For many of us, the Harley-Davidson alphabet code is a bewildering thicket of consonants. FLSTSC collides with VRSCDX, causing reasonably intelligent minds to buckle. Amid the clutter, one acronym has become a familiar badge of exclusivity in the Harleyverse since 1999; the SE, or Screamin’ Eagle designation, is assigned to those machines produced by Harley-Davidson’s elite Custom Vehicle Operations unit. CVO is the Motor Company’s Special Ops, Chrome Division. Milwaukee’s Delta Force of Soul.
Each year, Harley’s CVO division hand-builds a limited number of bikes customized with parts from the mammoth Genuine Parts catalog, adrenaline-boosted by key Screamin’ Eagle performance accessories and finished with sparkling hand-painted graphics. Available through select dealers for well below what it would cost to gather all the necessary hardware at street prices (never mind the custom pain), the CVO machines offer customers an exclusive package at a reasonable price, while providing H-D a thundering, mobile showcase of what can be created with a wise use of the imagination. (Click image to enlarge
CVO’s artisans of muscle and flash have uncaged a quartet of beautiful beasts for 2007. Built around a snarling 110 cu in motor nestled in leather and chrome, each model is refined for maximum style and power. This year, the 3rd generation Screamin’ Eagle Road King returns to the CVO lineup after a four-year hiatus to take the platform farther and faster, with more brutish elegance than ever.
The most powerful production engine in Harley-Davidson’s history, the Twin Cam 110 is a big-bore variant of the new-standard TC 96 mill. Larger, lighter four-inch pistons ride the same 4.4-inch stroke as the TC 96. Screamin’ Eagle heads with larger intake and exhaust valves, along with roomier combustion chambers, raise compression a tad, while SE-255 cams provide increased intake and exhaust duration. Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) feeds the 110’s lusty appetite. The sum of these black and chrome parts is a claimed 115 ft lbs of torque at 3000 rpm, up 13 percent over last year’s 103 cu in CVOs. (Click image to enlarge
Matching its high-performance muscle, the SE Road King is majestically draped in custom flash. Three different color options are finished in shimmering hand-painted pinstripes and leafing that absolutely dazzles in the sunlight. Abundant with typically flawless Milwaukee chrome accessories, the SE Road King features chrome and rubber hand and foot controls from Harley’s Ironside collection, a spun aluminum speedo/tachometer and a chrome-hooped tombstone taillight. Flame-stitched leather saddlebags match the plush leather seat. The custom touches extend well into the details—a crescent-shaped LED fuel gauge reveals itself beneath the flush-mounted, mirrored surface for a touch of stealth-cool. (Click image to enlarge
)The starter kicks the TC 110 into a lively rumba at idle, so keep your aviators off the tank or you’ll be plucking them off the pavement. Pulling away from the curb, the primal thump spilling out of the crossover dual exhaust evolves into a soulful bark as the King’s chrome luster glints off the exposed molars of an attentive citizenry. With a seat height of 27.5 inches and slightly forward foot controls, the King settles you into a comfortable upright position. The removable, pivoting lumbar backrest pivots slightly and supplies crucial lower back support. Chrome Road Winder wheels carry 18-inch Dunlop rubber up front under a Fat Boy-style fender.Blasting around town, the TC 110 makes the 786-pound SE Road King feel more like a steroidal Dyna than a fully appointed Touring Monarch. The bike is nicely balanced and handling is surprisingly brisk between the lights. The virile powerplant surges aggressively in any gear, with no lugging or hesitation. The TC 110 is allied with the 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission, making gear change much more fluid than its previous five-speed incarnation. While lever effort is moderate, the hydraulically actuated clutch’s high-performance spring engages friction immediately, bringing on the low-end torque. A steady hand is an asset.The majestic Road King certainly collects envious glances at stoplights, but out on the highway, the bike earns its regal banner. The TC 110 releases floods of power for an exhilarating ride that is as polished as its chrome engine covers. Cruising just below the ticket zone in the mid 2000-rpm range, the four-inch duals lay down a growling, two-fisted sonic push. The added thump makes for a truly addictive ride. Once Harley owners experience the authoritative power and acceleration of the TC 110, settling for standard-issue muscle will feel like an act of ascetic self-denial.
Crowning supreme performance with opulent custom flash, the H-D Screamin’ Eagle Road King makes an authoritative statement for the Motor Company and for the 3500 customers who will ride one home from a dealership. Thanks to the Harley-Davidson’s exclusive CVO division, that statement pounds the road like an iron fist in a velvet glove.www.harley-davidson.com