Joining the all-new Softail family, the Road Glide Special, Street Glide Special and a fresh crop of Custom Vehicle Operations models in Harley-Davidson’s new-for-2018 lineup are two special Sportsters.
Built around the venerable, punchy 1,200cc Evolution V-twin, the new Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special are perfect examples of what the Motor Company does best—stylish, custom-looking models straight from the factory. Both have apehanger handlebars, blacked-out wheels and retro graphics on their compact gas tanks.
“Since its inception, the Sportster has offered the perfect combination of size, power and character that makes it appealing to so many different riders,” said Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson V.P. of Styling & Design. “A Sportster is a relatively easy bike to strip down and reinvent. What we’ve done to create the new Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special is what Sportster owners have been doing with their own bikes for generations.”
New fuel tank graphics distinguish both the Iron 1200 and the Forty-Eight Special, and combine bold color stripes with graphic elements straight out of the swingin’ ’70s.
“The art on these two fuel tanks reflect contemporary trends we are seeing on custom bikes and in design in general, a move away from more complex and intricate art to a look that’s very simple and clean,” said Richards. “It’s also important to note that these graphics respect the shape of the fuel tank and in the case of the Sportster, that tank shape is a classic design element in its own right.”
2018 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200
Compared to the 883cc Evo that powers the Iron 883, the 1,202cc Evolution V-twin in the Iron 1200 belts out 36 percent more torque (73.0 lb-ft vs. 53.8 lb-ft, claimed). More power, more punch, more street cred.
Like garage-built choppers, the Iron 1200 sports a satin-black, 1-inch-diameter Mini Ape handlebar with an 8.75-inch rise, 32-inch spread and 6.5-inch pullback for a fists-in-the-air riding posture. Other custom touches include a gloss black speed screen for attitude and a bit of wind deflection and a fast-back Café Solo Seat that holds the rider in position and flows to the rear fender.
A classic 3.3-gallon Sportster fuel tank features multi-colored striped graphics that wrap around the tank profile, which contrasts with the dark engine finish. Fuel tank paint color options include Vivid Black, Twisted Cherry and Billiard White. Nearly everything is painted black, with the pushrod tubes and tappet covers providing the only brightwork. The Iron 1200 is finished with all-black nine-spoke wheels (19-inch front and 16-inch rear diameter) and a solid black belt guard and rear sprocket.
MSRP for the Iron 1200 starts at $9,999, and Harley-Davidson’s Smart Security System and ABS are available as factory-installed options.
2018 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Special
Named after the year its small peanut tank was introduced, the Forty-Eight Special’s calling card is its beefy front end—a 130mm front tire framed by 49mm fork tubes gripped by massive forged aluminum triple clamps—and it is accentuated by a gloss-black, 7.25-inch high Tallboy handlebar.
“We specifically selected the Tallboy bar for its shape,” said Richards. “It offers less pullback than the Mini Ape, a look that really works with the steamroller front end and the smaller fuel tank on the Forty-Eight Special model.”
The Special’s 2.2-gallon “peanut” Sportster fuel tank features rows of bold, horizontal stripes framing a simple Harley-Davidson text logo, and the tank is available in three color options: Vivid Black, Wicked Red and Billiard White.
The Evolution 1200 V-twin features a black top end and an expanse of brilliant chrome below, including chrome primary, inspection and derby covers, and solid chrome muffler and exhaust shields. Chrome lower rocker boxes, pushrod tubes and tappet covers contrast with the black cylinders to highlight the V-twin’s shape. Michelin Scorcher 31 tires are mounted on Black Split 9-Spoke Cast Aluminum wheels (16-inch diameter front and rear).
MSRP for the Forty-Eight Special starts at $11,299, and the Smart Security System and ABS are available factory-installed options.