2014 Harley-Davidson FXDF Fat Bob Review

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With its big, chunky tires, solid wheels, drag-style handlebars and slab-shaped gas tank, the 2014 Harley-Davidson FXDF Fat Bob is the epitome of the all-American cruiser. But, underneath all of that sparkly paintwork, shiny chrome and in-your-face attitude is there a decent motorcycle fighting to get out?

What’s New
Back in August, Harley-Davidson made a host of announcements under the banner of “Project Rushmore.” Most of this development program’s focus was on the changes to its 2014 touring line-up, as reported by RideApart. But, lost among all the new liquid-cooled motors and touchscreen infotainment systems, there were also some modifications to some of the other bikes, including one of its staple cruisers, the Fat Bob.

That’s the thing about Harley-Davidson. Most people, even those who have little knowledge about motorcycles in general, have heard of the Sportster as it’s been around since the dawn of time. And the same goes for the big H-D touring bikes. Despite the complexity of the confusing touring model codes and names, most people recognize them and identify them when thinking of a big American-built motorcycle.

The ginger haired stepchild that’s kept locked away in the H-D attic has always been the Dyna range. It sits squarely between the Sportsters and the big tourers and includes some pretty decent, if somewhat heavy, motorcycles. There’s the Street Bob, Super Glide Custom, Wide Glide, Switchback and the Fat Bob. All based on the same frame. All use the same 103ci V-twin engine but, with some clever styling cues, each somehow looks different from the other.

The Dyna tag may not actually mean they are dynamic, but owners like them for the fact you have the big engine, a seat, handlebars and not a lot else. The rest is down to you as to how far you want to personalize and customize your Dyna. There is a whole movement out there that does exactly that with some terrific results.

The Fat Bob has been around in the Dyna lineup since 2008 and it got its name apparently because… er… it looks kind of fat and it’s supposed to have a sort of resemblance to the proper bobbers of the early 1950s.

Since its introduction, the Fat Bob has seen a number of cosmetic changes to keep it looking fresh and, of course, fat. But, the biggest development came in 2012 when the 96ci (1,584cc) engine was increased to 103ci (1,690cc).

There wasn’t a huge change in performance (there’s 99 lb.-ft. of torque in the 103ci and around 70 hp, versus 92 lb.-ft. and 65 hp with the 96ci) and some owners were disappointed that they couldn’t really notice any difference in the engine upgrade. But, now that the 96ci has gone away, everything in the H-D range, bar the Sportster and V-Rod, has a 103ci engine or 110ci for the CVO models.

For 2014 the Fat Bob retains the six-speed transmission, a great seat height of 26.7 inches, 49mm front forks and twin coil rear shocks, and optional ABS-assisted four caliper, 320mm twin front disc brakes and a 290mm single disc on the rear. As you’d expect for a Fat Bob, it tips the scales with a stout running weight of 706lbs.

Essentially, for this new model year, the Fat Bob has again been given the H-D cosmetic treatment. However, the ‘bug-eye’ twin headlights, chunky 16-inch Dunlop tires (180mm rear and 130mm front) and that big 5.0-gallon slab tank all remain.

There’s also a new color choice – “Amber Whiskey” (sparkly orange for the layman) and “Sand Cammo Denim” (think of military Humvees) and the usual staple H-D shiny black or matte black.

Instead of badges, there’s now just a Harley-Davidson logo stripe that runs diagonally across the tank in contrasting colors depending on your choice of bike color. The 103ci engine stays unchanged but has been given the H-D blacked-out treatment, as have the triple clamps, rear shock covers and battery box.

The solid wheels are all-black too, but aluminum, and laser-engraved with the Harley-Davidson name in big, bold capital letters (four on each wheel) should you forget which type of motorcycle you’re riding.

However, it’s at the rear where the H-D designers have really gone to town on the Fat Bob. We quite liked the back end of previous version of this bike. Admittedly it was a bit clunky but, overall, it worked well with the lines of the bike.

