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2013 Harley Davidson CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide

Harley Davidson FLHTCUSE6 CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide

Despite the clear intrusion on its turf by the Road Glide Ultra, the Harley Davidson FLHTCUSE6 CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide is still claimed by Harley Davidson to be the epitome of touring luxury and performance. Returning for its sixth year in the CVO line-up, the Ultra Classic features the same technological advancements as the Harley Davidson FLHTCUSE6 CVO Ultra Road Glide, including the new audio and navigation systems (sans the CVO Road Glide Ultra’s BOOM! Speakers), spring board suspended heated seat, adjustable rider and passenger backrests and standard remote-control power locks for the Tour Pak, saddlebags and ignition.

The 2013 HD CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide FLHTCUSE6 new styling appointments include chrome billet muffler caps with black spears, new chrome mirrors, diamond-cut inserts for the CB pod, Tour-Pak lid and air cleaner. It rolls on 18" Agitator wheels featuring Harley-Davidson’s Contrast Chrome finish, and it is available in only one custom color scheme, Black Ember/Rio Red with Flame Graphic. It will also be the rarest of Harley’s 2012 CVO models, with just 1500 units slated for production, and its $36,499 MSRP makes it the most expensive factory Harley money can buy.

Harley Davidson FLHTCUSE6 CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide




Harley-Davidson’s 2012 FLHTCUSE6 CVO press launch took place in the scenic Sierra Nevada mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe on the Northern Cal/Nevada border. With miles of twisty roads enveloped by breathtaking forest scenery, the area seemed the ideal place in which to shake down Harley’s A-list machines. Unfortunately, there was a fair amount of road construction taking place along our 160-mile route, and the lengthy delays this imposed exposed two serious shortcomings on the FL-based tourers: vibration and heat.

Harley-Davidson’s Screamin’ Eagle 110-cid (1803cc) V-twin presents an incredibly muscular persona. Its undersquare 101.6mm bore and 111.3mm stroke create sufficient torque to cleanly accelerate the 933-lb. Harley-Davidson FLHTCUSE6 CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide or the even heavier 943-lb. CVO Road Glide Ultra. Its fuel injection is precise, its throttle response is excellent, its clutch and shifting action are smooth, and its signature rumble is sure to be music to any Harley fan’s ears, especially when the motor is turning over smoothly at 2400 rpm at indicated 65 mph in sixth gear.

2013 Harley Davidson FLHTCUSE6 CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide


However, in traffic is where the fun stops and the discomfort starts. The Screamin’ Eagle 110’s increased stroke shakes hard enough to seriously challenge the latest FL chassis’ rubber-mount vibration damping system. While idling, we noticed a considerable amount of unwelcome shake in the handlebars and fairings on the FL CVO models, which actually reminded us more of the old, solid-mounted, Evolution-powered Softails than touring bikes. It only reinforced our belief that the 110’s minor increase in torque and horsepower over the previous Screamin’ Eagle 103-cid engine isn’t a good tradeoff for the 103’s smoother engine character.

However, in traffic is where the fun stops and the discomfort starts. The Screamin’ Eagle 110’s increased stroke shakes hard enough to seriously challenge the latest FL chassis’ rubber-mount vibration damping system. While idling, we noticed a considerable amount of unwelcome shake in the handlebars and fairings on the FL CVO models, which actually reminded us more of the old, solid-mounted, Evolution-powered Softails than touring bikes. It only reinforced our belief that the 110’s minor increase in torque and horsepower over the previous Screamin’ Eagle 103-cid engine isn’t a good tradeoff for the 103’s smoother engine character.

2013 Harley Davidson FLHTCUSE6 CVO


Worse yet, all three CVO FL’s can become uncomfortably hot in traffic, and the heat is especially noticeable on the underside of the rider’s right thigh. Harley-Davidson engineers have attempted to address the heat issue by developing a system that cuts fuel and spark from the rear cylinder when the engine is at idle for a specified length of time, effectively turning it into an air pump which is supposed to lower engine temperatures. Even so, our experience with all three CVO FLs was that the rear exhaust pipe got so hot that it burned holes in the textile riding pants we were wearing when they came into slight contact with the pipe’s heat shield. We can’t imagine that this would be a desirable quality for someone ponying up over $30,000 for a motorcycle, limitededition or not. 

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