Harley Davidson launches FXS Blackline bobber

Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 11:19 by Auto Correspondent

There’s a new hog set to prowl on American roads. Harley-Davidson has introduced the new Blackline motorcycle in its Dark Custom lineup, effectively a Softail “symbolising defiance”, designed for younger riders with a bit of a rebel streak in them.

The FXS Blackline has newly carved out surfaces with a lightened rear fender. The bike also features a new and rather unusual asymmetrical fuel tank design. Harley calls the new bike “lean as wire, hard as iron and dark as a tar road at midnight.” It goes on . . . “The Blackline throws new fuel on a fire that burns across generations, an unquenchable desire to ride.” Poetic . . . but is it any good? Let’s find out. Related: Harley Davidson bikes in India

A new, compact headlight and analog speedometer are tucked low into the wide, FX front end, with subtle chrome bits shining against the black triple clamps and black painted fork lowers. The new, low asymmetric five-gallon fuel tank features a low-profile fuel fill on the right side, and a “Blackline” trim panel flowing down the center of the tank covers.

2011 Harley Davidson 2011 Harley Davidson fxs blackline comes with a sleek tank photo

Photo: 2011 Harley Davidson 2011 Harley Davidson FXS Blackline comes with a sleek tank

Instrumentation is compact and tucked, and there’s just enough shine to make the black parts look blacker. 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 Softail chassis utilizes rear suspension control provided by coil-over shock absorbers mounted horizontally along the frame rails below the powertrain, where they are out of sight. So, while the swingarm section replicates the lines of a vintage hog, the suspension performance and handling on this one are thoroughly modern. Related: Harley Davidson Sportster 883

2011 Harley Davidson fxs blackline photo

Photo: 2011 Harley Davidson FXS Blackline

The engine is a rigid-mounted, counter-balanced Twin Cam 96B V-Twin engine with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI), which puts out 89 ft. lbs. of peak torque @ 3250 rpm through a six speed transmission. The Blackline gets a claimed 54 miles highway and 35 city. The engine is dressed in black and silver, and tightly packaged within the frame.

Other styling cues of the FXS Blackline, as the photos indicate, include a blacked-out horseshoe shaped oil tank recalling the original on the 1936 ELsmooth, black rims on profile laced aluminium wheels with black anodised rims hearkening back to the 1930s and a chopped rear fender made famous by post-WWII riders.

2011 Harley Davidson fxs blackline profile photo

Photo: 2011 Harley Davidson FXS Blackline profile

Features include an analog speedometer on a triple-clamp mount that also holds indicator lights. LCD screen on the speedometer includes low-fuel warning and “miles to empty” display function.

The FXS Blackline will retail at $15,499- $15,998.

FXS Blackline technical specifications

Type: air-cooled, 45-degree V-twin
Displacement; bore x stroke: 1584cc; 95.3 x 111.1mm
Valve train: OHV, 2 valves/cylinder
Compression: 9.2:1
Fuel system: ESPFI
Transmission: 6-speed; wet, multiplate clutch
Final Drive: belt

Overall length: 93 in.
Wheelbase: 66.5 in.
Wet weight: 682 lbs.
Seat height: 26.1 in.
Rake/trail: 30 deg./4.84 in.
Front tire: Dunlop D402F MH90-21
Rear tire: Dunlop D402 MU85B16
Front brake: 292mm disc, 4-piston caliper
Rear brake: 292mm disc, 4-piston caliper
Front suspension: 41mm telescopic fork; 5.6 in. travel
Rear Suspension: horizontal coil-over dual dampers; 3.6 in. travel Fuel capacity: 5 gal.