Battle Of The Basic Big Twins 2000 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy and Dyna Super Glide — From The Archives

Harley-Davidson double teams the Battle of the Basic Big Twins Comparison

Dyna Super Glide
Though the Dyna Super Glide lacks the pretty lines and detailing of the Fat Boy, it performs well on curving roads, costs less, and offers more standard-style ergonomics.

This article was originally published in the August 2000 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser.

Even when the increasingly dated Evolution engine provided the power, Harley’s Fat Boy was the best-selling motorcycle in America, though it wasn’t very popular with our testers after last year’s big twin cruise-off. This year Harley reinvented its Softail series—those models concealed rear suspension and solidly mounted engines. H-D started with the engines used in the Dyna and Touring series bikes, such as the FXD included in this comparison. For 1999, the company introduced an entirely new big twin, even though it followed the basic format of the old Evo engines with air-cooling, a 45-degree V angle, a single carb, overhead valves operated by pushrods and hydraulic lifters, a single crankpin using a “knife-and-fork” connecting rod arrangement and a separate transmission case. Displacing 1450cc (instead of the Evo’s 1340), the new Twin Cam 88 engine not only made substantially better power, but also brought modern design, materials and manufacturing techniques to the venerable 45-degree V-twin. The new engine brought beefier and stronger components, more compression, tighter tolerances, better bearings and improved lubrication. Overnight, those bikes with the new motors, Harley’s Dynas and tourers, achieved power parity and even supremacy over other big twins—despite their displacement disadvantage. The engines were mechanically quieter and generally seem to have provided the improved reliability and reduced maintenance that the modern design promised.

Fat Boy
It looks like the old Fat Boy, but it sure doesn't feel like it—which makes sense since it's an entirely new motorcycle.Cruiser

For ’99 Harley also introduced a raft of other changes, including improved brakes, that brought the Dyna series in line with the rest of the cruising community. For last year’s test we included the FXDX, the Sport version of the Dyna Super Glide, which had dual discs up front, adjustable suspension and other changes. Since we had tested versions of the Sport three times in last two years, we opted for the base Super Glide model for this test. The FXD is a no-frills Dyna with the “internal” Dyna dual-rear-damper frame, which mounts the Twin Cam engine in rubber to isolate vibration. Like the FXDX, the base model has a 28-degree steering head angle for quickened steering. The 4.9-gallon tank has a center console with a fuel gauge. This year the handlebar is a narrower XR-pattern. It rolls on cast wheels.

The reason Softails didn’t get the new engine last year was that Harley had a surprise. H-D apparently decided that the heavy vibration of the Softails was no longer acceptable in the marketplace. (Our ’99 Fat Boy vibrated two engine mount nuts loose.) However, the style of the Softail was not compatible with the space required for rubber mounts. So in a move that many saw as a major change of direction for Harley, the company created a counterbalanced version of the Twin Cam 88 engine, which could be mounted solidly in its frames. Two counterbalancers, one ahead and one behind the crankshaft, are chain-driven from the right end of the crank to create forces that offset the vibration created by movement of the pistons and other actions of the 45-degree twin. Counterbalancing has long been used in bike and car engines, with Yamaha and Kawasaki employing it in the 1970s and Kawasaki adopting it for its Vulcans since their introduction in the 1980s. Some were surprised that Harley would adopt technology that was so closely identified with its Japanese rivals and felt it represented a sort of mechanical sleight-of-hand. But nobody is complaining about how the new engine, dubbed the Twin Cam 88B, works. Though the balancers soak up a small amount of the engine’s power, the tremendous smoothness brings new comfort and vastly reduces the wear and tear on components the old hard-shaking Evo engines created.

However, the Fat Boy and the rest of the Softails enjoy more than just a new engine. The frame was stiffened substantially and many components were redesigned or improved, including the oil tank, the bigger 5.0-gallon fuel tank (now one piece), a maintenance-free battery and a new transmission. Despite the changes, the Fat Boy remains unmistakable, and, in fact, appears quite similar to the Evo-powered version. His Fatness wears wide-legged covered fork tubes, a 7.0-inch headlight, chubby fenders, floorboards, a tank-top speedo and revised shotgun-style dual mufflers. The saddle features sections with different textures. The rear suspension is controlled by two dampers hidden beneath the engine, and working backwards (they extend as the rear of the bike drops).

