rubber-mounted footboards, most will find the ergonomics of the agreeable. However, the high and my long-inseam legs put my knees my waist, forcing my hips an awkward angle.

The removable passenger seat is but firm and not very big; riding on it for several hours, my stopped speaking to me for nearly the length of time. Neither of us had any about the smoked, aerodynamically Wind Splitter windscreen, provides much better protection than the stubby deflector found on the standard Glide Custom.

I felt mild turbulence at the top of my helmet, but results may vary—Editor Tuttle, who is than me, experienced significant Road Glide air deflectors the engine guards further to a fairly calm cockpit.

instrument panel includes a complement of gauges and a 200-watt system with speakers.

The extended, injection-molded, locking have a total volume of cubic feet. They’re and deep but narrow; they hold a full-face helmet but easily hold a folded jacket in each side small items such as Both saddlebags can be easily without tools, but the unsightliness of the bike means there’s no to do so except cleaning and on the left to access the preload adjuster.

says its CVO Road Glide offers an “unmatched hot-rod experience.” The FLTRXSE certainly has the half of the equation nailed, a big, torquey engine, audio system, stunning job and tons of chrome and accessories. And loaded with extras Harley’s Smart Security with proximity-based fob, an cover with embroidered CVO and a commemorative CVO ignition key in a display

But the touring half of the equation a bit short. Sure, there’s cruise control, audio and storage, but the passenger accommodations are and the slammed rear suspension and tires make for a harsh on bumpy roads. Life is tradeoffs, and sometimes sacrifices be made for style—just ask any woman who by her $800 Manolo Blahnik heels.

Owning a CVO bike major street cred Harley enthusiasts, and for a select few sort of bragging rights are the money and a little discomfort.

The CVO Glide Custom is a fully tourer, though its slammed suspension and limited passenger favor style over

2012 H-D FLTRXSE CVO Road Custom

Base Price:

Warranty: 2 yrs. unltd.

Harley-Davidson FLTRX Road Glide Custom
Harley-Davidson FLTRX Road Glide Custom
Harley-Davidson FLTRX Road Glide Custom
Harley-Davidson FLTRX Road Glide Custom


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