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Harley-Davidson’s New Seventy-Two Harkens Back to a Bygone Era


June 24, 2012 by Rider Newsletter Staff

A few weeks ago, we talked about the new Harley-Davidson Softail Slim, a lightweight version of the venerable H-D touring bike. At the same time Harley was updating the Softail, they introduced the Seventy-Two, a bike that will take lots of folks on a nostalgia trip, while also providing a modern and reliable riding experience.

Make no mistake about it; the Seventy-Two is a Sportster. The 1200cc V-Twin Evolution engine is a proven power source, while familiar Sportster mechanical parts inspire confidence. While many of the design cues are reminiscent of 70s era choppers, there is also a distinct minimalist view. The bike looks, well, skinny, which also makes it look nimble and fun to ride. With prices starting at $10,499, you’ll get a lot for your money and have some scratch left over to add a few custom touches of your own. If you’re looking for a starting point from which to build your own chopper, this could be it.

One thing the Seventy-Two is clearly not is a highway cruiser. A few of the reviews we read mentioned the tiny, 2.1 gallon Sportster “peanut” fuel tank and its short range between trips to the pump. The mini-ape handlebars got some attention as well. Like any self-respecting chopper, it’s “hands up” when riding, which can take a lot of arm strength at highway speeds. Also, the skinny, 21-inch front tire doesn’t offer a great deal of padding, so it might be best to concentrate on cruising the boulevards with “Easy Rider” style and grace.

In addition to paying homage to the 70s, the Seventy-Two also takes its name from the famed Los Angeles cruising paradise, Whittier Boulevard, or California Route 72. That road and that era are represented by the raised bars, simplistic design and the optional, super-cool “Hard Candy Big Red Flake Paint” which is available at a premium price.

With metal flakes the size of cornflakes (well, almost), this paint scheme is as unique as they come. Some might argue if you don’t go for the special paint, you’re missing the point. However, if giant metal flakes are not your style, or you’d like to save the extra $700 for other things, two additional paint treatments are available. Both Black Denim and Big Blue Pearl offer high-quality looks with Harley-Davidson craftsmanship.

No matter which paint scheme you go with, the Seventy-Two retains its slender, simple yet stylish design through features such as the narrow, spoke front wheel with its snazzy white wall tire and the standard, single-rider seat, signaling to the world that you ride alone…at least until you order another saddle, that is.

Chrome, metal flake paint and a laid back attitude were hallmarks of biking in the 70s and the Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two makes it all available in a reliable, fun-to-ride and not-too-expensive package. Any time you can get a taste of the 70s without disco, you are heading in the right direction.

Here are a few links for information and reviews of the Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two: review review review

Official Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two product page


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