Harley Unwraps New 2012 Sportster Seventy-Two and 2012 Softail Slim Models

The Seventy-Two Looks Lean in Metal Flake, While The Slim Does More With Less

MILWAUKEE (Feb. 1, 2012) - Harley-Davidson revealed two new 2012 models yesterday at Southern California's iconic Cook's Corner roadhouse - one of them a Sportster, and the other a Softail. Both tap into distinct custom movements from decades past.

The new 2012 Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two motorcycle is a metal flake dream machine, a 1200cc Sportster on a trip back to the days when the big boys parked choppers in a row on the curb. From its Hard Candy Big Red Flake paint and ape bars to its narrow whitewall tires, the 2012 Seventy-Two is a respectful nod to that era, and to the influence of the custom culture that still percolates along Whittier Boulevard, the legendary cruising street in East Los Angeles also known as Route 72. A new generation of custom builder is tapping into that era, not just in California but in garages around the world.

"In creating the Seventy-Two, we were also inspired by the vibe of the early chopper era," says Frank Savage, Harley-Davidson Manager of Industrial Design. "Those bikes were colorful and chromed, but also narrow and stripped down to the essentials."

Metal flake, an iconic design element of the '70s, sparkles back to the fore on the Seventy-Two, which is bathed with Hard Candy Big Red Flake paint, a finish created by applying a black base coat followed by a polyurethane system with flakes seven times larger than the norm. Each flake is coated with a thin aluminum film and then tinted red. Four applications of clear coat, combined with hand sanding, create a smooth finish.

"The final touch to the Hard Candy Big Red Flake paint is a logo on the tank top and pinstripe scallop details on both fenders," says Savage. "Each was originally created by hand, and recreated in a decal for production, so they still have the appearance of hand-applied graphics."

A solo seat and side-mounted license plate bracket leave much of the chopped rear fender exposed on the Seventy-Two. The powertrain is finished in Gray powdercoat with chrome covers and a new round air cleaner with a dished cover. A classic Sportster 2.1-gallon "peanut" fuel tank adds a final period touch to the motorcycle.

An air-cooled Evolution 1200cc V-Twin engine with ESPFI powers the package, which rolls on chrome laced wheels, shod with a Dunlop® white side wall 21-incher upfront and 16-inch rear.

A ten-inch mini-ape handlebar mounted on a two-inch high riser dominates the cockpit, which also features a handlebar-mounted speedometer. Completing the rider triangle is a solo seat with a back textured vinyl cover and forward foot controls. Chrome coil-over pre-load adjustable rear shocks providing the damping, and a staggered, shorty dual exhaust with slash-cut mufflers expels the gases out back. Paint color choices include Hard Candy Big Red Flake with pinstripe details on fenders and fuel tank; Black Denim; and Big Blue Pearl.

The 2012 Harley-Davidon Softail Slim, meanwhile, brings a clean, and even more old-schoollook to the fore. The vibe is stripped-Down, with retro details that conjure up the post-war bobber era. From its trimmed front fender to its narrow rear end, Slim is a no-nonsense, back-to-basics motorcycle. What's left is the elemental Softail profile and iconic Harley-Davidson® style that recalls classic custom bobbers of the 1950s.

Harley-Davidson Senior Designer Casey Ketterhagen said, "we put a Softail on a diet to get the proportions back in check. Scale down the rear with a narrow tire and chopped fender and the heart of the bike, the motor, once again becomes the focus. We left a gap between the nose of the seat and tank so the rider can see the top of the motor."

To keep the rear simple and clean, the Slim has combination stop/turn/tail lights and a side-mounted license plate. The rear fender struts are left uncovered, exposing the forged steel and fasteners. A thin formed-leather strap covers the fuel tank seam. The powertrain is finished with polished covers instead of chrome, and the black cylinders are left unhighlighted. The FL front fender is trimmed to expose more of the tire.

"The Slim is intended to be a direct interpretation of home-built customs of the 1940s and 50s, and we used a number of components that evoke that era, beginning with a Hollywood handlebar," says Ketterhagen.

The Hollywood bar, identified by its wide bend and cross brace, was originally an accessory for Harley-Davidson models with a Springer fork. For the Slim, the cross-braced bar and louvered headlight nacelle are finished in gloss black. Other period styling cues include a gloss black "cat's eye" tank console with a retro speedometer face, half-moon rider footboards, a round air cleaner cover, and gloss black wheel rims and hubs. The cover of the solo seat is stitched in a tuck-and-roll pattern.

A counter-balanced Twin Cam 103B engine is rigid-mounted within the frame, while the Softail chassis mimics the clean lines of a vintage hardtail, with rear suspension control provided by coil-over shock absorbers mounted out of sight within the frame rails. With the combination of a 23.8-inch seat height and rider footboards, the Slim comfortably fits a wide range of riders and offers light side-stand lift-off.

Other key features of the 2012 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim include a 6-Speed Cruise Drive Transmission, chrome, over/under shotgun exhaust with slash-cut mufflers, classic 5.0-gallon Fat Bob fuel tank, and a side-mounted license plate bracket.

The Slim also offers the H-D Security Package Option (factory-installed option) which includes: Harley-Davidson® Smart Security System with hands-free security fob and Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).

2012 Harley-Davidson XL1200V Seventy-Two
Base Price: $10,499; Metal Flake: $11,199
Type: Air-cooled 45-degree v-twin
Displacement, bore x stroke: 1200cc, 88.9 x 96.8mm
Valve train: OHV with pushrods, 2 valves per cylinder
Compression: 9.7:1
Fuel system: EFI
Transmission: 5-speed
Final drive: Belt
Overall length: 89.4 in.
Wheelbase: 60.0 in.
Wet weight: 555 lbs.
Seat height: 28.0 in.
Rake/trail: 30 degrees/5.3 in.
Front tire: D402F MH90-21
Rear tire: D401 150/80-16
Front brake: 292mm disc; dual-piston caliper
Rear brake: 260mm disc; single piston caliper
Front suspension: 39mm fork , 5.69 in. travel
Rear suspension: single shock, 2.12 in. travel
Fuel capacity: 2.1 gallons
2012 Harley-Davidson FLS Softail Slim
Base Price: $15,499 (black); $15,884 (Black Denim, Ember Red Sunglo)
Type: air-cooled 45-degree v-twin
Displacement, bore x stroke: 1690cc, 98.4 x 111.1mm
Valve train: OHV with pushrods, 2 valves per cylinder
Compression: 9.6:1
Fuel system: EFI
Transmission: 6-speed
Final drive: Belt
Overall length: 94 in.
Wheelbase: 64.4 in.
Wet weight: 671 lbs.
Seat height: 23.8 in.
Rake/trail: NA
Front tire: Dunlop D402F MT90B16
Rear tire: Dunlop D402 MU85B16
Front brake: NA
Rear brake: NA
Front suspension: NA
Rear suspension: NA
Fuel capacity: 5 gallons

We'll have riding impressions of both new machines in upcoming issues.
For more details and images now, visit Harley-Davidson's Web site at www.harley-davidson.com.