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Harley turns out a special edition "Fat Boy"

July 15, 2005|by ARV VOSS/Motor Matters

Harley-Davidson has commemorated anniversaries before with special edition models, but I don't recall in recent history a specific model that celebrated its own anniversary. The Motor Company alters that history with the FLSTFI Fat Boy 15th Anniversary edition bike.

Harley produced a limited number of Screamin' Eagle Fat Boys for the 2005 model year, but the 15th anniversary bike isn't a product of the Custom Vehicle Operation Screamin' Eagle lineup. Despite that fact, the 15th Anniversary Fat Boy is a limited edition bike that comes stock with a motor that's a full 100cc bigger - 1550cc to be exact. The extra power for the 95-cubic-inch, air-cooled Twin-Cam 88B V-Twin motor does come from a Screamin' Eagle Big Bore Kit. The 95-incher replaces the Evolution V-Twin and cranks out 87 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm.

Other distinctive and unique features of this special edition Fat Boy include chrome-plated (rather than traditional) full disc wheels, a special winged 24k gold tank cloisonn with 15 years in relief and an oil tank color matched to the engine. The seat is a one-piece, Badlander-inspired unit that sits low (25.5 inches) and accommodates both the rider and a passenger. The 15th anniversary cues complement the Fat Boy's traditional huge front forks, wide bars, large headlight and nacelle and shotgun over/under shorty dual right side exhaust.

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The original Fat Boy was penned as a testament to Harley's burley traditional image, and it definitely hit the mark. It's been hitting the mark ever since, with modest evolutionary changes and enhancements and consistent appeal.

The 15th Anniversary Edition Fat Boy is available in two colors - Vivid Black and Brilliant Silver Pearl. The air cleaner cover, timer cover and ignition switch plate receive gold pinstriping, as do the console, tank and front fender, all complementing the 24k gold-plated tank badge.

Base price for my test 15th Anniversary Fat Boy was $18,495, while the Harely-Davidson factory security system, freight and emissions (not applicable in all states) brought the final total to $19,098.27. My test bike was finished in Vivid Black with gold striping - hard to keep clean, but really gorgeous. The Brilliant Silver Pearl version looks equally nice and would be much easier to keep looking that way.

SUMMARY: Climb aboard this special edition Harley, crank the 1550cc motor to life, shift into first gear, ease off the clutch and enjoy the ride. All Fat Boys feature a low, upright seating position and as a result are exceptionally well balanced. The 95-inch motor makes for a quick, smooth and fun ride, whether street cruising or twisting along a challenging back road. Bottom line, the 15th Anniversary Fat Boy is a worthwhile "collectible" with its timeless styling and limited production.

For those who are not into collectible, special edition bikes, whose value would be affected by altering them through personalization or customization, there's always the standard issue Fat Boy that comes without the special gold tank badge, and with a standard 1450cc motor and regular disc wheels.

For those who want a really special Fat Boy, Harley-Davidson offers a Fat Boy from their CVO division - the limited production, solo Screamin' Eagle Fat Boy, with lots of "bling-bling" parts and flashy treatment, along with plenty of extra factory-provided power. The standard Fat Boy costs less than the 15th Anniversary Edition bike, while the Screamin' Eagle version, with all its extra features and accessories goes for roughly $28,000 - not exactly "chump change." The choice is yours, according to your personal tastes and budget constraints - they all reflect Harley's heritage and provide a comfortable Softail ride.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Harley-Davidson FLSTFI 15th Anniversary Edition Fat Boy

Base Price: $18,495.

Price as Tested: $19,098.27.

Engine Type and Size: Twin Cam 88B 95 cubic-inch (1550 cc) air-cooled Twin with electronic, sequential fuel injection and right-side over/under shotgun shorty dual exhaust.

Torque (ft./ lbs.): 92.7 at 4,000 rpm.

Transmission: Five-speed manual.

Drive Train: Primary drive - chain / Final drive - belt.

Suspension: Front - 41.3 mm telescopic dual forks with "beer-can" covers. Rear - Swingarm, mild steel, rectangular-tube sections, stamped junctions, MIG welded.

Brakes: Hydraulic discs front and rear with 4-piston calipers.

Tires: Dunlop MT 90B16 72H front / 150/80B16 71H rear, mounted on chrome solid disc wheels.

Wheelbase: 64.5 inches.

Length Overall: 94.3 inches.

Steering angle: 32.0 degrees.

Curb Weight dry: 675 lbs. (dry).

Fuel Capacity: 5.0 gallons.

Seat height: 25.5 inches.

Copyright, Motor Matters, 2005

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