God bless Craigslist. The low-ballers, scammers, charlatans, and trade offers. Here, your dreams lay in someone’s backyard for the mere trade of a sketchily registered firearm or blown out Mustang.
But fret not. If you want that bit of custom flavor, and don’t mind heading to the dealer to get it, Harley Davidson has done the work for you with the 2016 Sportster Forty-Eight. The same Sportster 1200 you’re familiar with, but a smattering of factory bolt-on goodness to keep you away from the gutters of Craigslist.
Since 2010, Harley Davidson has been doing “Dark Custom” versions of select models to attract riders that don’t qualify for an AARP card. And the marketing has worked – Harley sells more bikes to us than any other OEM.
One of the first bikes out of this program was the Forty-Eight. It escwhewed chrome for black, featured a chunky wheel and tire package. Rolled with a tiny-peanut tank, and generally tried to look as tough as possible.
It’s five years on now, and it’s time for a new one. Kind of. The new 48 is similar to the old 48, and similar to the Sportsters that people have been cutting, chopping, and tracking for years. This is a good thing in the way Coke is still the same since Jesus drank it.
Gone are the chunky spoked wheels of the old model in favor of chunky cast wheels for a 6lb. weight reduction. A more comfortable seat has been added. The rear shocks are now adjustable, and the forks have been upgraded to a 49mm diameter with progressive springs and cartridges. If this doesn’t sound groundbreaking, that’s because it really isn’t. But the results are fantastic regardless.
Where the old bike, and other Sportsters crashes into bumps, the new suspension tries not to. The dampening is much more refined, and the seat aids around-town comfort. Still no long haul cruiser, but we’ll have a review of those too.The changes are subtle, but are you usually the first things to do when buying a stock Sportster of any vintage, and you can’t easily just graft on the new, thicker forks.
In the visuals department, you get sweet 70s muscle car inspired graphics, new exhaust design, and chunky H-D badging.
The results are custom-ish for $11,199.
And for that you get a runabout that you can get on day-in-and-day-out, ride around town, scrape pegs, and make awesome noises, now a little bit more comfortable than before. Riding around Portlandia, there really isn’t a bike that can give you the same vibe as a big V-Twin that is both loved and loathed by the population at large.>
The decision comes down to new bike or used bike. This is an article for a later time, but if you want to hop on a bike today, with a warranty, and ride off into the sunset, you can’t go wrong with new, and you can’t go wrong with a new Forty-Eight.
Plus it won’t have that Craigslist smell, unless you’re into that.
So the question is, what do you think about it?