Tag Archives: Fat Boy

Review: Iconic Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

Is there any more iconic Harley-Davidson motorcycle than the hot rod Fat Boy?

From Hollywood stardom to being immortalised as a Lego toy, the Softail Fat Boy is the “most copied motorcycle of all time” according to Harley spokesman Kevin Hintz.

It was introduced in 1989 as a 1990 model and designed by legendary Harley stylists Willie G. Davidson and Louie Netz as a modernised version of the 1949 Hydra-Glide.

The next year, it was ridden to instant stardom by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

Terminator 2 Harley-davidson Fat Boy ridden by Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnie’s Fat Boy

The movie featured a chase scene in which the bike performed a spectacular jump in the LA sewers. Next to The Great Escape jump, it’s probably the most famous motorcycle stunt in cinematic history.

The 3m jump is impressive as stunt double Peter Kent is riding a 300+kg Fat Boy beast, not a relatively nimble little Triumph dirt bike like in The Great Escape.

However, Hollywood trickery did assist as the Fat Boy was supported by 3cm cables. So when bike and ride hit the ground, they weighed only about 80kg. The cables were later digitally erased.

The Fat Boy also played an integral role in the marketing of the film with posters depicting Arnold in leather jacket and pants straddling the bike and carrying his lever-action Winchester shotgun. It’s an image for all time that has bestowed the Fat Boy model with intrinsic and monetary value.

One of several Fat Boys used in the film sold in a Profiles in History auction in 2018 to an unknown bidder for more than $US480,000 and another was restored in 2014 and is on display in the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee.

Fat Boy has long been one of Harley’s top sellers, especially in Australia, and in 2019 Lego even honoured the model with a special scale-model toy standing 20cm high and made of 1023 pieces.

Lego Harley-Davidson Fat Boy scale model
Lego and real-life Fat Boy

Fat style

In 2017, Harley made major changes to its Softail range with lighter weight, improved suspension, bigger Milwaukee Eight 107 and 114 engines and two new and very stiff frames.

The wider frame accommodates the massively wide 240mm-section rear tyre of the Breakout and Fat Boy, up from 200mm.

For 2021, the Fat Boy gets minor styling updates and drops the 107 engine, only coming with the 114 plant.

The styling changes would only be noticeable to a Fat Boy tragic.

They include some cosmetic changes, a wet weather “sock” on the hi-flow air filter and a digital fuel gauge in the main instruments, replacing the analogue dial in the “dummy” left fuel cap on the tank. Traditionalists may not like that, but the old gauge was difficult to read.2021 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

Sadly, they have also dropped the cruise control that was on the previous S variant.

The remaining styling elements are very similar to those of Arnie’s Fat Boy: Solid Lakester wheels, fat forks, heavily chromed headlight nacelle and wide handlebars.

It’s a style that divides opinion, but there is no doubting it has many steadfast fans and even a legion of young fans. 

I’ve ridden every Fat Boy model for the past couple of decades and have always noticed the admiring glances it gets from riders and non riders alike. 

But is it a case of form over function?

Certainly the major chassis and powertrain changes of 2017 have improved its function … to a degree.

Yes it has better suspension with an external preload adjuster and dual-bending valve telescopic cartridge forks, smoother transmission and 161Nm of grunt yet even better fuel economy!

blueprint 3D view of contactless electric motor owned by Mahle

But that 240mm, low-profile rear tyre is never going to work well.

The low profile results in a harsh ride, despite the improved rear shock.2021 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

It also means you need Arnie’s biceps to counter steer the bike and hold your line in corners as the flat profile tyre tries to stand the bike upright.

We’ve all heard it said that Harleys won’t go around corners. That’s rubbish. Many modern Harleys handle quite well, albeit with limited cruiser-style clearance issues. After two weeks with a Fat Boy test bike, the wide floorboards are copping a hammering.

But the Fat Boy also has issues riding in a straight line on anything less than perfect road surfaces.

If there is a camber in the road, the rear tyre will follow it downhill.2021 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

If you hit a bump, the rear tyre will push away from it.

And if you ride over any longitudinal crack, the rear tyre will follow it.

This all makes riding the Fat Boy a tiring experience; a bit like an arms session in the gym.

But isn’t that what really appeals about this bike, anyway? Its need for some muscle behind the bars is intrinsic to its macho appeal.

2021 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy2021 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

  • Price: $33,995 ride-away.
  • Warranty: 2 years/unlimited km.
  • Service: 1600/8000km.
  • Engine: Milwaukee Eight 114 (1868cc) 4-stroke, air-cooled, V-twin; 4-valves per cylinder.
  • Power: N/A.
  • Torque: 161Nm @ 3000rpm.
  • Gearbox: 6-speed, belt drive.
  • Weight: 317kg (in running order).
  • Suspension front/rear: Dual-bending valve 49mm telescopic forks; coil-over rear monoshock with hydraulic preload adjustment.
  • Brakes front/rear: Single 300mm front disc with 4-piston caliper; 292mm rear disc with 2-piston floating caliper.
  • Dimensions: 2370mm (L); 985mm (W); 1095mm (H); 1665mm (WB); 675mm (S)

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Harley-Davidson marks Fat Boy 30th birthday

Harley-Davidson is celebrating the 30th birthday of one of its most famous models, the Fat Boy, with a special 114-cube limited-edition model.

The Fat Boy 30th Anniversary Limited Edition will sell for $A35,995 ($NZ38,495) ride away which compares with the current Fat Boy S with 114 cube at $33,995.

This model also includes special bronze and black paint, satin black Lakester wheels, blacked-out engine and special logos.

It is limited to 2500 bikes, each serialised with a number plate on the tank console.

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th anniversary birtdhay(Photography Capture)

We are waiting on advice from Harley-Davidson Australia about how many we will be assigned or whether they are only available on order.

