Riding it is cool

K Shivraj
Saturday, 4 August 2018

Though Forty Eight Special marks the arrival of Harley-Davidson’s sporting bikes, it is more about leisure riding

Apart from the Iron 1200 that was featured a few weeks back, Harley-Davidson has introduced the Forty Eight Special. Not replacing the Forty Eight, the new bike is slightly different. A close inspection will reveal that most key components of the Forty Eight Special and the Forty Eight are the same. The chassis and the steering geometry of the two bikes are identical. Both the models feature a fat 49mm front fork with a chunky fork brace and fat 130 section (16-inch dia) front tyre. 

The two bikes also share the same 1200cc air-cooled V-twin engine. A part of the engine are the black cylinder heads and chrome crank cases.

With the same state of tune, the engine produces a peak torque of 97Nm, which starts to flow-in at 3500rpm. The 7.9-litre fuel tank of the Forty Eight Special flaunts retro-looking graphics. The two bikes also have single seat, and the same foot pegs with forward placement. 

New tall handlebar
A big change the Forty Eight Special displays over the Forty Eight is the new tall handlebar. This, along with the forward set foot pegs, gets the rider to experience a slightly forward leaning riding posture that could be termed as a bit sporty.  

Irregularities can be felt
The Forty Eight Special, along with the Iron 1200, marks the arrival of Harley Davidson’s sporting bikes. The higher quality front fork and the solid fork brace give the bike a planted feel. If the fat tyre adds to the steering effort much like in the case of the Iron 1200, the ability to tackle corners is limited by how soon the forward set foot pegs start to scrape.

Also, irregularities begin to make their presence felt when riding the Forty Eight Special on uneven roads. 

Muffled explosive sounds
The Forty Eight Special feels a touch more sporty than the Iron 1200. If large irregularities are better ridden by negotiating at slow speeds, the Forty Eight Special, like the Iron 1200, is a pleasure to ride on smooth surfaces with its strong and near continuous flow of torque. The tendency of the bike to make muffled explosive sounds while on the move adds to the fun of riding it. The throb is distinctive from the powertrain, the pulsing translating into a degree of vibration through the pegs when revving high.

Clutch is heavy
Gear changes are typical Harley. They are devoid of any fancy quick-shifters. The pull of the clutch is heavy, and calls for an amount of effort to ensure a gear change sans any difficulty. Some weight on the lever and the gear will shift with a satisfying clunk. Even though it may feel a touch sporty given the riding position and the way the bike pulls, the way the gears fall in place suggest that it is about riding at a leisurely pace. 

The Forty Eight Special is slated for launch ahead of the festive season in India. In other markets, it is already attracting a lot of attention along with the Iron 1200. The expected price of the bike is Rs 10.45 lakhs. 

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