2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob Review
- Published On: 25 January 2018
- 5 min read
The Fat Bob is the sportiest of the entire Softail range and it’s extremely fun to ride!
Bobbers have been around for a while now, dating all the way back to the 1930s. Motorcyclists chopped their rear fenders off their motorcycles to give the bike the ‘bobbed’ appearance. This wasn’t the only modifications the motorcyclists made; they took off almost all the extra bits off their motorcycles to make them lighter and quicker. Harley’s Fat Bob, on the other hand, is purpose-built and not homemade, this should make it the ultimate Bobber available. Let’s see if this claim is true.
On the outside
The American bikemaker has got a lot of compliments for taking a big step with the styling of the 2018 Softail family. From the entire line-up, it’s the Bobber that has been received the most dramatic changes. One of the biggest changes in the front is the new rectangular-shaped LED headlight, it looks different and we really like it. However, the teardrop shaped turn signal indicators seem odd and don’t look good on this bike. Also contributing to the overall Bobber theme is the bike’s shorter appearance and cut rear fender. The motorcycle also has very little use of chrome and this is good, since it keeps the dark theme.
The new Milwaukee-Eight V-twin is also on display under the bike’s tank. Another Fat Bob specific design touch comes through the bronzed header-pipe heat shields. The motorcycle we were riding was equipped with a large engine guard, this is an optional extra that costs around Rs 20,000. Like with a few other Harleys, a lockable fuel cap is also an optional extra. Interestingly, the new 2018 Harleys feel considerably more premium because the quality levels have taken a step forward.
How does it perform?
Usually, one would associate torque with effortless performance, however, on this bike, the high levels of torque result in instant, loud performance. It shoots off the line and the large rear tyre leaves a line of burnt rubber on the road. This impressive performance is owing to the new 1,745cc four-valve motor, it has more torque and weight than the older Fat Bob.
Moreover, the new Fat Bob also cruises extremely well, it stays at 100kph at just 2,000 rpm. Speeds of 130kph can be had at just 3,000rpm and this doesn’t feel stressful at all. The motor also manages to pull strongly all the way up to 5,000rpm, beyond which vibrations seep through. The engine does well on the highway, but it’s in the city where bike feels tiring, with its heavy clutch and the fact that the parts tend to heat up.
How does it ride?
The chassis on the Fat Bob is the same as the other models in the Softail line-up, but each one has its own unique tuning. From the models in this line-up, the Fat Bob has the sharpest steering rake and shortest wheelbase. To add to that, the bike has a new Showa upside-down fork that helps it in the handling and braking department. The bike rides on puny 16-inch wheels when you consider that it uses a large 150-section tyre at the front. This means that the front-end requires good strength to turn in.
The overall stability is very good, as one would expect from a bike this heavy, it weighs 309kg. In terms of braking, the motorcycle comes to a halt quickly and there is good lever feel as well. Where the motorcycle really impresses, is in terms of its suspension, it works surprisingly well on our roads and absorbs most of the bad tarmac. But, ground clearance is low at 120mm, which means you have to watch out for sharp bumps.
Should I buy one?
The updated Fat Bob has taken a more important role in the manufacturer’s line-up and we like its new avatar. Priced at ₹14.01 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), it has no direct rival. The Indian Scout Bobber and Triumph Bonneville Bobber are considerably cheaper in terms of pricing, however, the Fat Bob is for motorcyclists looking for a bike that is well, “bad to the bone!”