2016 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Review | Sportster updated


2016 Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight

2016 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Review |  Updated Sportster left
2016 Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight

Harley-Davidson updated the Forty-Eight for 2016, and the result is a bike with improved handling to match the easy-going Sportster 1202cc Evolution engine.

The most important changes for the 2016 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight are in the foreground; The Sportster 48 gets new 49mm forks (up 10mm from last year, and now with cartridge damping) with stronger triple clamps and fork brace, improving handling of the bike.

On the handlebars of the Forty-Eight, the new front part is immediately apparent when turning. The previous edition of the bike wasn’t bad, but it’s a much more substantial feel, which improves handling confidence. The same excellent Michelin Scorcher 31 is used, with a chunky 130mm width on a new 16-inch 9-spoke cast aluminum wheel (replacing a traditional lace-up wheel).

With the increased stiffness in the front of the bike, Harley-Davidson was able to retract the fork angle of 1.3 degrees, giving the 551-pound (claimed wet) bike a more agile feel, both around town and on secondary roads.

The rear of the 2016 Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight has also received some help. The rear shock still has barely 1.6 inches of travel, but now the shock has a nitrogen-charged emulsion style design, plus a variable-rate spring and threaded preload adjuster. Without riding them back to back it’s hard to make a huge difference, given the short ride, but he handled the bumps in the road pretty well.

The bank angle changed a bit for 2016, with a uniform landing point at 27.1 degrees. This increases the left side by a full degree, while removing 0.7 degrees from the right side. Being a low-slung Sportster with a 28-inch seat height, the peg feelers still hit the tarmac with some regularity even if you’re a mildly aggressive rider.

2016 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Review |  Sportster updatedThe powerful Evolution engine, which delivers 71 ft / lb of torque at 3,500 rpm, encourages sporty driving. It’s a real-world power that’s as useful when the light turns green as it is when the road twists.

Speaking of the set, the 2016 Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight gets a new solo seat. It’s comfortable, with good support, although the ergonomics of the forward feet and hands tend to give this bobber more than a cafe feel (the mirrors under the helm add to that).

Overall, the 48 could certainly be more inviting from a comfort standpoint, but with a 2.1 gallon tank that needs to be refilled frequently, HD doesn’t expect you to make long stays between trips. breaks outside the bike.

Appearance has been changed with new retro AMF-inspired graphics (except on the Hard Candy Custom versions), as well as chrome exhaust shields with old-fashioned bobber-style cutouts (saving weight, naturally) and “1200” on the engine case (replacing “5”). In addition, the air filter is now round and black. There’s also more black on the Forty-Eight than before, solidifying it as one of Harley-Davidson’s Dark Custom series.

All in all, the modifications to the 2016 Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight aren’t groundbreaking, but they’re big enough to make it a better bike for bombing the city late at night, as well as a quick ride around. the local tavern in the canyons.

Photography by Riles & Nelson

Riding style:

2016 Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight Specifications


  • Motor: air-cooled pushrod, Evolution
  • Bore x Stroke: 3.5 x 3.811 inches
  • Displacement: 73.4 cubic inches
  • Compression ratio: 10:01
  • Exhaust: Offset chrome shorty exhaust with two oblique cut mufflers
  • Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
  • Engine torque: 70.8 ft-lbs at 3,500 rpm
  • Fuel economy: city / highway combined, 48 mpg


  • Length: 85 inches
  • Seat height, laden: 26.2 inches
  • Seat height, empty: 27.3 inches
  • Ground clearance: 3.9 inches
  • Rake: 30.2 degrees
  • Fork angles: 28.7 degrees
  • Trail: 5.3 inches
  • Wheelbase: 59.3 inches
  • Tires: Michelin Scorcher 31
  • Front tire: 130 / 90B16 73H
  • Rear tire: 150 / 80B16 77H
  • Fuel capacity: 2.1 gallons
  • Engine oil capacity (with filter): 2.8 quarts
  • Curb weight: 551 pounds


  • Front suspension: 49mm forks, 3.6 ” travel
  • Rear suspension: variable rate spring on nitrogen charged emulsion type shock absorber with threaded preload; 1.6 inches of travel
  • Wheels: Black 9 split-spoke cast aluminum with machined elements
  • Brakes for: double piston calipers (optional ABS)
  • Tilt angle r & l: 27.1 degrees
  • Gauges: 4-inch speedometer mounted low and integrated into the handlebar clamp

2016 Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight MSRP:

  • Bright black: $ 11,199
  • Color option: $ 11,549
  • Hard candy color option: $ 11,649
  • Security option: $ 395
  • ABS option: $ 795

2016 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Review – Photo gallery

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