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A Closer Look at The 2012 Harley Davidson CVO Softail Convertible

2012 Harley Davidson CVO Softail Convertible

Even some of the most devoted Harley fans aren’t always aware of the existence of the brand’s line of in-house customs. Otherwise known as CVO’s (or custom vehicle operations), the line is an offshoot of the main range that takes the bare basics of a standard Harley, before throwing in a whole host of aftermarket extras. Unlike the standard models, each CVO model is unique, making it an exceptional addition to any true biking devotee’s arsenal. Granted, they aren’t cheap (more on which later) but compare a Harley CVO to some of the other comparably high-end, low production offerings that come from other manufacturers (or even to the cost of building one yourself from the same parts), and the price soon starts to seem a whole lot more reasonable, especially when you consider the quality of its build and undisputed heritage. As Harley Davidson itself puts it “Harley-Davidson Custom Vehicle Operations models represents the pinnacle of H-D style and design. Built in limited numbers with show-stopping finishes, advanced technology, exclusive components, and attention to detail that borders on obsessive.”

The 2012 Harley Davidson CVO Softail Convertible

Seeing as we’re talking about CVO’s, it would be remiss of us not to mention the very special 2012 Harley Davidson CVO Softail Convertible. 2012 was the third year Harley added the Softail Convertible to its existing catalog of CVO’s. The first two editions were decent enough, but the third year of production is where Harley really hit gold. As topspeed.com notes, the rear suspension of the Softail has the clean-cut lines of a vintage Hardtail, but with the added advantage of a modern suspension to make for a smoother ride. Meanwhile, the rigid power train gives a tight pack to the engine and frame, allowing a strong connection between the rider and the bike's power. Through the addition of key components that can easily be removed or added without the need for tools, Harley managed to create a bike that can go from a classic cruiser to a tourer with just a few turns of a knob. In one mode, the bike features a padded passenger backrest, a Garmin Zumo GPS, a windshield, saddlebags and a set of speakers- the perfect destination router, you’d think. A few seconds and a couple of twists later, and the quick release components are so well integrated into the bike there’s no indication it’s anything other than a classic cruiser.

Key Attractions

One of the key attractions of the 2012 Harley Davidson CVO Softail Convertible is its accessibility. Unlike some of the more intimating beasts Harley produces, the convertible is an altogether more user-friendly proposition, with a low, 26.2-inch seat height and a comfortable ride. As well as the hidden shocks protecting the rider from any awkward bumps, a thickly padded seat guarantees the utmost in smooth, easy riding.

In terms of specifics, the 2012 model represents an upgrade on previous versions. After listening to feedback, Harley added an extra 1.0 inch to the windshield’s height and an extra 2.0 inches to its width. The end result was reduced wind pressure and less turbulence in the cockpit. Engine- wise, the 2012 model runs on the same powerful 110 cubic-inch Screamin’ Eagle V-Twin that Harley has adopted for all its CVO’s. The additional features of a key less ignition with integrated security; Garmin’s Zumo portable GPS with audible directions played through the windshield’s integrated speaker system; 3 premium paint and chrome finishes; and a welded mini-ape handlebar to give a custom effect, elevates the 2012 CVO Softail Convertible to a status few other bikes enjoy.

The Technical Details

Want more specifics? Courtesy of the friendly folk at bikez.com , you’ve got them…

Engine and Transmission Specifics

  • Displacement: 110.00 cubic inches
  • Engine type: V2, four-stroke
  • Engine details: Air-cooled, Twin Cam 110B
  • Torque:142.38 Nm (14.5 kgf-m or 105.0 ft.lbs) @ 2750 RPM
  • Fuel consumption: 5.23 liters/100 km (19.1 km/l or 44.98 mpg)
  • Gearbox: 6-speed
  • Transmission type, final drive: Belt

Chassis, suspension, brakes, and wheels

  • Rear brakes diameter: 292 mm (11.5 inches)
  • Rake (fork angle): 32.0°
  • Trail: 147 mm (5.8 inches)
  • Front suspension: 41.3 mm telescopic, chrome upper fork-slider covers
  • Front wheel travel: 117 mm (4.6 inches)
  • Rear suspension: Hidden, horizontal-mounted, coil-over
  • Rear wheel travel: 51 mm (2.0 inches)
  • Front tire: 130/70-R18
  • Rear tire: 200/50-R18
  • Front brakes: Single disc. 4-piston calipers. ABS.
  • Front brakes diameter: 292 mm (11.5 inches)
  • Rear brakes: Single disc. 4-piston caliper. ABS.
  • Rear brakes diameter: 292 mm (11.5 inches)

The Extras

Want to know what makes a CVO so special, and worth those additional bucks? Take a look…

  • Removal windscreen with enhanced wind protection
  • Garmin GPS with integrated MP3 Player
  • Detachable leather saddlebags in a choice of brown leather or reptile inserts
  • Removable passenger pavilion with a detachable backrest in brown leather or reptile inserts
  • Digital speedometer and analog tachometer
  • ABS
  • Electronic throttle control with cruise control
  • 3 color options (Crimson Red Sunglo with Scarlet Crystal graphics, Abyss Blue with Catacomb graphics, Satin Pewter with Catacomb graphics)
  • Clutch line and brake line clamps
  • Shorty chrome dual-exhaust with slash down
  • Headlight trim ring, nacelle and back plate
  • Front sliders and upper fork slider cover
  • Wheel spacers
  • Handlebar risers and caps
  • Shiftier, rear brake lever and forward
  • Voltage regulator
  • Rear brake master cylinder cover
  • Switch housings
  • Upper belt guard and debris deflector
  • Sprocket bolt covers
  • Valve stem caps
  • Front and rear axle nut covers
  • Pivot shaft covers
  • Steel Tube Frame

Summing Up

We’ve seen that the 2012 Harley Davidson CVO Softail Convertible is a superior beast. What we haven’t discussed is what you’ll need to spend to get your hands on one. As an average indication, you’ll need to lay down around $29,699 before you’re allowed to leave the dealership. Yes, it’s a huge amount of money, but before you write it off completely, bear in mind all those awesome added extras you simply won’t get on any other bog- standard, high- production model. For any serious biker who dreams of owning a custom model but wants to stick with Harley Davidson’s tried and tested vehicles, the CVO could be exactly the answer. Plus, with each model in Harley’s CVO line coming in a very limited edition run, the bragging rights are immense.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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