Inside Harley-Davidson’s Dark Custom Line

Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight

Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight

When people think of Harley-Davidson, they picture an old man sitting atop a mountain of chrome and to be fair, that describes my father to a T. He’s been riding a heavily accessorized Heritage Softail for well over a decade and loving every minute of it. Although stereotypes often contain an ounce of truth, they never tell the whole story. Is Harley-Davidson reaching a new generation of riders?

You might be surprised to learn that Harley-Davidson sold more motorcycles in 2008 to men and women aged 18-34 in the U.S. than any other manufacturer, and have expanded that lead every year since. This includes all displacements, but if you solely focus on Heavyweight motorcycles (651cc+), they sold almost half the motorcycles registered. Harley-Davidson currently makes over thirty models, but the driving factor behind their success is seven motorcycles that comprise Dark Custom. The retro-inspired line reflects Harley-Davidson’s 100+ years of inspiration and innovation, and clearly has struck a chord.

Harley-Davidson Iron 883

Harley-Davidson Iron 883

Iron 883: This Sportster was introduced in 2011 and is among the best selling models. Black paint complements the extensive black powder coating on the 883cc engine. The lowered suspension, chopped fenders, side-mounted license plate, drag bars and fork gaiters give it an unmistakable retro feel. Prices start at $7,999. More info.

Harley-Davidson Nightster

Harley-Davidson Nightster

Nightster: If you like the Iron 883, the Nightster shares most styling queues, but substitutes a more powerful 1200cc engine. The grey powder coating complements a variety of colorful paint schemes including Blue Pearl. Prices start at $9,999. More info.

Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight

Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight

Forty-Eight: the Forty-Eight is the newest Sportster in the Dark Custom line. It shares the 1200cc engine along with the Nightster, but has a more minimal, aggressive stance reflected in the one piece seat, under mounted mirrors, tall and fat tires and forward foot controls. The only drawback is the limited range of the gorgeous 2.1 gallon “peanut” tank. Prices start at $10,499. More info.

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