The redesigned 2016 Forty-Eight® motorcycle comes at you with more low-slung Dark Custom™ attitude than ever, from its fat front end to its new cast aluminum wheels.
We didn’t rebuild it. We reloaded it: The first time the world saw this gas tank was 1948. But the world has never seen that iconic tank sitting atop anything quite like this. The Forty-Eight® motorcycle has been reborn. Everything that was great about it has been cranked up to a more intense level. Better seat. Better suspension. New lightweight mag wheels. Awesome brakes. And now the tank is sporting 70’s inspired graphics. Welcome to the next page of history written in Dark Custom™ iron.
Authentic Styling: When the first Sportster motorcycle roared onto the scene in 1957 the world had never seen anything like it. Rawboned, powerful and looking for action. The styling cues that lit up the street in those early years would soon become a part of everything from race bikes to outlaw choppers as they spread throughout the motorcycling world. Take a look at the offering for 2016 and one thing becomes instantly clear. The best way to get the style that made the Sportster motorcycle famous is to get a Sportster motorcycle of your own. The narrow frame is more agile than ever. The rumbling V-Twin and muscular front end feel more powerful than ever. The flawless steel and jewel-like fuel tank reveal their authentic American motorcycle roots in every inch of detail.
Iconic Engine: The Evolution engine riding in the nimble Sportster frame is a prime example of the power, durability and proven reliability The Motor Company was built on. Born from the legendary Shovelhead and Ironhead engines, it’s been the power at the center of a Sportster motorcycle since 1984. Its overhead valve design and four-cam gear train have their roots in the company’s race program, and you know it when you feel the surge of brute torque that accompanies every twist of the throttle. The air-cooled V-Twin design with a compact one-piece crankcase/transmission fits the narrow Sportster profile like a fist in a fingerless glove. We began with a strong, trouble-free design. Then gave it constant refinement to bring us to the modern powerplant of today. A testament to the unwavering hunger for advancement in motor technology that has always driven Harley-Davidson.
Technology: What the eye sees and the rider feels on a Sportster motorcycle goes deep beneath the surface. Which is where you’ll find some our latest technology hard at work. The immaculate styling is due in part to an integrated electrical system that reduces wiring harnesses, switches, relays and fuses. The new seats throughout the Sportster line are built out of 21st century materials to feel plush and look minimalist at the same time. The new suspension systems are a marvel, with cartridge damping up front and an adjustable cartridge emulsion system in back. The one thing you won’t find on a Sportster motorcycle is any gizmos. Technology is there for one reason and one reason only. To make the motorcycle even more honest, enduring and satisfying for the rider.
Handling: The street is the home turf of the Sportster motorcycle, and a narrow, agile frame wrapped around a strong V-Twin engine has always been its calling card. To see how far we’ve taken this basic equation, get in the saddle of any 2016 Sportster model. Trust us, the list of constant innovations and refinements you experience on the Sportster motorcycle of today is more than you want to read about here. The latest innovation is a complete new suspension on every model, with cartridge emulsion rear shocks and a screw adjuster to further dial in the handling. It all feels tight and right, bringing confidence to the ride and a grin to the rider. Whether you’re rocketing to the next stoplight, threading through the urban grid, or busting out of the city limits to parts unknown.
Comfort: You might look at the raw-boned style of a Sportster motorcycle and not immediately think of comfort. That would be a mistake. Sink into the seat of any 2016 Sportster model and you discover a premium ride hidden under all the lean and mean styling. The engine is rubber-mounted to the frame, so you feel all the power of an Evolution V-Twin but none of the vibrations. The handlebar hits your fists and the pegs hit your boots just the way they should. Even better, we’ve made improving comfort for the Sportster rider our marching orders for 2016. There are new seats and suspensions throughout the line. There’s even a wrench tucked inside the seat to adjust the rear suspension exactly the way you like it. These are some of the most versatile motorcycles to ever hit the street. Making each hour of riding feel better than the one that came before is a big part of the reason why.
Classic Peanut Fuel Tank with New Badge: First appearing on a Harley-Davidson® motorcycle back in 1948—and providing the inspiration for the Forty-Eight® model name—the small 2.1 gallon tapered peanut fuel tank holds strong today with its traditional styling and modern attitude. It adds to the machine's low, powerful bulldog look, showing off the solid mass of the engine and the rawboned style of the lean Sportster® frame. We mount it on a metal strip drilled with old-school “lightening” holes. Then top the works with vivid graphics and a 3D metal badge rooted deep in the bike’s retro modern culture. The peanut fuel tank is attitude and looks all balled up into one.
Fat Front Wheel: A beefy front end with a tall, fat MT90 tire gives the Forty-Eight® model a grounding visual equal to that of a 1950 Mercury. Custom rubber reminiscent of the lead-sled culture. A dominating presence up front that provides a smooth ride and solid handling.
