New Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight and Iron 883

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The new Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight and Iron 883 are part of the range the firm calls Dark Custom range and both models get a host of revisions for 2016. We've ridden the latter, so click here for the Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 883 review on MCN.

The 1200cc V-twin Forty-Eight has been a big seller for Harley since it was first introduced in 2012 and it has been extremely good at attracting younger, style-conscious riders to the H-D badge. The new 2016 model gets a host of updates for next year and that includes new 49mm cartridge fork suspension and new twin rear shocks with progressive rate springs and adjustable preload. Also new for 2016 are mag-style wheels instead of the spoked wheels of the previous model.

The Forty-Eight gets a wide 130 section front tyre along with forged aluminium yokes and an aluminium fork brace. The classic ‘peanut’ tank has become a signature of the Forty-Eight and stays in place; as well as the chopped mudguards that show off the wide front tyre.

Ben McGinley Harley-Davidson Industrial Designer said:  “The low handlebar and forward foot controls put the Forty-Eight rider in an aggressive posture, so we picked up on that with the styling.

“The big front wheel is like a steamroller coming down the street, and we went with the smaller round steel air cleaner and some chrome on the exhaust to draw your eyes to the engine, which looks larger under the peanut tank. I’d describe the theme of this bike as functional muscle.”

Harley’s press release adds: “The fuel tank styling features horizontal stripes, a throw-back to 1970s style that’s reappearing today on custom bikes. Those lines are repeated throughout the motorcycle, including in the seat stitching, slotted exhaust shields, rear sprocket and belt guard. New lightweight cast-aluminum wheels feature nine split spokes and a solid black finish with machined highlights. Combination stop/tail/turn signals keep the rear fender uncluttered.”

Prices start at £9675 and the bike will be available in black, silver, red and gold. There will also be custom ‘candy’ options available too.

Harley-Davidson Iron 883

The new Iron 883 is aimed at the more affordable end of the Harley-Davidson range at £7495 and has been given a cosmetic makeover that runs to lashings of black paint on the engine and exhaust as well as some technical revisions.

The new Iron 883 not only gets a dark makeover for next year with the blacked out engine and exhaust with new heat shields but also shares the new suspension detailed on the Forty-Eight above. This smaller-capacity 883cc bike also gets new nine-spoke cast aluminium wheels which reduce weight by 3.63kg combined with the price starting at £7495.

Harley’s press release adds: “Clipped fenders, blacked-out powertrain and exhaust, drag-style handlebars and a solo tuck-and-roll seat cover evoke bare-knuckle street performance. A ribbed air cleaner cover underlines the stamped-from-steel authenticity of this motorcycle, while bullet-hole details on the belt guard, exhaust shields and front fender brace recall a racer’s effort to lighten the bike.”

Harley state the colours chosen for the Iron 883 have been selected to hide road grime so that those living in urban environments without a hose of driveway don’t have to worry about the bike looking filthy. Colours include grey, olive gold with the Eagle and Shield tank logo and there is a custom candy gold flake available too.

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Andy Downes

By Andy Downes

Former MCN Senior Reporter