Harley touts throw-back styling on two new Sportsters

Part of effort to launch 100 high-impact models by 2027

Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Inc. launched two new Sportster motorcycle models on Wednesday, describing them as a combination of throw-back styling and modern performance.

The Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special are the latest models to be introduced as part of Harley’s effort to introduce 100 new “high-impact” models by 2027.

The Iron 1200, which starts at $9,999, and Forty-Eight Special, starting at $11,299, are the latest models to be introduced as part of Harley’s effort to introduce 100 new “high-impact” models by 2027.

“Since its inception, the Sportster has offered the perfect combination of size, power and character that makes it appealing to so many different riders,” said Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson vice president of styling and design. “A Sportster is a relatively easy bike to strip down and reinvent. What we’ve done to create the new Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special is what Sportster owners have been doing with their own bikes for generations.”

Both new models are powered by Harley’s Evolution 1200 engine. The Iron 1200 has a satin-black Mini Ape handlebar for a “garage-built chopper look” while the Forty-Eight Special has a gloss-black Tallboy handlebar.

“We specifically selected the Tallboy bar for its shape,” said Richards. “It offer less pull-back than the Mini-Ape, a look that really works with the steamroller front end and the smaller fuel tank on the Forty-Eight Special model.”

The two models also have distinctive graphics on their fuel tanks that combine bold color stripes with a formal typeface.

“The art on these two fuel tanks reflect contemporary trends we are seeing on custom bikes and in design in general, a move away from more complex and intricate art to a look that’s very simple and clean,” said Richards. “It’s also important to note that these graphics respect the shape of the fuel tank and in the case of the Sportster, that tank shape is a classic design element.”

Harley launched 13 new or redesigned models, primarily by combining its Dyna and Softail lines, at the start of the model year in August. The company then introduced the Sport Glide, another Softail model, in November.

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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