Thursday, 22 February 2018

Bike News: Harley-Davidson to add two new models to the Sportster range (from Press Release)

Harley-Davidson announced yesterday that they will be expanding their already profuse Sportster range with two new models: the Iron 1200 (hmm, I know a fellow blogger in France who'll be happy as a pig in the proverbial! - Ed.) and the Forty-Eight Special. These two new Sporties are the latest in a line of 100 high-impact models that the Motor Company intends to present between now and 2027. The leitmotiv for these two new machines is, according to the company, "High handlebars, cool graphics and garage-built attitude".

Ever since its birth in 1957, the Harley-Davidson Sportster has been endlessly customised and reinterpreted, as much by the Milwaukee-based marque as by thousands of owners worldwide. We've seen the Sporty reinvented  countless times as a bobber, a chopper, a scrambler or a cafe racer. It is with this in mind that Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson's VP for Styling and Design, states "What we've done to create the new Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special is what Sportster owners have been doing with their own bikes for generations".

Both bikes are identifiable by the bold new tank graphics that recall those found on Harleys in the 1970s, featuring similar graphics, typeface and colours.

"The art on these two fuel tanks reflect contemporary trends we are seeing on custom bikes and in design in general, a move away from more complex and intricate art to a look that's very simple and clean", says Richards. "It's also important to note that these graphics respect the shape of the fuel tank and in the case of the Sportster, that tank shape is a classic design element in its own right."

Iron 1200
The heart of the new Iron 1200 is its 1202cc Evolution V-twin engine, which delivers 36% more torque (73 ft.lbs. instead of 53.8 ft.lbs.) than the 883 block. This provides it with more low-down poke for snappy standing-starts as well as better midrange.

Visually, the satin-black Mini Ape handlebar is one of the essential elements of the "garage-built" chopper look. The one-inch (25.4 mm) diameter handlebar provides an 8.75 inch (222.2 mm) rise, a 32 inch (812.2 mm) spread and a 6.5 inch (165 mm) pullback, resulting in that defiant fists-in-the-breeze stance. The gloss black headlight cowl is a West Coast style influence that underlines the tall 'bar as well as providing a smidgeon of wind protection and space for owner personalisation. The cafe-racer styled solo seat flows into the rear mudguard and provides a bumstop to cradle the rider under heavy acceleration.

The classic 3.3 gallon (12.4 l) Sportster fuel tank is arrayed with multicolour stripe graphics that hug its distinctive profile. The dark finish on the engine naturally draws the eye to these bold graphics. The fuel tank colour options include Vivid Black, Twisted Cherry and Billiard White, all with the gloss black flyscreen.

The engine is black apart from the pushrod tubes and tappet covers; exhausts and silencer heat shields are also finished in black. The nine-spoke cast alloy wheels (19 inch front, 16 inch rear) are also black as are the drive belt protector and rear pulley. ABS braking and keyless ignition are standard.

Forty-Eight Special
The defining part of the Forty-Eight Special is its front end. With a 130 mm front tyre hemmed in by 49 mm forks, all held together by beefy forged aluminium fork yokes, it looks particularly imposing topped by the gloss black 7.25 inch (184 mm) "Tallboy" handlebar.

Regarding the choice of handlebar for the Forty-Eight Special, Brad Richards commented, "We specifically selected the Tallboy 'bar for its shape. It offers less pullback than the Mini Ape, a look that really works well with the steamroller front end and the smaller fuel tank [...] on this model".

The 2.2 gallon (8.3 litre) features bold horizontal stripes surrounding a simple Harley-Davidson text logo. It is available in three colour options: Vivid Black, Wicked Red and Billiard White.

The Forty-Eight Special's 1200cc Evolution engine has a blacked-out top end, with chrome elements below, such as the primary cover, inspection and derby covers, exhaust shields, lower rocker boxes, pushrod tubes and tappet covers. The bike is fitted with 18 inch (front and rear) split nine-spoke cast aluminium wheels. Like the Iron 1200, it is equipped with ABS and keyless ignition as standard.

All photography and videography © Harley-Davidson Motor Co.

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