Throughout history, through good times and bad, Harley-Davidson have never missed an opportunity to further the brand. The success of their hard part and enormous motorcycle garment range are great examples of that. The Harley-David Custom Vehicle Operation (CVO) is another; perhaps the most extreme, of maximization of what is already a market leading brand.
From the very first day that a Harley-Davidson motorcycle rolled off the production line, now well over a century ago, owners have been showing their individuality on their bikes. Way back then the Harley-Davidson factory didn't even fit pillion seats as standard. Then some switched on character at the factory (or shed as it was then) recognized a chance to make an extra few Dollars by making and selling one as an official accessory. In double quick time Harley-Davidson realized this could be a very profitable side to their motorcycle business.
When Harley-Davidson were reinvented, with the '80s revival, was the time personalization really took off. In tandem wearing the Harley brand, regardless of whether you rode it or not, became fashionable. Be it myth, legend or fact, the story has it that hard parts and clothing made more profit for the brand than motorcycles, more than once in the company's history. By the '80s everyone wanted to be an individual, so why should Harley-Davidson owners be any different? The difference is they have never stopped wanting that individuality. The next decade brought about a change of Harley-Davidson owner profile and with it a different approach to meeting their needs from the Harley-Davidson factory. From being almost exclusively blue color workers; a more traditional 'biker' type, it was those with money to spend, and a desire to let the hidden rebel loose at the weekend, who were buying this new style customer a unique custom motorcycle, without the need for that customer to get his hands dirty. And this custom build would carry a factory warranty, not the norm in the custom world way back then. Harley-Davidson Custom Vehicle Operations was born.
The first Harley-Davidson CVO bike left the factory gates in 1999. Over the decade since then most models in the now extensive Harley-Davidson range have had the CVO magic weaved on them. Throughout this decade of special building one thing has remained constant, all Harley-Davidson Custom Vehicle Operation motorcycles are genuinely hand built and o a limited production run. A good thing; you wouldn't want to spend that amount of money on a CVO Ultra Electra Glide and park next to one just the same at a bikers meeting.