Become a Member: Get Ad-Free Access to 3,000+ Reviews, Guides, & More

Are Harley CVO models worth the money?

CVO Road Glide Ultra
CVO Road Glide Ultra

That’s a difficult question to answer because Harley-Davidson CVO (Custom Vehicle Operations) motorcycles are built in limited numbers. I may as well ask what price do you put on bragging rights and exclusivity?

Harley rotates the models that get the CVO treatment, usually having about four CVO models lasting two years.

CVO Softail Deluxe
CVO Softail Deluxe

For 2015, the line-up is Softail Deluxe and three Touring models, the Street Glide, Electra Glide Ultra Limited and the returned Road Glide, but an Ultra version with top box and lower fairings.

CVOs always come with a host of accessories and creature features, custom paint (it’s the first time they have made Hard Candy paint available on baggers), acres of chrome bling and, most importantly, a bigger engine than the standard size. These days that means a 110 instead of the 103.

But while the Deluxe CVO gets the high-output air-cooled 110, the others all come with the new twin-cooled engine introduced last year in the Rushmore Project. It’s the first time the water-cooled engine has been available in anything other than an Electra Glide.

CVO Street Glide
CVO Street Glide

Of course, that means the Street and Road Glides get lower fairings to conceal the discrete twin radiators that cool the engine heads and give it more oomph and revs, plus cooler running. The Road Glide Ultra also gets a top box, making it the ultimate top-handling tourer.

I recently attended the world press launch in California for the 2015 model line-up and for the first time, we were allowed to ride CVOs.

Motorcycle journalists usually only get to look at these objects of desire. CVOs are never included in launches and never available for test rides. So it was a real privilege and honour to be able to throw a leg over one of these magnificent machines.

Our minder – Harley marketing director Adam Wright – must have been perspiring bucket-loads as we carved through the hills on these big-ticket CVOs along the twisting Big Sur coastal roads beside precipitous cliffs plunging into the Pacific Ocean.

But insurance waivers were put to the backs of our minds as we gave the bikes as much of a vigorous test as we normally give the “standard” bikes.

First impression is that they rev better and feel stronger. We tried some roll-on drags and they pull far quicker from deeper down low in the rev range. 

But that’s the practical side of things. They simply look great with all those chrome and billet trimmings.

They also sound great with a glorious exhaust like a forest full of bears clearing their throats first thing in the morning.

CVO Electra Glide Ultra Limited
CVO Electra Glide Ultra Limited

Another great sound is the glorious noise you get from the Boom! Box 6.5 audio system which comes with 12 speakers, including two in the pannier lids of the Street Glide and in the rear seat on the Ultras.

While many car and bike audio systems have variable speed-related volume adjustment that increases volume the faster you go, this variant of the system also adjusts the EQ. It pumps up the bass as your speed increases because wind noise cancels out low frequencies. So, as you go faster, the sound doesn’t become shrill. It just keeps pumping out hi-fidelity sound.

Adam says CVOs are “handcrafted customs”. “They are also often used to introduce custom components and techniques that later become available as accessories.”

He says they sell fewer than 250 a year in Australia and their most successful model was the CVO Breakout, which was also the first time a new model was introduced as a CVO.

“People were lined up for that one,” he says. “We almost sold out by the time they were released.”

He says CVOs don’t attract new customers to the brand. “They are well-heeled existing Harley owners usually looking for a second motorcycle,” he says. “They don’t do big miles on them, but pull them out on a sunny Sunday for special moments. They also hang on to them longer.”

He says the average changeover period for Harley owners is five years, but for CVO owners it’s closer to seven.  

When it comes time to trade, he says resale value is typically stronger for CVOs and they sell very quickly. “People don’t have any difficulty selling them because they have low mileage and there are so few, they are hard to find.”

Price differential between the standard models and the CVO variants this year ranges from $12,000 for the Street Glide to $16,000 for the Deluxe which is an absolute work of art with immaculate detailed machining on even the smallest components. By the way, it also gets a new sidestand that is easier to reach for short people. The new sidestand is also standard on the 2015 Fat Boy Lo and standard Deluxe. 

The best “value” CVO model is the full dresser Road Glide that costs an extra $14,000 but adds a top box as well as all the bling, audio and extra features.

2015 Harley-Davidson CVO prices

  • Softail Deluxe $44,995
  • Street Glide Special $46,995
  • Road Glide Ultra $48,995
  • Electra Glide Ultra Limited $50,995
  1. do you know how many street glide cvo’s were built in 2015 I have the hard candy and quartz one and I was just curious how many were built for this year…

    1. Hi again,
      Harley doesn’t readily give out production and sales figures but I know they sell about 500 CVOs a year in Australia, so you can probably get an idea from that.

  2. I just bought a 15 Road Glide Ultra CVO. My first Harley. I paid $45k OTD w the extended Warranty. I tell you, it is worth it. This bike rides like a dream. It has power at every RPM, and it looks stunning. The GPS is great. but still not as good as my phone. The radio is great, but you wont hear it on the freeway. I love the bike. Only have 100 mi on it. So we will see if it outlasts the payments! hahah.

