Harley-Davidson’s push to reinvent itself is embodied in the pure American muscle of the 2018 Fat Bob 114.
The Fat Bob was completely redesigned along with Harley-Davidson’s entire Softail lineup. So a model that was once a twin-shock, rubber-engine-mount Dyna platform became a monoshock, solid-mount, Milwaukee-Eight-powered performance cruiser. The Dyna faithful were a little shocked, but for the rest of us, everything was gained.
See All Winners:
How so? A rock-solid chassis works with excellent fork and shock damping, increased cornering clearance, more responsive steering, and reduced weight to result in surprisingly capable handling. You’d never expect a motorcycle with this brawler’s 16-inch-wheel stance and beefy rubber (150/80 front, 180/70 rear) to be so nimble, especially considering the 670-pound no-fuel weight recorded on the CW scale. And while the entire 2018 Softail lineup got new suspension, the Fat Bob was the only one to come equipped with an inverted 43mm Showa fork set at a sporty (for a cruiser) 28-degree rake.
Yes, the Fat Bob is available in two engine displacements—114 and 107ci—but we’d opt for the 114 every time. Especially for Ten Best Bikes. For a measly $1,800 more (on the base vivid black model), you get much stronger performance. The 79 hp and 108 pound-feet of torque (at 2,000 rpm!) just suits the bike’s burly nature better.
There is also its unmistakable Fat Bob-ness with its far-out headlight and how its gas tank and trimmed-down fenders barely adorn the chassis, engine, and exhaust. It echoes the feeling of the previous model but clearly defines this bike as part of Harley-Davidson’s new push in the cruiser segment and its overall shift as a company.