For 2014, the Fat Bob has now got a slash-cut rear fender. It looks exactly as it sounds. It’s as if someone has taken a saw to the rear end and cut off the fender. Gone is the big red stop light and, in its place, are a pair of large, recessed, twin-ring LED tail lights that bear an uncanny resemblance to Pixar’s Wall-E peering out at you. Kind of weird but if you’re riding the bike the chances are you’re never going to be looking at them.

2014 Harley-Davidson FXDF Fat Bob

There’s a 2-1-2 chrome exhaust system called the “Tommy Gun,” which looks great, but maybe the blacked-out treatment that’s prevalent on the rest of the Fat Bob could have been extended onto this too. From a rider’s perspective you get a lower-profile seat, which is really comfortable, with a great backrest. And, just a small squab seat for your passenger, who is not going to be that happy or comfortable, perched up there, it’s way too small.

On the tank, there is now an integral chromed ignition switch (like you find on the H-D tourers) a five-inch speedometer and what H-D calls a ‘multi-function’ LCD display. This looks like a small calculator screen-mounted in the speedo and, at a press of a button on the bars, you can track your mileage, have a gear indicator and watch your revs. But, it’s pretty hard to read and when in gear/tacho mode is a constant blur of changing numbers. A smaller, conventional tachometer with a needle mounted in the speedometer would have been our choice.

2014 Harley-Davidson FXDF Fat Bob

The Ride
Let’s be clear from the start. This is a motorcycle that has absolutely no sporting prowess. If you’re looking for a hard charging, canyon carving sportbike then the Fat Bob is definitely not for you.

It’s got a big engine; it’s heavy and prefers ambling along rather than being bounced off the rev limiter. You sit in the Fat Bob with your legs outstretched in proper cruiser mode. The gearshift is a bit clunky, but the low down torque of the engine means you’re never struggling to get away at an intersection. It’s silky smooth low down and you can roll on and off the throttle with absolutely no complaint. However, thanks to all of the constricting EPA regulations, the exhaust note is whisper quiet and you’d be hard pressed to know it’s a V-twin until you start to make the engine work hard. It’s only when you get above 3000rpm that you get the signature H-D exhaust note.

It does, though, get a bit unsettled towards the top end of the rev range when the rubber-mounted V-twin engine, that’s so smooth low down, starts to transfer a lot of vibration through the frame and ultimately into the pegs and the rider’s feet. That’s not a deal breaker. It’s just the way the Fat Bob is. It likes to take a more leisurely approach to life and doesn’t like to be hurried.

Essentially if you’re into cruisers and the way they ride you’ll get the Fat Bob. It’s less about speed and more about just enjoying the ride. The new seat is terrific. Really comfortable and you get a lot of feel for what’s going on despite the fat rear tire.

The drag-style handlebars are well thought through, too, and bring everything within easy reach of the rider. They turn down a little at the end so were not that comfortable for this rider, but they look good and, despite that big tire up front, you still get a lot of feedback. For all of its bulk, the Fat Bob is actually an easy motorcycle to just get on and ride.

The Fat Bob certainly has not got the most advanced suspension system, but for a swingarm coil spring set up, H-D has done a decent job in getting the best out of the way the it rides. You can change the rear spring damping to get the set-up that suits you, but it’s still fairly unsophisticated and you won’t notice a huge difference in any of the settings.

The optional ABS-assisted brakes are spot on and a real highlight on the Fat Bob. They work really well and bring this heavy bike to a stop quickly, smoothly and with no drama. We recognized just how good this ABS is when compared to the non-assisted brakes on our regular Dyna ride.

The Fat Bob really is the all-American cruiser. It’ll take you where you want to go at a reasonable, smooth and compliant pace on two-lane roads and because of its unhurried approach to riding it’s actually a whole lot of fun.

Coupled to that you have a big 5.0-gallon fuel tank, which we estimate will take you around 200 plus miles before you need to fill-up.

However, we wouldn’t want to take it for hundreds miles on the freeway. For one thing you’re pretty exposed and anything over 60 mph will see you start to become a sail. There are a couple of options you can do to improve this such as fitting a windshield, or just steering clear of the freeway. But the Fat Bob is in all honesty not really designed for long distance cross-country travel. It’s happiest on side roads and if you’re in the seat, you will be too.