Hard Candy Custom™ Paint: Hard Candy Custom™ paint is a large metal flake finish that’s more than just paint job, it’s a shining declaration of independence—bright, bold and unique. The Sportster® model Forty-Eight® is available in Hard Candy Custom™ Cancun Blue Flake and Hard Candy Custom™ Gold Flake. Recalling the iconic rebel styling of ‘70s custom bikes, Hard Candy Custom™ paint marks another milestone in The Motor Company’s legacy of innovation. We start with several passes of 200 micron flake over a black base, then clear coat it, hand-lay the graphics, and apply the many layers of clear coat to allow the flake to shine through. It’s a painstaking process that delivers a premium custom look straight from the factory, so you can start flying your colors with no waiting or extra effort.
Slammed Handlebar, Speedo and Under Mount Mirrors: The slammed black drag-style handlebar with speedo and under mount mirrors adds to the stripped down, minimal look of the Forty-Eight® motorcycle. Inspired by the way hot rod pioneers used to slam their rides, the drag style handlebar is an old-school garage feature that demands a forward, aggressive riding position.
Clean Rear End Styling: When the look is fast and smooth, details count and clutter doesn’t make the cut. We carefully crafted the rear end with retro-styled Stop-Turn-Tail lights and a side-mounted license plate to leave the fender surface clean and uncluttered for an authentically raw, custom look. And while the lamps may look old-school, it's their new-school engineering that keeps things clean, packing stop, turn and running beams into each bullet.
New Exhaust with Laser Cut Exhaust Shields: The staggered shorty-dual exhaust has been around almost as long as the Sportster® family itself. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take the time-honored pipes to a place that’s brand new. To achieve the stunning dark-breaking-through-bright look on the Forty-Eight® exhaust, we blacked-out the mufflers. Then topped them with chrome exhaust shields adorned with laser-cut groves.
Pure Harley-Davidson Styling: Feast your eyes on the 1200cc Evolution® engine and there's no mistaking its roots. This is authentic Harley-Davidson style through and through with an attention to detail you won't find from any other motorcycle company. Right in the center: a round air cleaner cover, covered in gloss black and loaded with retro style. Surrounding it you have black powder coating on the cases and cylinders, polished rocker covers, and a final touch of chrome pushrods to highlight the iconic V-Twin shape. It's a jewel machined out of metal. Pure. Dripping with power. The 1200cc Evolution® engine makes an ironclad statement about holding on to what's right and staying true to what satisfies the rider.
Evolution® Engine Heritage: The Evolution® engine—known in certain crowds as the Blockhead—was first bolted to the frame of a Harley-Davidson® motorcycle back in 1984. Born from legendary Shovelhead and Ironhead engines, the Evolution® engine broke new ground in displacement innovation while maintaining the hunger for power, durability and proven reliability that The Motor Company was built on.
Evolution® Engine Innovation: Air-cooled and durable as hell, the 1200cc Evolution® engine is yet another nod to the unwavering work ethic that drives advancements in motor technology at Harley-Davidson. Aluminum heads and cylinders lighten the load of the bike and improve air-cooling efficiency. Electronic fuel injection says goodbye to carburetors and boasts increased reliability and less routine maintenance. Bottom line: the rubber-mounted Evolution® engine runs hard and rides smooth for thousands of miles so you can just worry about taking in the freedom of the open road.
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) (Optional): When the burrito exit comes out of nowhere, you’ll need a little extra braking power. That’s why optional anti-lock brakes (ABS) are on all Sportster® models. ABS improves overall braking performance, and keeps you from locking up under heavy braking. Plus, the entire system is smartly integrated into the design of the bike, so nothing gets in the way of your steel work of art. Because what’s the point of stopping if you can’t make a few heads turn?
Ergonomic Hand Controls: If your hands feel good on the controls you’ll feel good on the bike. Which is why when you twist the throttle of a Harley-Davidson® motorcycle, you just know. You feel more dialed in, comfortable and attuned to the road and everything around you. In designing these hand controls we went the extra mile to make sure every operation is as intuitive, fluid and effortless as possible. So you can keep your eyes on what’s around the next corner and not what’s under your thumb. Things like self-canceling turn signals that are right where you want them to be and brake levers that are easy for all riders to reach. We’ve added other features, too, like a trip switch and vehicle “start” switch as all Sportster® models are keyless. Details that may seem small but make a huge difference on the road. Because it’s tiny things like these that make a Harley-Davidson® motorcycle.
Foundation Brake System: Like riding itself, you can never go too far when it comes to a bike’s brakes. This is why we went the distance to make the brake system of each Sportster® model a shining example of performance, fit and finish. You have 300mm brake rotors and a powerful, stylized front caliper with 34mm pistons and stylized rear caliper to match. Other system features include an improved all-aluminum integrated rear master cylinder with reservoir, all-aluminum front master cylinder with reduced friction and higher efficiency, and stainless steel braided lines. It all adds up to more confidence on the road and more power and predictability when you squeeze the brakes.
