Al’s Split for the day, off to ride some Harleys

To Croatia, for a spin on some 2018 Sportsters

Al’s Split for the day, off to ride some Harleys

IT'S FAIR to say that Harley-Davidson doesn’t really plough (or plow?) the same furrow as other bike firms. Especially when it comes to new model launches. So while people like Ducati have an entirely new V4 1100cc engine to show off, Triumph totally revamps its 1200 Tiger range and Honda produces a ground-up-new Gold Wing, H-D does things a bit differently.

The notion of a Harley that *isn’t* a  big V-twin in a vaguely cruiser-y layout, with lots of shiny bits and the firm’s trademark look, sound and feel, is so outlandish as to be out of the question.

So, on the face of it, the bikes I’m schlepping across Europe to have a ride out on aren’t anything revolutionary. But the new 1200 Iron and 48 Special Sporters both look to tick all the boxes that you’d want ticking from this sort of bike.

Both have the 1200 Sportster Evolution engine, with all of its torques and mysteriously undeclared power (about 65bhp apparently), in a handsome custom chassis. We do like the 70s-style logoes on the Iron, which harks back to a time when the American Dream seemed more plausible (to me at any rate), but we’re unsure on the ‘mini-ape’ handlebars. Hmmmm.

The 48 Special also gets the Reagan/Carter era logos, and similarly ape-ish bars, and at first glance we suspect you’d easily confuse them. Unless of course you are a member of the Harley-Davidson cognoscenti! Which we’re aiming to be over the next couple of days…

More when we hit the Adriatic…