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  • Hummbug

    Ricockulous bike.

  • Rowan

    So much Nope

  • KevinB

    #don’tCare

  • Pablo Perez

    Honest review, queue the chorus of haters. Sorry guys, not everyone wants to ride a hacked 40 year old entry-level UJM. Now give your girlfriend her pants back and STFU.

    • Davidabl2

      I think I’d pass on either of those two choices…

    • Justin McClintock

      Problem is, that hacked 40 year old entry-level UJM probably performs better than the Harley mentioned at the top. Lord knows the UJM will have a crap-ton more lean angle.

  • runnermatt

    I generally look for something more sport or utility oriented when looking for bikes/car/trucks. That said I appreciate the fact that everyone has their own tastes. I do like the twin headlights on this bike, which is odd because usually I hate twin headlights on a bike without regard for bike, brand, or vintage.

    • Josh

      Maybe it’s just because I’ve always been obsessed with Speed Triples (and Streets, since they’ve been around), but the twin headlights will always scream ‘Triumph Sport’ to me, and have always looked out of place on Harleys. I’ve been told Harley had ‘em on a model way back in the day, but in my head, they’ll always be a Triumph styling cue…

  • Ryan

    Harley’s are the same as big lifted trucks to me. I will never own one, but I full get why people would want one.

  • Reid

    I’m as whitebread American as it gets. Country boy from the south. I would like to own an American motorcycle. That does not mean I want to ride a big old cruiser that costs too much and can’t do anything really well besides be a big old cruiser (I’m sorry, a Harley, because if it ain’t a Harley then your bike don’t count, boy). I’m not saying Harley and Indian should stop making cruisers, because even a cursory glance at cycletrader or craigslist or even a ride down the street will tell you that most everyone in America who owns or wants to own a motorcycle has a cruiser (I mean a Harley) in mind. What I am saying is that I would buy an American motorcycle if that motorcycle had attributes I appreciate – low-ish weight, good components (or at least brakes that can stop the bike well and suspension that doesn’t bottom out all the time), a modern (powerful-ish, fuel-efficient-ish) engine, and a standard or a little sportier than standard riding position. Basically, if Harley Davidson or Indian built something like the old, naked version of a Suzuki SV650 I would be all over it. Or I would at least consider it. ‘Is kine of tawlk ken git yew stabb’t ’round where Ah come from, fellers.

    • eric

      Ah, a secondhand Buell?

      • Justin McClintock

        I’d second that. I remember a few years back the XB9R was considered to be pretty much the best handling motorcycle available in the US. And the XB12R and XB12S are both downright fast. And the XB12Ss was actually comfortable for real sized people. And the XB12X (aka the Ulysses) was an all around awesome bike.

    • Josh

      I think the closest HD ever came to what you’re talking about was (is?) the XR1200, and despite a lot of initial excitement, I don’t remember hearing about them flying out dealership doors.

      I think that’s partly because they kept enough of their HD ‘roots’ that is was only okay at the whole stop/turn/go thing, but mostly because that’s not what their care demographic called for.

      Also consider that if they made a bike like that, they’d be entering a crowded marketplace with a bunch of manufacturers fighting tooth and nail for every purchase, and selling to a low price-point (compared to, say, a Fat Bob). That’s never been something HD has been interested in…

      It makes me sad that there isn’t an American made bike to buy, that I would want to buy (except maybe the aforementioned XR1200), but I don’t see HD as a company with any desire to change that…

    • Davidabl2

      Sporty 1200 Sport from a few years back might just cut it as a starting point for what you want?
      Though where you live it sounds like you’d need a mural of a pinup girl on the tank.With a scroll
      saying”Girl’s Bike” :-)

    • Reid

      Thanks for all the responses, guys. Sorry it took so long to write back. Let me address some of the points you all made: First, while some of the Rotax-powered Buells were interesting to me, I’m not nearly experienced enough as a rider to be able to get the most from (or even safely enjoy) anything so powerful as a bike that powerful. I’d be keen to see an American manufacturer build a smaller-displacement sporty standard-type bike (even something like a Moto Guzzi V7) though. I do understand what Josh means when he says HD is probably not interested in changing much from the way they’ve been doing things, but it’s just a real shame that the industry is such that nobody is willing to take the chance, which basically gives whole segments of the market over to the European and Japanese manufacturers. I bought a KTM for just this reason. Consequently, I’m not really interested in the Sportster XR1200. Too big. Too heavy. Too cruiserish for my taste. In fact, the only cruiser I can say I do legitimately have an interest in owning one day is a Yamaha V-Max, because, let’s face it, those things are just so cool.

