The 2018 Harley Davidson Fat Boy looked pretty damn cool from where I was sitting. But, it’s not the motorcycle for me. Not a fan of solid rims, big front tires, or that satin look where chrome should be. I can take or leave the speedometer. On second thought, I’m going to leave it.
A 114 cubic inch engine! That’s three cubic inches bigger than Indian’s Thunder Stroke 111 engine, for those of you who are good at math. Ruh-roh for Indian. The new 114 Milwaukee-Eight engine has oil circulating around the exhaust valves. Trying to increase rider comfort and improve engine performance. Moto Guzzi has been doing that gig for a while. I predict it will be very warm to hot as hell between the rider’s legs. Nomex underwear will need to be on the H-D dealers’ shelves soon. Don’t worry, they’ll have the bar and shield on them.
Okay, time to talk about the frame and suspension. H-D has hit a home run out of the park baby! The frame has fewer parts and welds needed to assemble it, making it stiffer and lighter. The new engine is now directly bolted to the frame. The rear suspension has been redesigned for better leverage and more travel. The front forks have been modified to compete with the rear suspension. The preload for the rear shock is now accessible for adjustment.
I’m not happy with some of the exposed wiring and cabling on the motorcycle. I think it should have been tucked away somewhere. The oil dipstick/fill is an upgraded design. It appears to be very accessible. The fit and finish is damn close to 90%. There’s one part on the lower back of the frame that looks like I casted it high school. Then I painted it so my teacher wouldn’t see my screw up.
I’m really glad H-D has stepped up with LED lighting. I’ve have two motorcycles with LED lighting and it makes a big difference. I consider LED Lighting a safety feature and not just some new-fangled gizmo. I’m not sure about the new headlight design yet, but it’s growing on me each time I look at it.
I think H-D has scored big time with the changes they’ve made to the Softail frame. They really needed to improve rider comfort on the Softail models. Streamlining the assembly process and improving the overall functionality of the frame will enhance H-D’s ability to compete in the market place. The LED lighting shows a commitment to modernization. There’s definitely some design departures on this Fat Boy that the H-D faithful might not like. But as far as I’m concerned, they’re welcome changes.
I doubt that I will ever ride this motorcycle, just not my gig. But I know someone else will. I hope H-D hits the bullseye with this model.