Harley's New Cross Bones Unveiled

Just when we thinking it might be time for the MoCo to rejigger the ol brand statement and embrace some more, ah, forward-looking designs, their latest 2008 release hits the tarmac. And judging by appearances, it seems our assessment was a bit premature. At first blush, the Softail Crossbones would have anyone believing Harley's slipped back into default mode. You know, nipping and tucking an existing model, adding new graphics, rebadging the bodywork and BAM! there you have it - a new custom.

Not that the 2008 Cross Bones doesn't look vaguely intriguing. With chopped fenders, mini-ape bars, a Springer Front end and a suspended solo seat, the thing hits all the right post-war styling notes. And there's some pretty reliable modern technology down below backing it all up; stuff like a Twin Cam 96B powerplant, 6 speed Cruise Drive tranny and electronic sequential port fuel injection. And if we think we've seen this before, Harley sort of reminds us that uh, yea, we have - naming models like the Street Bob, the Nightster and the Night Train to confirm it all. In fact, Harley says, all these bikes are all now considered to be part of a `new' family - the Dark Customs.

We'll have to ride one before we pass any judgment, but it all seems so....familiar....(the official Harley Davidson press release follows)

New Harley-Davidson Softail Cross Bones Debuts
Authentic Custom Bobber Fuses Stunning Style and Distinctive Design

MILWAUKEE (January 21, 2008) - The new Harley-Davidson FLSTSB Softail Cross Bones cuts the aggressive profile of an authentic custom bobber, but with some dark twists that deliver a wickedly fun and emotional riding experience.

The new Softail model was announced today at the Harley-Davidson Winter Dealer Meeting in San Antonio. With the retro look of a Springer front end and other post-war era bobber styling cues like a sprung solo seat, half-round rider footboards, Gloss Black round air cleaner cover and chopped front fender, the Softail Cross Bones rides with a Black and Polished Twin Cam 96B powertrain, 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission and truly unique Softail suspension.

"Only Harley-Davidson could do this bike," said Bill Davidson, Harley-Davidson Vice President, Core Customer Marketing. "It's a motorcycle inspired as much by our early Knuckles and Pans, as by our desire to deliver innovative technology and content to make the ride today as magical and transforming as only a Harley-Davidson can. Cross Bones is a bike that makes me want to strap a blanket across the handle bar, hit the campgrounds on my next road trip and get totally in touch with what's right about this land."

As the latest of several Harley-Davidson Dark Customs, Cross Bones melds stripped and chopped custom creativity with rough and raw finishes. Soul mates of the Cross Bones include the Nightster, Night Train, Night Rod Special and Street Bob. Check out more on Dark Custom motorcycles at www.harley-davidson.com/darkcustom.

As each Harley-Davidson Softail motorcycle declares its styling independence with exclusive components and inspired craftsmanship, the Cross Bones is a bold addition to an already free-spirited family. Many features of the Cross Bones and other Softails are reminiscent of restless riders of the past, whose defiant attitude resonates with those who march to their own beat in any generation.

The Softail name originates from its rear suspension design, with a swingarm section that honors the lines of a vintage rigid frame, while delivering a smooth, comfortable ride. Hidden horizontal coil-over rear shock absorbers are strategically mounted out-of-sight below the powertrain. The counter-balanced Twin Cam 96B powertrain is rigid-mounted in the Softail frame to give the rider a core connection to the motorcycle. Harley-Davidson Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) is standard on all Softail models, as is the 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission with its accommodating clutch lever effort.

The Softail Cross Bones takes on the road with a rebellious expression accentuated by a Gloss Black painted Springer front end with chrome springs, black bucket headlamp and black mini ape-hanger style handlebar. While the chopped front fender exposes more of the front wheel, a Bobtail fender does the same for the wide 200 mm rear tire. Tires with matching treads ride on Steel Laced wheels with Gloss Black painted rims.

The sprung solo seat, gloss black round air cleaner cover and old-style half-round rider footboards form a nostalgic focal point of the Cross Bones, recalling images of a classic era on this contemporary motorcycle. With two coiled springs underneath, the adjustable two-position Cross Bones seat rides in modern comfort at a height of 26.6 inches. A distinctive Softail horseshoe-shaped oil tank with the time-honored Harley-Davidson patent badge is located below the seat.

An authentically designed five-gallon fuel tank sports a gloss black "cat-eye" styled console with accessible ignition switch and a new speedometer face. A hand-laced leather tank panel on the console compliments the sprung solo seat. A straight shot exhaust system with chrome slash-cut mufflers provides optimum performance and stands out in contrast to the Cross Bones' many darker components.

The FLSTSB Cross Bones is available in premium custom graphics with wicked striping and paint featuring new Dark Blue Pearl, Dark Blue Denim, as well as Vivid Black, Black Denim, Olive Pearl and Pewter Denim.

FLSTSB Cross Bones features:

Rigid-mount, 1584 cc Twin Cam 96B balanced engine 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission

Black powder-coated engine with polished rocker box covers and pushrods and untreated fins Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) Gloss Black painted Springer front end with chrome springs Gloss Black mini ape-hanger handlebar Straight shot exhaust with chrome slash-cut mufflers Adjustable sprung solo seat with leather lacing 26.6-inch seat height Chopped front fender with striping

Bobtail rear fender with striping

Gloss Black cat-eye tank console with new speedometer face

Gloss Black round air cleaner cover, oil tank and rear fender supports Distinctive five-gallon fuel tank with hand-laced leather tank panel and striping 200 mm rear tire Laced Steel front and rear wheels with Gloss Black painted rims

For more information, visit Harley-Davidson's Web site at www.harley-davidson.com.