In case anyone is thinking about getting us something at any point in the future, e.g., birthdays, anniversary, next Christmas…. there are only four things that come immediately to mind with regard to additional changes / equipment I’d like to make / add to our 2013 Road King CVO. In no particular order…
- A set of Traxxion Dynamics AK-20 Axxion Cartridge forks shocks to replace the 40-year old technology-based springs and dampers in the stock CVO shocks. Not cheap, and it’s something Harley should have adopted about 15 years ago, 5 years after they came on the market. Cest la vie. But, definitely on the short list for this bike. The stock fork suspension really is quite awful, e.g., it does a lousy job of “soaking up” bumps and dives during braking, neither of which are good things or what you’d expect in a $30k motorcycle. My ’98 Honda CBR1100S had a better performing fork and it was also made by Showa; go figure.
- A pair of Motolight Motorcycle Riding Lights to (a) increase the likelihood that motorists will see us, and (b) to add some additional road illumination. I’ve got these on our BMW R1100S and added them to our R1150RT; simply an amazing difference in term of making a motorcycle easier to see and to judge its distance and closing speed. I’ve been struggling with the finish selection. Intuitively you’d think chrome would be the best fit. However, I’m really not sure I want the lights to “stand out” on the bike. So, the black matte finish — which is the same as the finish of the Harley brake caliper’s they attach to — might be the best choice. Well, OK. perhaps the second best choice. In hindsight, I should have had a set of these painted by Joe Z. at Xtreme Dimension too! That would probably be the “best” finish and I may still go that way, depending on the cost. Hey, it’s a $120 up charge on the $390 lights for chrome, so anything less than that for color-matched custom paint is a no-brainer, eh? Yeah, no brainer…. Oh the costs of vanity.
- A cam upgrade to a set of Andrews 54s using Fullsac’s Stage II kit or a similar installation. The stock Harley-Davidson 255 cams sub optimize the 110″ engine’s performance to meet California emission standards and a new set of cams + an ECU update will provide a significant increase in horsepower and torque, or should I say a restoration of the inherent power of the 110″ Harley motor. They key is timing this upgrade, as Harley’s and CVO’s in particular seem to have some inherent cam, crank, cam-drive and tensioner issues. I’d like to think that a timely intervention will give me the performance bump while catching a preventative maintenance issue (cam tensioner replacement) before it does any harm.
- Addition of a removable batwing faring for the winter months / highway touring trips from someone like Dragonfly. I don’t know that I’ll need a custom-painted model, as an unpainted one with a black bra might just do the trick. Yeah, right. As OCD as I am about this stuff, fat chance that I’d go on the cheap with something like a very noticeable batwing fairing. Ha, ha. However, right now I’m waiting to see if any of the fairing manufacturers follow Harley’s lead and add a vent to their fairings, as I’m a big fan of vented, full-fairing bikes. Our ’04 BMW R1150RT was vented (and had an electrically adjustable windscreen, hello HD… are you listening) and it made all the difference in the world vs. the awful buffeting you get with most Harley’s that have windscreens or fairings. Go figure, eh?
Cost for all that? I’d rather not say; it’s a lot of coin to be sure. Which is why it’s on a wish list. #2 (Motolights) is the most likely near term addition. The most important is probably #3 (engine upgrade/rework), in terms of the long-term health of the bike. #1 (suspension) is the one change that would provide the most noticeable improvement. #4 (fairing) is a pure luxury item; the windscreen I have is working pretty well. May have to go and ride an Ultra or Street Glide with a batwing to remind myself of the difference.
Of course, in looking at what I’ve already done to the bike I think I pretty much blew the entire business case for buying a CVO vs. a stock Road King. It was my hope that by “getting it all” with the CVO package I’d avoid most of the upgrades that yield nearly nothing in terms of an ROI if you go to sell. Yeah, right. Just to get the bike outfitted with a luggage rack and fitting decent shocks blew that idea out of the water.
So, what have I done so far?
- There were the original 8 mods that I made right after bringing it home:
- Custom Dynamics LED turn signal rounds & load equalizer
- Turn signal trim rings
- Kuryakyan Scythe II mirrors
- Finned Cylinder head bridges
- Original chrome four-point-dock & two sets of magnetic docking port covers
- “AirWing” luggage rack
- Clear bra for hard bag covers (subsequently removed)
- Next came the Fullsac exhaust header, 2″ exhaust cores + TTS Mastertune
- The first set of mid-frame heat deflectors were added next.
- Then came the Bitubo rear shock upgrade.
- And of course, we now have the color-matched parts:
- Mid-frame heat deflectors
- Jaffee Stealth III license plate frame
And Yes… I know exactly what all of this has cost, as I keep detailed records for everything I do to our cars and motorcycles. You’d think I’d have learned after doing all of the mods to our Wide Glide that this kind of “spending” is analogous to burning hundred-dollar bills for heat, i.e., you don’t get a lot of heat but at least it’s expensive!
Oh well, like I said… our financial guy says we’re doing fine and if I wanted to I could retire in 18 months at age 55. So, at least in the interim, we’re enjoying life to the fullest. My father passed at 52 back in ’79, my father’s brother (Uncle John) and then his sons (my cousins Billy & Mike) all passed in their 40’s. My father’s father (Dada, who passed the year before I was born) was virtually incapacitated in his late 40’s. Medical issues got them all, not traumatic injuries. My mother’s daddy, my grandpa, was hit by a drunk motorist while unloading groceries in the middle of the day shortly after retiring and was never able to fully enjoy his “golden years”. So, the only thing I know for sure is that I’m alive and kicking right now. As for what’s around the next corner, that’s anyone else’s guess.
Hey, that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.
Save for tomorrow, but Carpe Diem.