On the road in Alsace with the Sportster Forty-Eight

The no-frills 1200 Sportster Forty-Eight has enough pressure and charm at the same time in every situation!

The Sportster models are often considered the entry-level models in the Harley-Davidson scene; a new one can be picked up from the Harley-Davidson dealer of your choice for €10,000. But is that actually true? Are you just an entry-level Harley ? Somehow that sounds demeaning, as if it were just something for beginners so that they could get something bigger later.

That's not the case, it's undoubtedly a good entry-level model, but many Sportster owners stick with their beloved Sporty, it's one of those Harley's that looks great right out of the box, you can put it on and go without messing with it. Subtle changes are of course allowed, air filters and yes, the exhaust system is often on the wish list, the new emission standards have an impact on the sound, but there are various legal solutions. A very big plus is the retention of value of the Sportster models, which is not a given these days, the Sportys are always at the top of the list when it comes to value retention.

At the end of September I had the opportunity to test a Sportster Forty-Eight with ABS, it had the powerful 1200 Evolution engine installed. I've always liked the Forty-Eight, the mirrors are beautifully installed downwards in drag style, a very compact design, not overloaded, somehow simple but not cheap. The cockpit appears sparsely equipped, but that is deceptive, everything important is there, all important data is shown on the digital display, there is even a gear indicator, everything important can be accessed with a simple step through. I know a lot of friends who swear by their Sportster, they could drive something else, whether a Fat Boy or a Tourer, but no, it has to be a Sportster, I've never had the pleasure of driving one before, but now I have finally the opportunity.

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And off we went with the Forty-Eight, the sound was nothing at first, you could literally tell that it wanted more but wasn't allowed to. But that doesn't matter now, a great route was waiting for me, where everything was needed, a good brake that works properly in every situation, and the wide tires were responsible for the grip when braking. It went through Alsace on different road surfaces, the Sporty grips properly and has enough torque to pull out of the curve. It has both, the brakes are powerful, plus the ABS, if you don't know it, you should have it explained to you, or just full brakes, in an emergency situation you shouldn't be alarmed if it starts to stutter, especially on damp roads When there is sand on the road, it offers particularly high safety reserves thanks to ABS.

Sportster 12

I myself had a similar situation with a Harley-Davidson Street Glide , where I was able to avoid a deer thanks to ABS, which saved me from a collision. For the inexperienced, there are also re-entry courses every year, which can also be given away as a voucher for Christmas. The Forty-Eight has the fat Michelin Scorcher installed at the front, which really makes a good impression in the front wheel fork. It is a little more cumbersome in the corners than if a rather thin tire had been installed, but it sits really firmly on the road and the roller matches the styling.

At the back, the setting of the two springs can be easily changed with an adjusting key, which can be very practical if you have the key with you. My suspension was set to very soft, with 95 kilos of weight you should be careful where you drive over with this setting, otherwise it will bottom out mercilessly and right into your back. But you can change it and everything will be fine again, because the chassis is really good, it can handle anything. I was really surprised at how much you can like it, but it's not a big hurdle to take it for a test ride yourself, either at the dealer when the truck with all the bikes is on site, or at the big Harley events you always have the opportunity to try out the latest bikes.

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