  • Richard Gozinya

    I never really got that either. If they’re going into it knowing they’ll be spending a ton of money, not just on the bike, but on all the mods, it seems like they’d be better off getting an S&S X-Wedge engine (Around $10k) and put together a custom bike. They’re pretty much doing the custom thing anyways, with all the aftermarket stuff, might as well build one from the ground up. In the end, they’ll probably spend roughly the same amount of money, less if they have some skills, and they’ll very likely get a bike they’re far happier with.

    • Robert Horn

      Can’t get a low money down/low interest loan on any of that.

      Otherwise, yes.

  • Richard Gozinya

    It looks good, as most Harleys do. But those solid disk wheels, no. It’s like the designers of this bike looked at a Buell Lightning and decided to do the exact opposite.

  • Stephen Mears

    I’m of the mind that the bikes that don’t benefit from a little bit of individual augmentation are few and far between, and there is always low hanging fruit regarding weight reduction and throttle response.

  • http://protomech.wordpress.com/ protomech

    Why are Harleys so heavy? : |

    • Richard Gozinya

      Supply and demand. Nobody who buys Harleys is demanding they be lighter, so they don’t supply them.

  • Jason 1199

    You can count on rideapart for calling a spade a spade. The motorcycle.com review was a total farce – fortunately they have disqus there too and I left my 2 cents. The coolaid drinking fanboy “journalist” vomited the press notes, included some sad over hyped expressions and have it almost 100% scores for engine braking and suspension – try getting away with that here.

    • Shawn Jent

      Jason, your the reason i traded in my sportbike for a 2014 Fatbob just today. Wear your Motogp gear and think you look fast puss boy…sportbikes are for boys, Harleys are for real men.

    • chipfortson

      @jason848:disqus
      I remember you from Motorcycle.com and your post. The problem is you just don’t understand why people ride HD. You see we don’t ride with the intention of ever dragging our knees. We actually use the seat for sitting on, not just something our leg drapes over in the turns. Its a cruiser bike, its made to cruise and look cool. Ultra lite parts aren’t necessary for cruising. In 7 years most sport bikes are dead and gone, either thru a crash, extreme abuse or technologically deficient compared to the newest model. HD by way of design, construction and intended use don’t fade away nearly as quickly. In march I made the mistake of buying a new Yamaha FZ-09 that I intended to commute on to work and school. When I voiced my dislikes of the over zealous throttle on both accel and decel, the fact that seat was hard as plywood and the suspension was just plain scary on a forum for this bike. I was told I was riding it wrong, that I shouldnt sit on the seat but hang off the side and that I should take all the suspension and computer off and send them to California to be made right by someone in the aftermarket. I ride mainly rural state highways, not many turns so hanging off the side seems a little impractical for me. So you see there are as many different bike designs as there are uses they were intended for and the Fat Bob was intended more for my needs and the FZ-09 is more yours, at least thats how it sounds. So yes the Fat Bob got high marks because it does exactly as it was intended and designed to do. Its not meant for carving canyons anymore than the FZ-09 was intended for long highway commutes. Try seeing things more than one dimensionally, not everyone drags a knee in the drive thru at Taco Bell. Its a freaking cruiser, duh.

