Good news for fans of the former Harley-Davidson Dyna Fat Bob: Now that it’s a Softail, it handles better and is more powerful with a choice of 107- and 114-cube Milwaukee Eight engines.
We’ve just ridden the Fat Bob and other former-Dyna models (Street Bob and Low Rider) that are now part of the Softail family from Pasadena up the twisting mountain roads to Big Bear Lake and back in blistering heat.
My performance pick from the eight Softails is the Fat Bob which is 11kg lighter than before, has the most cornering clearance, the best steering and menacing looks to go with its performance character.
Of course the back end is now neater with a hidden single mono shock rather than the external dual shocks.
However, the hidden shock jacks up the rear end and the shorty rear fender leaves a massive gap above the slightly knobby-tread tyre.
Kirk’s styling department has also chosen some interesting finishes for the bike.
Despite dropping 11kg, more could have been shed if they went to plastic parts, but the “oil tank”, fenders and other parts are all metal for mowing down those zombies.
We particularly love the bronzed header pipe covers and the silver “rattle-can” painted mufflers.
While we can appreciate the continuous sloping line from the triple clamp to the swingarm, the tank-mounted analogue instrument nacelle looks out of place with the modern custom looks.
We would have preferred to dispense with the nacelle and use the new “barely legal” digital instruments on the triple clamp like on the Street Bob. They are small, but easy to read in all light conditions and they really tidy up the front end.
Speaking of tidying up the bike, the hidden cabling down the spine of the frame tucks most of the ugly plumbing out of sight.
The Dynas also get a shorter and more easily access sidestand.
However, it makes the bike stand up a bit more vertically, so you have to choose your parking spot with more care.
You also have to be careful that you have pushed the stand all the way forward and that it has slotted into the patented Harley locking mechanism. It cleverly prevents the bike rolling forward, even when parked downhill and in neutral!
Like all new Softails, it comes with new keyless ignition, more comfortable seats and new wheel designs.
Harley-Davidson FXFB and FXFBS Fat Bob
Price: $27,495 (FXFB 107) and $30,250 (FXFBS 114) ride away
Engine: Milwaukee-Eight 107 (1745cc) and 114 (1868cc)
Torque: 145Nm (107) 155Nm @ 3000rpm
Rake/trail: 28 degrees/ 132mm
Tyres: 150/80-16,71H,BW; 180/70B16,77H,BW
Fuel: 13.6 litres
Wet weight: 306kg
Brakes: 4-piston fixed front and 2-piston floating rear