2012 Harley-Davidson Blackline | First Look

Stripper Softail

Built to celebrate “the long, black line of the road ahead,” Harley-Davidson has unleashed the latest addition to its elemental Dark Custom line, the Softail-based Blackline bobber. Featuring the same “raw and aggressive” styling that is the trademark of the DC family, this stylish stripper is aimed at a younger, hipper and more connected enthusiast than the rest of the Softail line. Proof that Gen Y digs it? Just days after the bike’s unveiling, 3000 Facebookers had already “liked” the Blackline and the phrase “Harley Blackline” returned more than 3300 Google search results.

Light on badging and dressed down with mostly black finishes, this new Softail boasts the lowest saddle height in company history (just 24 inches laden) and trick low-rise, internally wired Split Drag handlebars. Styling chief Willie G. Davidson introduced the bike to the press at a most unconventional location, a raunchy club called Don Hill’s in New York City’s Soho district. “The prettiest motorcycles are racing motorcycles, because they’re just wheels and an engine,” he said, citing his inspiration. Then he mentioned that the first iteration of this new model actually featured clip-on handlebars. Can a re-born XLCR café racer be far off?

Thanks to the pared-down styling and low price, The Motor Company says the Blackline is a perfect platform for customers to customize. H-D’s Genuine Motor Accessories division has already created hundreds of items to help budding builders get started in that direction. The Blackline comes in basic Vivid Black for $15,499, with two-tone blue/black and orange/black versions available for another $500. Newbie-friendly ABS and a smart security system add $1195 to those prices.