HARLEY-DAVIDSON BLACKLINE (2011-2012) Review

Published: 15 April 2011

Shortlived Softail based cruiser looked great – but was agonisingly uncomfortable

HARLEY-DAVIDSON BLACKLINE  (2011-2012)

Shortlived Softail based cruiser looked great – but was agonisingly uncomfortable

  • At a glance
  • 1584cc  -  72 bhp
  • 44 mpg  -  185 miles range
  • Low seat height (655mm)

Overall Rating 2 out of 5

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.

Ride Quality & Brakes 1 out of 5

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.

Engine 3 out of 5

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.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

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 & Running Costs 2 out of 5

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 group: 14 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 2 out of 5

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.

Owners' Reviews

No owners have yet reviewed the HARLEY-DAVIDSON BLACKLINE (2011-2012).

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2011
Year discontinued 2012
Original price £13,895
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 14 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 72 bhp
Max torque 125 ft-lb
Top speed 110 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 44 mpg
Tank range 185 miles
Specification
Engine size 1584cc
Engine type Aircooled, pushrod, V-twin, 5 gears
Frame type Tubular steel double cradle
Fuel capacity 18.9 litres
Seat height 655mm
Bike weight 294kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension None
Front brake 292mm disc, four-piston caliper
Rear brake 292mm disc, four-piston caliper
Front tyre size MH90 x 21
Rear tyre size MU85B x 16

History & Versions

Model history

2011: model introduced

Other versions

None

Photo Gallery

  • HARLEY-DAVIDSON BLACKLINE  (2011-2012)
  • HARLEY-DAVIDSON BLACKLINE  (2011-2012)
  • HARLEY-DAVIDSON BLACKLINE  (2011-2012)
  • HARLEY-DAVIDSON BLACKLINE  (2011-2012)
  • HARLEY-DAVIDSON BLACKLINE  (2011-2012)