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10 Things You Didn’t Know about the Harley Davidson Forty-Eight

One of the most beautiful and awesome Harley models is the Sportster Forty-Eight. It’s that tiny teardrop tank that gives the “Forty-Eight” its name and it quickly became the roadster that ruled the ’50s and ’60s. Surprisingly, Harley waited until now to create a modern replica and this bike isn’t supposed to appeal to Joe Sensible. It’s a stylish, serious throwback to a bygone era, but with a modern flair that even when parked, you can tell the machine is forever ready to kick ass.



Harley Davidson’s reputation for quality craftsmanship stands alone and has garnered decades of loyal followers who see Harley as a lifestyle and an expression of freedom and individuality and they all share a common trait. They’re passionate about their Harleys. The spotlight has turned to the Harley Davidson Forty-Eight and if you’re already on board with its awesomeness, you may agree with what we have to say. If not, here are ten things you may not have known about the Forty-Eight.


1. The 2017 48 is a blend of Old School and Hi-Tech

This bike is a Dark Custom that reached back into the past to deliver Harley enthusiasts with a trip down memory lane. The design team aimed this Harley at riders from yesteryear who would appreciate once again mounting the iconic 8.3l peanut tank.

2. It’s built for short distances

You can ride the 48 for long distances if there are plenty of petrol stations on the route. Its small fuel tank averages around 5.8l/100km. At best you’re going to get around 160km on a tank of fuel, but more realistically, you’ll need to stop every 130km or so, unless you want to get stuck on the side of the road.

3. The engine is Iconic

If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. The 48’s engine was inspired by the Ironhead and Shovelhead engines that have been relied upon since 1984. The four-cam gear train and overhead valve design can be traced to the brand’s racing program and this is confirmed every time you twist the throttle and feel the surge of torque.

4. Inspired by the ’70s

Along with the peanut fuel tank, the 2016 Sportster Forty-Eight was is decorated with 70’s inspired graphics on the tank which we really love. Modern improvements, however, are the seat, suspension, brakes and the new lightweight alloy wheels.

5. It peaks at 175km/h

The average top speed for the Forty-Eight is 175km/h with some bikes a little under and some a little over. Only way to be sure is to take her out and open her up. With a torque of 94Nm at 3,230, you are unlikely be disappointed.

6. Beauty and Brains

The Forty-Eight boasts some impressive technology that directly influences its good looks. An integrated electrical system cuts down on fuses, relays, switches and wiring harnesses. The seats are new in the Sportster line and have a plush feel and minimalist appearance. They’ve maintained the clean lines by using the knowledge and updates to put the innovation where it counts the most.

7. The stock pipes are quieter than aftermarket

Many people don’t realize that the stock pipes that come on a new Harley are a lot quieter than what you hear on bikes that have been equipped with aftermarket pipes that are louder. You still get the Harley rumble and they’re plenty loud

8. Customising your Forty-Eight

Harley-Davidson is well aware that every rider has their own preferences, so they carry an array of parts and accessories and are more than happy to help you fully personalise your bike. The powerful 1200cc Evolution engine makes a bold statement by itself, but there may be something you want to add, so just speak to the Harley guys and they’ll sort it out for you.

9. Her name is “Dorothy”

One look at the metallic red paint option will be all the explanation that is needed. The paint is reminiscent of the ruby slippers that Judy Garland wore in her role of Dorothy on “The Wizard of Oz.” It’s a quaint nickname and it speaks of the beauty and magnificence of the red paint.

10. It draws a lot of attention

Most people look twice when a Harley rumbles up beside them. Some of them are so splendid that it’s hard not to stare. The Forty-Eight is no exception and frequently inspires a nod, smile or thumbs up. The Forty-Eight is a conversation piece that will gain you verbal compliments and long stares. If you don’t believe this, just ask somebody who owns one and they’ll tell you all about it.


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