Only Harley-Davidson would have the courage to name a motorcycle “Fat Boy” and here’s celebrating 30 years of the iconic design

Harley-Davidson marks three decades of production for one of its most-iconic families with the release of the 2020 Fat Boy 114 30th Anniversary model. This machine proudly displays DNA from H-D’s immediate post-WWII era all the way down to the old-school frame geometry that mimics the rigid rear ends from way back in the day. Harley powers it with its largest production engine and wraps the whole project in a unique graphics package complete with a limited-edition serial number and 2,500-unit limited production run for an extra bit of exclusivity.

2020 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 114 30th Anniversary Design

  • Distinctive black-out styling
  • LED lighting
  • Classic ’hard-tail’ look, proportions, and silhouette of the 1949 Hydra-Glide
  • Dealer-installed Screamin’ Eagle® Performance Parts Stage Upgrades
  • Massively muscular front end
Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary
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Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary
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The Fat Boy may have first seen light of day in 1989 for its 1990 release, but it wasn’t until Old Arnie – long before he was Governor Schwarzenegger – jumped a Fat Boy into a drain sluice in the 1991 hit “Terminator 2” that the bike became a household name. You know, in the cool households.

The classic references come fast and heavy right out of the gate, as do the custom touches. Blackout treatment and Vivid Black-shot sheet metal combine to make this a very dark and sinister model indeed. It starts out with darkened full-disc wheels and monochromatic fork sliders, and continues into the beer can skirts and headlight nacelle. They say that black is very slimming, but true to its name, this Fat Boy comes off looking as thick as ever.

One place I’m certainly glad to see the blackout treatment is the instrument panel atop the five-gallon fuel tank I hate the chrome consoles because of the light they bounce back up under my shades. The large round gauge houses an analog speedometer with a gang of indicator lights and small digital display to cover all of the instrumentation in a single location. More of the classic geometry becomes evident as the flyline dives down to the triangular faux-rigid swingarm, and it’s easy to see the markers from the 1949 Hydra-Glide that serves as the main design influence in profile.

The deep-scoop seat slings your butt at a low 25.9 inches off the ground (laden) to give you increased leverage to help manage the 699 pound curb weight. It comes with a pillion pad and fold-up footpegs for a passenger, but the Mustang-style seat rocks a tapered rear end for a solo-ish look right off the showroom floor. A bobbed rear fender adds to the custom look, and a side-plate license mount finishes off the 2020 FLFBSANV with even more home-built panache.

2020 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 114 30th Anniversary Chassis

  • Cast-aluminum Lakester wheels
  • Stiff yet lightweight chassis
  • Showa Dual Bending Valve technology
  • ABS
Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary
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Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary
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Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary
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H-D refurbished its decades-old Softail frame ahead of the move toward a Dyna-free lineup, and the frame on the Fat Boy 30th Anniversary has tubular members made of mild steel for its main structural strength. While the engine is completely supported by the cradle section, the rigid motor mounts use the lump as a stressed member to achieve its final stiffness.

The steering head is set at 30-degrees from the vertical, but there’s a two-degree offset in the tripletree to make the effective fork angle a relatively-long 32 degrees. Trail is at the agile end of the spectrum at 4.1 inches long to give the new Fat Boy handling characteristics that are surprisingly nimble in spite of its great visual weight, especially up front.

Cast-aluminum wheels round out the rolling chassis in an all-around, 18-inch diameter and blackout finish over the entirety of the full-disc construction with the exception of the polished accent band around the edge. I can tell you from experience that there’s a downside to the solid rims. They add a boatload of windage that translates to increased lateral thrust in a crosswind. It ain’t a dealbreaker, but it is something noticeable, especially at highway/interstate speeds.

A set of Showa’s 49 mm, DBV forks float the front end on continuously-variable damping for a superior ride to plain vanilla stems, and out back, a monoshock under the seat supports and dampens the swingarm. A remote preload adjuster under the seat lets you quickly adjust the rear shock to compensate for changes in rider/cargo weight, but that’s the only adjustment in the system.

