Harley-Davidson Dyna Fat Bob FXDF Test Drive


A very frequentable Bad Boy !

Appearances can be deceiving. The Dyna Fat Bob, in its “man’s” machine air, stands out as one of the most versatile models in an HD range, yet with 31 different models. Follow the leader….

Harley-Davidson Dyna Fat Bob

Shopping at Harley’s is a bit like voting in the first round of a presidential election. The choice is so vast that it is sometimes a little difficult to navigate…. And for a neophyte, finding happiness among the countless customs, divided into 6 different families, can quickly turn into a puzzle! I’ll leave it to a Harley-Davidson salesperson to explain all the subtle differences between each model (expect a big afternoon), but the Fat Bob is clearly a separate machine in the Milwaukee lineup.

Long before the XR 1200, the Fat Bob was developed in 2008 to appeal to European customers. It was also one of the first “modern” Harleys to popularize the minimalist Bobber trend with its matte colors, huge front end and truncated mudguards. It quickly rose to the top of sales in France and continues to appeal to a large segment of the Harley population today..

Harley-Davidson Dyna Fat Bob

Technically, the Fat Bob is part of the family of Dyna (compared to the frame it shares with its sisters) and is powered by the “old” Twin Cam 96 with 1584 cc. The new 1690cc 103 unit, which will be rolled out across the range next year, is currently reserved for Softails as well as the Dyna Switchback. Then comes all the specific hardware that makes the “personality” of the Fat Bob: 16-inch front wheel, solid rims, “dragster” handlebars, dual optics, “Tommy Gun” type 2 in 1 in 2 exhaust, concealed hooded shocks minimalist springs and mudguards.

Harley-Davidson Dyna Fat Bob rear belt

Above all, it is the only machine in the Dyna and Softail series to be equipped with double disc braking and 4 piston calipers. And if the overall finish does not reach the excellence of a Softail Slim, it still borders on flawless: paint, welds, adjustments, chrome are no complaints. The zoophiles who love flies will blame it at most for the presence of a few rare plastic parts and an electrical wiring that is not completely invisible. In his defense, the Fat Bob hides more electronics in its guts than you might imagine. In addition to the injection, this Dyna conceals an ABS control unit, an anti-theft system by transponder, both fitted as standard, as well as various sensors supplying information (gear engaged and rpm, trip, remaining range, time, etc.). mini on-board computer integrated in the center console mounted on the tank.

Harley-Davidson Dyna Fat Bob rear view

Aesthetically, the Fat Bob is a success, attracting the eyes of motorcyclists as well as ordinary people. It remains to be hoped for the owners that these are looks of admiration rather than covetousness, the solid rims making securing to a fixed point problematic ….

In the saddle

With a saddle height of just 663mm, riding the Fat Bob is within reach of the first comer. When it comes to reaching “the pedals” on the other hand, you have to be at least 1.70 m tall to reach the forward controls. At least originally. A kit allowing the controls to be moved back 1 inch, or 2.54 cm, being available as an option. For the hands, no problem, the Drag Bar does not require excessive leaning and the driving position is within the standards of the custom genre. As is customary with Harley-Davidson, the turn signal controls are separate and the brake and clutch levers are devoid of adjustments.

Harley-Davidson Dyna Fat Bob Speedometer Block

The dashboard is revealed on the tank with an enormous speedometer within which is embedded a minimalist digital display, with odometer, clock on totalizer, double totalizer, tachometer, fuel gauge with low level indicator. fuel and mileage remaining, oil pressure warning light, engine diagnostics display, LED illumination and 6-speed warning lights.

Once you push the starter button, you find the typical sound of large Harley twin cylinders with syncopated idle and just enough thrills filtered by the silent-blocks ….

Harley-Davidson Dyna Fat Bob Engine

In the city

Despite its 320 kilograms in running order and a huge front wheel that bodes well for truck-like behavior, this Fat Bob does quite well in urban exercise. Admittedly, the clutch attack is a bit harsh and the gearbox isn’t a model of speed, but the super-smooth twin allows you to pick up on idle speed in the first three gears. Better, if the maximum torque of 13 mkg is announced at 3,500 rpm, a large portion of this value is sensitive from 2,000 rpm. And, against all odds, the front end is remarkably docile and precise, if not agile. Once you understand the Fat Bob’s measurements, you can experience the same sensations on the handlebars as the Softail Slim with a very low center of gravity, a very progressive focus and a reassuring balance in low-speed evolutions..

