Well it was bound to happen, and since this was my original post, I guess it’s time for me to jump back in. The following thoughts are MY OPINIONS ONLY, I am NOT attempting to summarize or paraphrase any group of thoughts previously expressed on this topic.
MY understanding is that the CVO CONCEPT was to produce a limited issue group of motorcycles that were unique by the options and paint installed on a specialized assembly line at HD. The CVO Concept was NOT intended to make the OWNER’S “ELITE”, that has become a negative association attached by (some) NON-CVO owners; I consider it nothing more than envy.
I posted this question to define and answer "what is a CVO?", and I described a guy who has a bike that IS a CVO but it isn’t, and davidw221 has a CVO that ISN’T, but (he states that, for all practical purposes) IT IS. The respondents to this thread have been clear, a CVO is determined by the MoCo at birth and certified by the VIN, PERIOD, like it or not.
In MY opinion HD has diluted the entire concept. The specialized production line no longer exists. The CVO product line is shrinking and there is a push (by HD) to establish consumer perceptions that ALL products in the entire lineup CAN BE Custom Vehicles. The CVO LINEUP is fading and in as little as five years may be completely gone. But the CONCEPT will remain and survive as: “Special”, “Limited”, “Custom”, “Dark Custom”,“Heritage”, “Deluxe”, “Ultra”, “Ultra Limited”, and (try this) The Deluxe, Ultra Limited, Dark Custom, Heritage Softail, Special. This is called MARKETING.
MY experience has been that this forum does not look down it’s nose on ANYBODY. Everyone is respected, all questions are answered, and all bikes and their owners are considered welcome here. However, we are primarily Harley Owners, AND we are primarily CVO owner’s as well. It is clear (to me) that the CVO concept is “Pride of Ownership” and that is true of ALL Harley owners. That said, there is plenty of room in the motorcycle world and the Harley Davidson community, for a unique group of products that have been modified by the MoCo to a standard different than “stock”, and those that admire, enjoy, appreciate and ride these powerful, beautiful, machines have a common interest, and share that interest in this worthwhile forum.
Well put, Owl. I agree that the CVO concept is being diluted a bit, as bikes such as the '14 Ultra Limited and SG Special are coming stock with more and more goodies that formerly were available only on CVOs.
The CVOs having been built by a separate group in the past, but now being built on the main line, might be good or bad. I guess one would need to have access to CVO vs. non-CVO warranty claims and repair records to know for sure whether moving CVO production to the main line was a good idea or not. However, if people bought CVOs in the past just for the snob appeal of their bike having been built by a small, separate group - then I think that's a bit sad. I don't care one whit how my bike was built, nor by who, along as it's built WELL.
I do think that the CVO paint is the biggest thing, besides the 110 and the wheels, that really sets CVOs apart. Strictly from a resale value perspective, the CVO paint has been a sought-after item that I think has kept resale values higher for CVOs... but that might not be as true as it used to be. And I have seen many fabulous, TRULY custom paint jobs on non-CVO bikes.
I also think that that 110 engine is not as "cool" as it used to be... given that all non-CVO bikes now come with the 103 instead of the 96. Now, there is only 7" difference in CI, instead of the 14" difference there used to be.
Also, the CVOs used to come with the Rumble Collection stuff, but starting in '13 CVOs come with the not-as-fancy Slipstream Collection stuff. In my opinion, the Rumble stuff really set CVOs apart... but that distinction is now gone. I am really glad I bought my '12 SESG before that change!
One thing that I have a great deal of difficulty seeing the value of for 2014 is the huge difference in cost between CVOs and non-CVOs... in particular the loaded '14 Limited vs. the bare-bones '14 SERK, or the '14 CVO Limited vs. the '14 Ultra Limited... which has a ton of equipment for $12K less.
I do agree wholeheartedly with your last paragraph about this forum, though! Whenever I'm out and see a CVO, I usually will walk up, introduce myself, and ask if they are on CVOHarley. I am amazed at how many CVO owners have not heard of it.
Of course, I always recommend they they join in on all the fun and camaraderie we have here!