MotoGP – Moto GP Brno – Free practice 1: Pedrosa takes the reins –

Test: Harley-Davidson

The new Sportster Forty-Eight from Harley

Achieving the infinite with finite means – Wilhelm von Humboldt’s insight fits into Harley-Davidson’s model policy.

The liberal Prussian educational reformer, humanist and statesman Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) discovered unity in diversity not only in nature but also in language. She succeeds in depicting a whole cosmos of thoughts with a manageable number of letters and a finite number of words. We see something similar with the Harley-Davidson business model. The Americans always manage to develop new models with new combinations of existing parts and recourse to their own 107-year history, with which customers can be attracted.

S.o also happened with the latest creation, simply called Forty-Eight. At the bottom of its (air-cooled) heart it is namely a 1200 Sportster, which was styled on Bobber with equipment reduced to the bare minimum, thick front wheel, narrow handlebars, supposedly missing rear light, lots of black and low seat height . In Langgabler circles, bobber is the style in which bikes are trimmed to look like the post-war era. And it works, the Forty-Eight – short, flat, stocky – turns on, even while standing.

Test: Harley-Davidson

The new Sportster Forty-Eight from Harley

Harley-Davidson S 125. And this was nothing more than a replica of the DKW RT 125, whose construction plans came to the Americans as reparations.

The appearance of the tiny thing is convincing, but there are slight doubts about functionality. With a consumption of 5.1 liters of Super, the reserve light comes on after around 120 kilometers, and after another 30 kilometers at the latest it is time to push. The driver is happy about the break. The seat position on the 705 millimeter low and thinly padded solo bench, which is so cool for the first few meters, turns into the opposite after a short time. You sit as if nailed to the ground, your feet far forward on the wide notches, your hands also far away on the handlebars that are not too wide. Immediately the seat meat reports painfully.


I sit, therefore I am. And it feels pretty cool. In the long run, however, it is also quite exhausting.

Until then, however, the bobberist tinkered with finite resources such as the bubbling of the V-2, its pleasant vibrations, the huge clones of the five-speed transmission and the bumps of the extremely short suspension travel (front 92, rear 54 millimeters ) handicapped chassis infinite beat -Variations. The focus is clearly on blues or rock n roll, depending on the mood. As is usual with Harley, the Forty-Eight also has technical highlights such as the rear turn signals, which also function as taillights and brake lights, as well as scary things such as screws from the agricultural machinery box.

In everyday life, the Forty-Eight requires a willingness to compromise: the mirrors attached below the handlebars require meticulous adjustments if you want to see traffic behind you instead of your own knees. In addition, the Forty-Eight’s limited lean angle is a problem. Due to the short spring deflection, the footpegs cut furrows in the asphalt even on moderate slopes. If possible, there should be no bumps in right-hand bends, otherwise the unyielding front muffler will have an undesirable effect on the choice of line and increase adrenaline emissions.

But Harley disciples are usually leisurely contemporaries, even if the Forty-Eight swings up to 190 km / h if necessary. But beyond 120 km / h, the fun comes to an end, from then on, impulses introduced via the handlebars or bumps lead to significant stirring in the framework. The little black horse, on the other hand, takes curvy roads, provided the surface is level, calmly under its broad wheels. On bad terrain, on the other hand, the spring elements are quickly at the end of their game. And braking? She did, and she delayed too. That’s enough.

So the Forty-Eight also does justice to Humboldt in its own way: With finite functionality, it provides endless driving pleasure for those who are willing to get involved. At 10,395 euros, it doesn’t even have to be overly expensive.

Technical data of the Sportster Forty-Eight


Old school: fat front wheel, slim fender, small lamp. Note the hub. Nice!

Air-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 45-degree V-engine, four underlying, gear-driven camshafts, two valves per cylinder, hydraulic valve lifters, bumpers, rocker arms, dry sump lubrication, injection, Ø 45 mm, uncontrolled catalytic converter, alternator 405 W, battery 12 V / 12 Ah, mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, toothed belt, secondary ratio 30:68.
Bore x stroke 88.9 x 96.8 mm
Displacement 1202 cm3
Compression ratio 9.7: 1
rated capacity 49.0 kW (67 hp) at 5700 rpm
Max. Torque 98 Nm at 3200 rpm

Landing gear:
Double loop frame made of steel, telescopic fork, Ø 39 mm, two-arm swing arm made of steel, two spring struts, adjustable spring base, front disc brake, Ø 292 mm, double-piston floating caliper, rear disc brake, Ø 292 mm, single-piston floating caliper.
Spoked wheels with steel rims 3.00 x 16; 3.00 x 16
Tire MT 90 B16; 150/80 B16
Dunlop D 401/402 tires tested

Mass and weight:
Wheelbase 1520 mm, steering head angle 60.0 degrees, caster 119 mm, spring travel f / r 92/54 mm, seat height * 705 mm, weight with a full tank * 256 kg, payload * 198 kg, tank capacity 8.0 liters.
guarantee two years
Service intervals 8000 km
Colors Black, silver, orange
Price 10395 Euro
Additional costs around 350 euros

Driving performance:
Top speed (manufacturer information)

190 km / h

0-100 km / h 5.2 sec
0-140 km / h 10.2 sec

60-100 km / h 5.8 sec
100-140 km / h 6.9 sec
140-180 km / h 11.1 sec

Speedometer deviation
effective (display 50/100) 48/97 km / h


Country road 5.1 / 100 km
Theoretical range 156 km
Fuel type super

* MOTORCYCLE measurements

Related articles

Related articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *