Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Harley-Davdison Forty-Eight Press Preview

January 21, 2010  NEW YORK CITY—In keeping with its “Bad Boy” image, Harley-Davidson held the unveiling of its new “Forty-Eight” model in the basement ballroom of the Ace Hotel, a historical metaphor lost on the numerous non-New Yorkers present for the event.

From the mid-1800s through prohibition New York City’s Tin Pan Alley was the home of America’s notorious music publishing business, which was known for it’s rampant plagiarism and shady dealings. The area was also home to the numerous bordellos and gambling parlors frequented by both local gadflies and the city’s wealthy elite.

The new Ace Hotel is the reincarnation of the Hotel Breslin, which opened in 1904 as the gem of Tin Pan Alley heralding a new era and has over the years sheltered such luminaries as the boxer Joe Louis, the author W. E. B. Du Bois and the avant-garde filmmaker and musicologist Harry Smith. The infamous Diamond Jim Brady was also known to frequent the Breslin, and Tin Pan Alley.

Planned or not, Harley’s new “Forty-Eight” was as at home in the neighborhood as Diamond Jim was back when the bikes were merely a twinkle in the eyes of Mr. Harley and Mr. Davidson.

The "Forty-Eight" (Photo courtesy The Harley Davidson Motor Company)

Named for the year a peanut tank first appeared on a Harley (the Model “S”), the Forty-Eight is the apotheosis of notorious design to come out of Willie G’s studio in some time. A bullfrog bobber with fat tires, and a 1200cc fuel-injected mill with polished covers and Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) that will draw envious stares whether throttling past the Ace CafĂ© in London, the Ear Inn in New York or the Rock Store in LA.

As a proud Rich Christoph (photo below), Industrial Designer at Harley-Davidson Styling who works with Willie G in the Willie G. Design Department told me, "This is the most honest Sportster we've had in a long time. That's no BS!" He went on, “This bike is a very, very, very solid direction of where we’re taking XL. Back to its minimalist roots and the honesty of the motorcycle itself."

H-D Design Engineer Rich Christoph (Photo©2010 Mark Kalan)

An “out of the box” custom bike the Forty-Eight offers up most of the currently popular custom upgrades and some with a new twist.

The first thing this reporter noticed were the under-the-handlebar mirrors which have a better aesthetic than bar-end mirrors and probably offer less image shake. Low profile drag style bars, a minimal instrument pod, fork-mounted turn signals and forward controls round out the cockpit. And most of the metal brackets have been drilled to lighten the weight.

The front black steel-laced front wheel with a single-disc brake sports a 130mm Dunlop MT90 tall tire, in all its fat black glory. The 150mm rear tire is mounted on similar 16-inch black steel laced wheel and framed by a black chopped rear fender with combination stop/turn/tail lights and a side mounted license plate. Dual shorty exhaust pipes add sleek lines to the machine and vertically challenged riders will appreciate the 26-inch seat height.

The hallmark peanut fuel tank holds 2.1 gallons so you’ll be stopping often for fellow riders to drool and is available in three paint jobs; Vivid Black, Brilliant Silver and Mirage Orange Pearl.

Officially the XL1200X, the Forty-Eight is the latest incarnation of the Sportster mold and infused with the Harley Dark Custom DNA.

The Dark Custom formula has been a winner for Harley. Paul James of Harley’s PR department put it succinctly, “The demographic on Dark Custom what we’ve seen is that it’s the youngest riders in our family that are buying Harley-Davidson motorcycles are buying Dark Customs. They’re drawn to Dark Custom because of the kind of raw elemental appeal of the motorcycles; they’re the quintessential Harley-Davidson experience distilled to the purest form. This age demographic, the 18 to 34 year olds are really inspired by it.”

Intended to be an entry-level custom I can see the Forty-Eight appealing to the throbbing masses. For roughly $10,500 (in Vivid Black) notoriety out the door is virtually guaranteed.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Most Useless Blog Posting Ever

Since I know that most of you riders are "mechanically declined" I thought that you's enjoy this video of the Most Useless Machine Ever.

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