2010 CVO Softail Convertible | Review


The brand-new 2010 Harley-Davidson Softail Convertible unseats the classically styled Springer as the Softail platform's CVO representative. A kind of high-functioning multiple personality disorder with turn signals, the Convertible's conceit is both simple and shrewd.

Want to make that multi-state run to Sturgis with all the baggerly amenities, but don't feel like cruising the strip sandwiched between your luggage and a bug-bloodied windshield? Harley's answer to the drop top allows you to tour two-up and saddlebagged, comfortably tucked behind a smoked windscreen.

When short-range sorties are in order, the leather bags and fairing-mounted screen, along with the passenger pillion, backrest (and presumably, the passenger) are ditched without tools in roughly the time it takes to recite the Convertible's elaborate trio of color options.

The Softail Convertible is a prime example of CVO's role as incubator of new styling and technology. Most visible in this case are the ridged, shuriken-like 18-inch chrome aluminum Stinger wheels.

While the Convertible's protean nature might be its chief selling point, the new Softail's ergos and ride character are what won me over. Tucking upright and low into the 24.4-inch seat provokes immediate throttle abuse as the rigidly mounted Twin-Cam 110B engine gulps air through the exposed intake. The low seat height makes the bike comfortable and easy to handle.

On the road, counterbalanced engine vibes fade into the scenery as the hard-pulling engine reaches for its claimed peak of 110 ft/lbs of torque at 3000 rpm. As the digital speedo climbs along with the headwind, the smoked shield protects against body blows, but its limited coverage does little to reduce helmet buffeting. The Convertible's aft suspension is slightly lower than that of standard Softails and the 3.3 inches of rear travel is sufficient to soak up most road ripples.

The new 200 rear Dunlop radial, while 20mm fatter than its CVO brethren, is easily coaxed through footboard scraping turns, while lending some cruiserly heft to the Convertible's hindquarters. Stopping power is adequate, even for a 756-pounder packing CVO's added muscle.

2010 Harley-Davidson CVO Softail Convertible Features

>> Detachable compact fairing with smoked windshield
>> Detachable leather-covered saddlebags with genuine buffalo-hide inserts
>> Custom-leather seat and detachable passenger pillion with genuine buffalo-hide inserts
>> Detachable upright and backrest pad with genuine buffalo-hide inserts
>> 18-inch chrome aluminum Stinger wheels with matching Stinger chrome sprocket
>> Combination digital speedometer and analog tachometer
>> Full-coverage wide rear fender and trimmed front fender
>>Two-piece chrome and color-matched tank console
>> 200/50R18 radial rear tire New Light bar with integrated stop/tail/turn lights
>> High-flow Ventilator engine air intake with engine-turned insert and rain sock
>> Exclusive paint scheme in three color combinations
>> Color-matched powder coated frame and swingarm, frame inserts, saddlebag brackets
>> Screamin' Eagle Twin Cam 110BTM Granite powder-coated powertrain
>> 110 Screamin' Eagle identifiers on cylinder heads
>> Chrome, shorty-dual exhaust with slashdown chrome mufflers and chrome heat shields
>> Rumble Collection grips, floorboards, passenger and shifter pegs, brake pedal pad and mirrors

The Softail Convertible succeeds on its performance merits alone. The notion that you're getting two bikes in one is certainly a lagniappe, provided you're not expecting all the comforts of a conventional full dress touring bike.


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