Perhaps it says something about just how comfortable we’ve been with “Blue”, our 2013 Road King CVO, in that our one-year anniversary of ownership passed almost without comment! Or, put another way, like all great relationships… time flies when you’re having fun and Blue has definitely delivered on fun.
Without question, if I had a chance to travel back in time I’d buy the exact same bike again; it’s darn near perfect for us in terms of the fit, the ride quality, sound system, luggage, frontal coverage (windscreen vs batwing or fairing) and of course the styling.
It’s had a few nits — tire wear is troublesome, the stereo and cruise control switches had a few bugs and the primary drive and clutch feel and sound like junk; however, so far they still work. Here’s hoping that if they are going to fail they’ll do so before next August! The one big thing that is still a bit annoying is the engine heat and I’m still not sure how to fix that. But, for all of its shortcomings, it’s still been a great bike for us that we’ll hold onto for a long, long time.
Anyway, here’s a recap of our first 12 months / 9,000 miles of life with Blue; most of the entries are hyperlinked to the related blog posting just in case you’re house-bound by weather, stuck in a hotel on travel or can’t sleep at night:
- Smokey Mountains: Over Labor Day 2013 via Cherohala Skyway & US129, Gatlinburg & Clingman’s Dome and turning the ODO over 1,000: let the real riding begin!
- Panama City Beach: 900 miles of smiles for a long weekend at Thunder Beach; great time even with all of the rain.
- Helen, Georgia: Three times, just because it’s a great ride!
- Dahlolnega, Georgia: Three times not including the three times we went on to Helen!
- Blue Ridge Georgia: Four times for lunch at Harvest on Main! It’s worth the trip.
- Daytona Beach: About 1,000 miles for Bike Week
- Panama City Beach: Thunder Beach Spring has become a favorite and rain still didn’t put too much of a damper on our fun.
- Nashville, TN: Long weekend road trip to Music City; more rain!
- Smokey Mountains: Motorcycling & tandem cycling; riding over the skyway and through the dragon for a 4th of July week of tandem cycling in Tennessee.
- Barber Motorsports Museum: A spontaneous back road trip over to Birmingham.
- 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, since swapped-out for Ohlins.
- To handle all of the electrical accessories, I added a Centech fuse block
- To tie everything together, add-on parts were replaced with ones that were repainted to match the bike by Xtreme Dimensions in New Jersey over the winter:
- Mid-frame heat deflectors
- Jaffee Stealth III license plate frame
- I had the saddle rebuilt by Marietta Auto Trim in February; it was just too soft.
- Motolights were added for safety and more light on the road in March.
- During Bike Week in March The Bitubo’s were replaced with Ohlins; the best.
- Bye-bye “110” Engine Trim Pieces: Derby, Points & Breather Covers.
- Spare Windsplitter Wind Screen, acquired from CVO Forum’s Brother “just in case”; a couple of rocks thrown into the screen at highway speeds gets your attention.
- Primary Chain Too Loose: Lots of noise on the way home; fixed during the 1st week
- 1,000 mile service: A no brainer, but strike #1 for my local service department.
- H-D Engine Bridge Rattles: A notoriously flawed H-D aftermarket part problem.
- Stock Saddle: A: Too Soft and B: A Crooked Cover
- Rear tire cupping; another notorious issue with the CVO’s Dunlop tires
- Engine heat; it’s really quite awful and amazing what we’ll put up with.
- Primary & Clutch noise; something ain’t right in there on these bikes.
- Lack of tire options; the Dunlops are far too prone for cupping for CVO use; owners need to have a choice if for no other reason than to give Dunlop motivation to fix the 407 CVO tire size tread design or compounds.
- Zinc hardware instead of stainless; would it kill you to use better hardware?
- CVO Saddle quality, it’s pretty poor guys… Base model saddles even seem better.
- Aftermarket cams, lifters and other “notoriously suspect” engine parts after the warranty expires; not sure I trust the extended warranty to be worth much given all of the horror stories / hit-or-miss experiences.
- Compensator / primary upgrades after the warranty expires; see above for engine.
- The search for a better set of tires! Dunlops are seriously lacking.
- Front suspension work at some point; Ohlins cartridges are the most likely candidates but Traxxion Dynamics are not out of the running just yet.
Blue joined our family on August 6th and came home on August 10th. Thank you Bob Sanchez at Harley-Davidson of Atlanta!