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Harley Davidson CROSSBONES Custom Motorbike Review

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MCN overall verdict rating is 3

Harley's Cross Bones is the perfect antidote to a tough week at work. It’s so comfortable, thanks to its wide, beautifully padded, hand-stitched sprung seat and rubber-topped footboards that you could almost fall asleep on it; something the whisper-quiet exhausts would unfortunately let you do, if you weren’t careful.

It looks the part and the ‘Springer’ front end adds to the coolness of this Harley-Davidson. It doesn’t have as much grunt as you’d expect from such a big (1584cc) motor, but it’s happy just to plod along all day in the sunshine at 50mph; it’s ideal cruising speed with an open-faced helmet. You can’t help but smile when you ride the Harley-Davidson Softail Cross Bones and it makes you feel special.

All this loveliness comes at a price, though and costing close to thirteen grand, it’s certainly not cheap, especially when you consider it’s a single-seater. Try selling that to your missus.


MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 3

It’s a big shock to experience the motor for the first time. The big V-twin looks huge, it has a gargantuan 1584cc capacity and it’s no doubt responsible for most of the galactic all-up weight, but despite all of its massiveness, it’s whisper quiet and lacking any real get up and go. Adding some loud pipes to bring the Harley-Davidson Cross Bones alive is a must for this machine. As well as being quiet, the motor is unbelievably smooth for a Harley, although the gearbox is a clunky affair, like the gear selector inside the ‘trannie’ has been swapped with a sledge hammer. Cruising along in top gear at 50mph is what this engine does best.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3

Weighing an elephant-like 317.5kg (what the hell do they make these things out of, it’s 7.5kg more than two Honda CBR600RRs?), the Harley-Davidson Cross Bones simply squashes any bumps it goes over, so ride quality is actually very good. The soft suspension and sprung seat serves to make things even more comfortable on bumpy roads. But the sheer weight of the thing means that braking has to be done very early to avoid obstacles. The stronger of the two brakes is the rear. Corners need to be caressed and not attacked, and in a perfect world (like in the US) avoided altogether. A low seat makes the job of paddling the Harley around easier and helps the low-speed handling. This is a cruiser, pure and simple, so low-speed riding is what the Cross Bones is all about.


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

For your hard-earned you get a maintenance-free belt drive and a hand-stitched leather seat and tank strap. Up front, conventional forks are replaced with a coll, old-school ‘springer’ front end and you can see it bobbing up and down when you cruise along, which is different. Acres of chrome, a cool paintjob and beautiful styling add to the appeal of the Harley-Davidson Cross Bones, but aside from that, the equipment level is quite low, given the price. Compare and buy products for the Harley-Davidson Cross Bones in the MCN Shop.

Harley-Davidson Softail Cross Bones (2008-2012)

Detail Value
New price £14,595
Used price range View Harley Davidson CROSSBONES bikes for sale to see current asking prices
Engine size 1584 cc
Power 75 bhp
Top speed 90 mph
Insurance group 15 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 3 rating is 5
Engine rating is 2 rating is 3
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 3
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 5
Value rating is 2 rating is 5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 5

Generally the Harley-Davidson Cross Bones is well screwed together and nicely finished, although build quality in some areas isn’t quite up to scratch, with niggly things like side panels and exhaust bolts coming loose and falling off, if you don’t keep your eye on them. With a big engine that’s barely stressed, reliability shouldn’t be a concern.


MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 5

The Harley-Davidson Cross Bones costs £12,706 for a solid colour and £12,850 for pearl, which is a lot of cash for not a lot of bike. As nice as it is to ride and as cool as it is to look at, you’re paying through the nose for the Harley badge and all it stands for (its history, heritage and marketing spin) here. The engine and chassis are very low-tech and you only get one seat. When you think you can get a technology-packed Ducati 1198 for a grand less, you’ll realise that the Harley Cross Bones is terrible value for money. You can buy an equivalent Jap cruiser for a lot less, but it won’t come with the badge. Find a Harley-Davidson softail for sale.


Insurance group: 15 of 17

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Model History

2008 – Cross Bones introduced

Other Versions



Top speed 90 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 13.2 secs
Max power 75 bhp
Max torque 70.3 ft-lb
Weight 317.5 kg
Seat height 766 mm
Fuel capacity 18.9 litres
Average fuel consumption mpg
Tank range miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 15 of 17
Engine size 1584 cc
Engine specification 1584cc 4-valve, V-twin
Frame Steel cradle frame
Front suspension adjustment Non-adjustable
Rear suspension adjustment Non-adjustable
Front brakes 2 x 320mm discs
Rear brake 240mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 17 in
Rear tyre size 190/50 17 in

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(1 review)

  • I LUV X Bones

    Dave Pryor

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Ride and Handling
    Quality and Reliabilty

    As a two year owner of this motorcycle I can say it's a great motorcycle, and good value. Let's touch on some areas that are not in the above review. Everywhere you go you get attention because of the solo leather seat and the springer front end. The bike flat out looks cool, and with the optional pillion and sissy bar would be a chick magnet if you were so inclined. On a trip throught the four corners area of the US (Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah) the bike was a major attention grabber. A gas jockey left his cash register the hear the bike start (I have had the pipes modified), Italian tourists took photos of the "chopper" at the four corners monument actually posing near the machine, and at Glen Canyon dam near Page, Arizona German tourists actually videotaped me leaving the parking lot area riding helmetless, and revving the motor. So far there has been a lot of consumer satisfaction. Consumers need to understand that buying your Harley is only a starting point for upgrades that may be necessary to comfortize and individualize one's bike. It's true that this bike is heavy, does not like very twisty roads, is slow and ridiculously expensive. Even more expensive now that I have installed Rinehart Racing crossover pipes, and bored the engine out to 103". This cost around $5K USD. Now I know this sounds ridiculous, because it's not a lot faster compared to Jap sport bikes, and the handling didn't improve. But the cool quotient went off the charts with the sound of these pipes, and it looked cool before. On the several trips I have taken the ride has been just fine. The softail motorcycle is very comfortable, and long days can be had in good comfort. I use the stock seat and springs so far with no complaints. My longest day so far is over 300 miles and there were no major comfort problems. I do have a detachable windscreen for comfort at higher speeds. I take issue with the quality rating above. I have had nothing fall off the bike so far, and I don't know what sidepanels they are talking about because Harley's don't have 'em. While the Harley is no knee dragging bike, it's holds very well in sweepers, and is very stable at speed on the highway as well. The 103 engine gives it better passing power at the top end as the bike revs past 3000rpm. Value: Yes, Ducatis are on a par, and Jap cruisers can be had for half of this amount-but would you really want to be seen on a Jap Cruiser?? Trust me: no one cares about Jap cruisers. Ducatis are great, but we are really talking apples and oranges. Harleys are built for reliability and (relative) simplicity. The motor is weak but it serves the purpose of going from A to B and will break all known speed limits here in the US. Plenty of torque at the low end for a satisfying feeling off the line considering the weight of the beast.

    19 April 2010


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X Bones

Had my Bones for 2 years and no plans to sell.
Been riding for 33 years on all types, sports, dirt, street etc even spent time working on dispatch work, still nothing leaves me with a bigger smile than the Bones every time I get on it.
The Bones is the sort of bike I would have built.
Media reviews are often written by fixed type riders with no open mind, statement top speed of 90 is incorrect and just "slapping new exhaust "is miss direction. You have to stage a Harley fully and ride it like you mean it to get the best out of them.
So my review is the Crossbones is best Harley I have ever had.


30 July 2010 09:28



X bones

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11 May 2010 23:40



X Bones


11 May 2010 23:39

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