2010 Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight Review

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2010 Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight Review

Post by ganahsokmo on Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:29 am

The Sportster is a cornerstone of Harley-Davidson’s

It’s been a part of the annual lineup in one form or another since
the late ‘50s and shows no signs of going away. Seems the Milwaukee
brand knows a good thing when it has it. (For the sake of this article
let’s just pretend that Buell still exists!)

Typically, Sportster models are the lowest-priced bikes from H-D and
have one of the lowest seat heights in the line. Most importantly
though, Sporties offer the core Harley experience: an air-cooled,
pushrod V-Twin-powered cruiser. And they do so with little pretense. For
these reasons and more, the Sportster is often the gleam in the eyes of
new riders or those lusting for that first Harley.

Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight

Of the seven models that currently comprise the Sporty line, five are
powered by the fuel-injected, rubber-mounted, air-cooled, 1203cc
Evolution V-Twin, which Harley says is good for 79 ft-lbs at 4000 rpm.
The 883 Low and Iron 883 are the other two Sporties; and as part of
their names imply they’re powered by an 883cc version of the Evolution
Twin. Like all Sportsters, the 883 models are fuel-injected.

Like the
Sportster Nightster and other members of the Dark Custom family, the
Forty-Eight keeps to minimalist styling. One such element is the
integrated brake/tail/indicator light.

Harley has seen fit to freshen the face of the Sporster the past
couple years, creating the Nightster
and Iron
. Both models are also part of a subset of Harleys called Dark
. The 2010 Sportster Forty-Eight is the most recent addition
and the third Sporty to join the Dark family.

The all-new Forty-Eight continues in the low-brow, bare-bones motif
of its Dark Customs brethren.
Like the Nightster, this latest Dark Custom family member features a
blacked-out Evolution V-Twin engine and other blacked-out components
including air cleaner cover, hand controls and turn signals.

Hinting at the Forty-Eight’s bobber-inspired styling is a 2.1-gallon
peanut tank, chopped front fender, solo saddle, and a chubby 16-inch
front tire riding a black laced wheel; its 16-inch mate rolls out back.
Another clue to its bobber theme are mirrors mounted below the
handlebar. Beyond all the tuff stuff, however, the Forty-Eight is in
essence a 1203cc (73.4 c.i.) Sportster.

Rugged looks but a heart of

The first time I saw the Forty-Eight I suspected a bike that
sacrificed comfort for the sake of art. This latest Sporty proved my
preconceived notions mostly wrong, as it was more comfortable than
expected despite its stripped-down, Spartan appearance.
Its 26.8-inch seat height (26.3” on the Nightster and 883 Low) was a
friendly-but-not-too-short distance off the ground, allowing my 30-inch
inseam an easy reach for planting both feet. Yet, when putting boots
down I did note the saddle’s edge seemed firm and created some
discomfort at the point it contacted the back of my thigh. But when both
feet were on the pegs for riding, the saddle was sufficiently

The handlebar’s mild forward cant puts the rider into sporty,
aggressive stance, offering good steering leverage, yet the position
wasn’t so sporting as to feel uncomfortable.
If you’re used to mirrors in the typical above-bar position found on
virtually all mass-produced motorcycles, the Forty-Eight’s under-bar
mirror mount position might take some acclimatization. Eventually I got
used to the location and didn’t find the styling exercise a genuine
drawback to the mirror’s functionality.

mirrors take some getting used to but lend to the Forty-Eight’s
bobber-themed styling.

The 2.1-gallon peanut tank complements the bike’s style and evokes
images of Harleys from as far back as ’48, when Harley first employed
the tank style. Although with such a small capacity when compared to,
say, other Sportsters’ 3.3-gallon petrol holder, range will be limited.
Nevertheless, Harley says to expect 42 to 57 mpg from the Forty-Eight
depending on city or freeway miles.

The Evo Vee has spirited acceleration, and was especially grunty off
the bottom with its classic, big Twin torque response. This bottom
end-biased power proved great for quick launches from stoplights and
occasionally lighting up the rear tire.
Fueling was trouble-free, as was the action in the 5-speed gearbox.
Effort at the clutch lever was typical of many modern Harleys: not
excessively heavy but not feathery either.

Along with my initially incorrect notion that the Forty-Eight wasn’t
cozy, the other supposition rolling around in my head was a Sportster
with sluggish steering response and generally crap handling due to its
fat front tire. Again I was happily enlightened to the opposite.
Despite a plump Dunlop D402 (130/90 x 16) front tire, steering effort
was much lighter than expected. The Forty-Eight’s steering geometry is
marginally milder than that of the good-handling Nightster; and its
ready-to-ride weight of 567 lbs is only 5 lbs more than the Nightster,
so I was further impressed with chassis performance from the new bike
with a number for a name. The bike tracked through the arc of a turn
without protest, but like many cruisers, shallow lean angles are a
limiting factor.

Feel at the brake lever was a bit on the spongy side in the first
half of lever travel, but the single caliper/rotor set up ultimately
provide adequate stopping force, and feel improved in the later half of
lever travel.

Riding the
Forty-Eight was such a kick we even tried to convince the birds it’s a
sweet new Sporty!

Overall this new Sporty is fun to ride, especially in cityscapes
where you can bop down the boulevard with a bunch of like-minded
bobber-ridin’ friends. With a starting MSRP of $10,499 for the 2010
Forty-Eight, Harley adds another cool and affordable bike to its stable
of Sportsters.

Related Reading
Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Review

Harley-Davidson XL1200N

v. Knievel Road Test

Harley-Davidson FLSTSB Cross Bones Review

Harley Davidson Cross Bones

Choppers Shootout

Things H-D on Motorcycle.com


Join date : 16/01/2010
Age : 37

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