Harley-Davidson Dyna Fat Bob in town

At the end of a day, you even find yourself making your supermoto U-turns, bust straight and motorcycle leaning! As for the suspensions, they do a remarkable job as long as you don’t look for the (low) limits of their travel. Very comfortable on Parisian cobblestones or crumpled asphalt, the Fat Bob is much less appreciative of speed bumps and other "lying gendarmes" which flourish in some city centers. Pity…. At least unlike the Softail, which has an oil reservoir that tends to heat your thighs as soon as you spend too much time in traffic, this Dyna doesn’t disperse its calories in sensitive areas of your anatomy. On the other hand, the Dyna frame filters vibrations a little less well than the Softail. As a result, the retrovision, which is excellent, is sometimes blurred in the intermediate regimes..

Harley-Davidson Dyna Fat Bob FXDF


With the urban hell behind us, the Fat Bob shines a light on other qualities, starting with above-average ground clearance for a custom. Here, tight turns and roundabouts are not negotiated in the midst of showers of sparks. So, as the test of this Fat Bob coincides with that of the XR 1200 X roadster, we decided to venture to the side of the viroleuse Vallee de Chevreuse to take our photoshoot and further test its dynamic qualities. And it is clear that this Dyna has unveiled unsuspected resources in this exercise with in particular a good suspension tuning and a reassuring front end when entering a slightly muscular turn. There is nothing phenomenal about the power and attack of the 300mm front double disc, but with grip it is possible to achieve decelerations very decently compared to the three quintals. But the fork, too flexible, will cry for mercy quickly. The Fat Bob is still not ready to go teasing a sporty roadster and its preferred register remains cruising. If you are smooth, the chassis balance, the correct ground clearance and the braking power allow you to adopt a sustained driving pace! The reflection is also valid for the V twin. While its primary vocation is to deliver big torque from the lowest revs, its tone and elasticity also work wonders for pulling out forcefully from bends. In any case on dry asphalt, because the behavior of the original Dunlop D427 in the wet will very quickly slow down your enthusiasm. Between untimely slipping at the exit of a roundabout and untimely triggering of the ABS as soon as the front wheel is placed on a white line or a pedestrian crossing, these envelopes have never given the impression of wanting to climb in. temperature.

Harley-Davidson Dyna Fat Bob on departmental

Motorways and expressways

Like any machine devoid of fairing, the Fat Bob is at ease below 130 km / h. Of course, you can go faster at the cost of a few sacrifices, but the feet forward position and the wide handlebars mean that you do not venture more than a few kilometers above 140 as the wind resistance is important. At the legal pace, however, this “feet forward” position is surprisingly comfortable to cut kilometers without tiring. Especially since the saddle, despite an apparent firmness, is also very accommodating with your foundation. Maybe even enough to go after the 18.9 liters of the tank, which offers a total range of over 300 km.

Harley-Davidson Dyna Fat Bob on highway

Comfort / Duo

The duo in Fat Bob is possible with a few sacrifices in view of the square of foam dedicated to the sandbag. The pilot will have to accept that his or her passenger is stuck as close as possible to him, even if it means suffering some untimely blows of the helmet during braking. As for the passenger, he will have to hold on tightly so as not to turn into a pedestrian in the event of a somewhat abrupt departure at a red light (almost a lived experience).

Harley-Davidson Dyna Fat Bob saddle


There is big with a fixed caliper 4 front pistons and double piston with anti-torque rear mounting. In the end, the power and the attack of the double front disc of 300 mm make it possible to obtain very correct decelerations with the grip, especially with regard to the three quintals.


At the risk of repeating myself if you have already read another Harley Davidson essay on Le Repaire, between the official accessories catalog, the adaptable parts and the hand-sewn preparation of the preparers, the customization possibilities are virtually endless: saddles, handlebars, luggage, engine preparation, exhausts…. In a more pragmatic register, the Harley Davidson website has a Fit Shop section, which allows you to concoct a driving position with little onions, for a fee, of course..

Harley-Davidson Dyna Fat Bob Pot


Choosing a custom, whether in the Harley-Davidson range or in the current production as a whole, is done mainly on aesthetic criteria. The Fat Bob, which will appeal to all those looking for a machine for "Bad Boy", adds real dynamic qualities that do not limit it to only Sunday cruising. Comfortable, good braking machine (for a Harley), the Dyna Fat Bob is one of the most versatile models in the American manufacturer’s catalog, comfortable everywhere and usable on a daily basis. There remains the thorny question of the tariff. Out of the catalog, its closest competitor is the Triumph Thunderbird 1600. The name is just as prestigious, the price (€ 15,190) and the dynamic qualities are similar. At Harley, apart from the new Switchback, which benefits from GT equipment and the new 103 engine, the Fat Bob, with a selling price starting at € 15,990, is the most expensive model in the Dyna range. On the other hand, compared to the Softails, which are closer to € 20,000, it’s almost a good deal….

Strong points

  • versatility
  • handling
  • the front double disc

Weak points

  • pneumatic mounting
  • price in the Dyna range

available in matt black, glossy black and red

Dyna Fat Bob technical sheet

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