Harley-Davidson introduced two new models on February 1st—a ’70s chopper throwback called the Seventy-Two and a stripped-down Big Twin called the Softail Slim. Though far from being all-new models, the two bikes are interesting fruits of H-D’s strategy to market bikes to new and more diverse audiences.
For riders that crave a ’70s motif, the Seventy-Two puts you in the Way-Back machine to the time after the movie Easy Rider but before the series “Chico and the Man” went off the air. The layout is stripped-down California chopper: 2.1-gallon peanut gas tank, bespoked wheels (with a skinny 21-incher in front, of course), forward controls, ape-hanger bars, chopped fenders and plenty o’ chrome. Mechanically, the bike uses the good ol’ Evolution Sporty motor, a 1200cc mill making a claimed 73 ft.-lbs. of torque at 3500 rpm for maximum boulevard-trolling efficiency.
But H-D seems most proud of the paint, and the one shown does look good in the pictures. It’s called “Hard Candy Big Red Flake,” and H-D says it has “hexagon-shaped flakes that are more than seven times the diameter of metal flake used in typical production paint. Each flake is coated with a thin aluminum film and then tinted red. Four applications of clear coat, combined with hand sanding, create a smooth finish over the flakes.” That’s a lot of paint work for a production bike, but the results look pretty nice. Other available color options include Black Denim and Big Blue Pearl. When it hits dealers, the bike will be priced at $10,499 or $11,199 for the fancy paint.
Not way-back enough for you? Are you more into Louis Jordan than Cream? The other model is the Softail Slim, which gets back to the roots of modern U.S. moto-customizing by taking a basic Softail (the line of Harley Big Twins which use a hidden rear suspension to simulate a rigid rear end) and stripping off extraneous metal in the way a customizer would have done in the 1950s to create a classic “bobber.” The fenders are pared down, there’s only a solo saddle and chrome is kept to a minimum. The low, black-finish handlebar is a cross-braced “Hollywood” bar—a period accessory, so nicknamed because riders would put extra lights on the cross-bracing, prompting their friends to say they had “gone Hollywood” with over-decorating.
Power comes from the 1690cc Twin Cam 103B motor, with a claimed output of 99 ft.-lbs. of torque at 3000 rpm to pull around the bike’s 671 pounds. The Slim will be priced at $15,499 ($15,884 for color other than Vivid Black) when it reaches showrooms.
The minimalistic streak reflected in the Slim is typical of H-D’s Senior Designer Casey Ketterhagen, who also came up with the 2011 Blackline. “I’d personally like to strip the bike down even further,” says Ketterhagen, “but this is as far as we can go on a production model.” It should slot right in with the rest of the Dark Custom family, a blacked-out, bare-bones lineup aimed at youth buyers. Expect more models like this in the future, and we wouldn’t be surprised (in fact, we’d be most pleased) to see an XLCR cafe-racer replica based on the fun-to-ride XR1200X. If you agree, let us know in the discussion below — H-D’s peeps read MD!