Harley-Davidson Releases Two Mid 2012 Models: Seventy-Two and Softail Slim

At Harley-Davidson’s West Coast unveiling of two mid 2012 models, at well-known biker hangout Cook’s Corner in Trabuco Canyon, California, Paul James, Director of Consumer Influence and Product Communications, was the bearer of good news. Sales and profits were up, Harley’s 110th anniversary was on the horizon (to be celebrated over Labor Day weekend 2013) and the Motor Company’s Facebook page had surpassed 3 million fans, more than that of all other motorcycle manufacturers combined.

Nearly as important as the total number of fans was the fact that nearly half of them were in the critical 18-35 age group—the up-and-coming generation of prospective customers. For young folks to become actual customers, Harley-Davidson must offer motorcycles that are cool, affordable and easy to ride. Motorcycles like the 2012 Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two, a Sportster influenced by Southern California’s ‘70s-era custom culture, and the 2012 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim, a stripped-down bobber.

With its 2.1-gallon peanut tank and bobbed fenders slathered in rich Hard Candy Big Red Flake paint and pinstripes, chrome spoked wheels shod with whitewall tires and a mini apehanger handlebar, the 2012 Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two is dripping with cool. Named after Route 72, also known as Whittier Boulevard, a legendary cruising street in East Los Angeles, the latest edition to the Sportster line is powered by a rubber-mounted, air-cooled 1,200cc Evolution V-twin, finished in gray powdercoat with a 5-speed transmission and belt final drive. With its narrow 21-inch front wheel, 26.6-inch solo seat, side-mount license plate and loads of chrome, including staggered, shorty exhausts with slash-cut mufflers, the Seventy-Two looks like it rolled out of a back alley shop, the pride and joy of an old-school customizer. Available now for $10,499 in Black Denim or Big Blue Pearl, or $11,199 in Hard Candy Big Red Flake.

2012 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim
2012 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim

Steering the Wayback Machine even further into the past, the 2012 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim evokes the strictly-the-basics customs of the 1940s and ‘50s. With its gloss black headlight nacelle, air cleaner cover, oil tank, wheels and cross-braced Hollywood handlebar, the Slim is cool but not flashy. Even the powertrain is powdercoated black. Chopped fenders, 23.8-inch solo seat, half-moon floorboards with retro foot control pads, side-mount license plate and narrow 16-inch blackwall tires round out the package. The throbbing heart of the Slim is a rigid-mounted, air-cooled Twin Cam 103B V-twin with a 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission and belt final drive. Spent gasses exit through chrome over-under shotgun exhausts with slash-cut mufflers. Available now for $15,499 in Vivid Black, or $15,884 in Black Denim or Ember Red Sunglo.

For more information, visit www.harley-davidson.com.

2012 Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two
2012 Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two
2012 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim
2012 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim


  1. I love Harleys, but the “new” 72 Sportster leaves me cold. I’m sick of seeing (un-safe) skinny front tires, skinny front forks, anemic single-disc brakes, and stupid ape-hanger bars with a tiny gas tank. All this looks like 1970 choppers that were notoriously unstable and uncomfortable. Which, I guess, is what they are trying to bring back. No thanks.

    What I’d really like to see is a cafe-themed Sportster that has serious suspension hardware, 17″ wheels, exhaust system and a muscular look like the famous XR 750.

      • Unfortunately, the XR1200 is still not what I consider serious hardware. I had in mind dual front Brembos mounted on lightweight alloy wheels and a HEFTY Ohlins style fork. Along with that theme, a stout single rear shock, nice stainless steel high-swept pipes (that aren’t 4′ long), and a sexier fuel tank and rear seat cowl. It wouldn’t take much effort for the factory to make this bike more appealing.

    • Regarding “the “new” 72 Sportster leaves me cold. I’m sick of seeing (un-safe) skinny front tires, skinny front forks, anemic single-disc brakes, and stupid ape-hanger bars with a tiny gas tank”…

      I’ve been riding various bikes with “skinny” front tires for nearly 40 years. There is nothing inherently unsafe about them with respect to “normal” riding on the street/highway is concerned. The same goes for the brakes. This is not a track bike or a bike for racing on the streets (not that anyone should be racing on the streets). The “stupid” ape-hanger bars are actually very conservative (I’m 5’6″ and they are below my shoulders) and do not compromise normal handling at all.

      As for the “tiny” tank, each person needs to evaluate the type of riding they do and understand whether the tank is going to be a major inconvenience for them or not. This is not any way, shape or form a touring bike. It’s a great looking (my opinion) seat on an engine for cruising around town bike and short 10 ~ 50 mile runs. If that’s the type of riding you do and the look and form fit your style go for it. If not move on to something different.

  2. Sorry John, but I’d rather ride a motorcycle than work on it all the time like Ducatis. Besides, it takes a fat wallet to keep a Ducati on the road.