  • luxlamf

    Do all the Anti HD idiots realize they sound just as pathetic as the Pro HD Pirate wearing idiots? PArt of your “Feel the Wind in your face” etc… in the Motorcycle community? Stop being 12 year old girls and complaining about other peoples choices how about that? With that said I liked this bike when it 1st came out a few years ago, it’s one of the few I do like that HD makes that don’t fall under the Sportie or Vrod category (I own a Vrod, Ex had a Sporty and was great fun) and I do agree that HD tends to add a bit too much to the price on many of its bikes and the rear end looks like a ghost from the PacMan video game, terrible, I do like the new Emblem though. If I was to buy another HD I would easily over look this one and buy the 48 which also has the big front tire and all blacked out and simple and would pretty much do everything this one does even with the bigger motor etc. for several $$$ less and not as heavy. HD also priced themselves out with the XR1200 a few years ago making it several $1000 more than a 796 and $1000 more than a 1100 and many other models in the same category but not as good in the spec category and too damned heavy etc.. This was a problem last year when I compared the 48 to the Triumph Scrambler, I went with the Scrambler as it was $4000 less and more versatile with its off road abilities than buying another bike that would do pretty much everything my VROD already does except slower and not as well.

  • motoguru.

    This has been my least favorite motorcycle made since it debuted. The “upgrades” for 2014 made it even worse.

  • Jordan

    For a company that prides itself on its aesthetic, that tail light looks like they ripped off the design cues from a 1999 Yamaha R1. Maybe it looks better in person, but it looks terrible from the photograph.

    If I had to have a cruiser bike, I think I would go with the comparable Moto Guzzi or Star Roadliner.

  • Rosenfeld8

    It´s incredible how Harleys aren´t particularly good at anything. They´re not good around town because they burn your legs anda make you sweat like a pig, nor on the Higway, because of vibes and the wind blast that tends to blow your feet off the controls. Then you claim they work well on side roads, but they´re not good at cornering and can scrape the pegs before you expected. Harleys are good for one thing though: showing off

    • luxlamf

      Thats weird none of those things happen on my HD and I just turned 107k on the odo. What HD’s have you owned that performed this way?

  • Mark D

    Want a naked bike with an air-cooled V-twin, relaxed cruising ergos, great style, and a century long history? How about the Guzzi Griso. For $13k. And it’ll actually handle. I get, and enjoy, the simplistic, “just ride” design goal of Harleys; they just fail to actually meet that goal.

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Vlnp3ZqPz64/TWHBbMnxD_I/AAAAAAAAATU/_yUV7F7zWiQ/s1600/big_guzzi_griso_8v_se_my_09_04.jpg

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Great bike.

    • Piglet2010

      I read that the new California 1400 Goose cruiser actually goes, turns, and stops like a real motorcycle.

    • Davidabl2

      There ought to be a Victory that looks as good as this Guzzi.

      • Richard Gozinya

        Victory doesn’t make anything that looks anywhere near as good as any Guzzi.

        • Davidabl2

          My point exactly. And it’s one of the reasons I don’t own a Victory bike

    • # azumaguy

      Hideous but I’m sure some folks like it.

    • NilesAkbar

      Sorry – and I lived in italy, mind you – that bike is as ugly as a brick.

  • Jonathan

    I normally ride sport bikes, but last year I had the chance to ride a Fat Bob from San Diego to Portland and jumped at it to see what a Harley was like.
    Without that windscreen anything above 65mph was a test of endurance between my arms and the wind – it was a fun game to see how tucked in I could get and how fast I could go. The trip took two and a half days with 8.5 hours in the saddle those first two days. This was my second long ride, the first one was a sport bike on the way south three months before.

    Favorite parts:
    Traffic jam in the desert (went from two lanes to one – couldn’t lane split anymore!)
    Cruising through the redwoods next to a winding river, no one else around
    Scraping the pegs through some technical bits just off the northern CA coast (way too easy to do…)
    A very confused and angry hornet flew in my helmet on the highway (Thank goodness for modular helmets!)

  • Davidabl2

    Paragraph two is why Victory has stayed in business..to bad the bikes are so fugly

    “I love me some HD but I just can’t get with the idea that I’m expected to pay premium prices for an apparently incomplete product.’

