2017 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight


The 2017 Forty-Eight® motorcycle comes at you with more low-slung Dark Custom™ attitude than ever, from its fat front end to its cast aluminum wheels.

We didn’t rebuild it. We reloaded it.

The first time the world saw this iconic 2.1-gallon gas tank was in 1948. But the world has never seen it sitting atop anything quite like this. The Forty-Eight®. Designed with its signature bulldog stance and the powerful 1200cc Evolution® engine. Large 49mm front forks, an adjustable rear suspension, cast aluminum wheels with floating rotors and powerful brakes bring plenty of handling and comfort to all this heavy-hitting style.

Authentic Styling

  • SLAMMED HANDLEBAR, SPEEDO AND UNDER MOUNT MIRRORS: The slammed black drag-style handlebar with speedo and under mount mirrors adds to the stripped down, minimal look of the Forty-Eight® motorcycle. Inspired by the way hot rod pioneers used to slam their rides, the drag style handlebar is an old-school garage feature that demands a forward, aggressive riding position.
  • EXHAUST WITH LASER CUT EXHAUST SHIELDS: The staggered shorty-dual exhaust has been around almost as long as the Sportster® family itself. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take the time-honored pipes to a place that’s brand new. To achieve the stunning dark-breaking-through-bright look on the Forty-Eight® exhaust, we blacked-out the mufflers. Then topped them with chrome exhaust shields adorned with laser-cut groves.
  • PURE HARLEY-DAVIDSON STYLING: Feast your eyes on the 1200cc Evolution® engine and there's no mistaking its roots. This is authentic Harley-Davidson style through and through with an attention to detail you won't find from any other motorcycle company. Right in the center: a round air cleaner cover, covered in gloss black and loaded with retro style. Surrounding it you have black powder coating on the cases and cylinders, polished rocker covers, and a final touch of chrome pushrods to highlight the iconic V-Twin shape. It's a jewel machined out of metal. Pure. Dripping with power. The 1200cc Evolution® engine makes an ironclad statement about holding on to what's right and staying true to what satisfies the rider.
  • TACH AND GEAR INDICATOR READOUT: Even though none of us would want to admit it, from time to time, we've all had to kick our shift lever back down to 1 to figure out what gear we were in. The Sportster® models get a speedometer with a gear indicator readout and a tachometer you can activate with your trip switch. Now you've got all the information you need to keep it in the power band at the touch of a finger.

Authentic Styling

  • CLOSED LOOP EXHAUST SYSTEM: Designed to meet future worldwide emissions standards and the standards of future generations of Harley-Davidson® motorcycle riders. This closed loop exhaust system delivers heart-pounding performance in the key of the trademark Harley-Davidson rumble. With its robust, soul-stirring big twin design, durable mufflers with exhaust shields, a catalyst and mini heated oxygen sensors that improve emissions and drivability, this system is not only better for the environment, it makes riding better.


  • LOW SEAT WITH MINIMALIST STYLING: When a bike looks this tough, the idea is to keep the soft stuff to a minimum. So the seat is solo style, with just enough ribbed detail to give the eyes something to notice. But here’s the thing only the rider needs to know: modern materials let us build loads of all-day comfort into that barely-there seat. Your backside will feel like it can go forever. Also key – the seat sits just 26 inches off the pavement thanks to a lowered front and rear suspension. That equals confidence for riders of all sizes and experience. A responsive ride for whipping through town or busting out onto the interstate.
  • FORWARD-MOUNTED CONTROLS: With the custom forward-mount controls on the Forty-Eight® model, you can kick back a little and stretch your legs for the ultimate cruise through town or across the state line. It's time to take on the town the way you were meant to—on a two-wheeled machine that's built to outdo the rest.


