2018 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Special and Iron 1200 First Look—The Harley-Davidson Sportster has been a staple for the Bar & Shield since the model’s introduction in 1957, which means re-inventing them gets harder every year. So for this year, H-D is introducing the new Forty-Eight Special and Iron 1200, two new bikes that will be part of 100 new models introduced by 2027.
“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 V.P. 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.”
The Iron 1200 and the Forty-Eight Special get a new high handlebar and new tank graphics, as well as graphic elements that hark back to the Sportsters of 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.”
2018 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200
The Iron 1200 will pack 73 lb-ft of torque from the 1202cc Evolution 1200 V-twin motor, and come with a satin black mini-ape hanger handlebar. This 1.0-inch diameter handlebar offers an 8.75-inch rise, 32-inch spread and 6.5-inch pull back to open up the rider triangle for a more comfortable ride when coupled with the gloss black speed screen mini-fairing.
The seat is a solo unit, with the 3.3 gallon Sportster fuel tank featuring multi-colored striped graphics that wrap around the tank profile. The motor itself has black upper and lower rocker boxes, a black exhaust, muffler shields, a black timer, primary and derby covers. Wheels are black nine-spoke items (19-inch front and 16-inch rear diameter) and a solid black belt guard and rear sprocket. ABS and a factory alarm are factory installed options.
2018 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Special
The Forty-Eight is a much angrier looking Harley compared to the Iron 1200, especially when fitted with a 7.25-inch Tallboy bar and the 16-inch front and rear wheels.
“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.”
Fuel capacity is a much smaller 2.2-gallon “peanut” tank, which means you won’t be getting touring miles out of your Forty-Eight. You’ll get the same Evolution 1200 motor, although this one gets chrome instead of black for the primary, inspection and derby covers, and solid chrome muffler and exhaust shields. There’s also chrome lower rocker boxes, pushrod tubes, and tappet covers. The Harley-Davidson Smart Security System and anti-lock braking system (ABS) are factory-installed options for the Forty-Eight Special model.