HARLEY-DAVIDSON MY08

Ladieees and Gentlemen, introducing... the new...  Harley-Davidson  Rocker

It was that time of year again, when Harley-Davidson invited us to the launch of their new range of motorcycles... and I love Harleys.

So, a couple of us media guys were flown to Durban to experience the newest from Milwaukee. At least this time we did some decent mileage on the bikes.

Knowing that I wouldn't be riding too fast on the new bikes (some had zero Ks on the clock), I took my GPS with to measure some TRUE speeds.

Just as a matter of interest I measured the Boeing 737's top speed. Previous record for me was 958 kph, now 985. Maybe next time we'll break that 1000 kph barrier.

just 15 Ks short of a magical 1000 kph (surface speed)

Harley speedos are very accurate, hardly over-reading at all, up to 140 kph.

OK, let's get on with it. We were there to ride some of the new 2008 bikes from Harley-Davidson.

After a brief presentation from Stuart Farrell (Director of Harley-Davidson Distributor Markets - Europe) above the Durban Harley dealership, we rushed downstairs, each jumping on one of the new bikes and hit the road. I grabbed the new Night Rod Special (below) first and fired her up. This just happens to be my all-time favourite Harley. With absolutely zero kilometres on the odometer and hairy tyres, I would be the first the ride the bike on the road. Every time I ride one of these beauties I get this overwhelming urge to sell everything I own, scrape enough bucks together and get me a V-Rod, especially a Night Rod.

to sum up the Night Rod Special in two words would be - absolutely marvellous

It wasn't long till some other dude wanted to ride the Night Rod, and he was on the Super Glide (below), so we did a swop.

"Hey, this one's not bad" I thought, and as things worked out during the two days we rode the bikes, I kept wanting to ride the Super Glide again, and I did, plenty.

It's just so comfortable, not too dressed, not too low and not too high, just right, with plenty of ride-ability. I reckon I could ride the Super Glide all day without tiring.

one of my favourite Harleys, the Dyna Super Glide - it's tireless

Didn't get to ride the new Dyna Fat Bob or Sportster Nightster on the first day, so got up early next morning, nabbed the Fat Bob and rode into Durban to take some photos.

Straight off I must tell you, the Fat Bob really impressed me, with it's brawny looks and powerful V-Twin engine, I was belting along the Umhlanga-Durban highway, singing Christopher Cross's "Run Like The Wind" into my helmet. The Fat Bob is so easy to ride, it feels so lekker, so powerful, with the wind tugging at my hair and the early morning traffic whizzing past me in reverse.

Got to Durban in about ten minutes, feeling exhilarated and ready to take on the world. Took a few photos on the North Beach pier, rode down the beach-front and then back to our hotel in Umhlanga. What a bike... the Fat Bob is NICE, didn't even notice the shitty weather until I looked at the photos at the breakfast table.

Two totally new muscle bikes from Milwaukee, the Fat Bob...

A massive new presence in the Dyna family, FXDF Dyna Fat Bob takes factory-custom styling in a bold, new direction. The dual headlamps mounted between polished triple-clamps are a signature Fat Bob element. Chunky new tyres front and rear are mounted on 16-inch slotted cast Aluminium wheels. The gleaming chrome 'Tommy Gun' 2-1-2 exhaust (named for its slotted exhaust shield) snakes around the side of the black-and-polished V-Twin engine. Flat drag bars and forward foot controls put the rider in a position that’s instant cool.

Over the years, the Dyna line has established a reputation for great handling and exhilarating performance. The Fat Bob, named after the iconic fuel tank shape that has defined generations of Harley-Davidson factory customs, combines signature Dyna performance with a new profile that communicates cool street authority and presence.

Powered by the 1584cc Twin Cam 96 engine that pumps out 127Nm of torque. The Fat Bob’s black-and-polished alloy motor breathes in through a distinctive new airbox cover and exhales through the wild new Tommy Gun exhaust system; a 2-1-2 configuration that snakes the rear pipe forward and around the engine timing cover to merge with the front pipe. The pipes then split and dump into staggered dual mufflers.

But it’s the Fat Bob’s big 130mm front tyre spinning in beefy 49mm forks on a 16-inch by 3.5-inch slotted cast aluminium wheel that really leads the way. A new, aggressive tread design exaggerates the tyre’s chubby profile. Black painted fork lowers highlight the silver wheels and dual disc brakes, and match black risers holding a V-shaped drag bar. This is a front end that makes a bold statement.

All Dyna models are powered by the Twin Cam 96 powertrain with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) mated to the 6-Speed Cruise Drive transmission and active intake and exhaust system. In the Dyna platform the Twin Cam 96 puts out it's 127Nm of torque at just 3125 rpm . Shared Dyna characteristics include the side mounted battery box, exposed rear shock absorbers, and a classic Fat Bob fuel tank with console. While braided stainless steel brake lines enhance both the style and brake feel on all 2008 Dyna models.

