HARLEY-DAVIDSON FAT BOY FLFB (2018 - on) Review
- No Harley entertains more
- Huge rear tyre to cope with all the torque
- 30th anniversary special edition
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£280|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The original Harley-Davidson Fat Boy made a huge impact, enough to inspire a legion of lookalikes. This 2020 monster-truck reinvention re-establishes it. No Harley generates a bigger grin.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The focus of the new Softail family is the all-new Softail frame (so-called as it hides the rear suspension giving a classic hardtail ‘look’) which now uses an inclined single shock, Yamaha LC style, in place of dual shorter units previously mounted beneath the transmission. The new tubular steel double cradle is also claimed to be substantially lighter, stiffer and comprise far fewer components. Three different head angles, two shock lengths and two widths of swing arm are also employed in a modular approach to create the eight different models.
In Fat Boy trim this comes with a 30º head angle and, most vividly of all, new ‘monster truck’ solid wheels that are the biggest news and the reason the 27-year-old Fat Boy has at last rediscovered its mojo. Dubbed ‘Lakester’, these wheels are not just bigger, they’re massive – larger in diameter as well as now comic-book broad. Both grow an inch in diameter while the front broadens from 140 to 150 while the rear goes from an already vast 200 to a simply gargantuan 240. So big, in fact, that you can’t help but smile. The ride is entertaining, too. In a straight line, though hefty, the steering is tolerable. But through the twisties it needs a significant, unsettling effort to tiller around and plenty of forethought. On balance, this isn’t a complaint: you attune over time after which the new Fat Boy is a massive grin and a unique pose.
EngineNext up: Reliability
As with three other members of Harley’s new Softail family, the new Fat Boy now uses the four-valve, partially oil-cooled ‘Milwaukee Eight’ 107ci V-twin, as introduced in its 2017 touring range, with the option also of the 114ci version. Both are modified for Softail use via a new oil cooler subtly positioned between the downtubes and, as they’re rigidly mounted in the new Softail frames (in the tourers they’re rubber mounted) come with two, not one, balancer shafts.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Along with the new frame, uprated engine and cycle parts and new equipment such as lights and clocks, the build quality of the new Fat Boy, and indeed all the 2018 Softail family, has been noticeably improved. The jury necessarily has to remain out on reliability as it’s simply too early to say as we write. However, with the powertrain being based on that of the proven ‘Project Rushmore’ touring family and quality seemingly raised throughout, we’ve little cause for concern.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Harley ownership never comes cheap and with prices starting at over £17K that’s certainly not changed with the updated and improved Fat Boy. On the positive side, the new Fat Boy is a massive grin and a unique pose and after years of its presence being diluted it’s good to see the Fat Boy back to its best once again.
Those monster wheels, new frame and uprated engine are joined by dramatic new LED headlights, stylish new clocks and more. OK, there’s still no electronics and little by way of luxury but it is a classy machine and Harley have noticeably raised their game.
|Engine type||45º pushrod V-twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel double cradle|
|Fuel capacity||18.9 litres|
|Front suspension||Showa telescopic forks, no adjust|
|Rear suspension||Monoshock, adjustable spring preload|
|Front brake||1 x 292mm discs, four-piston calipers. ABS|
|Rear brake||292mm two piston caliper. ABS|
|Front tyre size||160/60 x 18|
|Rear tyre size||240/40 x 18|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||18.9 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£280|
17 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||86 bhp|
|Max torque||107 ft-lb|
|Top speed||110 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Owners' reviews for the HARLEY-DAVIDSON FAT BOY (2018 - on)
4 owners have reviewed their HARLEY-DAVIDSON FAT BOY (2018 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£280|
Version: FLFBS 114
Annual servicing cost: £350
Happy with bike they just need to up there game on the quality of fillings - (Harley, You need to look at Triumph Quality if you want to stay in the game), glad I got a good discount as like all Harley’s nowadays the value falls like a stone in the first two years.
It’s a Harley, don’t expect comfort or brakes and you’ll not be disappointed!
A Gem, with a Stage Two, and open exhausts, but not got the same impact as the Old Harley’s of 2014 to 2016.
The reliability has not been a problem, but the chrome on the bars and headstock needs improving, its very thin and full of tiny marks - it’s not got the quality of my 10 year Old Rocket.
£350 for the first 1,000 mile service, absolute P**** take. Will use Indy when warranty expires.
You don’t even get a tool kit, so why expect Equipment!
Buying experience: Bought from dealer in Rutland, good discount, fair trade in + upgrades
Annual servicing cost: £250
Fantastic riding experience, looks and sounds the business. You do need to ditch the standard pipes to get the Harley sound. I added a Vance and Hines Fuelpak to flash the ECU to get the sound and feel that I wanted. It made a huge difference to the standard bike. Handles really well for the style of bike and is very quick off the mark. Its surprisingly stable and vibration free once underway. I would suggest its not for an inexperienced rider as the wide tyres make it feel unwilling to turn.
The ride quality is superb. I have a BMW R1200RT and I can state the Harley's mirrors are more stable at any speed than the BMW. The suspension is excellent and brakes are more than good enough.
Stunning low down torque makes it pull from standstill. However you do need to use the gearbox more than you would think for such a large capacity motor.
After two years its never missed a beat. However :- The wheels are bare aluminium and so will need to be polished regularly, or coated in some way. Speedometer can suffer from condensation and the fuel filler cap can suffer from vibration due to incorrectly sized O ring
After the first service I did it all myself. If your confident these bikes are really easy to work on and have self adjusting valves so just a question of oil changes for the engine.
This bike is all about the engine. It is fantastic to ride. I would recommend an aftermarket seat as the item supplied is useless for both pillion and rider. I have the HD hammock seat which totally transformed the ride in terms of comfort for both rider and pillion. Ditch the standard pipes and add a Fuelpak to remove the restriction necessary for "49 state compliance" which is how they ship them out.
Version: M8 fatboy
Annual servicing cost: £250
Very easy to just pole around on looks great sounds great, not too good at stopping but you adapt
The ride is fine, the brakes are too if you use the back as well. It’s something you have to learn but its all part of a harley
Smooth, grungy and sounds kjust great
Apart from the wheels which need powder coating the bike has been terrific
Not spent a penny yet as i bought the service pack, well apart from on the wheels
Abs and errrr, lights but its a bike not a car
Buying experience: I bought mine from harley in Plymouth who were just great from start to now. No moans at all.
its slow, the brakes are terrible its so bad at going round bends even the pillon pegs grind out at the first sign of a bend frightens the life out of the wife to think her feet are going to touch the tarmac buy anything but one of these
Buying experience: all Harley want to do is sell you the parts that should come as standard