  • MICHELIN ® SCORCHER™ TIRES: Michelin® Scorcher™ tires provide the superior performance, sensational grip, impressive durability and excellent handling expected on a race-bred bike. The exclusive deep-cut tread design improves grip and water evacuation capability. Grip performance and durability is also enhanced by the tire's rubber compounds, which use the latest generation of Michelin synthetic polymers.
  • 49MM FORK WITH CARTRIDGE DAMPINING: The front end of the Forty-Eight® motorcycle comes at you like a left hook from a bareknuckle boxer, loaded with raw power and bruising style. The eye starts at the big balloon front tire, then immediately lands on the brawny 49mm front fork, accentuated by massive triple clamps and fork brace. There’s nothing else like it on the street. The one thing that isn’t rough and tumble is the way it all feels. We’ve been busy upgrading the ride of every Sportster® model, adding cartridge dampening technology to that brawny front fork. It keeps the handling crisp and confident, no matter how rough or winding the road ahead.
  • SPLIT 9-SPOKE CAST ALUMINUM WHEELS: The plentitude of fat black rubber rolling underneath the Forty-Eight® motorcycle calls for a set of equally hardcore rims, so we came up with a special split 9-Spoke design, covered it all in black, then added machined highlights to set off the design. The belt sprocket and floating front brake rotor get a similar treatment for good measure. The wheels are lightweight cast aluminum, so even with all that rubber the ride feels light and nimble.
  • EMULISION REAR SHOCK WITH SCREW ADJUSTER: The urban infrastructure isn’t getting any smoother, so we upgraded the rear suspension throughout the Sportster® family. We went with an Emulsion rear shock with a screw pre-load adjuster. It not only works overtime to soak up every bump the street throws your way, it also adjusts to fit your riding style. Simply use the tool mounted under the seat to turn the screw and you have a rear suspension set up to ride as aggressively as you want to take it.


  • FOUNDATION BRAKE SYSTEM: Like riding itself, you can never go too far when it comes to a bike’s brakes. This is why we went the distance to make the brake system of each Sportster® model a shining example of performance, fit and finish. You have 300mm brake rotors and a powerful, stylized front caliper with 34mm pistons and stylized rear caliper to match. Other system features include an improved all-aluminum integrated rear master cylinder with reservoir, all-aluminum front master cylinder with reduced friction and higher efficiency, and stainless steel braided lines. It all adds up to more confidence on the road and more power and predictability when you squeeze the brakes.

Iconic Engine

  • EVOLUTION® ENGINE: The Evolution® engine—known in certain crowds as the Blockhead—was first bolted to the frame of a Harley-Davidson® motorcycle back in 1984. Born from legendary Shovelhead and Ironhead engines, the Evolution® engine broke new ground in displacement innovation while maintaining the hunger for power, durability and proven reliability that The Motor Company was built on.
  • EVOLUTION® ENGINE INNOVATION: Air-cooled and durable as hell, the 1200cc Evolution® engine is yet another nod to the unwavering work ethic that drives advancements in motor technology at Harley-Davidson. Aluminum heads and cylinders lighten the load of the bike and improve air-cooling efficiency. Electronic fuel injection says goodbye to carburetors and boasts increased reliability and less routine maintenance. Bottom line: the rubber-mounted Evolution® engine runs hard and rides smooth for thousands of miles so you can just worry about taking in the freedom of the open road.


  • California Emissions Fee - $100

General Information

Manufacturer Harley-Davidson
Model Year 2017
Model Forty-Eight
Color Vivid Black


Brakes Dual-piston front, Dual-piston rear
Wheels Front / Rear - Black, Split 9-Spoke Cast Aluminum w/Machined Highlights
Wheel Colors Black

Front - 130/90B16 73H

Rear - 150/80B16 77H


Length 85 in.

Shipped - 538 lb.

In Running Order - 551 lb.

Ground Clearance 3.9 in.
Wheelbase 59.3 in.
Seat Height

Laden - 26.2 in.

Unladen - 27.3 in.


Lighting High beam, neutral, low oil pressure, turn signals, engine diagnostics, low fuel warning, low battery.


Engine Evolution®
Bore x Stroke 3.5 in. x 3.811 in.

Engine Testing Method - J1349

Engine -70.8 ft-lb

Engine - 3,500

Compression Ratio 10:01
Fuel System Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Fuel Capacity 2.1 gal.
MPG Rating Combined City / Hwy 5 - 48
Cooling Air-cooled
Exhaust Chrome, staggered shorty exhaust with black dual slash-cut mufflers
Gear Ratio


1st - 9.315

Overall 2nd - 6.653

Overall 3rd - 4.948

Overall 4th - 4.102

Overall 5th - 3517


Oil Capacity With filter - 2.8 qt.
Primary Drive Chain, 38 / 57 ratio
Rake Steering head (deg) - 30.2
Trail 5.3 in.


Additional Colors

Vivid Black

Billet Silver

Corona Yellow Pearl

Crushed Ice Denim

Hard Candy Black Gold Flake

Hard Candy Hot Rod Red Flake