Harley-Davidson announced the release of two new models fresh from the factory. Paying homage to the retro, hand-built custom style, the Motor Co has unveiled a new Sportster and Softail, the metal flaked Seventy-Two and trimmed down, bare bones Slim.
Taking a cue from the California custom scene, Harley-Davidson has introduced a chopped version of their iconic Sportster, dubbing it the Seventy-Two. Taking inspiration from the era, the new model is named after the legendary cruising strip in East LA and is decked out in Hard Candy Big Red Flake with pin stripe decals and sports a solo seat and side-mounted license plate bracket to leave more of the chopped read fender – and more of that paint – exposed. The powertrain is finished in gray powder coat with chrome covers and sports a new round air cleaner with a dished cover. A classic Sportster 2.1-gallon “peanut” fuel tank adds a final period touch to the motorcycle.
“In creating the Seventy-Two, we were also inspired by the vibe of the early chopper era,” says Frank Savage, Harley-Davidson Manager of Industrial Design. “Those bikes were colorful and chromed, but also narrow and stripped down to the essentials. You look at period examples and they are almost as simple as a bicycle. It’s a custom style that’s very particular to America and that California scene.”
The new Softail Slim is a no-nonsense, bare-bones motorcycle that takes a page from the bobbers of the 1950s. Harley started by thinning out the back end, choosing a narrower tire, chopping the fender and using minimal stop/turn/tail lights. At the front, they set it up with a pair of their Hollywood bars, identified by their wide bend and cross brace, an accessory from their springer front ends. The gloss black “cat’s eye” tank console, half-moon floorboards, round air cleaner cover and louvered, gloss black headlight housing offer more period styling.
“It’s time to make the engine the focal point of the motorcycle,” says Harley-Davidson Senior Designer Casey Ketterhagen, “so we put a Softail on a diet to get the proportions back in check. Scale down the rear with a narrow tire and chopped fender and the heart of the bike, the motor, once again becomes the focus. We left a gap between the nose of the seat and tank so the rider can see the top of the motor. I like to be able to look down and see what’s moving me.”
To learn more about these new models, be sure to check out Harley-Davidson’s site.