The Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight lives among the Sportster models of Harley’s cruiser line, offering riders a compact, aggressive, custom-looking V-twin experience. It hit the market for the first time in 2010 as part of Harley’s appeal to younger riders seeking a more commanding look and feel from a Bar & Shield-produced motorcycle.
Harley-Davidson left the air-cooled, 1,202cc Forty-Eight untouched for the 2020 model year. Apart from its short suspension travel and the resulting rough ride, the Forty-Eight did the Sportster family proud with its smooth power delivery, intoxicating sound, and commendable around-town performance when we first sampled it in 2010. The Forty-Eight maintained its prestige a few years later in 2016, besting both the Yamaha Bolt C-Spec and Kawasaki Vulcan S Café. And in 2018, Harley chose to give the platform a custom makeover with the release of the Forty-Eight Special.
Even though it was overlooked for 2020, the Forty-Eight remains a commendable motorcycle for riders wanting big cruiser performance in a middleweight package.