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Harley Davidson BLACKLINE Custom Motorbike Review

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MCN overall verdict rating is 2

On face vale, the Harley Blackline should be a great addition to the Harley range, using the proven big twin powertrain and Softail chassis and dressing is up according to the latest ‘blacked-out’, pared down bobber fashion. Trouble is, style has won over substance. Though it looks good, the riding position is agonizingly extreme and unadjustable – so much so it’s almost unrideable – and it’s also questionable value compared to the rest of the range. Harley say they may rework the ergonomics. Until they do it’s impossible to recommend.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 0

Power for the Harley Blackline is c/o the usual 45-degree Harley push-rod ‘Big V’ (currently in 1584cc guise) between yer knees which, whatever it lacks in modernity, remains adequate, characterful and class-definingly authentic.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 1
Owners' rating rating is 0

The Harley Blackline might look good… but it rides blooming abysmally. Basically it’s down to the Harley Blackline’s extreme riding position. Highway pegs are familiar and excuseable, but combining them with the ultra-low seat and extremely forward drag bars leaves you pretty much bent double and stretching for the grips. I found it awkward instantly and painful after barely two miles at pedestrian speeds. After 20 miles of 60mph B-roads my elbows ached, my teeth were gritted and I wanted to get off. That route is normally a joy on any bike, especially with the first onset of spring. On the Blackline is was, quite literally, a pain.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 0

Fairly standard fare. The Harley Blackline is basically a Softail Custom (ie big H-D V-twin + Softail/hidden shock rear + ‘chopper’ skinny 21in hoop and wide/kicked out forks front) which has been around in one way or another since 1985. Or, to be exact, it’s a Softail Custom with a couple of bits thrown away and a couple of other bits finished black instead of chrome. There’s a speedo and some idiot lights and… that’s about it.

Harley-Davidson Blackline (2011-2012)

Detail Value
New price £13,895
Used price range View Harley Davidson BLACKLINE bikes for sale to see current asking prices
Engine size 1584 cc
Power bhp
Top speed 110 mph
Insurance group 14 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 2 rating is 0
Engine rating is 3 rating is 0
Ride & Handling rating is 1 rating is 0
Equipment rating is 2 rating is 0
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 0
Value rating is 2 rating is 0

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 0

Admittedly the Harley Blackline’s all been done mouth-wateringly well – Harley are dab hands at ‘eye candy’ after all. The curved profile of the wheel rims is beautiful; those bars are impressively simple and neat; the paint and metal finishes are predictably fabulous and the minimalism makes most other customs look like a handbag from The Only Way is Essex. It looks good and, just as importantly, any rider’s reflection in a shop window looks good, too. Meanwhile, reliability-wise, although too early to be sure, the drivetrain is familiar and proven and Harley has a good record.

Value

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 0

In this two-tone spec, the Blackline’s listed at £14,545. And, I’m sorry, but that’s not just ridiculous (especially when you could get a largely similar but more comfortable and practical Harley Superglide Custom or Wide Glide for around £11K) I also find it insulting when, in reality, considering its minimalist approach, you’re actually paying more…for less. Yes, Softails are all more expesnive than the twin shock Dynas, but normally you get a lot more, too.

Insurance

Insurance group: 14 of 17

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Model History

2011: model introduced

Other Versions

Specifications

Top speed 110 mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power bhp
Max torque ft-lb
Weight 294 kg
Seat height 655 mm
Fuel capacity 18.9 litres
Average fuel consumption mpg
Tank range miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 14 of 17
Engine size 1584 cc
Engine specification Aircooled, pushrod, V-twin, 5 gears
Frame Tubular steel double cradle
Front suspension adjustment None
Rear suspension adjustment None
Front brakes 292mm disc, four-piston caliper
Rear brake 292mm disc, four-piston caliper
Front tyre size MH90 x 21
Rear tyre size MU85B x 16

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 0(0 reviews)

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