Harley-Davidson has added two more Sportsters to its line-up - if we are counting correctly, that takes their 100 in 10 years “high impact” new model blitz to 16 now?
The Forty-Eight Special and Iron 1200 Sportsters are said to “fuse throw-back design with modern performance,” with “high handlebars, cool graphics and garage-built attitude.”
The company says that the new designs “began with inspiration from our customers – reflecting what is happening in customization on the streets. Each motorcycle features a powerful 1200cc engine and brings back a sense of 70s soul that only H-D can bring.
“Since its introduction in 1957, Sportster motorcycles have been repeatedly reimagined in the hands of both the Motor Company and bike owners: the Sportster as a bobber, a chopper, a scrambler and a cafe racer; as a hero on flat tracks and drag strips and road-race courses; as an accessible entry-point for first-time riders; and as a custom-of-one cruiser.
“Since its inception, the Sportster has offered the perfect combination of size, power and character that makes it appealing to so many different riders,” said Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson V.P. of Styling & Design. “A Sportster is a relatively easy bike to strip down and reinvent. 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.”
New fuel tank graphics “combine bold color stripes with a formal typeface, color and graphic elements originally popular in the 1970s.
“The art on these two [3.3 U.S. gallon] 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,” said 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.”
Described as an “Urban Brawler,” the Iron 1200 has a satin-black Mini Ape handlebar that Harley say is “an essential element of the garage-built chopper look that adds instant attitude and gives the rider a fists-in-the-wind posture. The gloss black speed screen framing the headlamp amplifies the attitude of the tall bars and is intended to offer some wind deflection at speed and provides a space for easy personalization.
“The fast-back Cafe solo seat flows to the rear fender and is shaped to help hold the rider in position when the torque of the Evolution 1200 kicks in. Finished with all-black 9-spoke wheels and a solid black belt guard and rear sprocket, the Harley-Davidson Smart Security System and anti-lock braking system (ABS) are factory-installed options for the Iron 1200 model.
Meanwhile, the “burly front end of the Forty-Eight Special – a wide front tire framed by fat forks – looks especially menacing when topped with a gloss-black Tallboy handlebar.
“We specifically selected the Tallboy bar for its shape,” said Richards. “It offers less pull-back than the Mini-Ape, a look that really works with the steamroller front end and the smaller fuel tank on the Forty-Eight Special model.”
Harley say that “the 2.2-gallon “peanut” Sportster fuel tank features rows of bold, horizontal stripes framing a simple Harley-Davidson text logo. The Evolution 1200 engine features a black top end over an expanse of brilliant chrome covers, plus chrome muffler and exhaust shields. Chrome lower rocker boxes, pushrod tubes and tappet covers contrast with the black cylinders to highlight the V-Twin engine shape.
“High-performance Michelin Scorcher 31 tires front and rear are mounted on black split 9-spoke cast aluminum wheels. The Harley-Davidson Smart Security System and anti-lock braking system (ABS) are factory-installed options for the Forty-Eight Special model.”