It was way back in the 1970s when we first laid eyes on a Fat Bob, which acquired its name from the larger fuel tank and the bobbed guards.
The original production run only lasted a few years though, before we again saw it join the lineup back in 2008, when it rolled out as a Dyna, before the biggest change came back in 2018.
I remember heading over to Pasadena in the US for the Softail Launch that year, which as we all know, marked the end of the Dyna.
And amongst the new Softails we rode that week, I remember the Fat Bob, which was redesigned and brought over into the Softail stable, resonated with me from the very start, as it did for countless riders here in Australia.
Obviously the stark differences were the shocks, which instead of the visual twin shocks on the old Dyna model, it now featured the single mono-shock.
Another clear styling change was the headlight, which is now the horizontal LED headlight you see here as opposed to the old dual small circular headlights.
What hasn’t changed is that unmistakable styling, with its muscular design, twin exhausts and those large fat wheels, it screams Fat Bob from every angle.
It’s also now only available with the 114 cubic inch M8 motor, with the 107 version no longer an option, which makes sense, especially with the performance gained with the increase in cubes.
And who doesn’t want more power?
It’s churning out an impressive 118 ft-lbs of torque and just over 100bhp too, which all peaks in low at 3000rpm, so it’s definitely got some grunt off the mark.
And after taking my first ride, just like every Fat Bob I’ve ridden in the past, it was comfortable from the get-go.
Not only does it feel light and nimble, despite its weight of just over 300kg, but the ergonomics is great too, with the forward controls and the straight across bars, which have been tapered back an inch and feel quite comfortable.
And just in case they aren’t in the perfect position that suits you, they’re easily adjustable via the hex-screws, allowing you to find that sweet spot.
Smooth Ride That Will Put A Smile On Your Face
Further enhancing the handling is the Showa 43mm USD fork, which may not be adjustable, but it feels more than sturdy, especially combined with the large diameter tyre at the front which helps smooth out the ride.
You do have the option of hydraulic preload adjustment on the rear monoshock though, which is changed easily via the dial just behind your right leg.
And once you find the right setting to suit, you’ll notice just how well it handles with no wallowing through high-speed corners, and that aggressive upright riding position adds to the thrill of chasing sports bikes up through the mountains.
And when it comes time to pulling the Fat Bob up in a hurry, that’s done easily with the twin 300mm rotors and four-piston calipers up front accompanied with the single 292mm disc and twin-piston caliper at the rear.
Range Of Popular Colour Schemes
Now when it comes to colour options, the 2023 Fat Bob is available in Vivid Black, Gray Haze and Red Line Red, which you see featured here.
And whether you’re using it around town as a daily commuter, or clocking up the miles on the highway, H-D’s Muscle Cruiser really is a great bike.
What I’ve also found is that it appeals to quite a broad spectrum of riders, both males and females, and like always, they often end up customised.
So if you think the Fat Bob is something you could see yourself riding, get on down to your local authorised Harley-Davidson dealership, and organise yourself a test ride
Sled for your Shed With Jonesy
Okay, today I’m taking a ride on the H-D Fat Bob, and once again, I’ve put together my Sled for the Shed feature, which is where I try to make it easier by breaking it up into four easy categories:
Affordability – Speaks for itself. What’ll it cost ya, how much to service it and how much fuel does it chew?
Rideability – Big rides, small rides, can you commute on it? Could you ride it every day?
Bragability – Someone asks you what do you ride? Are you happy to unashamedly tell them about it?
Lookbackability – This is purely about love! When you park it, do you hesitate and look back over your shoulder before going about your business?
And finally, each category gets a ‘Miles of Smiles’ rating, with 1 being the least and 10 being the most.
So how did the Fat Bob rate?
Well, it’s not cheap coming in just under $33k, but the person that buys this is a Keanu Reeves type – think John Wick.
This is the bike he’d ride around while he’s going his nefarious deeds.
This is easily a commuter special. Plenty of grunt to streak ahead of traffic at the lights and I also found it surprisingly comfortable.
It’s about the only Harley I can think of where you sit in the bke as opposed to on it.
I love those big thick wheels too, making if feel very surefooted.
It’s certainly worth bragging about. You’ll be rushing up to complete strangers to tell them all about your Fat Bob.
And finally – does it make you look back? Definitely.
Not only will you look back at it, you’ll do a circuit around it too, if only to check out that bad arse rear guard.
It’s just a shame that we can’t have the side mounted number plates here in Australia, instead of the dopey looking arrangement the powers that be insist on saddling us with.
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