Without a doubt, the Custom Vehicle Operations portion of the 2014 Harley-Davidson CVO Softail Deluxe is exactly what we’ve come to expect.
In this case, the eye drinks in plenty of chrome swimming around an exquisite Art-Deco inspired paint job with a Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110B engine to make sure you don’t get left behind at stoplights.
Also commanding my attention were the leather-covered bags and tall windshield, along with Harley-Davidson’s claim of a “compact rider triangle,” — I’m 5′ 6″, so that is an alluring feature on a bike proclaimed to be “tour ready.”
Last issue of Ultimate MotorCycling magazine I tested the Harley-Davidson Road King, with all the magic that Project Rushmore imbued into that touring bike. In comparison, the CVO Softail Deluxe is severely lacking.
Missing the impressively rigid Touring frame, the CVO also suffers from relatively flimsy 41.3mm forks, rather than the beefy 49mm Road King forks held in a muscular triple clamp. The Deluxe feels sure at speed in straight lines on only the smoothest pavement, and anything other than casual cornering is best left to the steely nerved.
Further, the balanced motor can be hard on the hands after a while, and the GPS unit is difficult to read in direct sunlight. Suffice to say, I’m just not feeling it.
While the CVO Softail Deluxe is far from ideal for touring, there’s still a bit more to the story; remember, the bags and wind- shield are detachable.
The ergonomics for the city are perfect for me. The bars pull back nicely, the firm leather seat is comfortingly low, and the chrome-enhanced Slipstream Collection footboards are not too far forward.
With 107 ft/lbs of torque available at 3000 rpm, the CVO Deluxe is exceedingly easy to ride in traffic, as needed acceleration is there, regardless of speed or gear position. The low center of gravity keeps the 782-pound bike reasonably agile.
I left the bags on for quick trips to Whole Foods to gather deviled horn melon, white sapote, and other unusual produce — just another reason to go for a ride. I can even slip a soft cooler in the bags for leftovers when I take the bike out to dinner. Yes, the Deluxe is a premium motorcycle, but it’s also one that is happily practical.
If you’re looking for a motorcycle that makes a strong statement in the urban environment, and is still equipped for the occasional low-expectation weekend getaway, the 2014 Harley-Davidson CVO Softail Deluxe nicely fits the bill.
Practical and fun, as well as imposingly friendly, you will be hard-pressed to find a more impressive way to get around town.
- Helmet: HJC RPHA Max Align J
- Jacket: H-D Women’s Springbrook
- Gloves: River Road Tallahassee
- Jeans: Ugly Bros Aegis-K
- Boots: Harley-Davidson Rosa
Story from Ultimate MotorCycling magazine; for subscription services, click here.