The mid-year model release comes as Harley has also announced a Road Glide will be added to the 2020 CVO range.

2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide

Fat Boy birthday

The Fat Birthday Boy is one of the most iconic models in Harley’s long list of bikes.

It was actually introduced in 1989 as a 1990 model and designed by legendary Harley stylists Willie G. Davidson and Louie Netz.

In 1991, it was ridden by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2: Judgement Day which featured a chase scene in which the bike performed a spectacular jump in the LA sewers. Read more about that famous jump here.

Terminator 2 Harley-davidson Fat Boy ridden by Arnold SchwarzeneggerArnie’s Fat Boy

In 2018, one of the film’s Fat Boys ridden by Arnie sold at auction for $US480,000 (about $A631,500).

Last year Lego even honoured the model with a special scale-model toy standing 20cm high, 18cm wide and 33cm long and made of 1023 pieces.

Lego Harley-Davidson Fat Boy scale modelLego and real-life Fat Boy

Harley styling boss Brad Richards says the Fat Boy was a modernised version of the 1949 Hydra-Glide.

“For this 30th Anniversary Limited Edition model we wanted to create something very special, so we leaned into the popularity of darker finishes and a limited run/serialised strategy to make the bike truly unique and exclusive.”

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th anniversary birthday(Photography Capture)

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Win a Lego Harley-Davidson for Christmas

Christmas is coming and Motorbike Writer is playing Santa with the chance to win a Lego Harley-Davidson Fat Boy costing $A159.99.

To win, simply click here and subscribe to our free weekly newsletter. If you’re already one of our thousands of subscribers, track down the Facebook post for this article and tag a friend or post this article on your FB timeline and tag Motorbike Writer!

The competition is open to Australian readers only and ends on 10 December 2019 so we can post out in time for Christmas.

We will announce the winner in next week’s free email newsletter (10 December 2019).Lego Harley-Davidson Fat Boy scale model

Lego leanings

Our regular Gold Coast contributor Todd Parkes is a Lego fan and recently put together the Harley Fat Boy as well as a Lego BMW R 1200 GS.

“You may not have the skills and knowledge, money or time to build the real thing but Lego of recent times have released a number of licensed motorbike construction kits based on the real thing,” he says.

Todd has been spending quite a few hours lately at the workbench in his garage building the licensed Lego motorcycles.

Todd's complete Lego bikes
Todd’s complete Lego bikes

“They are quite large in scale being around a foot long fully built and in the region of 1000 pieces in the Harley case,” he says.

“It means several hours or even days to put together — Milwaukee could build one of the real things quicker but we get the enjoyment of being able to do it ourselves.”

He says the instruction booklets contain more than 150 pages of in-depth instructional steps.

“Lego has always specialised in easy-to-read and explicit instructions,” he says.

“The bonus of the licensed kits is that within the instructional manual are several feature articles of the company and the motorcycle it is based on making it quite the collector item.” 

Anyone can do it

Lego Harley
Half way there!

Todd says anyone able to follow directions, sort shapes and colours and some Lego experience can manage it with “patience”.

“I needed some of that as there were a couple of times I missed a brick here or a subtle fit there and several pages and instructions later went oops and had to backtrack,” he says. 

“Building the intricacies of the bike such as the primary drive gears, oil tank, a creatively constructed finned air cleaner and even the 43-piece chain assembly make this quite the satisfying build.”

Todd says another downside is the “chunkiness” that comes with building with bricks.

“Technology and design advances have been at work though and curves are becoming a stronger feature of a Lego creation kit, ensuring that the finished build is as realistic as possible,” he says.

“The brick building company has surged in popularity from its low a couple of decades ago.

“Part of that has been by catering for the older collector generation through licensed kits such as the Mustang, Porsche, even earth movers from the CAT range.

Mecanno gets into the act

Meccano has also joined the action with its licensed and generic motorcycle kits featuring the Ducati Monster 1200S and GP Desmo.

Christmas isn’t just for kids, Todd says.

“Next time the big kid in you wants to come out and play or your real steed is grounded, pull up a stool at your work bench, crack open the box and build a kit like this,” he says.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Lego unveils Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

As if there already isn’t enough Harley-Davidson merchandise, now Danish toy company Lego has produced a scale-model Fat Boy model.

It stands 20cm high, 18cm wide and 33cm long and is made of 1023 pieces.

Several new pieces had to be made to create the moving model including a new rear rim with a super-wide tyre, plus two dark red 2×4 tiles sporting the Fat Boy logo.Lego Harley-Davidson Fat Boy scale model

The Lego Creator Expert Fat Boy costs $A159.99 and will be available from August 2019 at Lego stores at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast and Bondi Junction in Sydney, plus Legoland Discovery Centre in Melbourne.

It will also be available online at shop.LEGO.com with VIP members getting early access to buy one from July 17.

Moving Lego model

The model comes complete with solid-disc wheels, teardrop fuel tank, integrated speedometer, and dual exhaust pipes.

There are several moveable parts such as the rear tyre, handlebars, brake and gear levers and kickstand.

The Milwaukee-Eight V-twin engine also has moving pistons.

It comes in an authentic Harley-Davidson colour scheme of “Wicked Red” and black.Lego Harley-Davidson Fat Boy scale model

Harley styling and design VP Brad Richards says they worked closely with the Lego team to ensure faithful details.

He says the project also celebrates a brand “that inspired the imagination and creativity of many of us at Harley-Davidson from a young age, including myself”.

We can understand Harley’s interest in being involved in this project as they are keen to attract younger followers.

Earlier this year, CEO and president Matt Levatich claimed half of all new Harley-Davidson motorcycles were bought by riders aged up to 34 years, female and ethnically diverse.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com