The brakes are comprised of a single, four-pot anchor and 300 mm disc up front, opposite a twin-piston caliper and 292 mm disc, and it all comes under the protection of a stock ABS feature. Unfortunately, that’s just about the only higher electronic system to be had on this model.

Frame: Mild steel, tubular frame; rectangular section backbone; stamped, cast, and forged junctions; MIG welded; aluminum forged fender supports
Swingarm: Mild steel, tubular sections, stamped x-member, forged axle junctions; MIG welded; removable belt spacer
Front Forks: Dual Bending Valve 49 mm telescopic with aluminum fork triple clamps; dual rate spring; “beer can” covers
Rear Shocks: Hidden, free piston, coil-over monoshock; 43 mm stroke; toolless hydraulic preload adjustment
Suspension Travel, Front/Rear: 5.1 in. (130 mm)/3.4 in. (86 mm)
Rake (steering head): 30°
Fork Angle: 32°
Trail: 4.1 in. (104 mm)
Lean Angle (per J1168) Right/Left: 25.6°/25.6°
Wheels: Satin Black, Machined Highlighted, Lakester Cast Aluminum
Wheel, Front: 18 in. x 4.5 in. (457 mm x 114 mm)
Wheel, Rear: 18 in. x 8 in. (457 mm x 203 mm)
Tires: Michelin® Scorcher® “11”
Tire, Front: 160/60R18,70V,BW
Tire, Rear: 240/40R18,79V,BW
Brakes, Front: 300 mm silver, Split 7-spoke floating rotor, 4-piston fixed caliper
Brakes, Rear: 292 mm silver, Split 7-spoke floating rotor, 2-piston floating caliper
Anti-Lock Braking System: Standard

2020 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 114 30th Anniversary Drivetrain

  • Blacked-out Milwaukee-Eight 114
  • 119 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
  • Minimal vibration at idle
  • Decisive shifting
Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary
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Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary
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Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary
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The Milwaukee-Eight 114 in the Fat Boy 30th Anniversary runs a 102 mm bore and 114 mm stroke for a total displacement of 1,868 cc and a compression ratio of 10.5-to-1. That’s high enough to require top octane gas or an octane additive to prevent knock/ping/dieseling, but that’s the trade off for the 119 pound-feet of torque it brings to the table. This represents the largest production engine, though is surpassed in both displacement and power by the Screamin’ Eagle 120 cubic-inch engine and the new, 131 cubic-inch crate engine.

The Mil-8 114 is air cooled, so there is no ugly radiator to hide. The return to the single camshaft valvetrain means the nosecone and pushrod-tube geometry is more traditional looking than the outgoing Twin Cams. The cylinders are laid out in a 45-degree Vee, but there’s also a pair of balancers in the engine to mitigate the vibration at idle. Purists claim it works a little too well, but I imagine that this is the shape of things to come if the MoCo wants to remain competitive. A chain-type primary drive and wet clutch couples engine power to the six-speed transmission with a carbon-reinforced belt-type final drive and an overall drive ratio for a top speed around 105 mph.

Engine: Milwaukee-Eight® 114, Pushrod-operated, overhead valves with hydraulic, self-adjusting lifters; four valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 4.016 in. x 4.5 in. (102 mm x 114 mm)
Displacement: 114 cu. in. (1,868 cc)
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Engine Torque (per J1349) (North America): 119 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm (161 Nm @ 3,000 rpm)
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Exhaust: 2-into-2 staggered; catalyst in muffler
Lubrication System: Pressurized, dry-sump with oil cooler
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio
Final Drive: Belt, 32/66 ratio
Clutch: Mechanical, 10 plate wet, assist & conventional
Transmission: 6-Speed Cruise Drive®
Gear Ratios (overall)(U.S.): 1st: 9.311, 2nd: 6.454, 3rd: 4.793, 4th: 3.882, 5th: 3.307, 6th: 2.79

2020 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 114 30th Anniversary Pricing

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary
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Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary
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Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary
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The limited-production, numbered-edition Fat Boy 114 30th Anniversary model rolls in Vivid Black with bronze tank graphics and rocker-box spacers. MSRP is at the top of the Fat Boy family’s pricing range at $21,949.

