An un­easy rider still finds it hard to knock fuel hog

Julie Mar­shall tries a bike with a thirsty sparkle.

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - ROAD TEST -

IT’S ab­so­lutely fu­tile try­ing to ar­gue the toss with any­one who doesn’t get the al­lure of Har­leyDavid­son mo­tor­cy­cles be­cause they will never, ever, agree with you.

In­tro­duce them to the Seventy-Two re­viewed here and watch their faces when you tell them it has a 1200 cc engine and a range of, at best, 70 miles be­tween fill ups. In fact dur­ing one ride the fuel light came on af­ter a mere 47 miles. Granted I wasn’t spar­ing the horses, but you’ve re­ally got to be very aware of where your next source of fuel is lo­cated if you’re go­ing any dis­tance at all. Ei­ther that or take along a mate with a fuel can in his pan­niers.

De­trac­tors will prob­a­bly say, ‘what’s the point?’ and the an­swer in­vari­ably is, if you have to ask then you’ll never un­der­stand. The Seventy-Two is a thing of beauty and though it can never in a mil­lion years be classed as prac­ti­cal, nev­er­the­less, I like it.

The tiny peanut tank which holds a mere 2.1 gal­lons is only go­ing to be a prob­lem if you want to go tour­ing but I can as­sure you the Seventy-Two is not a bike to do that on.

The ape-hanger bars, while not as ex­treme as some I’ve en­coun­tered, do make your arms ache af­ter a while and the lack of any sort of a screen means your head and par­tic­u­larly your chest gets a real bat­ter­ing in the wind at speed so it’s best to cruise along at a more se­date pace and watch the world go by.

The solo seat is not overly com­fort­able af­ter an hour on the road (more to do with the seat­ing po­si­tion rather than the ac­tual seat it­self) and the skinny 21-inch front tyres don’t do an aw­fully good job of pro­tect­ing your bones from the pot­holes, but who cares if you just need to stop more of­ten for a brew than usual?

What it is par­tic­u­larly good for how­ever is pos­ing in the sun on, al­though with the weather we’ve been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing lately, I didn’t get chance to do much of that. It was more a case of dodg­ing the show­ers to keep the chrome shiny.

The Seventy-Two owes its name to Whit­tier Boule­vard, the leg­endary cruis­ing street in East Los Angeles also known as Route 72 but it could just as eas­ily re­fer to the year or the range in miles.

The early 70s were all about retro and there’s plenty of that in ev­i­dence here right down to the white­wall tyres.

“In cre­at­ing the Seven­tyTwo, we were also in­spired by the vibe of the early chop­per era,” said Frank Sav­age, Harley-David­son man­ager of in­dus­trial de­sign. “Those bikes were colourful and chromed, but also nar­row and stripped down to the es­sen­tials. You look at pe­riod ex­am­ples and they are al­most as sim­ple as a bi­cy­cle.”

The bike on test had a beau­ti­ful paint job - sparkling “Hard Candy Big Red Flake”.

This is cre­ated by ap­ply­ing a black base coat, fol­lowed by a polyurethane sys­tem that car­ries hexagon-shaped flakes that are more than seven times the di­am­e­ter of the metal flake used in typ­i­cal pro­duc­tion paint.

Each flake is coated with a thin alu­minium film and then tinted red. This is fol­lowed by four ap­pli­ca­tions of clear coat, and a lot of hand sand­ing to cre­ate a smooth fin­ish over the flakes.

As with all Har­leyDavid­sons the engine note and the vi­bra­tion is a big part of the whole rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and the Seventy-Two doesn’t dis­ap­point It’s pow­ered by the 1200 Sport­ster V-twin engine which makes for ef­fort­less rid­ing and the mas­sive amount of torque al­most negates the need for chang­ing down the gears ex­cept at the low­est speeds.

If you want to look cool this sum­mer the Seven­tyTwo will cost you £8,895 (or £8,695 if you forgo the shiny red paint). Some would say a ver­i­ta­ble bar­gain, oth­ers would no doubt dis­agree.

RETRO AP­PEAL: It gets only 70 miles be­tween fill-ups, but noth­ing looks like a Harley.

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