2008 Harley-Davidson FXCW Rocker - First Look - Up To Speed

Hard Looks and a Softail Ride

When we got word that one of Harley-Davidson's two new 2008 models was named the Rocker, the first thing we thought of was a new-millennium version of the XLCR Cafe Racer. Everyone knows cafe racers were the bikes of choice for the Rockers of yore, right? Well, apparently the boys in Milwaukee have never seen the movie Quadrophenia, because the new FXCW Rocker is instead the latest addition to The Motor Company's Softail lineup, an innovative assembly-line chopper aiming to offer the styling of a boutique-built custom with the quality and value of a standard production bike.

Two versions are offered: the standard Rocker ($17,295), equipped with a solo seat and satin-stainless metallic finish covering all the hard parts, and the blingalicious Rocker C ($19,495) that substitutes chrome for the satin, adds tastier Ghost Flame paint options and the trick two-in-one convertible seat that morphs from solo to two-up without tools in just seconds. The styling cues on both models come straight outta Sturgis, with a kicked-out front end (rake is 36.5 degrees) and an extended, 49mm fork pinching a tall, skinny, 19-inch front wheel. At the other end you'll find an extra-wide 240mm rear tire tucked under the unique Rockertail strutless rear fender, mounted directly to the swingarm to give the illusion of a rigid rear end, just like those cool choppers you see on TV. Of course this is still a Softail, so there's 3.4 inches of rear-wheel travel from the shock mounted beneath the engine, in a configuration that allows the lowest seat height in the class: 24.5 inches.

For go-power, the Rocker relies on the fuel-injected, 96-cubic-inch (1584cc) Twin Cam 96 engine mated to the six-speed Cruise Drive transmission. Like all Softails the Rocker's engine is rigidly mounted, to provide, and we quote, "a more direct connection to the motorcycle." Twin counterbalancers should keep vibes to an acceptable minimum, as on other Softail models.