Retro, fast and low-slung, cruiser motorcycles that go fast have been quite popular in the Americas and gave birth to the Sportster series of motorcycles from Harley-Davidson. The US-based manufacturer has a range of motorcycles as part of its Sportster line-up in India and has now added the new 2019 Forty-Eight Special in the country. Priced at ₹ 10.98 lakh (ex-showroom), the Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Special is both fast and retro, and adds to a segment that has offerings like the Indian Scout Bobber and the Triumph Bonneville Bobber. With such lucrative choices in the market, we take a quick look at how the Forty-Eight Special competes against the Scout Bobber and the Bonneville Bobber on paper.
Visually, the three motorcycles are as different as they can get but do share some similarities like the low riding stance, single-seat, and extended handlebar. The styling remains a strong point on the motorcycles and is strong character for the buyers too. The Harley Forty-Eight Special gets the tallboy ape hanger handlebar that do not make it the most comfortable but certainly distinctive. With the Scout Bobber, the long wheelbase is hard to miss but the low sweptback handlebars will be convenient on an open road.
The Triumph Bobber gets a flat handlebar and looks the sportiest off the three. The Forty-Eight Special and the Scout Bobber ride on the wide 16-inch tyres at the front and rear with cast aluminium wheels, while the Bonneville Bobber uses spoked units with a 19-inch wheel up front and a 16-inch wheel at the rear. The bikes get all-black finished components to add to the appeal.
The new Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Special borrows its powertrain from the standard version and uses the same 1202 cc air-cooled, V-Twin Evolution engine that is tuned to produce about 60 bhp and 96 Nm of peak torque at 4250 rpm. The motor is paired with a 5-speed gearbox and top speed is rated at 175 kmph. The Indian Scout Bobber is identical to the Forty-Eight Special in both displacement and output. The bike uses a 1133 cc V-Twin engine that produces 97 Nm of peak torque with 94 bhp on offer. The motor is also paired with a 5-speed gearbox. In contrast, the Triumph Bonneville Bobber uses a similarly displaced 1200 cc liquid-cooled, parallel twin engine that churns more torque at 106 Nm with 76 bhp on offer. The motor is paired with a 6-speed transmission, and has overall a modern feel over the Harley and Indian's old-school V-Twin setup.
The three bikes get identical features with the Indian Scout Bobber getting bar-end mirrors, side-mounted registration plate and turn indicators. The bike also comes with an analague instrument cluster with a digital display, while you also get a USB charging port as standard. ABS is standard on the Scout Bobber, which is the only safety aid you get on the motorcycle.
With the Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Special, the bike gets a handlebar-mounted cluster that includes the speedometer, time-of-day clock, trip meters, low fuel warning, engine diagnostics readout and more. The bike gets LED indicators and taillight, while the seat has been contoured for better comfort. Dual-channel ABS is standard on the Forty-Eight Special.
The Triumph Bonneville Bobber shares its underpinnings with the T120, and also gets identical features. Stripped off parts from the T120, the Bobber comes with an analogue console with a digital readout, and also gets ABS with switchable traction control and ride-by-wire that adds two riding modes - road and rain. There's also adjustable seat for a comfortable riding position, torque-assist clutch, and a LED taillight.
All three motorcycles gets a front set foot pegs with wide handlebars that offer a more comfortable riding experience on open roads. The bikes though are by no means highway tourers, but have just the right stance for those short-long rides. The seat height on the Scout Bobber is the lowest at 649 mm with the Triumph Bobber next at 690 mm, whereas the Forty-Eight Special gets the tallest seat here at 710 mm. However, by all standards, the seat height on all bikes is lower than average motorcycles.
The 2019 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Special is priced at ₹ 10.98 lakh, which makes it about ₹ 40,000 more expensive than the standard Forty Eight. In contrast, the Triumph Bonneville Bobber is much cheaper priced at ₹ 10.28 lakh, while the Indian Scout Bobber is substantially more expensive than the other two priced at ₹ 11.99 lakh (all prices, ex-showroom).