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Harley-Davidson 48 to make UK debut at MCN bike show

Published: 02 February 2010

Harley-Davidson’s new 48 Sportster model will make its UK debut at the Carole Nash MCN motorcycle show at London’s Excel arena on Thursday.

The 48 is the start of a range of bikes from the American firm designed specifically to attract young riders to the brand.

Revealed just two weeks ago, the 48 is based on the 1200 Sportster – which was introduced in 1948, hence the name. The 48 has a hot-rod style similar to stripped-back customs rather than the chrome-and-tassles image of previous Sportsters.

The bike has been shipped straight from the US to the Excel show where it will be shown in the UK for the first time. A UK price is expected top be around £7500 for a standard model.

Check out these highlights when you get to see the bike up close.

  • 16-inch rims carry balloon-like 150-section tyres front and rear. Expect poor steering as a result of the outsized rubber, but we reckon the style is bang-on. Wider yokes carrying new forks facilitate the outrageously pumped-up front tyre.
  • Single seat is styled like early-model Sportsters – but if you feel the need to pick up attractive members of the opposite sex, an optional pillion seat kit is available. The 710mm seat height will accommodate even the shortest riders.
  • Mid-20th Century hot-rod culture provides the inspiration for the 48’s styling, with the sleek, uncluttered look aided by mirrors which hang from the underside of the flat handlebars, and the speedo which is mounted low and flat.
  • Only the exhaust pipes and wheel spokes are chrome, and some of the engine is polished – the rest of the bike is blacked-out or painted body colour.
  • The Sportster is famed for its ‘peanut’ fuel tank shape, introduced in 1948 (hence the name). The 48 uses the same design with a drilled mount, and classic Harley-Davidson logos are painted on the tank as well as bold ‘Sportster’ branding.
  • (Or fenders, as Harley calls them) are stocky cut-down items that would look at home on any minimalist urban custom special. The rear is kept uncluttered by fitting the brake lights within the indicators.