Overall, it’s a clean, eye-catching package that motorcyclists have a hard time resisting. With the modern engineering the Fat Boy now incorporates, they have even fewer reasons to try.

H-D Fat Boy H-D Dyna Super Glide
Designation: FLSTF FXD
Suggested base price: $15,280 ($15570 CA) $11,245 ($11,530 CA)
Standard colors: Black Black
Extra cost colors: Orange, blue, bronze, yellow, red, white, add $240 Red, grey, blue, orange; add $240
Standard warranty: 12 mos., unlimited miles 12 mos., unlimited miles
Recommended service interval: 5000 miles 5000 miles
Engine & Drivetrain
Type: Air-cooled, 45-degree V-twin Air-cooled, 45-degree V-twin
Valve arrangement: OHV; 2 intake, 2 exhaust valves, hydraulic adjusters OHV, 1 intake, 1 exhaust valve, pushrods, hydraulic adjusters
Displacement, bore x stroke: 1450cc, 95.25 x 101mm 1450cc, 95.25 x 101.6mm
Compression ratio: 8.9:1 8.9:1
Carburetion: 1, 40mm CV 1, 40mm CV
Lubrication: Dry sump, 3.5 qt. Dry sump, 3.0 qt.
Minimum fuel grade: 92 octane 92 octane
Transmission: Wet multiplate clutch, 5 speeds Wet multiplate clutch, 5 speeds
Final drive: Belt, 2.188:1 Belt, 70/32
Wheels: Cast-aluminum, 16.0 x 3.0 in. front, 16.0 x 3.0 in. rear Cast aluminum, 19.00 x 2.15 in. front, 16.00 x 3.00 in. rear
Front tire: MT90B16, Dunlop D402 tubeless 100/90-19 Dunlop K591, tubeless
Rear tire: MT90B16, Dunlop D402 tubeless 150/80B-16 Dunlop K591, tubeless
Front brake: 1, dual-action ,four-piston caliper , 11.5-in. disc 1, dual-action, 4-piston caliper, 11.5-in. disc
Rear brake: Dual-action, 4-piston caliper, 11.5-in. disc Dual-action, 4-piston caliper, 11.5-in. disc
Front suspension: Cartridge-type, adjustable, 39mm stanchions, 5.1 in. travel 39mm stanchions, 6.1 in. travel
Rear suspension: 2 dampers, 4.34 in. travel, adjustable for preload 2 dampers, 4.3 in. travel, adjustable for preload
Fuel capacity: 5.0 gal., (0.5 gal. reserve) 4.9 gal., (0.9 gal. reserve)
Handlebar width: 32 in., 1 in. diameter 32.0 in., 1.0 in. diameter
Inseam equivalent: 33.1 in. 33.4 in.
Electrical & Instrumentation
Charging output: 270 watts 360 watts
Battery: 12v, 19 AH 12v, 19 AH
Forward lighting: 7.0-in 55/60-watt headlight, position lights 6.0-in 55/60-watt headlight, position lights
Taillight: Single bulb Single bulb
Instruments: Speedometer, tachometer, LCD odometer/tripmeter, fuel gauge; warning lights for high beam, turn signals, neutral, oil pressure Speedometer, tachometer, LCD odometer/tripmeter, fuel gauge; warning lights for high beam, turn signals, neutral, oil pressure
Fuel mileage: 36 to 51 mpg, 44.6 mpg avg. 36 to 49 mpg, 42.5 mpg avg.
Average range: 223 miles 208 miles
RPM at 60 mph, top-gear: 2300 NA
200 yard, top-gear acceleration from 50 mph, terminal speed: 71.8 mph 71.9 mph
Quarter-mile acceleration: 13.97 sec., 91.9 mph 14.03 sec., 91.9 mph