Tach and Gear Indicator Readout: Even though none of us would want to admit it, from time to time, we've all had to kick our shift lever back down to 1 to figure out what gear we were in. The Sportster® models get a speedometer with a gear indicator readout and a tachometer you can activate with your trip switch. Now you've got all the information you need to keep it in the power band at the touch of a finger.
Closed Loop Exhaust System: Designed to meet future worldwide emissions standards and the standards of future generations of Harley-Davidson® motorcycle riders. This closed loop exhaust system delivers heart-pounding performance in the key of the trademark Harley-Davidson rumble. With its robust, soul-stirring big twin design, durable mufflers with exhaust shields, a catalyst and mini heated oxygen sensors that improve emissions and drivability, this system is not only better for the environment, it makes riding better.
H-D® Smart Security System (Optional): The factory-installed next-generation security system features a hands-free fob that automatically arms and disarms the vehicle's electronic security functions as you approach and walk away from the bike. Stick the fob on your ignition key ring and let it do all the work. It's this attention to detail and security that make Harley-Davidson® motorcycles unique.
Integrated Electrical System: Coursing through every Sportster® model is a body controller with updated routing. It has a cleaner look and reduces the number of wiring harnesses, switches, relays and fuses. Which is a fancy way of saying less fuss. We’ve also added a voltage regulator with modified fins and integrated connectors to improve heat rejection. Like you, the Sportster® motorcycles are wired and ready to chase wind and eat up miles of pavement.
Michelin ® Scorcher™ Tires: Michelin® Scorcher™ tires provide the superior performance, sensational grip, impressive durability and excellent handling expected on a race-bred bike. The exclusive deep-cut tread design improves grip and water evacuation capability. Grip performance and durability is also enhanced by the tire's rubber compounds, which use the latest generation of Michelin synthetic polymers.
New Emulsion Rear Shock with Screw Adjuster: The urban infrastructure isn’t getting any smoother, so we upgraded the rear suspension throughout the Sportster® family. We went with an Emulsion rear shock with a screw pre-load adjuster. It not only works overtime to soak up every bump the street throws your way, it also adjusts to fit your riding style. Simply use the tool mounted under the seat to turn the screw and you have a rear suspension set up to ride as aggressively as you want to take it.
New 49mm Fork with Cartridge Dampening: The front end of the Forty-Eight® motorcycle comes at you like a left hook from a bareknuckle boxer, loaded with raw power and bruising style. The eye starts at the big balloon front tire, then immediately lands on the brawny 49mm front fork, accentuated by massive triple clamps and fork brace. There’s nothing else like it on the street. The one thing that isn’t rough and tumble is the way it all feels. We’ve been busy upgrading the ride of every Sportster® model, adding cartridge dampening technology to that brawny front fork. It keeps the handling crisp and confident, no matter how rough or winding the road ahead.
New Split 9-Spoke Cast Aluminum Wheels: The plentitude of fat black rubber rolling underneath the Forty-Eight® motorcycle calls for a set of equally hardcore rims, so we came up with a special split 9-Spoke design, covered it all in black, then added machined highlights to set off the design. The belt sprocket and floating front brake rotor get a similar treatment for good measure. The wheels are lightweight cast aluminum, so even with all that rubber the ride feels light and nimble.
Forward-Mount Controls: With the custom forward-mount controls on the Forty-Eight® model, you can kick back a little and stretch your legs for the ultimate cruise through town or across the state line. It's time to take on the town the way you were meant to—on a two-wheeled machine that's built to outdo the rest.
Low Profile Drag Style Bars: The iconic look of flat, minimalist drag bars was born of a time when riders spent weekends in the garage dialing up the speed of their machines, then spent the hot summer nights at a local back alley or track showing it off. The look is right, and sets up the perfect riding posture for roaring around town. There couldn’t be a more appropriate way to top the menacing bulldog stance of the Forty-Eight® motorcycle.
Low Seat with New Minimalist Styling: When a bike looks this tough, the idea is to keep the soft stuff to a minimum. So the seat is solo style, with just enough ribbed detail to give the eyes something to notice. But here’s the thing only the rider needs to know: modern materials let us build loads of all-day comfort into that barely-there seat. Your backside will feel like it can go forever. Also key – the seat sits just 26 inches off the pavement thanks to a lowered front and rear suspension. That equals confidence for riders of all sizes and experience. A responsive ride for whipping through town or busting out onto the interstate.
New Optimized Steering Geometry: One look tells you the Forty-Eight® motorcycle is filled to the brim with dark, street-fighting style, but that's just part of the story. We also went to work on the ride, optimizing the way the steering geometry works with all that fat rubber. The handling is light, agile and confidence-inspiring despite the burly bulldog stance.
$499 DEALER PREP AND $199 DOC FEE WILL BE ADDED TO FINAL PRICE