    I feel the same obviously..and too bad it’s true of Triumph as well(at least for the Bonneville/Thruxton/Scrambler part of the lineup)

    • Piglet2010

      Except the Triumphs are reasonably priced, with a Bonnie costing the same as a Sportster 883 – if a Bonnie or the other bikes using the same engine cost $12-18K you would have a point.

      • Davidabl2

        No less unreasonably priced, I think. But, still a lot of money when you’re gonna have to invest a bunch more money and time after the initial purchase.

        I am leaving anything out of the equation that is priced into the stratosphere to begin with.. for $12-18K I’d want more than just ONE bike ;-) At least if we’re talking modern bikes.

        • Piglet2010

          The thing about H-D pricing is that the bikes do not have complex engines (e.g. think of the time and cost differences in fabricating the heads on a H-D big twin and a Honda V-4), exotic materials, high-end suspension and braking components, forged instead of cast parts for things such as wheels, swing-arms, etc to justify the higher cost. Really nice paint and chrome are simply not worth that much.

  • Tim Watson

    I think you’ve nailed it. Steel cradle frame and a really heavy v-twin engine and transmission, plus steel fenders and very little aluminum parts.

    • Pablo Perez

      Yup. I ride Harley’s, and used to work at a dealer. Weight (like horsepower) simply isn’t a consideration.

      • Piglet2010

        I have heard people say you need a heavy motorcycle to ride long distances!?!??

        • Pablo Perez

          Hahaha, something like that.

        • 200 Fathoms

          And a very loud exhaust to stay safe.

  • http://kineticcuriosities.com/ Jonathan

    I think it’s the fact that there isn’t a minimum weight target – and so all of the little parts are built out of heavy (cheap) materials and the weight adds up fast. Here’s a little example for the Fat Bob: I was adding a battery tender to my dad’s bike, so I found the battery cover and started backing the restraining bolts out…and they were free spinning. I tugged on the cover and it came off the grommets. It was heavy gauge steel and if memory serves it weighed around 4lbs. Oh, and there was another cover on the other side just for the fuses.

  • Dan Kearney

    Never been a cruiser fan. Maybe that’s ’cause I learned to ride in Germany when I was in the Amy. Regardless, all the negative comments I ever hear about HD about handling, weight, etc. never take into account that HD bikes are built by HD to the specs desired by their intended audience.

    For God’s sake stop asking why they don’t make them lighter, or sportier. Stop asking why they don’t produce a “standard” model that you would enjoy riding. If you don’t like HD for what they are, there are literally hundreds of other options out there for you.

    Buy the bike that fits your style and desires and stop questioning (or worse, trashing) the bikes you don’t own or like.

    Of course, what do I know, my two main bikes are a Ural hack and a Royal Enfield. . .

    Cheers

    • Piglet2010

      “Buy the bike that fits your style and desires and stop questioning (or worse, trashing) the bikes you don’t own or like.”

      So why do people come up to me when I am riding a Honda Deauville and tell me I should have bought a H-D instead?

      • Dan Kearney

        I don’t know. That’s kind of the point I was trying to make.

        Cheers

    • 200 Fathoms

      When you were in the Amy? Please—tell us more! :)

  • Piglet2010

    I think Wes should have reviewed this bike – would have made a fun read.

    • Tim Watson

      Thank you. Good luck with getting Wes to ride this.

      • Piglet2010

        Even if you have offered to ride the Ninja 300 in return? ;)

        • Tim Watson

          Nah… I can’t ride like Wes and as someone else pointed out I don’t wear the right jeans!

  • Justin McClintock

    Harley seems committed to the idea of putting ridiculous rear fenders on the Fat Bob. The upswept tail before looked ridiculous. This looks even weirder. That said, I rented one once and it did ride quite nicely, if lacking somewhat in the lean angle department (I typically ride sportbikes and dualsports for reference).

    All that said, if I were to buy a Harley, it’d certainly be from the Dyna line. But it would more likely be the Switchback than the Fat Bob.

