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It's been over a century since Harley-Davidson started producing motorcycles and till date, they are known for their cruisers that definitely turn heads wherever they go.
Harley-Davidson was among the very first premium motorcycle brands to set up shop in India in 2009 in spite of the low demand for premium bikes. Despite the low interest, Harley-Davidson managed to gain traction when it came to sales in India and has been here ever since.
The 1200 Custom was launched in India as the replacement for the SuperLow. We took the 1200 Custom for a short spin and here's what we have to say about it.
The 1200 Custom is not intimidating in terms of size when someone looks at it for the first time, and it sits between the Iron 883 and the Forty-Eight, Harley-Davidson's 'Sportster' series. However, the Custom 1200 is by no means a small motorcycle either, and its presence always draws attention on the move or even when standing still.
Up front, the bike features a round headlamp (halogen bulb) that sits over the telescopic forks. Other quintessential Harley design elements include the large 17-litre fuel tank and the generous looking saddle.
Harley has overloaded the 1200 Custom with a lot of chrome which is spread across the bike but, really comes into focus thanks to the blinged out aluminium alloy wheels.The floating instrument cluster looks old fashioned and features a large analogue speedometer.
Also present is a small digital screen which gives out bits of information to the rider including the tachometer, gear position indicator, trip meter, odometer, clock and distance to empty. The switch gear quality is top notch while the overall fit and finish of the 1200 Custom is adequate.
Swing a leg over the saddle, and you're greeted with that familiar retro-cockpit layout. The seat is also a bit higher (at 725mm it's still low). The bike has a slightly longer wheelbase, and it weighs a little more than the Forty-Eight.
The raised inward set handlebar, low saddle, and the front set foot pegs result in a very relaxed riding stance. However, riding the bike for a very long time might be painful for some riders because the saddle isn't padded enough for long stints of mile munching.
Bring the engine to life, and the grunt will leave a big smile on your face. Powering the motorcycle is a 1,202cc Evolution V-twin air-cooled engine, which produces 96Nm of peak torque at just 3,500rpm. The engine is coupled to a 5-speed gearbox, and the power is transmitted to the rear wheels via a belt-drive system.
Open the throttle, and the rush of torque pushes you off the line gently before the mid-range approaches. Despite the torque on offer, the bike lacks ABS (available as an optional extra) and Traction Control. This makes riding in the rain a risky task especially in case of the wheels locking up due to the sudden application of the brakes.
At around 270kgs the bike feels pretty nimble and maneuvering it around is easy in busy city traffic and surprisingly, the bike did not heat-up much!
The 1200 Custom reaches triple digit speeds within no time, and the sweet spot to cruise on the open tarmac is the 120kph mark. However, there are a lot of vibrations when the bike is idling, and some can be felt when you are on the move as well.
The bike features chunky cast five-spoke alloy wheels that host 16-inch Michelin Scorcher tyres - a 130 front and a 150 rear. Braking duties are handled by single disks at the front and back that provide enough bite.
The tyres also provide adequate grip but, the bike rides too low (ground clearance is a speed bump scraping 105mm) to be cornered. A little too much lean to either the right or the left and the foot pegs end up scraping the tarmac.
The 1200 Custom returned a mileage of around 15kpl in the city and around 21kpl on the highway, which, is not bad at all for a cruiser which has that big an engine. The 17-litre fuel tank gives an adequate range of around 230 to 250km between visits to the petrol stations.
Promeet Ghosh Thinks!
The Harley-Davidson 1200 Custom carries a price tag of Rs 8.90 lakh ex-showroom (Delhi). At this price range, the 1200 Custom is a bit disappointing that the bike is not equipped with the adequate electronics (ABS) and doesn't feature multiple riding modes.
On the other hand, Harley does offer a wide range of accessories for owners looking to customise the 1200 Custom to their tastes. And, if someone has enough money to spare for a pimped-up Harley, the 1200 Custom will be the perfect choice for them.