By Heath The Chief
In the wonderful world of Harley-Davidson there are many many options to choose. If you’re a younger rider like myself there are certain bikes, styles that appeal to us. Sure, I could be into ripping down the canyon on a 1200 GX something or other draggin’ my knee trying to avoid any dirt, dogs or other idiot drivers, or I could be enjoying the road, scenery and riding something that is just COOL.
When I had the chance to pick whatever bike I wanted to test, it didn’t take long before I fell in love with this 2015 Harley-Davidson 48. Visually I was hooked. The mini ape hanger bars are called “The Chizeled Bar”. These bars fit this bike so perfectly. When you get a closer look you’ll notice cast seamless 90-Degree bends for a sleek smooth finish. The cast elbows eliminate any sharp internal bends in connection that could weaken the bar. These bars also have end plugs to simplify internal wiring. Enough about the bars.
The classic look of the 48 rides in with it’s bobbed fenders, spoke 16” wheels, slammed rear end and mini headlight, and ties in brilliantly to it’s Sportster 58 year heritage. The 48 emerged on the scene in 2010, bringing it’s name from the steel peanut tank that first came out on the Harley-Davison S125 in 1948. Speaking of tanks, just don’t plan on riding too far with this I’ll baby. The fuel tank only holds a spit of 2.1 gallons! Sorry… Yes the tank looks cool, but man is that annoying to have to fill up so much! Sorry for the negativity, but for someone who rides a lot as I do, It’s a pain and just not a commuter tank at all. I must say, that is my only complaint about this bike.
The first iconic element of this 2-wheeled beauty is the fat front tire. It’s a double double animal style. Here’s the beef baby, it’s a 130/90 16 Custom Harley-Davidson Michelin Scorcher. Even though this is a big front tire it doesn’t KILL the handling, yes, it does make it a bit tougher at slower speeds, but it handles perfectly for what the bike is designed to do, CRUISE.
Starting with the front of the bike, you will notice the bright red brake calipers. These are an upgrade feature. The color of the bike tested was the “Hard Candy Big Red Flake” new for 2015. When this paint hit the sun it was an amazing work of art sparkling bright on my smiling face. The forward controls are decently positioned so you’re not scraping every little turn. The hand controls worked smoothly and didn’t have any odd feeling at all. The clutch and brake lever really feel nice and are form fitted very elegantly crafted.
One of the pieces that people asked most about was “How comfortable was the Bobber Solo Saddle?” Funny thing is, it’s actually comfortable! Just looking at the seat makes you think you’ll be checking in with your chiropractor on the ride home, but pleasantly you’ll be impressed by how soft and contoured it is with your bum. The all leather seat has some foam padding tucked just slightly underneath and is hammered in place with nice brass rivets and the stamped “Milwaukee since 1903” plate is a nice custom touch.
Speaking of custom, this entire bike that was tested was all upgraded with parts as you can do on the web with Harley-Davidson’s own ”Bike Builder” feature, tis amazing I must say. You log into the website click on the “Bike Builder” tab, start with a stock bike, add the parts to it and you can visually see what your new baby will look like in full 360 rotation before it’s even put together. Harley-Davidson’s iconic Evolution Engine, also known as the BLOCKEAD, powers this amazing piece of iron. The blockhead motor was first kitted up in 1984 and since had some revolutionary features designed in. The Air-cooled fuel injected 1200 cc smooth powerhouse is rubber-mounted to the frame for an amazingly calm breath before humming down the road with plenty of power at the wheel when you need it. The motor puts out 70.8 ft.-pounds of torque.
Another key point in connection with the engine is the closed loop exhaust system. It contains a catalyst and mini heated oxygen sensors that improve emission and drivability, this system is not only better for the environment, but makes riding better. We were also lucky enough to have the bike fitted with the Screamin’ Eagle “Street Cannon” slip on mufflers. These stubby air thumpers sounded great and also help with performance. The Screamin’ Eagle “Chisel Extreme” billet air cleaner is also an upgrade that makes the bike look incredible. It’s the small things in connection with this bike that shine though. The braided brake and clutch cables, the billet aluminum fork guards and foot peg ends, the lower mounted mirrors, the flat drag style speedo and overall tucked in bobbed feel of this bike really make is a winner for me.
If there was any Harley-Davidson I would purchase for myself, this would be it. The 48 lives on, and in my opinion is the best Sportster on the market. Evel would be proud.