Harley-Davidson Fat Bob review

Fat Bob

There is no more menacing a look than the twin headlights of a Harley-Davidson Fat Bob coming down the road with the rider’s fists punching into the air on the drag bars.

Now, the Fat Bob gets darker cosmetics which evoke an even more menacing look. The small twin headlights have black rings around them, the black powdercoated wheels have a laser-engraved Harley-Davidson logo and rim stripe and the diagonal Harley emblem across the tank looks kind of military.Fat Bob

Those menacing images are enhanced by the aggressive stance of the riding position – hunched shoulders, straight arms and legs splayed out before you. This year, the drag bars are a bit closer with a slight bend toward the rider which improves rider ergonomics while still retaining that attacking, aggressive feeling.

It’s powered by a 103 Twin Cam V-twin and you can feel its macho vibe rumbling up through the bars and the solo seat. Because it’s the rubber-mounted A engine and isn’t counter-balanced like the B engines in the Softails, it revs freer and feels more aggressive and robust.Fat Bob

Acceleration is quick at the traffic light derby and at the end of the street, you’ll pull up super-quick with the double-disc front brakes and ABS.

The aggressive nature of the engine and brakes is matched by a rigid Dyna frame, thick 49mm forks, twin rear shocks, fat and slightly knobby tyres, which combine to give the bike a solid feel on the road.

The wide front tyre gives the rider a confident feeling when pressing into corners and the almost matching rear tyre means they work in concert so you aren’t fighting one against the other in the corners.

However, it runs out of clearance on the footpads and on bumpy surfaces the rear shock gets a bit choppy. Harley has aftermarket shocks that might take some of the pain out of those bumps.

Harley has modernised the rear with two LED taillights behind a sloping perspex cover which looks very Corvette and very hot rod. The LED lights should also make the bike a little safer and less prone to rear-enders.Fat Bob

It comes in five colours, Vivid Black, Mysterious Red Sunglo, Black Denim, Superior Blue and Sand Cammo Denim. My favourite is the desert sand paintjob which is certainly eye-catching, although most people will probably opt for the traditional black gloss.

The retail price has dropped almost $1500 and it is now a competitive $25,495 and, of course, there is a host of accessories available.

Fat Bob

Harley-Davidson FXDF Fat Bob tech specs

  • Price: $25,495 (rideaway)
  • Warranty: 24 months (unlimited mileage)
  • Service Intervals: 1600km/8000km
  • Engine: Air-cooled, Twin Cam 103B (1690cc)
  • Torque: 129Nm at 3000rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed Cruise Drive
  • Economy: 5.6L/100km
  • Length: 2400mm
  • Seat: 663mm
  • Wheelbase: 1620mm
  • Tyres: Dunlop D427F 130/90B16 67H; D427 180/70B16 77H
  • Wheels: 406mm x 76mm; 406mm x 127mm
  • Fuel tank: 18.9L
  • Weight: 305kg

3 Comments

  1. I was fortunate to have one of these for a few days while my Buell was in the shop getting some work done on the front end. I found the riding position to be really quite comfortable for my 6 foot+ frame and the drag bars which I was a little suspect about felt really good. I do agree with with you that you do run out of clearance around the footpegs a lot faster than expected though. Coming from a bike with a totally different riding position, when you do give it a twist at the lights you can’t rely on gravity and body weight to hold you on, you have to remember to grab on tight else you’ll feel like you are going to end up falling off the back in a very undignified way.

    One thing I was advised about before taking it out was that the cover over the rear tail light assembly has a habit of “shifting” and “impairing” the brake lights. The local constabulary seem to like that and even though the lights are all still highly visible have handed out notices on the spot for it, so something to be aware of I guess.

    I could quite happily live with one of these in the garage as it would certainly save my wrists from aching in peak hour traffic. Now, if only I can snaffle a Breakout for a few days to compare against it, that should give me plenty to think about when it comes time to move on from the XB9R.

  2. “Menacing” that explains a lot I always thought harley riders
    1 had very hard seats
    2 bad arthritis {cant remove hands from bars to wave}
    3 had just been dragged off by a “lams” bike
    4 had looked on internet and found resale value on bike they just spent 30 grand on
    5 just received service bill
    6 has had to sell girlfriend to russian mafia as sex slave to pay service bill
    7 constipated
    But they just want to look “menacing” to suit the bike ,Right?

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