Harley-Davidson adds to the long legacy of its Sportster motorcycle line with the introduction of the Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special models.
The latest in a line of 100 high-impact motorcycles the company plans to introduce by 2027, these new high-bar Sportsters combine throw-back styling trends from the custom-bike scene with the solid foundation of the Sportster platform and the punchy performance of the Evolution 1200 V-Twin engine.
Since its introduction in 1957, Sportster motorcycles have been repeatedly reimagined in the hands of both the Motor Company and bike owners.
“Since its inception, the Sportster has offered the perfect combination of size, power and character that makes it appealing to so many different riders,” said Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson VP of Styling & Design. “A Sportster is a relatively easy bike to strip down and reinvent. What we’ve done to create the new Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special is what Sportster owners have been doing with their own bikes for generations.”
New fuel tank graphics distinguish both the Iron 1200 and the Forty-Eight Special, and combine bold color stripes with a formal typeface, color and graphic elements originally popular in the 1970s.
“The art on these two fuel tanks reflect contemporary trends we are seeing on custom bikes and in design in general, a move away from more complex and intricate art to a look that’s very simple and clean,” said Richards. “It’s also important to note that these graphics respect the shape of the fuel tank and in the case of the Sportster, that tank shape is a classic design element in its own right.”
The new Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 is Dark Custom features a blacked-out, stripped down look along with nimble handling, that trademark rumble and a ’70s retro-vibe tank. The satin-black Mini Ape handlebar is an essential element of the garage-built chopper look that adds instant attitude and gives the rider a fists-in-the-wind posture.
The gloss black speed screen framing the headlamp amplifies the attitude of the tall bars, is intended to offer some wind deflection at speed and provides a space for easy personalization. The fast-back Café Solo Seat flows to the rear fender and is shaped to help hold the rider in position when the torque of the Evolution 1200 kicks in.
A classic 3.3-gallon Sportster fuel tank features multi-colored striped graphics that wrap around the tank profile. The dark engine finish helps draw the eyes to the bright tank graphics. Fuel tank paint color options include Vivid Black, Twisted Cherry and Billiard White, always contrasting with Vivid Black on the speed screen and fenders.
The Iron 1200 is finished with all-black 9-Spoke wheels and a solid black belt guard and rear sprocket. The Harley-Davidson Smart Security System and anti-lock braking system (ABS) are factory-installed options for the Iron 1200 model.
The new Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Special features a bulldog stance, beefy forks and that classic peanut tank with ’70s flair. The burly front end of the Forty-Eight Special – a wide front tire framed by fat forks – looks especially menacing when topped with a gloss-black Tallboy handlebar.
“We specifically selected the Tallboy bar for its shape,” said Richards. “It offers less pull-back than the Mini-Ape, a look that really works with the steamroller front end and the smaller fuel tank on the Forty-Eight Special model.”
That 2.2-gallon “peanut” Sportster fuel tank features rows of bold, horizontal stripes framing a simple Harley-Davidson text logo. The fuel tank is available in three color options: Vivid Black, Wicked Red, and Billiard White.
The Evolution 1200 engine features a black top end over chrome covers plus chrome muffler and exhaust shields. Chrome lower rocker boxes, pushrod tubes and tappet covers contrast with the black cylinders to highlight the V-Twin engine shape. High-performance Michelin Scorcher 31 tires front and rear are mounted on Black Split 9-Spoke Cast Aluminum wheels.
The Harley-Davidson Smart Security System and anti-lock braking system (ABS) are also factory-installed options for the Forty-Eight Special model.