2017 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Sportster Review

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2017 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight

Editor’s Note: 79.25%

Motor 17.0 / 20
Suspension / Handling 10.5 / 15
Transmission / Clutch 9.0 / 10
Brakes 7.0 / 10
Instruments / Controls 3.0 / 5
Ergonomics / Comfort 6.5 / 10
Appearance / Quality 9.25 / 10
desirability 9.0 / 10
Value 8.0 / 10
Overall score 79.25 / 100

Barely graduated from college, I got my dad’s car R1 was handed over to him on deposit – leaving me without a bike in San Diego as I began my life as a full-time landlord at a large biotech company. It’s been a tough transition to the downhill part of life that robbed me of my ability to wake up at 11am and spend whatever day of the week I choose playing video games alongside the 12-pack. cheaper from the gas station in my block which is usually High-Life and I’m okay with that.

But I understand. It’s time to contribute to society or whatever.

In fact, the R1 was not repoed as much as it was traded for a new Harley. I was able to pretend that I am the owner of a 2017 Forty-eight sportster over the past few weeks, that has seemed to get out of hand and involved the purchase of unnecessary amounts of HD branded goods, including an “If You Can Read This The Bitch Fell Off” shirt which is actually a bit inappropriate with the solo seat the Forty-Eight comes standard with. But then again, it never really felt right anyway. (Accessory passenger seat sold separately.)

Endless coffee and TPS reports.

Endless coffee and TPS reports.

In my opinion, this bike has a lot of styling trumps, and it’s right up my alley, admittedly hipster. With the hanging mirrors, the large gurgling Twin, the slim 2.1 gallon peanut tank (which magically disappears), the unique round headlight and the solo seat, it has a low and medium profile, and on paper , she’s all I’m looking for in a more traditional style bikes. The old R1 never got so many compliments or looks from the ladies, just bald old dudes asking me about the Sapporo-can fluid sensor.

I’m a huge fan of the cafe look, and the Forty-Eight comes close: ditch the rear fender and place clips and recoils (which together will set you back $ 949.90 via HD) on the old maid, and my God, I would be a happy and poor man.

HD chose to provide the “Hard Candy” edition for this track, which isn’t too bad if you don’t think too much about the name or look close enough to see the pretty flames or remember that you paid $ 450 more for it. Your options according to the HD Online Bike Builder are Metal, Yellow, White, Black (the base color that won’t cost you more than the MSRP of $ 11,299) and the other “Hard Candy” color, Black Gold . Despite the interesting desert gas station lipstick that was applied to the tank, she is a badass and a very proud American. It’s pretty cool for me.

Observe posted speed limits with slow shutter speeds.

Observe posted speed limits with slow shutter speeds.

The comfort on this bike is a bit of a mystery to me and my Hardy Boys. I’ve never been a fan of the cruiser-style ankle stance (in front of you like a set of calipers to aid birth), with which the Forty-Eight attempted a happy medium by moving towards a standard-style stance. . The stakes are in front but are not as far apart as the other cruisers I have piloted. He straddles that line between the cruiser and the standard position like a divorcee who insulted the operator of a mechanical bull in that weird country bar you once went to and vowed never to return. In short, a little sloppy. I sometimes have leg cramps which sucks on the freeway, but other times it’s not that bad and can be quite pleasant. Subjective maybe, or it just takes a while to get used to.

Against that same background, the bars are in a good position and are comfortably within reach, but with the lowest seat in the Sportster range at 27.3 inches running alongside these cruising calipers, a hunchback situation arises. product for me six feet tall which becomes uncomfortable on long trips and with daily driving. Saddle on the Forty-Eight for everyday work is not the most comfortable. However, I will say that with my legs well positioned, I can catch a cool breeze along my pant leg which gently dances on my unspeakable ones..

Quite a lot of ergos overall, and a nice breeze in the pantalones.

Quite a lot of ergos overall, and a nice breeze along the pants.

The instruments are bare which suits me for this bike. You get your standard offal: an analog speedometer with a low fuel indicator and a small LCD screen that runs through an odometer, A-trip, gear position, rpm, and time. Those cool mirrors I mentioned earlier aren’t the most functional design choice on the bike. For some reason, only one side would allow me to adjust properly so I could look down to see behind me, which even at a glance completely takes my eyes off what is in front of you, and the other requires a head dive. I will blame myself for not having adjusted this side correctly, but the mirrors are not great even when properly adjusted.

What 1948 looks like in my imagination.  Not that I ever imagined it.

What 1948 looks like in my imagination. Not that I ever imagined it.

The brakes are at this same country bar. They are decent, but not enough to say that I am completely comfortable telling my friends about the experience. Up front, you’ve got a single lonely disc that does most of the work to stop a claimed 551-pound wet motorcycle, with the rear pulling its fair share. You’ll pull that lever really hard when it comes time to squeeze the brakes in a tough situation, but they do a solid job of stopping old Bessy when she starts rustling your jimmies.

Suspension is also acceptable; he does his job. You get a massive 1.6-inch rear travel via a pair of preload-adjustable shocks and 3.6 inches of 49mm fork travel. And with its ankle position, it’s a little tricky to sit down for that big dip on the highway, so you need to prepare your back for a slight realignment over the bigger bumps. In the city, it absorbs irregularities well and handles fairly well at low speed and in traffic, as well as stepping in turns. The Forty-Eight is quite nimble and can be a blast on the road. It really grew on me beyond its looks and despite its traditional flaws in HD.

Brilliant things that sound great.

Brilliant things that sound great.

Now I love these 1200cc, or … excuse me, 73.4 Cubic inches of air-cooled V-Twin asphalt crushing power. Of course, it doesn’t tear like the old R1, but there is still the vertigo and it sounds pretty good even with the stock exhaust. The 1200cc Evolution engine that HD has been using in Sportsters for some time does its job well and gives a lot of joy when you pull that twisty thing on the right side of the handlebars. And the drivetrain is really smooth, which I didn’t expect for some reason. Shifting gears is a satisfying breeze, much like the one mentioned earlier.

Nice a hair.

Nice a hair.

I had a lot of fun on the Forty Eight. Its old school charm has provided me with a beacon of light that I drive to and from work every day. Luckily my ride involves a bit of a twisty section with a few elevation changes that either start or end my ride and allow the Forty-Eight to step up a bit, which it likes to do in moderation. It’s a nice break from the overwhelming freeway traffic. Fortunately, the new corporate job is pretty laid back, with lots of coworkers commuting to work and even a bunch of corporate motorcycles, where others like me can try to milk that last drop of anti-yuppy / lemming sentiment. that you tell yourself you’ll never lose it.

For some reason, the traditional styling and rugged engine of the Forty-Eight makes this lie a little easier to believe. Plus, it feels good at the end of the day to pass everyone else in the carpool lane and make your way home to your freezer filled with Hungry-Man dinners. While the Forty-Eight might not be the most practical or ergonomic choice, it is nonetheless a simple and satisfying model that has helped me wean myself from the nipple of the college dustbag. , one trip at a time.

2017 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight
+ Treble
  • You can imagine what it’s like to be cool
  • Great fun to drive
  • Titillating breezes
– sighs
  • Small fuel capacity
  • Hunchbacked stirrups / facilitating childbirth
  • $ 450 glittering flames


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