FXDF Dyna Fat Bob features;

1584cc vibration isolated Twin Cam 96 engine,

6-speed Cruise Drive transmission,

Active intake and exhaust system,

Black powdercoated engine with polished alloy treatment,

NEW Braided brake lines,

NEW airbox cover,

“Full metal jacket” chrome-covered rear shock absorbers,

Chrome Tommy Gun exhaust with Staggered Dual mufflers,

180mm-16 rear / 130mm-16 front tyres with unique tread pattern,

Cast Aluminum Slotted Disc 16-inch front/rear wheels,

Bobtail rear fender,

19.3 litre Fat Bob fuel tank,

Black drag-style handlebars on black riser,

Polished aluminium triple clamps,

Black fork lowers and mirrors,

28-degree fork angle, 49mm forks,

Dual headlamps,

Forward foot controls,

Smart Security System.

the brawny new Fat Bob on North Beach pier, Durban, I absolutely love it

a big, strong, long bike. Check out the rough Indian Ocean in the background

clear, uncluttered view from the seat of the ultimate freedom machine - the Fat Bob

enjoyed lots of entertainment from the Dyna Fat Bob


2008 Specifications FXDF Dyna Fat Bob
Dimensions
Length (mm) .................................................................................................2330
Seat Height (mm) ............................................................................................663
Ground Clearance (mm) ..................................................................................125
Rake at steering head (°) / Trail (mm) .......................................................29 / 125
Fork Angle ...................................................................................................... 28°
Wheelbase (mm) ...........................................................................................1620
Fuel Capacity (litres) ......................................................................................19.3
Oil Capacity w/filter (litres) ...............................................................................2.8
Dry Weight (kg) ..............................................................................................305
Powertrain
Engine ........................................................................... Air-cooled, Twin Cam 96
Displacement (cu.cm) ...................................................................................1584
Bore x Stroke (mm) ........................................................................... 95.3 x 111.1
Fuel System ................................. Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Compression Ratio ........................................................................................ 9.2:1
Exhaust System .. Chrome, 2-1-2 exhaust pipes with slotted Tommy Gun heat shield
Wheels/Tyres
Tyres:
Front ............................................................................ D427F 130/90B16 67H
Rear ............................................................................... D427 180/70B16 77H
Wheels:
Front ........................................................... 16” Silver, slotted disc cast aluminium
Rear ............................................................ 16” Silver, slotted disc cast aluminium
Drivetrain
Final Drive ................................................................................... Belt, 32/66 ratio
Clutch .................................................................................................9-plate, wet
Transmission ........................................................................ 6-speed Cruise Drive
Chassis
Brakes, Dia (Front/Rear, mm) ....................................................... 300 dual / 292
Caliper Type ............................4-piston front and 2-piston torque-free rear caliper
Front Fork .. 49mm with polished aluminium fork triple clamp and dual-rate springs
Rear Shocks ............................................................................... Coil-over shock
Suspension Travel:
Front (mm) .................................................................................................127
Rear (mm) ....................................................................................................79
Frame ............................. Mild steel, tubular frame; rectangular section backbone;
..............stamped, cast and forged junctions; forged fender supports; MIG welded
Swingarm ... Mild steel, rectangular tube sections, stamped junctions, MIG welded
Performance
Engine Torque (EU Standard EC95/1)5 .............. 127 Nm / 94 ft lbs @ 3500 rpm
Lean Angle per SAE J1168 (Degrees Left/Right) .....................................31 / 30
Starting .....................................................................................................electric
Turn Signal Lights ................................................................. 21W self-canceling
Instruments ...................... Tank-mounted electronic speedometer with odometer;
................................................................Time-of-day clock; Resettable tripmeter
Indicator Lamps ............. High beam, neutral, low oil pressure, engine diagnostics,
.................................... turn signals, security system6, 6-speed, low fuel warnings
Warranty
Warranty ............................................................... 24 months (unlimited mileage)
Service Interval .................................. First 1,600 km, every 8,000 km thereafter

 

and the Nightster

After breakfast I jumped onto the new Sporty Nightster. Our Harley convoy rode into Durban on the N2 and then along the old Comrades route, we rode up Botha's Hill, through Drummond, Inchanga and into the Valley of a Thousand Hills, all the way to Nagle Dam.

muscular 1200 Nightster offers an exciting and somewhat hard ride

The Nightster is powerful, accelerating at a rapid rate through the gears. Although the roads of the Valley of a 1000 Hills are bumpy with all sorts of corners, blind rises, goats, cattle, river crossings and sand road sections, the Nightster handled everything with confidence and ease. Only complaint of the 1200 Sportster Nightster was the hard ride, my butt was relieved when I climbed back onto the Super Glide (should be called the Smooth Glide) for the return trip.

single-seater mean-machine - the XL 1200 Sportster Nightster

For 2008 Harley-Davidson is offering its most diverse line of Sportster models in the 51-year history of the legendary XL platform. From the affordable performance of the XL 883, to the minimalist, chic styling of the new XL 1200N Nightster, there’s a model to match the desires of any rider.

For more than a half-century, the Sportster family has always stayed true to its roots whilst evolving technologically. New for 2008, the XL1200N Nightster offers a further burst of adrenalin with a head-turning combination of exceptional performance and an underground urban feel. By blending a unique new style with the power and torque of the rubber-mounted Evolution V-Twin engine, the Nightster offers a sharp ride for the street.