Warranty: 24 months (unlimited mileage)
Model ID: FLFBSANV
Standard Equipped: ABS Option, Security System Option
Color: Vivid Black
Price: $21,949

2020 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 114 30th Anniversary Competitors

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary
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2020 Indian Chief Dark Horse
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The MoCo might be America’s longest-running brand in terms of uninterrupted production, but it isn’t the oldest – that distinction falls to the Indian Motorcycle company – so I grabbed the Indian Chief Dark Horse for my head-to-head.

Indian Chief Dark Horse

2020 Indian Chief Dark Horse
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Right off the bat you can see that the Dark Horse is so named because of the ample blackout treatment and absolute dearth of chrome. In fact, just about everything is black except the brake discs and cooling-fin edges. Beer can fork skirts and the headlight housing channel a similar old-school look to what the Fat Boy displays, all the way back to the era-typical rear fender skirt that ties into Indian history, specifically.

Unlike the H-D, the Dark Horse comes stock with a solo saddle, so you’ll have to factor that in if you want to share the fun with a friend. Suspension is a wash, unless you’re really into air shocks, then the Indian will be right up your alley with its air shock out back. Indian doubles down on the brakes with dual, 300 mm discs and four-piston binders against the single anchor on the front of the Fat Boy, and ABS is part of the stock equipment across the board.

The Thunder Stroke 111 is a bit smaller than the Mil-8 114 at only 1,819 cc, but the beautiful little lump still manages to match the larger H-D plant in torque output at 119 pound-feet. Also like the Harley, the ABS in the Indian is the only electronic safety system to be had. Since the Chief Dark Horse isn’t a special edition, it rolls a tad lighter at the toll with a $18.5k sticker that leaves some meat on the bone versus the $22k Fat Boy Anniversary.

Read our full review of the Indian Chief Dark Horse.

Why is it called “Fat Boy?”

According to Willie G. Davidson from his book “100 Years of Harley-Davidson”: “You’re probably wondering how we came up with a name like “Fat Boy,” and I’ve heard a lot of tales about this, nearly all of which are untrue. Here’s the real story: it’s tough to come up with names that will be popular on the street. We always have to ask ourselves, “What’s the street going to name this?” and work from there. We were looking for something unusual and maybe even a little irreverent, because there’s something sort of cool about poking fun at your products from time to time. To me, and to a lot of other insiders who’d seen it, the bike had a massive “fat” look. So the folks in marketing came up with the name “Fat Boy” – and the street picked it up.”

He Said

“Harley-Davidson made a gamble when it dropped the Dyna line and crossed some of the models over to the new faux-rigid Big Twin line, and I’m glad to see the factory is sticking with the iconic Fat Boy model. I also love that the bike borrows from the iconic late ’40s for its looks, but doesn’t try too hard to go there. The modern touches make the design seem like a natural progression.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Indeed, a massive fat look up front. The Fat Boy just looks like it means business and the 30th Anniversary with the black-out finish and bronze highlights is elegance personified and like it’s not even trying. Nice throaty sound, minimal vibration. I was concerned about the single front brake with the weight of the bike, but brakes felt ample. The Mil-8 114 is, of course, a torque beast, and it has something yet to give no matter where you are in the rev range. With the fat tires, you give up some cornering prowess, but it more than makes up for it with an amazingly smooth ride and stability at speed. ’Cause, remember, this is a power-cruiser, not a sport-cruiser.”