  • Speedo007

    I wish I was a Harley fan, cause I could buy a 15 year old bike and nobody could tell it was a 1999 model or a new one :)

  • Bc

    Half the people hating on hd are just A) pissed off cuz they can’t afford there over priced Tag or B) they are one sided bikers probley dedicated to just sport or enduro. I agree Harley’s are expensive and you need to buy new exhaust cuz the gov makes harley put gay rice rocket exhaust on them for stock however. They look sound and drive awsome and coming from an enduro fan this guy ;) that’s saying somthing minus turns they suck at those. But if your not going above 120 trying to kill yourself I think harley will be a wise choice not to say they can’t get up there.

  • NilesAkbar

    Hideous!. So glad I ordered a 2014 Street Bob today!

  • Mike Morrill

    First off, I wish RideApart all the best, this is a great site and I hope you can keep it going. I just discovered the site a week or so ago and have enjoyed reading many of your articles. I actually own a 2012 Fat Bob (I agree the naming convention is on the ridiculous side). I think Mr. Watson did an excellent job on the review. Here is my 2 cents. I’ve owned over 20 different bikes over the past 15 years from a variety of brands (Honda, BMW, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Triumph, Ducati). I’ve had good and bad experiences with Sales/Service people across all brands. In my younger days I was definitely anti-HD, and if I only had one bike in my garage it wouldn’t be a Harley (I like sport touring too much). But if you like cruisers, HD’s are awesome…they just “feel” better to me than metric cruisers. Yes, I understand you pay a premium for that feel. When I decided to get rid of my 06 Road King (after 40,000 trouble-free miles) for a “smaller” bike, after considering (and test riding) nearly every HD model, I fell in love with the fat front end of the Fat Bob. I’ve put over 6000 miles on mine riding through the mountains and deserts of CA. On a solo ride, nothing put a smile on my face as consisitently as the Fat Bob (two-up…my gf was not a fan). BTW I think the 2012 version looks much better with brushed aluminum wheels (especially with the flat black paint scheme) and large red taillight. The engine is buttery smooth and from 0-80 is really damn quick. I actually enjoy riding it in the canyons as well. No sportbike, but you can get some lean and ride above the posted speed limit. I’ve heard from a couple dealers that Fat Bobs are one of HD’s least popular models…I think it’s the dual headlights, and I’m a little surprised they are continuing production. I think you can get a good deal on a ’13 or a used ’12. Choosing a bike is such a personal decision, no right or wrong….as long as you are riding! I’m living in Italy right now and having a blast on a 250cc scooter! Be safe and thanks again RideApart!

  • Fernando

    Great article, but do not be sad about the price of the Fat Bob. Here in Brazil the price of the 2014 Fat Bob is R$ 46k, close to $ 20k U.S. dollars.

  • Rick

    Looking at purchasing my FIRST moto and my thoughts are: Harley knows how to design an old school bike, and the very limited colors they offer for an “in-store bike” fit the bill. But after spending the better part of 3 months in stores and on line looking around, i’ve just about talked myself out of a 14′ HD. I was looking at this model above and really liking how i felt on it, very comfortable and great ergonomics! But i swear, those back tail lights just kept screaming at me like bug eyes or something! I’ve read comments on line saying the same thing. I cant get past that ugly fender, its like the design team just gave up when they got there or ran out of project time! I also want one that’s alot more chrome, not blacked out so, i went back to the 13′ models and although the rear fender is better than bug eyes, its again, like the design team just didnt know how to end the thing? What i want is something that feels like the fat bob when you sit in it, but has the chopped rear fender/ wide tire look of a breakout or VROD. What i’ve began to realize even as a prospective new buyer is that, Harley is stuck in a time machine trying to push the bounderies of an old school look in a new age world. Maybe i’m wrong on that or maybe i shoud be looking at another name brand?? I’ve also realized that the production line bikes obviously leave a lot to be desired or there would be a huge after market for them. I am honestly not trying to bash Harley D’s, its all i have been looking at for 3 months on line and visiting stores. But you shouldn’t have to spend thousands EXTRA to get a bike with two rims because you don’t like the blacked out bikes in the line or the bug eyed rear fender lights! I read the other day that motorcycle sales are down world wide and by the time you drive out after paying taxes on the purchase you’re probably looking at 16-19k depending on your state tax rate.