MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: Harley-Davidson CVO Dyna Ultra Classic Electra Glide

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By Genevieve Schmitt, Photos by Riles & Nelson

Harley-Davidsons high end limited edition Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) motorcycles consist of four models. Below is my review of the Screamin Eagle Dyna and the Screamin Eagle Ultra Classic Electra Glide. Click here to read our review of the Screamin Eagle Softail Springer and Screamin Eagle Road King.

Screamin Eagle Dyna

Because of its compact and easy to handle package, many women riders will be drawn to the SE Dyna.

The Dyna family of motorcycles is very popular among women with the Dyna Low Rider being a favorite because of its ultra low seat height of 25 inches. The Screamin Eagle (SE) Dyna is the custom and powerful version of this model family. Riding it felt a lot like the new Fat Bob, which Ive yet to review on this site. That review is forthcoming.

I was surprised my 30-inch inseamed legs had to really stretch to reach the foot controls. Even with a new “reduced reach” custom seat, I had to lean far forward to both the handlebars and foot controls to reach them. Im 5 feet 5.6 inches by the way. Because of this uncomfortable stretch, the SE Dyna is not my favorite CVO bike. I have to be able to reach the controls confortably for me to enjoy the ride. Seat height is 26.5 inch, a tad higher than the SE Road King.

While I may look like I fit on the SE Dyna, my legs are really reaching here.

What I really like about the SE Dyna is the styling. The bike just shines from all the chrome and beautiful paint scheme. Subtle custom touches like covered adjustable rear shocks (as opposed to the exposed rear shocks on the regular Dynas), lowered and inverted front forks, slotted six-spoke wheels, slotted six spoke brake rotors and sprocket wheel all add to the custom nature of the SE Dyna.

This Scarlet Red Pearl with Dark Crimson is a striking color combination on the Dyna. It also comes in Candy Cobalt with Midnight Blue, and the 105th anniversary color scheme.
The SE Dyna features a new chrome full-length full tank console that includes a speedometer and ignition switch and lock. The custom gas cap on the right is the “push to open” kind.

Like all the CVO bikes, the SE Dyna is powered by a 110 cubic inch motor with a 6-speed transmission that features a sixth gear “Cruise Drive” as Harley calls its overdrive. This lowers cruising rpm in top gear. Approximately 2,600 of the SE Dynas are being produced at a retail price of $24,995.

The SE Dyna handles corners quite nimbly. This is the lightest of the SE models but is still powered by that powerful 110 c.i. engine.

Screamin Eagle Ultra Classic Electra Glide
If you ever wondered what model is the most expensive Harley-Davidson, the SE Ultra Classic Electra Glide is it at $34,995. Its The Motor Companys most luxurious model dripping with custom and creature comforts galore. Its also the most popular CVO bike, thats why its back for a third year, and 4,150 of these are being produced, the most of any 2008 CVO bike.

The SE Ultra Classic Electra Glide comes standard with the premium luggage rack, storage pockets and saddlebag liners. This color scheme is White Frost and Silver Mist.

Like the SE Road King, the Ultra Classic has the larger made-for-touring six-gallon fuel tank (up from five gallons) all touring models now boast. I honestly dont know many people who can ride until the entire six gallons needs refueling. Most people, including myself, need to stop way before that to stretch, empty the bladder, or fill the stomach.

ABS braking is standard on the Ultra as it is on the SE Road King. ABS, by the way, is now an available option on all 2008 Harley-Davidson touring and VRSC models. The SE Ultra also features high performance Brembo brakes, as does the Road King. Both CVO bikes also feature an electronic throttle. This is big news for 2008 touring CVO bikes. Instead of throttle cables controlling the fuel injection, an electronic sensor now sends messages to the fuel injectors telling them what the throttle hand is doing so it can react accordingly. The electronic throttle system is better than traditional cables when working with the electronic cruise control that is now standard equipment on both CVO bikes. Plus, the throttle wires are now hidden inside the handlebars, a plus for those who think wires and cables clutter up a bike.

The SE Ultra shown in Copper Canyon and Stardust Sliver color scheme. New for 2008 are the dual control heated seat and passenger backrest, plus adjustable rider backrest.

The Ultra offers premium amenities such as a powerful 40-watt CD/AM/FM/WB(weather band)/MP3 Harman-Kardon audio system. A CB and intercom unit are also part of the package. Passenger audio controls are a new feature, so is the XM radio and GPS navigation system. Wow!

The dashboard on the SE Ultra is filled with more controls than you can imagine.

I test rode this bike for a short while. Its a lot of motorcycle for a smaller-sized person like me. Ive ridden a Harley-Davdison Ultra Classic Electra Glide on a 4,000-mile road trip once. I found it was a lot of bike then, too. You either like and need a big bike with lots of storage and goodies, or you dont. If youre going to do a ton of two-up touring, I say spring for Ultra CVO bike because it truly is luxury defined on two wheels.

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5 thoughts on MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: Harley-Davidson CVO Dyna Ultra Classic Electra Glide

  1. I've put 23K on my 03 Electra Glide Classic. Am 5 feet 7 inches with a slender frame and absolutely love my Electra Glide and the way it handles. When not touring (2 – 3 times a year) I remove the tour pack and the tour seat and replace with a HD Bandlander Solo seat. It then rides and handles like a Street Glide.

    When it's time to replace her, it'll definitely be another Electra Glide but not necessarily the Ultra, unless presented with a deal “too good to pass up.”

  2. I'd like to say for any women interested in the Ultra Classic (from a woman who is a shade under 5 feet 5 inches, weighs 130 pounds, and tours) take a look at the H-D FLHX Street Glide. I love my 2007 Street Glide and have added cruise control, XM radio, a CB, and lower fairings. I swapped the seat for a Screaming Eagle seat, which was a bit narrower and gave me a bit more leg. I have put nearly 10,000 miles on this bike since I bought it last July.

    The Ultra is a nice bike, my husband had a nice 07 of which he wrecked, and now an 08. I could upright the 07 Ultra but for some reason the 08 Ultra is different and and I cannot get it upright. All of this to say, if you want an Ultra but it is too big, you can outfit the Street Glide, right down to the tour pack (which I haven't done yet) and have basically the same bike. It just sits a little lower and is easier to handle for those of us who are smaller.

    1. I second that notion because, I, too just purchased a 2008 Street Glide for the same reasons as you. I found the Ultra a tad too hefty and cumbersome all around for someone of my size.

  3. I have ridden Ultra Classics for the last four years. 6,000 miles including The Iron Butt Sore Saddle (1,000 miles in under 24 hours). 2005 Ultra 12K; 2006 Ultra 19K; 2007 Ultra 15K. 2008 Ultra being built for me now.

    What a wonderful road machine and comfortable nimble ride. Thank you Harley Davidson Motor Company for 105 years of great bikes.
    Iron Butt #25908

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