The low slung roadster gets oomphed up at the factory

Paying regards to what their customers made, Harley-Davidson decided to add two new models to their already strong Sportster series, factory-costumed Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special. Yes, the Iron now also comes with the Evolution 1200 V-Twin engine running under the hood apart from the 883cc.

Taking inspiration from their customers, the Milwaukee brand created the new Iron 1200 giving it an all-new character and soul making it look very much like a custom motorcycle. It gets pimped up with equipment that was previously available only as exclusive HD parts and accessories, yet still retains the aggressive throwback styling.

“A modern take on what’s been putting big grins on the faces of Sportster motorcycle riders for decades,” says Harley.

  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V2
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    65 (Est.)
  • Displacement:
    1202 cc
  • Top Speed:
    120 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    9999
  • Price:
  • Overall:
    8/10

STYLING

left right
2018 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 2018 Harley-Davidson Iron1200

Much like its previous model, the new Iron 1200 retains the low-slung silhouette, having a stance of a roadster. The motorcycle features classic lines which effortlessly amalgamate with modern design cues. But the aura of the bike takes a new course with the satin-black Ape handlebar which was previously available as accessories, now become a standard fitment from the factory on the new Iron 1200.

The drag-centric vibe the bike previously carried now gets the “fist-in-the-air” garage-built chopper attitude making the rider feel like the king of the road, thanks to the Ape Handlebars. This also puts the rider from a forward-leaning stance to a lean back cruiser that will make the rider not give a damn about the world.

2018 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 770266
Satin-black Ape handlebar

Taking cues from the West Coast styling of the ‘70s, the new windscreen (previously available as accessory) gets a gloss-black treatment giving protection to the rider and adding to the bad-ass attitude of the tall bars. The fast-back Café Solo Seat also adds in its flavor paying homage to the heritage of the iconic Café Racer styling.

The paintjob on the bike is reminiscent of the early days with the authentic, bold striped graphics on the peanut-tank and then the all-black. The dark theme runs across the length and breadth of this bike from the engine to heat shields, finned timer cover, belt guard, rear sprocket and shock springs. All-new Black 9-spoked wheels showcase the dark, menacing machine the Iron 1200 can be.

2018 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 Exterior
- image 770275
Fast-back Café Solo Seat
Harley-Davidson launches two factory-custom Sportsters with a little more oomph Exterior
- image 770271
Multi-colored striped graphics on the tank
The drag-centric vibe the bike previously carried now gets the “fist-in-the-air” garage-built chopper attitude making the rider feel like the king of the road, thanks to the Ape Handlebars.

Overall Dimension

Make Model Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
Length 86.6 in 92 in
Width 33.1 in 31.5 in
Height 42.5 in 40.3 in
Wheelbase 59.2 in 59.4 in
Seat height 28.9 in 27.1 in
Wet weight 564 lb 256 lb
Fuel capacity 3.3 gal 2.4 gal

POWERTRAIN

2018 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 Exterior
- image 770272
Now gets the Evolution 1200 V-Twin engine
delivers 73 lb-ft (36 % more torque than the 883 Evolution engine with 53.8 lb-ft)

So that was all about the throwback styling. Now it is time for talking about the new “throw your head back” power.

First things first, the Iron model now gets the Evolution 1200 V-Twin engine. For 30 years the 1202cc Evolution motor has been the heart and soul of all Sportster models at HD and the same gives life to the new Iron as well. Being one of the most upgradable ones in the market, HD has given it a number of innovations and improvements since 1986 to make this mill superior to its predecessors.

The 1202cc motor delivers 73 lb-ft (36 % more torque than the 883 Evolution engine with 53.8 lb-ft). That is also the same engine that runs on the Roadster and the Forty-Eight. The power is estimated to 65-70 hp. A five-speed transmission and belt drive makes the final connection to the quick but not necessarily a fast bike.

2018 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 770276

The 45 degree V-twin engine has the traditional air-cooled system running on a compression ratio of 10:1. Although this American pulls strongly, we would have expected it to get more upgraded to really get out the blood pumping.

Chrome pushrod tubes and tappet covers are the only brightwork and highlight the V-Twin engine shape.

The 1202cc motor delivers 73 lb-ft (36 % more torque than the 883 Evolution engine with 53.8 lb-ft).

Engine Specification

Make Model Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
Capacity cc 1202 1050
Bore/ Stroke mm 88.9/96.8 97.6/80
Output 71 bhp 77 bhp @ 6100 rpm
Torque 73 lb.ft @ 3500 rpm 78 lb.ft @ 4000 rpm
Type Air-Cooled, 4-Stroke, 45 Degree V-Twin Cylinder, DOHC Liquid Cooled, 8 Valves, SOHC, 270° Crank Angle Parallel Twin
Clutch type Wet- Multiplate Wet –Multi-Plate Assist
Transmission 5-speed 6-speed

RIDE AND HANDLING

2018 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 Exterior
- image 770267

With this 1200, Harley has not played around much with tweaking the chassis setup. Harley keeps the Iron 1200 low with a slammed rear suspension, 16-inch tire in back and 19-inch hoop up front. The rest of the Sportster series have tall seats, but this one comes with a saddle height just a hair under 29 inches high, similar to the 883.