2020 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 114 30th Anniversary Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Milwaukee-Eight® 114, Pushrod-operated, overhead valves with hydraulic, self-adjusting lifters; four valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 4.016 in. x 4.5 in. (102 mm x 114 mm)
Displacement: 114 cu. in. (1,868 cc)
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Engine Torque (per J1349) (North America): 119 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm (161 Nm @ 3,000 rpm)
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Exhaust: 2-into-2 staggered; catalyst in muffler
Lubrication System: Pressurized, dry-sump with oil cooler
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio
Final Drive: Belt, 32/66 ratio
Clutch: Mechanical, 10 plate wet, assist & conventional
Transmission: 6-Speed Cruise Drive®
Gear Ratios (overall)(U.S.): 1st: 9.311, 2nd: 6.454, 3rd: 4.793, 4th: 3.882, 5th: 3.307, 6th: 2.79
Chassis:
Frame: Mild steel, tubular frame; rectangular section backbone; stamped, cast, and forged junctions; MIG welded; aluminum forged fender supports
Swingarm: Mild steel, tubular sections, stamped x-member, forged axle junctions; MIG welded; removable belt spacer
Front Forks: Dual Bending Valve 49 mm telescopic with aluminum fork triple clamps; dual rate spring; “beer can” covers
Rear Shocks: Hidden, free piston, coil-over monoshock; 43 mm stroke; toolless hydraulic preload adjustment
Suspension Travel, Front/Rear: 5.1 in. (130 mm)/3.4 in. (86 mm)
Rake (steering head): 30°
Fork Angle: 32°
Trail: 4.1 in. (104 mm)
Lean Angle (per J1168) Right/Left: 25.6°/25.6°
Wheels: Satin Black, Machined Highlighted, Lakester Cast Aluminum
Wheel, Front: 18 in. x 4.5 in. (457 mm x 114 mm)
Wheel, Rear: 18 in. x 8 in. (457 mm x 203 mm)
Tires: Michelin® Scorcher® “11”
Tire, Front: 160/60R18,70V,BW
Tire, Rear: 240/40R18,79V,BW
Brakes, Front: 300 mm silver, Split 7-spoke floating rotor, 4-piston fixed caliper
Brakes, Rear: 292 mm silver, Split 7-spoke floating rotor, 2-piston floating caliper
Anti-Lock Braking System: Standard
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length: 93.3 in. (2,370 mm)
Overall Width: 38.3 in. (972 mm)
Overall Height: 43.1 in. (1,095 mm)
Seat Height: Laden: 25.9 in. (658 mm), Unladen: 26.6 in. (675 mm)
Ground Clearance: 4.5 in. (115 mm)
Wheelbase: 65.6 in (1,665 mm)
Fuel Capacity: 5 gal. (18.9 l) (warning light at approximately 1 gal.)
Fuel Economy (Estimated City/Hwy): 47 mpg (5 l/100 km)
Oil Capacity (w/filter): 5 qt. (4.7 l)
Transmission Capacity: 1 qt. (.95 l)
Primary Chain Case Capacity: 1.43 qt. (1.35 l)
Weight As Shipped: 671 lb. (304 kg)
Weight In Running Order: 699 lb. (317 kg)
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating: 1,175 lb. (533 kg)
Gross Axle Weight Rating: Front: 450 lb. (204 kg). Rear: 760 lb. (345 kg)
Electricals:
Battery (per Battery Council International Rating): Sealed, maintenance-free, absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery, 12V, 17.5Ah, 310 cca at 0°F
Charging: Three-phase, 42 amp system (390W @ 13V, 1,000 rpm, 546W max power @ 13V, 2,000 rpm)
Starting: 1.6 kW electric with solenoid shift starter motor engagement
Lights (as per country regulation):
• Headlamp: All LED, low beam, high beam and signature position lamp
• Tail/Stop Lights: Incandescent bullets
• Front Signal Lights: Incandescent bullets
• Indicator Lamps: High beam, turn signals, neutral, low oil pressure, engine diagnostics, ABS, security system, low battery voltage, low fuel
Gauges: 5-inch analog speedometer with digital gear, odometer, fuel level, clock, trip, range and tachometer indication
Electric Power Outlet: USB A-type; output 5V at 2.4A
Details:
Warranty: 24 months (unlimited mileage)
Model ID: FLFBSANV
Standard Equipped: ABS Option, Security System Option
Color: Vivid Black
Price: $21,949

Further Reading

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TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read More
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All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: harley-davidson.com, indianmotorcycle.com

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