Har­ley’s Fat Boy is back to its bad­dest best

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

If the Fat Bob is the stand­out ma­chine of Har­ley’s new Sof­tail fam­ily, it’s surely the Fat Boy that’s the most stun­ning. Cruis­ers sim­ply don’t get more jaw-drop­ping.

Al­though the sil­hou­ette of the clas­sic, solid-wheel cruiser is largely un­changed, the 2018 Fat Boy is ac­tu­ally all-new. As with the rest of Har­ley’s new Sof­tails it gets: new monoshock frame (this time with 30° head an­gle and wider swingarm to ac­com­mo­date the mas­sive rear tyre); new 107 or 114ci Mil­wau­kee Eight en­gine; plus fresh clocks, body­work, LED head­lamp and more.

But it’s those mon­ster truck solid wheels that are the big­gest news and the rea­son the 27-year-old Fat Boy has at last re­dis­cov­ered its mojo.

Dubbed ‘Lakester’, those wheels are not just big­ger, they’re mas­sive – larger in di­am­e­ter as well as be­ing comic-book broad. Both grow an inch in di­am­e­ter while the front broad­ens from 140 to 150 while the rear goes from an al­ready vast 200 to a sim­ply gar­gan­tuan 240. So big, in fact, that you can’t help but smile.

The ride is en­ter­tain­ing, too. In a straight line, though hefty, the steer­ing is tol­er­a­ble. But through the twisties it needs a sig­nif­i­cant, un­set­tling ef­fort to tiller around.

On bal­ance, this isn’t a com­plaint: you at­tune over time af­ter which the new Fat Boy is a mas­sive grin and a unique pose. Back in 1990 the orig­i­nal was an in­stant hit for hav­ing a sim­i­lar ef­fect while Arnie helped ce­ment its celebrity aboard one in T2, fa­mously say­ing ‘I’ll be back’. Af­ter years of its pres­ence be­ing di­luted it’s good to see the Fat Boy back to its best once again.

Just look at the wheels on that… solid rear is a 240

Hefty tank swal­lows nearly 19 litres

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