Being a short model, the Iron 1200 gets 4.6 inches of trail for crisp response to steering pressure, and even though the maximum lean angle is only 27 degrees to the right and 28 degrees to the left, you will be able to traverse the bike from one max to the other quickly.

2018 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 770270

The bike weighs 2 lbs more than the 883 at 564 lbs. Sadly, Harley still equips this Iron with just a single disc brake unit upfront and at the rear with both having dual piston calipers. Impressive suspension travel of 114 mm at the front and 81 mm at the back gives in to a subtle riding experience even on tougher terrain. The Iron 1200 gets its own 43 mm upside down forks with better damping and lesser dive during braking.

The Harley-Davidson Smart Security System and anti-lock braking system (ABS) are factory-installed options for the Iron 1200 model.

Harley keeps the Iron 1200 low with a slammed rear suspension, 16-inch tire in back and 19-inch hoop up front.

Chassis Specifications

Make Model Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
Frame Aluminium twin-spar Aluminium twin-spar
Suspension / Front 43 mm WP upside-down; 115mm travel KYB 41 Mm Forks, 90 Mm Travel
Suspension / Rear 36 mm piston nitrogen gas-charged KYB Mono Shock With Linkage, 76.9 Mm Rear Wheel Travel
Brakes / Front 300mm dual-piston floating calliper, ABS 310 Mm Disc, Nissin 2-Piston Floating Calliper, ABS
Brakes / Rear 230 mm dual-piston floating calliper, ABS Single 255 Mm Disc, Nissin Single Piston Floating Calliper, ABS
Tyres / Front 100/90B19 57H 100/90 R19
Tyres / Rear 150/80B16 77H 150/80 R16

PRICE

2018 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200
- image 770810

The US MSRP for the Iron 1200 is $9,999 for the Vivid black, and the Color option will take that to $10,349. You can get the optional ABS and Security system untethered from your bike which will save you $795 and $395 respectively.

Fuel tank paint color options include Vivid Black, Twisted Cherry and Billiard White, always contrasting with the Vivid Black speed screen and the bright-bold graphics.

Of course, you can still customize the already factory custom Iron 1200 with the plethora of parts and accessories by HD. Including Screamin’ Eagles Slip-on mufflers, Performance air cleaner kits, the Sportster drag bar, oil tank covers and more.

Make Model Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
MSRP $ 9,999 - $10,349 $11,900 - $12,400

COMPETITION

Triumph Bonneville Bobber Black

Triumph has revealed the menacing new Bonneville Bobber Black Exterior High Resolution Wallpaper quality
- image 736055
Carries the same authentic custom styling
but gets an all-new aggressive attitude

Calling it a “pure Bonneville hot rod” the British manufacturer captured the American way of the ‘30s when they launched the brutally beautiful factory custom Bonneville Bobber last year. Now, the same guys went high on vile and have revealed a dark amalgamation of the mechanicals and stature of that very bike. It’s called the Bonneville Bobber Black. The one with some wicked demeanor.

As the name suggests, this Bobber is the stealth version of the original Bonneville Bobber. It gets blacked out on just about everything including the wheels, the exhaust, the headlight shroud, the saddle, the levers, handlebars, engine covers – the list goes on. Just like the Iron 1200.

The heart of this Bobber is the same category-leading, high-torque Bonneville 1200cc engine with a dedicated Bobber tune. Triumph’s 1200cc gives this Bobber a power figure of 77 horses and 77 ft-lb of torque. The Bobber Black gets the unique twin airbox setup, carb-styled twin throttle bodies, special intake and exhaust system, output shaft, and elegant packaging that allows the straight-line exhausts to hide the Euro4-compliant catalytic converters.

Much like Harley, Triumph charges for paint. The “basic” Jet Black rolls for $11,900, while the grayish Ironstone and Morello Red will set you back $12,150. As classy as those colors are, the two-tone, Competition Green/white is my favorite by far at $12,400.

VERDICT

2018 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 770280

As part of their new strategy to add 100 new models in the coming decade, Harley-Davidson has already introduced ten new ones this year: nine new Softails and the Street Rod. With the launch of this factory custom Iron 1200, the first after the Roadster was launched back in 2016, their Sportster lineup looks rock solid.

Following the footsteps of what Triumph did with the Bonneville Bobber, BMW with its R nineT range, Indian with the Scout Bobber and Ducati with their Scrambler series, Harley is trying to rake up its falling sales with these factory-customs.

2018 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 770277

This newcomer to Harley’s Sportster range may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But it is a better fit for the current market. Riders hoping for increased performance are in for a treat; it is compromised yet palatable. The blend of character, handling and practicality; and more importantly its looks brings to the appealing mind. There are obviously better performing and capable motorcycles in the market, but they are not a Harley Davidson. The Iron 1200 is the best Sportster, and it looks like it should. That is meaningful progress.

  • Leave it
    • * No major design changes
    • * Lack of a riding aids
    • * Lack of dual disc brakes upfront
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