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Harley-Davidson Fat Bob  | BIKE TESTS

The new Fat Bob. It’s so radically different from the previous model, and even the other Softail models, that you need to take a moment to soak it all in before you ride it.

A 43mm inverted front fork might be the norm for other manufacturers, but it’s big news on a Harley cruiser.

Sitting between the fork legs is a rectangular LED headlight. The wheels are 16-inch cast units with fat deep-tread tyres. The rear fender makes it look like a flat tracker, but the way the header pipes snake around the big V-twin before sweeping upwards is very European.

Performance is what the Fat Bob is all about, and a 28-degree steering rake with 132mm of trail gives it a sporty turn that’s assisted by the stiffer Softail chassis. Ground clearance of 120mm provides additional lean angle, allowing the rider to put the quick steering to good use.

The 710mm-high flat seat feels much higher than the other models; it’s like getting onto a Motard bike. The ’bar is also fat, flat and wide yet you don’t need to stretch to reach it due to the relatively short seat-to-bar measurement.

The firm suspension and stiffness of the Softail frame provide excellent feedback and, despite having an aggressive tread pattern on the balloon-type tyres, it turns well, providing plenty of grip and feel.

Stopping is handled by twin 300mm discs up front, the only Softail with this set-up. They provide a good solid feel from the moment you apply pressure to the lever to the moment you come to a stop.

Looking for a Harley that’s a bit left-of -field? this could be it.

Price $27,495 (ride away)

Engine  107 standard (145Nm) / 114 option ($30,250 ride away)

Seat Height 710 mm

Wet weight 306kg (claimed)

Colours Vivid Black, Black Denim, Red Iron Denim, Bonneville Salt Pearl, Industrial Grey