2010 Harley-Davidson XL1200X Sportster Forty-Eight Road Test Rider Magazine

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Harley-Davidson XL1200X Forty-Eight

2010 Harley-Davidson XL1200X Forty-Eight Road Test

Harley-Davidson XL1200X Sportster

photography by Rich Cox

[This Harley-Davidson XL1200X Sportster Road Test was originally in the July 2010 issue of magazine]

Darkness is spreading the 2010 Harley-Davidson lineup . but a good thing for fans of bobber, bolt-on and mostly customs who don’t want to such a bike themselves. “Dark Custom” gang Iron 883, Cross Fat Bob and Street Bob), often with descriptions like sinister, gritty, dusty, and “bulldog,” grows by one XL1200X “Forty-Eight” for 2010 . Ironically, ultimate Sportster expression of The Com­pany’s retro styling gets its numerical name the year its peanut-style tank was on—believe it or not—the diminutive S 125.


This was a DKW-powered single at World War II soldiers returning who were looking for practical and transportion. It wasn’t until the found its way onto the (hmmm, XLH Sportster that a tradition was

Fittingly for a dark custom, for that peanut tank the is just as much a departure a traditional, rider-friendly Sportster as the S 125—but in another way. for its oddly comfortable crouched position and low seat height, the and long Forty-Eight is all about This is an insanely custom, retro bobber cruiser and foremost.

Rolling back from the fat front tire, clues of include the very cool but unusable under-mounted mirrors, on brackets that were skyward on our test bike mirrors and levers were put right with some wrenches). Witness the, er, lightening holes in the tank and fork brace, and both a mounting bracket and rear that were mercilessly but “slammed” in the name of fashion.

tiny solo seat off a naughty (not really) rear fender, with a license plate holder to the bad-boy image when It looks so bad, I mean I wish it were here in my right now, perhaps with a supermodel holding a of Jack.

Turns out that’s one of many appropriate looks for such a than a corpulent editor in a helmet and (egad) colorful nylon riding suit. As you imagine, although the air-cooled, 1,200cc V-twin churns out of torque and rumble, and the bike and stops well, everything about actually riding the is a compromise with its looks.

With just 1.6 inches of suspension travel the ride is even brutal over bumps, and more vibes found on most Sportsters into, well, everything. The is no more comfortable than it and though the bike steers despite the big front tire, it out of cornering clearance almost I have put fewer than 100 on it and know all I need to.

Harley-Davidson XL1200X Forty-Eight
Harley-Davidson XL1200X Forty-Eight

This is a for looking cool parked, or rides on the boulevard, maybe to and back or perhaps on display in living room. With 80 of range, it just doesn’t go with Gore-Tex.

There’s much to like the basic Sportster 1200 Self-adjusting valves, EFI, final drive, abundant and since Harley rubber-mounted the minimal vibes in most The new Forty-Eight oozes with sytle and has its place among best-looking bikes, but with its price tag of $10,499, we’ll the elegant looks, comfort and of a Sportster model like the Custom, or the handling performance of the

2010 Harley-Davidson XL1200X Forty-Eight motorcycle review: Specifications

Base Price:

Price as Tested: $10,789 color)

Engine Type: transverse 45-degree V-twin, 2 valves per cyl.

Bore x Stroke: 88.9 x

Harley-Davidson XL1200X Forty-Eight
Harley-Davidson XL1200X Forty-Eight
Harley-Davidson XL1200X Forty-Eight
Harley-Davidson XL1200X Forty-Eight
Harley-Davidson XL1200X Forty-Eight
Harley-Davidson XL1200X Forty-Eight
Harley-Davidson XL1200X Forty-Eight

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