hot mama

By Mike Zimmerman, H.O.G.® staff writer


Bold color schemes tie these new bikes together, but that’s where the similarities end.

As featured in H.O.G.® Magazine Issue 034

Black and gold. It’s a color combination unlike any other. For decades, it’s symbolized an elite level of motor performance. From the iconic Pontiac Firebird to the legendary Lotus 77 Formula One race car, there’s something about these intimidating shades that pulls you in and raises your heart rate.

The new 2016 Harley-Davidson® Low Rider S and CVO Pro Street Breakout motorcycles bring this history-rich combination boldly into the 21st Century. But the color scheme is just about where the similarities between these two bikes end.

Performance Plus

“I think Dais and I were perfectly aligned on this one,” says Harley-Davidson® Styling Director Brad Richards. “Before we even talked about the bike, the Low Rider S, we both kind of felt that this was the right color combination. We both have a love of a particular wheel ….

 It’s a no-nonsense, high-performance bike with a thoroughly Harley-Davidson® attitude.”

golden touch

Dais is Dais Nagao, H-D® Senior Stylist. The wheel in question was designed by Ferrari in the 1960s, when magnesium alloy wheels were first coming to the fore. The Ferrari wheel had a subtle gold-colored tint, which soon became iconic.

“In Europe they used it for endurance racing cars, they raced at Le Mans,” Richards says. “But a lot of manufacturers used a similar material, with a similar color, a desaturated gold. In America we used them on gassers and drag-racing cars, so there was there really cool across-the-pond connection. But it always meant the same thing. It meant performance.

“And we really wanted to make a statement about this, because to us this bike is the essence of Harley performance. And black and gold were the strongest two colors we could use to communicate that message.”

In fact, the gold tint in the wheels is one of the first things you notice on the Low Rider S, a shout-out to a bygone era. Overall, the bike is an homage to the legendary Harley-Davidson FXR models, considered by many to be the best-performing bikes the Motor Company has ever produced.

Yet the Low Rider S surpasses it in almost every way. A powerful Screamin’ Eagle® Twin Cam 110 engine – the largest available factory-installed engine. Screamin’ Eagle Heavy Breather performance intake and Fat-Bob-style 2-into-1 exhaust. Together, they crank out 115 foot pounds of torque at 3,500 rpm – 13 percent more than the standard Low Rider model.

What truly separates this bike, however, is how it connects the rider to the road, with premium suspension, high-performance ABS brakes, and an aggressive riding position.

One of the key styling features gives it a high-performance feel. The “speed screen” mini-fairing delivers just enough wind protection to matter, while giving the bike’s overall “attitude” an additional boost.

“It gives a menacing look to the headlight,” Nagao says. “What you might call the speed screen’s ‘eyebrow’ is offset slightly and cuts off the very top of the headlamp. It gives you the sense the bike is glaring at you for a more intimidating look.”

“I’ve ridden FXR models, and this bike rides better, it performs better, no question,” Richards says. “It’s a no-nonsense, high-performance bike with a thoroughly Harley-Davidson® attitude.”

golden touch

A New Kind of CVO

The 2016 CVO Pro Street Breakout®, on the other hand, deviates from its heritage in different ways. Historically, CVO (Custom Vehicle Operations) motorcycles have largely been about making a big splash, with “big paint” and “big chrome.” This new model captures your attention more subtly.

“To me, the Pro Street Breakout represents the leading edge of a new generation of CVO motorcycle we’re going to be creating,” Richards says. “You’ll be getting every bit of the depth, and the value proposition, and the attention to detail, and certainly the bragging rights. But we’re going to be getting there in a different way.

“It’s a very important bike,” he adds, “because we want to see how people react to it, and what they think of it. Tastes are changing. We see it on the street, and we hear it from riders we talk to. We’ve done some amazing things with CVO in the past, but now people are starting to look for something a little bit different.”

What is not changing, of course, is the obsessive attention to detail helps set CVO models apart. From the subtle “layering” effect created by contrasting gloss black and Smoked Satin Chrome finishes to high-performance features like the Assist & Slip clutch with hydraulic actuation, there’s no mistaking this bike’s lineage.

“In the end, it takes more than a paint job to make a unique and special motorcycle,” Nagao says. “We went through a lot of R&D to get this particular hue, the depth of the plating, the smoked satin chrome. It’s still within what you might call the ‘dark palette,’ but it’s much more than that. It’s easy to just paint everything black, but it takes a lot more to make it premium.”

Even more than adding a few gold nuggets. Because the true beauty of these two bikes extends deep below the surface.