2008 Harley-Davidson Rocker | Achievement in Design

Transcribing the spare lines of classic hardtails into the modern era is a feat of engineering prestidigitation. Harley-Davidson began concealing rear suspension with its Softail design in 1984. Now, Motor Company designers have masterfully crafted—without the ruinous chiropractic implications a hardtail custom chopper hallucination in the new slammed and stretched Rocker.

The ingenious Rockertail rear end features a broad fender that hugs the 240mm rear Dunlop with no visible means of support. Attached directly to the elliptical tubes of the swingarm, the fender rocks in unison with the rear wheel through 3.4 inches of suspension. In order to withstand the 100-plus Gs it is expected to encounter on the road, the fender is constructed of two bonded steel layers. Dual integrated LED stop/turn indicators maintain the Rocker’s lean custom attitude.

Harley-Davidson takes a significant step toward the merging of "factory" and "custom" with the Rocker family.

H-D’s design legerdemain is not limited to the chopper’s remarkable posterior. The Rocker C model also features a concealed pillion that pivots out from underneath the seat, extending over the rear fender. With its 250-pound capacity, the diminutive perch creates the gravity-defying illusion that the passenger is hovering in mid-air over the rear wheel.

Despite the Rocker’s rebellious 36.5-degree rake and bulging rear tire, it proves surprisingly obedient on the road. A fusion of brawling good looks and innovative design, the Rocker is as easy on the eyes as it is on the spine.