The name for the new Sportster comes from Route 72, a legendary cruising street in east Los Angeles, that was - and still is - a hotbed for cruising and the custom scene.
A visual standout on the Seventy-Two is the 'Hard Candy Big Red Flake' paint, ape bars, 21-inch front wheel and narrow whitewall tyres. The combined styling elements are a respectful nod to the original custom chopper era of the 1970s, and to the influence of the custom culture that still percolates today along Whittier Boulevard, aka Route 72.
"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. You look at period examples and they are almost as simple as a bicycle. It's a custom style that's very particular to America and that California scene."
Back in the '70s, metal flake appeared on everything from dune buggys to diner upholstery, as well as custom motorcycles. The new Hard Candy Big Red Flake finish on the Seventy-Two is created by applying a black base coat, followed by a polyurethane system that carries hexagon-shaped flakes that are more than seven times the diameter of metal flake used in typical production paint. Each flake is coated with a thin aluminium film and then tinted red. Four applications of clear coat, combined with hand sanding, create a smooth finish over the flakes.
"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 we recreated that art in a decal for production, so they still have the appearance of hand-applied graphics in that they are not exactly perfect. The graphics are then covered with a final clear coat application."
A solo seat and side-mounted license plate bracket leave much of the chopped rear fender - and more of that paint - exposed on the Seventy-Two. Whether this will have to be modified for Australian compliance is yet to be confirmed. The powertrain is finished in grey powdercoat with chrome covers and a new round air cleaner with a dished cover. A classic Sportster 2.1-gallon (7.9 litre) "peanut" fuel tank adds a final period touch.
Key features of the 2012 Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two include:
- Air-cooled Evolution 1200cc V-Twin engine with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI), rated at 73 ft. lbs. peak torque at 3500 rpm.
- Powertrain is finished in Gray powdercoat with Chrome covers.
- Paint color choices include Hard Candy Big Red Flake with period pinstripe details on fenders and fuel tank, Black Denim, and Big Blue Pearl.
- Classic 2.1-gallon peanut fuel tank.
- Dunlop® white side wall 21-inch (MH90-21) front and 16-inch (150/80B16) rear tires.
- Chrome Laced wheels.
- Ten-inch mini-ape handlebar mounted on a two-inch high riser.
- Chrome, eight-inch round air cleaner cover with center screw mount.
- Chopped rear fender exposes rear tire.
- Side-mounted license plate bracket.
- Chrome, staggered, shorty dual exhaust with slash-cut mufflers.
- Solo seat with black textured vinyl cover.
- Handlebar-mounted speedometer with chrome cup.
- Chrome rear fender struts.
- Chrome coil-over pre-load adjustable rear shocks.
- Forward foot controls.
For more information, visit Harley-Davidson's Web site at www.h-d.com.au