First introduced to the U.S. market early in 2007, the European (South Africa falls under Europe) version features longer travel rear suspension for improved lean angles and a neat new LED stop/turn/tail light design that is the last word in minimal style. “The XL 1200N Nightster is a blacked-out street bike that continues a half century of Sportster tradition of innovative, fun and versatile motorcycles,” said Bill Davidson, Harley-Davidson Director of Motorcycle Product Development.

All Sportster models are powered by the Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injected (ESPFI) XL Evolution V-Twin motor, rubber-mounted in the frame to reduce vibration and tuned to deliver a broad powerband for great street performance, reduced clutch lever effort, high performance carbon fibre reinforced belts and improved front brake lever effort.

Stripped down and gritty, the Nightster reinterprets the Sportster legend with rugged, minimal neo-retro styling. A solo seat adds to the uncluttered look, as do clipped front and rear fenders that expose chunky tyres. Wheel rims and hubs, forks and handlebars, hand and foot controls are finished in basic black. Fork gaiters and a bullet-hole belt guard offer old-school style. Combination rear LED stop/turn/tail lights are a factory custom first. The classic 12.5 litre fuel tank is topped with a simple silver-satin cap. The muscular 1200 Evolution engine barks through chrome, staggered dual exhaust mufflers.

The XL 1200N Nightster features;

Isolation-mounted XL Evolution 1200cc engine,

Medium Gray powder-coated engine with polished covers,

Black laced steel wheels, 19-inch front / 16-inch rear,

Black low-rise handlebars,

Sportster Classic solo seat,

Chrome, staggered exhaust with dual mufflers,

Black mid-mount foot controls,

Classic 12.5 litre fuel tank,

Black front forks with gaiters,

Bullet hole belt guard and front fender supports,

Combination rear brake/tail/turn lights,

Longer travel rear suspension for Europe,

Smart Security System.


2008 Specifications XL 1200 Sportster Nightster
Dimensions
Length (mm) .................................................................................................2245
Seat Height (mm) ...........................................................................................676
Ground Clearance (mm) ..................................................................................130
Rake at steering head (°) / Trail (mm) .......................................................30 / 117
Fork Angle ...................................................................................................... 30°
Wheelbase (mm) ...........................................................................................1510
Fuel Capacity (litres) ...................................................................................... 12.5
Oil Capacity w/filter (litres) ............................................................................... 3.4
Dry Weight (kg) ............................................................................................... 251
Powertrain
Engine .................................................................................. Air-cooled, Evolution
Displacement (cu.cm) .....................................................................................1200
Bore x Stroke (mm) ............................................................................. 88.9 x 96.8
Fuel System ................................. Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Compression Ratio ........................................................................................ 9.7:1
Exhaust System .............................Chrome, staggered exhaust with dual mufflers
Wheels/Tyres
Tyres:
Front ............................................................................. D401F 100/90-19 57H
Rear ............................................................................... D401 150/80B16 71H
Wheels:
Front ...............................................................................19” Black, steel laced
Rear ................................................................................16” Black, steel laced
Drivetrain
Primary Drive .......................................................................... Chain, 38/57 ratio
Final Drive ................................................................................. Belt, 30/68 ratio
Clutch ..............................................................................................9-plate, wet
Transmission ......................................................................................... 5-speed
Chassis
Brakes, Dia (Front/Rear, mm) ................................................................292 / 292
Caliper Type ................................................... Dual-piston front, single-piston rear
Front Fork ...................................................................................................39mm
Rear Shocks .....................................................Coil-over; preload dual-adjustable
Suspension Travel:
Front (mm) .................................................................................................117
Rear (mm) ..................................................................................................104
Frame ............................Mild steel tubular frame; circular sections; cast junctions
Swingarm ... Mild steel, rectangular tube sections, stamped junctions; MIG welded
Performance
Engine Torque (EU Standard EC95/1)5 .................... 98 Nm / 72 ft lbs @ 3200 rpm
Lean Angle per SAE J1168 (Degrees Left/Right) .........................................31 / 31
Starting...................................................................................................electric
Turn Signal Lights ............................................................... 21W self-canceling
Instruments ............ Handlebars-mounted electronic speedometer with odometer;
........................................................Time-of-day clock; Dual resettable tripmeter;
......................................................................................LED stop-tail-turn signals
Indicator Lamps ........................High beam, neutral, low oil pressure, turn signals,
........................................ engine diagnostics, low fuel warnings, security system6
Warranty
Warranty ............................................................... 24 months (unlimited mileage)
Service Interval ................ First 1,000 miles (1,600 km), every 8,000 km thereafter

 

on the road with the Nightster - photo by Belinda Du Toit

both the Fat Bob and the Nightster on the pier at uShaka Marine World - Photos by Kenn Slater

 

Thanks to Mishka Moller, Stuart Farrell (H-D Europe)

and all the guys at the Harley dealerships who made this possible.

Thanks for "Making My Every Day Count"