  3. By now you’ve already decided, but I thought I’d still offer an opinion. I bought a 2014 CVO Softail Deluxe (after a 2006 Electra-Glide & a 2010 Dyna – both bling’d out to the max). There’s no comparison with this CVO Deluxe. It rides better than my E-G and comes with a boat load of standard features. I’ve taken it on 1200 mile road trips with std seat and no saddle soreness. It’s a dream. It also gets great gas mileage…around 42-43. I’m short…5’7″…so the 24″ seat height is the main reason I looked at this bike in the first place. I fell in love and haven’t regretted my decision at all. Untill Harley comes out with an Ultra with a 24-25 in seat height, I’m set.

  4. Hi there, I have had my 2015 Road Glide CVO Ultra for a year this week, its done bugger all kms as I have to work, but the 7000 it has covered have been fantastic, having owned 3 Road Kings and Three Ultras prior to getting this beast, there is no comparison, the 110 motor pulls like a choirboy, the finish is fantastic and the handling is awesome, was it worth 10 grand more than the Ultra I had previously, hell yes, would I trade it, only for a new Roadglide CVO Ultra.

  5. I made this comment a year ago. I now have 22k mi on this bike. It is still an amazing machine, but definitely not worth the price as I have learned from meeting so many other riders with other types of comparable bikes.
    I took this bike to Sturgis and did 7000mi in one trip. It was nice having all that storage space for a bike-camping rookie.
    This bike takes real skill to ride at slow speed, its so heavy that slippage becomes catastrophic. There is no tossing this bike around when the road is wobbly.
    I have replaced three shifter linkages. Two factory windshields cracked. I upgraded and haven’t had an issue. but that was recent. I have gone through three tires rear and one front. The lack of a TPS is ludicrous on a bike like this. So i bought my own. I have replaced a battery. So it has been towed three times.
    I was hit several times by your stereotypical bad asian drivers. Twice the freeway pegs saved damage to the bike. The third time was on the rear crash bar by an suv. My back was injured, but it could have been much worse. The crash bar undoubtedly saved my leg. $8,000 in damage for a low speed collision isn’t bad. It is a solid bike.
    The motor is still amazing. but with the weight, you’ll not be beating anyone in races, even a 103. Nonetheless, it moves when needed in traffic. I really appreciate that.
    The worst part of my experience has been Harley themselves. The dealership and the manufacturer are 100% profit focused. They don’t give a shit about you once you buy the bike. They don’t wash your bike during service. They don’t have loaners when your bike is in service for days. They don’t return your calls. if you do not walk into the San Jose dealer and bother them, nothing will get accomplished. I am so incredibly disappointed with the treatment i received from the Dealer and Manufacturer, that for that reason alone i will never buy another Harley.
    All in all….This bike is WAY over priced. It is worth 30k max. BMW, KTM, Indian, and other brands make better bikes, with less vibration, more reliability, and hopefully better service-for less money.
    Do not buy this buy. Don’t buy Harley. They do not deserve our money.

    1. Wow Will, Can’t believe you had such problems with yours, I have a 16 CVO Street Glide, now granted I only have 7k on it right now I haven’t had a lick of problems with this bike! Mine does have TPMS, maybe that’s new for 2016, I don’t know, I’ve been on several rides with friends with Harley’s, Euro bikes, and Asian bikes, and there isn’t much that can keep up with me. Now maybe I’m used to riding a big touring bike as this is my 5th Harley but this bike handles like a dream, granted it’s no “bullet bike” but it will definitely leave the average bullet bike in the dust! I had a 15 Street Glide and wanted to do some up grades, engine, chrome, exhaust, bars, etc, etc. When I put pencil to paper it was actually several thousand cheaper to get the CVO! As far as dealers are concerned I have had crappy dealers and awesome dealers, and not just bikes, My Harley dealer is great, maybe it’s just because I’ve spent so much $$$ with them, i don’t know. I’m sold on Harley Davidson and i’ve owned them all one time or another. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

      1. Mike,
        I am thinking Will is just a HD hater for what ever reason. I went onto a forum a while back for what i took to be kids today. Started off with when i walked into the dealer i slipped on all the oil on the floor. Then looked around and noticed all the bikes had pans under them to catch the oil that was dripping, watched a guy pull out of the dealer and saw his fender fall off as he turned onto the highway. Eo you get the idea. I just traded a 2015 Limited Low for a 19 CVO Street Glide. So far i love the bike. Not so much the price but all else. This is my 10th and final bike. I have been licky never had any issues with any of them. So i am hoping for grest things out of this. Other than friends being nasty that i spent eo much money on a toy. All opis good. Will leave a better review in about a mo th! Stay safe to all!

  6. I dont know how will has gone through 3 rear tires and only 22,000 miles? I get roughly 18,000 out of a set of tires.

    1. The way to extend rear tire life use your front brake and gently apply the rear brake.

  7. It’s obvious you never rode a Victory. They are superior to Harley in just about every way. It’s to bad they did not have Hollywood or biker gangs and the marketing genius Wille G. To get them out there to the public. They quit making them to focus on their Indian.
    I bought a 2015 CVO Street Glide used. It looks great but no match for the Cross Country.

    1. Hi Craig,
      I rode just about all of the Victory models.
      They started off clunky and poorly made, but ended up very good quality, indeed.
      In fact, the Victory Octane was a better bike than the Scout.
      Shame they stopped making them. My fave was the Gunner.
      I also rode the Cross Country on several occasions including a major ride half way across the USA:
      Biggest luggage space of any bike ever!

Comments are closed.