Photography Courtesy of Harley-Davidson Motor Company
Harley-Davidson softened the blow of disappointing fourth-quarter financial returns by releasing two new motorcycle models on the same day. First up is the Forty-Eight, another cheap-and-cool Sportster from the Motor Company's Dark Custom line. The second new model lands at the opposite end of the economic spectrum, a budget busting, limited edition Electra Glide from Harley-Davidson's exclusive Custom Vehicle Operations.
The retro-styled Forty-Eight (the name presumably a nod to the post-war period when bobbers first gained popularity) follows hot on the heels of the strong-selling Nightster and Iron 883 models, and shares a similar bobbed rear fender, hidden taillight and hinged side-mount license plate bracket. The most meaningful difference is the front wheel. The Forty-Eight features 16-inch spoked wheels on both ends, the front wrapped in a fat, 130mm Dunlop MT90 that gives the bike a tough bulldog stance.
Other unique styling details include mirrors mounted under the handgrips, a minimalist solo saddle and a clean headlight treatment that deletes the traditional "eyebrow" found above the headlamp of every Sportster in the model's 53-year history. The fuel-injected, rubber-mounted, 1200cc Evolution engine remains unchanged, and the price tag won't break the bank. MSRP is just $10,499 in Vivid Black, with Brilliant Silver and Mirage Orange Pearl options available for just $290 more.
Harley-Davidson's second new offering, the CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide, looks like something Mad Max might ride into his golden years after retiring from the Main Force Patrol. Featuring black-on-black flames and more bolt-on bling (185 pieces, according to the press release) than you can shake a Screamin' Eagle catalog at, the CVO Ultra will steal the show at the nearest bike-friendly AYCE buffet.
Just 999 CVO Ultras will be produced, each featuring a serialized number plate affixed to the CB pod insert in the dash. Powered by a black-and-chrome Screamin' Eagle Twin Cam 110 (cubic-inch) engine paired to a 6-speed Cruise Drive Transmission, the CVO Ultra rolls on Contrast Chrome Roulette wheels and is decked out with blacked-out trim and a low-profile, 6.5-inch smoked windscreen. Standard ABS braking helps to maintain control, and a bevy of electronic gadgets-including a 160-watt Harman-Kardon CD/AM/FM/MP3 audio system (with standard XM Radio) and a bar-mounted Road Tech(tm) zumo(r) 660 GPS Navigator system-keep you and your passenger entertained.
Of course it isn't cheap. "Suggested" retail price is $36,499-a number that will no doubt help to boost Harley-Davidson's future earnings.