Harley-Davidson FatBoy Lo Ride Review
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Belonging to the softail category the Harley-Davidson FatBoy Lo hosts the lowest seat height of 24.1/4 inches of all Harley’s models which makes it a popular choice for women motorcycle riders. It also has a slimmer seat. This results in a truly positive rider effect and confidence feeling with two feet securely planted on the ground.
The lowered centre of gravity makes the Harley-Davidson FatBoy Lo a breeze to control and manoeuvre. Features like rear suspension and optional ABS concealed under its customized close fenders maintain its “slammed” boulevard cruiser image!
Providing an added aggressive power ride than the 2011 model as the 96V-Twin has been replaced with a Twin Cam- 103V-twin engine! The expected array of classic Harley-Davidson style accents such as black bullet hole cast iron wheels, a ‘denim’ frame which is terminology for Harley’s black mat finish (be oh so gentle with this it needs special care i.e. cleaning) make it a truly fearsome appearance. The hand finished fuel tank like the designer centre piece on your dinning room table, is stunning! A leather tank strap, satin chrome side badges, and satin chrome speedometer and ignition switch console true elegance! The speedo face possesses a big, bold display for the odometer and a secondary display for gear and rpm. It’s all you need to know, at a glance.
Riding in the City
Urban riding as we know presents its challenges due to street car tracks, traffic jams, sporadically turning taxis and unpredictable pedestrians. The Fat Boy Lo is incredibly easy to manage in tight spaces too. This all due to it’s tremendous wide turning radius for those sharp tight turns and small street/parking lot slow speed turnabouts’.
By Harley standards, it is not a heavy bike, the 330 kg’s (727 lbs) is greatly moved about and mastered again due to it’s low centre of gravity (all the weight is close to the ground versus a sport bike where engine and weight are positioned higher) and low, low seat.
You have ample torque to perform with when exiting city to free-way on-ramps. Of course these engines emit heat! And in rush hour traffic, idling in direct blazing sun you might have a semi-melt down. Tip: wear good insulated motorcycle pants (chaps?) to ward off the heat.
The suspension I’d class as “medium” proficiency as there’s strong feedback from the road. However, its fat tyres and curvy fit padded seat buffer most of this discomfort.
There is no windscreen on the Fat Boy Lo, so on the highway particularly during a windy day (or riding in head wind) you will get a good neck muscle work out. Personally, this is not an issue for me – I rather like the open road ‘naked’ feeling ‘all out there’ Fat Boy Lo creates. Of course you can customize this model with the addition of a Harley-Davidson windscreen.
It’s a performance clout you’ll appreciate when in the free-way passing lane, climbing hills, or long distance touring with luggage and/or a passenger. New for 2012 is the slightly larger Twin Cam 103™ engine delivering more pulling torque. Its Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection jetting gives crisp, lively throttle reaction. And it comes at lower cruising rpm – you’ll experience less engine vibration, ride more smoothly and enjoy better highway fuel economy.
The Fat Boy Lo’s Six-Speed Cruise Drive® transmission provides smooth, quiet shifting and reduces engine speed on the highway, providing a better meshing of engine turnover and road speed.
It’s not standard package of the Fat Boy Lo – yet the option of adding ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System read more…) is available. The components are hidden within the wheel hub to continue with the bikes’ clean, streamlined design.
Turn Signals Cancel Based on Speed
The turn signals are self-cancelling and, based on the speed and angle of the motorcycle, they know how long to stay on! Smart technology! Engaging the controls quickly becomes second nature so you can focus less on turning off your signal and more on enjoyment of the ride.
There are some marvellous paint schemes to choose within the reputed Harley-Davidson’s paint shop! I rode the Fat Boy Lo “Full Black Denim” finish. Black denim on the frame, swing arm, front shock covers, derby cover, horn cover, coil cover, oil tank and air cleaner cover. Black, bullet-hole disc-cast aluminium wheels with black centres and matching outer rims
Flat-black exhaust shields on the satin chrome shotgun exhaust. Gloss black half-moon foot-boards. Even.Even blacked-out mirrors and headlamp. And black powder-coating on the power train with satin chrome accents finishes the job.
Full-length foot-boards allow for many foot positions which are great for a long distance ride. Their rubber isolation reduces vibration for a more comfortable ride. It’s got a heel-toe shifter to keep your boots from getting scuffed and quick easy heel shifting.
Suggested retail price: CAD18, 899.
TO SUM IT UP
When you ride any Harley-Davidson motorcycle, that renowned signature rumble takes your heart away. The Fat Boy Lo gives the rider a terrific “rider experience” right from the moment of taking its new lower profile handlebar into grip. Right away, you sense the narrower seat and when you press start – you’ll feel its increased power.
The price is on the higher side yet it would be naive to not already be aware of the general higher end pricing of this manufacturer’s products. Again, caution on the black denim finish. It’s not an easy finish to clean – take care on the advice of the experts.
Opposite to its name, there will only be “highs” (and ‘hi’s’ from passers’ by) on this Fat Boy Lo!
A few more specs: Fuel Capacity 18.9; Oil Capacity (w/filter) 3.3; Weight, As Shipped 313 kg; Weight, In Running Order: 330 kg