Harley-Davidson Rolls Out the '08 CVOs

It's hard to believe, but the manufacturers are already rolling out their new, 2008 model year bikes. First out of the gate is Harley-Davidson. However, these aren't the run-of-the-mill production models, no sirree-these are the CVO Screamin' Eagle bikes. If you aren't familiar with Custom Vehicle Operations, they're the ones who create rolling showcases for Harley's Parts & Accessory Division, with a generous sprinkling applied to each of these bikes.

Common to all of them is the 110 c.i. Twin Cam 110B engine with a 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission, this year with an exclusive granite finish. For the Dyna, torque is up to 105 ft.-lbs., climbing to 110 for the Springer Softail with its "heavy breather" intake, then jumping up to 115 for the FL models, the Road King and Ultra Classic Electra Glide. According to H-D, you'll feel less "in between gears." Basically, you get a "stock" motor that puts out power like a custom engine, but coming with a full factory warranty.

Also, in honor of The Motor Company's 105th anniversary, they've created an anniversary paint scheme, in limited edition, serialized numbers, with a special cloisonne' badge, available on each of the four models. It's described as crystal copper and black onyx paint with gold leaf graphics. Pictures don't do it, or the other CVO paint schemes, justice. And in case you're wondering, the paint on the CVO bikes is done by hand, pin stripes and all. Anniversary exclusivity will set you back an extra $495.

However, the truly big news is that Harley has taken a big leap into 21st Century with the introduction of an Anti-lock Braking System on the CVO FL models and as an option on the Touring and VRSC models. The system is tiny, hiding behind the right side-cover, with the only external evidence being a discreet black wire on the front left fork and by the rear brake (itself hidden behind the right saddlebag). Further, H-D took the high road and separated the system front and rear, so there is none of the dreaded linked braking that mars a number of other ABS packages. They describe it a "manual assist" in that the rider must maintain brake lever or pedal pressure once the system kicks in.

The Softail Springer is the hot rod of the bunch. Combining the nostalgia of the springer front-end and small headlight, they've gone and thrown on a forward-facing air cleaner ("Heavy Breather") for your stoplight-to-stoplight drag racing pleasure. The engine is rigid-mounted and counter-balanced to eliminate 90 percent of primary engine vibration. Handling is made nice by the 18" front wheel and a cruiser-moderate 200 mm rear tire. The list of upgrades is extensive, with color-matched and chromed parts springled liberally throughout the bike. MSRP is $24,995, plus an extra C-note for you Californians.

On the other hand, the Dyna, while still having mondo motor, is the one that most screams, "Hey! Look at me!" The flames and marbled graphics with either the scarlet red pearl or candy cobalt paint will sear your eyeballs and make your heart rate jump 50 beats per minute. Combined with a generous helping of chrome, including the chromed cast wheels-tre's trick-it's ready for some serious boulevard cruising. Wheels are big 21-incher up front, with a 17 inch rear. Tasty bits include a 4 inch spun aluminum tachometer, Stealth collection grips, foot pegs, brake pedal and shift peg, and a new full-length chrome fuel tank console. All this for the same price as the Softail.

The CVO people are providing you with two ways to cover the big miles, the more essential Road King and the everything-but-the-Kegerator Ultra Classic Electra Glide. To help you cover those miles, they both include 6-gallon fuel tanks. As mentioned, both of these bikes come with the new H-D ABS for your emergency stopping needs.

With a 115 ft.-lbs. of torque at a mere 3000 rpm, plus a windscreen, the Road King is designed to gobble up the miles with ease. The bike includes comfortably shaped handlebars, floorboards and a. windscreen. Not enough? How about a new electronic throttle control, custom leather seats, backrests and saddlebags, and a pile of Ironside collections chrome parts and Road Winder forged Aluminum wheels? Yeah, we like it, too. $29,290 gets you in the saddle, with the usual $100 ding for California buyers.

New features on the Ultra for '08 include the Ultra King Tour Pak top box and passenger backrest, complete with a chrome luggage rack. If you can't decide what to listen to or whether to yak away, the Harman-Kardon audio system includes CD, AM/FM, WB, MP3 input, CB, intercom (with separate passenger audio controls), XM radio and integrated GPS. Not enough electronics? There's also an electronic throttle control. Hauling down this bike in a hurry are Brembo brakes front and rear, with front floating rotors, along with the aforementioned ABS should the need arise. This cushy cross-country capability will set you back $34,995, with an extra $100 fee for Golden State riders.

We'll give you our riding impressions on these and other models in the October 2007 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser, on sale 8/14