Two-wheel Lowdown: 2013 Harley-Davidson CVO Breakout

2013 Harley-Davidson CVO Breakout review
Perhaps a shrink can explain why sometime why crows, brook trout and people like shiny things. But until then, know that the Harley-Davidson CVO Breakout attracts an audience like a shimmering lure zaps a rainbow out of the aspen shadows. The Breakout—new for 2013 from Harley's Custom Vehicle Operations in Milwaukee—is a dazzling interpretation of the popular Softail. It features a tuned 1,802-cc OHV V-twin, six-speed gearbox, rangy 67.3-inch wheelbase and the most relaxed seating this side of a La-Z-Boy. Bottom line: It's a cruiser rather than a carve-'em-up apex hunter.
But what really distinguishes the CVO Breakout are its show-quality paint and components. From the unique wheels and fenders to the handlebar and engine covers—virtually everything is chromed, metal flake or polished.
It also thoroughly grabs attention from nearly everyone. After one ride, we parked at a cafĂ© to write some notes. A family was intently helping their doddering matriarch to a car parked alongside the CVO. “We're going to get grandma a motorbike!” mom said, grinning.
Riding the Breakout is different than a sport bike. The 25.8-inch seat height lets you wheel around the 728-pound mass with relative ease, although the long wheelbase and slow-steering geometry make the CVO turn like a La Guardia limo. Electric starting and EFI add civility, but, while clutch engagement is beautiful, shifting is clunky and loud. Low- and midrange power are terrific, but the power curve signs off early, further pigeonholing the Breakout into cruiser rather than go-fast duty.
However, that has a place in our world, just as does this bike's spectacular presentation. Billions of crows, trout and humans can't all be wrong.
In our opinion: In the pecking order of factory custom cruisers, the exclusive Harley CVO models stand tall. The Breakout is happier going straight than cornering and most comfortable cruising at less than 70 mph—so if that's your habitat, here's your bling.
Competitive set: Harley- Davidson CVO Softail Convertible, Indian Chief Vintage, Victory Arlen Ness Vision
Base Price: $26,499

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