Harley-Davidson Bike that Declares Defiance

Here’s how the company puts it: Lean as wire, hard as iron and dark as a tar road at midnight, Harley-Davidson introduces the new Blackline motorcycle, a Softail designed to celebrate the place young riders want to grow into, but not out of. It was introduced Friday, Jan. 21.

The Blackline is the next chapter for the American brand that targets consumers age 18-34. This latest creation in the Dark Custom movement embodies three fundamentals of motorcycling: mechanical beauty, internal combustion, and the wide, open road.

“The Blackline is a motorcycle for all those who run by their own rules,” said Mike Lowney, director, market outreach for Harley-Davidson. “It’s more than a bike – it’s a mindset that is rooted in the spirit of defiance and irreverence embraced by today’s young riders.”

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The Blackline balances allegiance with rebellion, discarding previous conventions of color and chrome for a Dark Custom look that’s honest, functional and attainable, says the company.

Visual elements of the original bobber movement are combined with the raw, hand-hewn style embraced by today’s young builders. Instrumentation is compact and tucked, and there’s just enough shine to make the black parts look blacker.

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The chopped fender, narrow, split drag handlebar, and slammed speedometer contribute to the lean and linear nature of the bike that gives the Blackline its name.

The styling spotlight shines on the Big Twin engine dressed in black and silver with machined highlights reminiscent of its Big Twin predecessors of the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. The engine is capped off by a fuel tank shaved smooth and low. Aboard the Blackline, the rider hugs the frame on the lowest two-up seat ever offered by Harley-Davidson.

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The blacked-out horseshoe oil tank recalls the original on the 1936 EL. Other styling elements come from more than just Harley-Davidson history, taking authentic cues from motorcycle culture as well. The chopped rear fender made famous by post-WWII riders is bobbed high-and-tight over a slim 144mm tire.  

Up front, and tucked tight into the frame, the gloss black headlamp replicates the standard on Harleys going back to the post World War I years. The smooth, black rims on profile laced aluminum wheels hearken back to the 1930s. The simple, slammed speedometer reminiscent of the Depression era delivers a sporty look. Narrow, split drag handlebars are a first on the Softail platform.

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The Blackline joins the Dark Custom lineup that includes the Forty-Eight, Nightster, Iron 883, Cross Bones, Fat Bob and Street Bob.

Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces heavyweight custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles and offers a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel, and general merchandise.

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Rakesh Raman