  3. Why is it when anyone suggests The Motor Company build something other than what HD fans regard as acceptable, they get slammed with “Well, that ain’t a Harley”! This attitude has killed almost any new or innovative model HD has come out with, such as Willie G.’ s XLCR, the XR1000, the Rocker, almost killed the original Super Glide, made the XR 1200 an orphan ( try finding one on a dealer floor ) and isolated the V-Rod almost to extinction. The list is long and lengthy stretching back to the 1920’s.

    It’s easy to criticize Harley for selling what amounts to profitable parts bin specials aimed at Geezers on Glides and wannabe weekend “bad asses”, but, if selling “life style accessories” instead of motorcycles keeps the lights on and the profits rolling in, you can’t fault them; despite what Harley lovers believe, it IS strictly a business decision.

    Don’t blame The Motor Company for giving the market what it wants. And don’t blame Harley for creating one of the most successful marketing campaigns in history. Like I said, it’s business! Heck, I can remember when you couldn’t GIVE HD stock away!

    And, yes, I ride a Harley, an XL1200 R ( yes, a Sportster, you know, the bike that saved the company and has been out running and out performing Big Twins since 1957 ) and it’s my third HD product. Is it perfect? Nope! But, it is for me.

    • yep well said Richard, I also own a Sportster a 2009 XR 1200, I have had it for 2 yrs. since new and have had nothing but a flat tire, $315.00!!! lucky for me I bought the wheel and tire package with the extented warranty, I have 3 more yrs on the warr. and I believe I won’t need it other than for tires, the bike uses no oil, and gets over 40mpg, with a best of 48! on the hyw. it is fairly comfortable and handles great! It is the 2nd Harley we own, the other is a 2006 V-Rod Night Rod ,(what an amazing bike that is, the only thing I don’t like is the mileage, (30-35)! and if you real hop on it as little as 25!. These are the first Harley’s we have bought, and won’t be the last, the nest one I would like is a Super Glide, but only if they go to the 103 c.i.d. motor, after all I would have to give up one of the others. Ride Safe Out There and Have Fun!!!

      • Thank you for your very cordial remarks. I assumed I’d be “flamed”! LOL!

        I have a real love/hate relationship with The Motor Company which goes back decades. I guess that is also part of the “passion” for all things HD………the history of the company is complex and very interesting. The marketing is simply brilliant and Harley Davidson Financial Services are without equal! If you have any level of decent credit, you will be riding a new or used Harley with little or no money down within an hour of walking into a dealership.

        Thanks again and remember………..Paranoia is the street riders friend!

    • If the Rocker is an example of ‘giving people what they want’ then HD should just keep doing what they do. The rocker looked like it came from The Land of the Rising Sun. UGLY!!!

  4. Well said Richard, I run three Harleys (well one coming in June Softail Deluxe) a Street Bob and a new XL1200V “72” I have had loads of Ducs, Benelli’, Hondas, MV’s, Yams, Buells etc. The Harleys are not the best ride, brakes, suspension, handling, yes they repeat a theme, but actually they are the only bike with a real spirit.

    I am based in the UK not stateside and our roads don’t always suit them but that does not really matter.

  5. Thank you for your interesting remarks.

    I had to laugh when you stated “The Harleys are not the best ride, etc, etc., ” because you are absolutely correct! From the factory, a new Harley is just a lump of coal, a diamond in the rough; an empty canvas on which the new owner, having spent a considerable amount for purchase, must now paint his/her personal masterpiece ( at further expense )!

    I am amused you are in the UK, because what I really wanted was a Triumph Thruxton. However, when I went to the local dealer, I couldn’t get anyone to wait on me.

    So, I left. I returned a second day. Same result. No one waited on me, even though I was in the showroom, sitting on bikes and talking with other customers for a half hour. No salesman approached me.

    On my third visit, my wife was with me and laughed at me for going in, I almost literally had to grab someone to get them to sell me a Triumph T-shirt and coffee cup………..and still no SALESMAN approached me.

    I went to the Harley dealer down the street and within an hour the papers were signed and I was waiting for the service department to finish a free 5K mile service on a 2003 Anniversary XL883 C.

    A few months later, at a different Harley dealer, the same type of professional service and with no money down, I am out the door on a 2008 Roadster.

    That, my friend, is dealer service and why I ride a Harley-Davidson!

  6. Richard, stop with the sales pitch will ya?? I have owned and ridden most every Japanese and European bike over a 45 year period, and currently own two Harleys. I believe they are the best machines I’ve ever owned.

    Rock-solid reliability, durability, quality, and tasteful designs are what matter to me. Wreckless speed, garish designs, or snobbish exclusivity do not.

    My money comes far too dearly to throw away on flashy plastic or trendy brands that require a second mortgage to get serviced every 6,000 miles.

    My ’08 StreetGlide with 90,000 miles on it has NOT cost me one nickle for anything beyond oil changes and tires (which I can easily do myself). Heck, it still has the original $2 sparkplugs.

    Don’t ever try to tell me your YamaHonKi, Triumph, Duc, or BMW can do the same, cuz I know better.


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