The Harley-Davidson Fat Boy grows up in 2020. The petite 107 is dropped, and you have only one motor choice for The Plump One—the mighty Milwaukee-Eight 114. This is the largest-displacement Fat Boy ever, which started life with a 1340cc Evolution motor in 1990, and that leads us to the 2020 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary edition.
If only the Terminator had had a Fat Boy 114 back in 1991—he would have had an easier time protecting John Connor on his Honda XR100R dirt bike. We didn’t jump the Fat Boy 30th Anniversary into any flood control channels, but we did ride it through the same neighborhoods.
1. The 2020 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary model has two jobs—go fast in a straight line, and look menacing doing it. Those goals aren’t as easily accomplished as it might seem, but the latest Fat Boy does it without dropping a donut. The 30th Anniversary model gets plenty of black, led by Vivid Black paint on the bodywork, Satin Black on the solid cast-aluminum Lakester wheels, Black Onyx for the exhaust, and gloss black engine covers. Black, indeed. Add in bronze details for a bit of contrast, a distinctive headlight nacelle, and a numbered plaque on the tank (only 2500 will be produced), and you have a striking motorcycle. With the Milwaukee-Eight 114 wedged into the Softail chassis, you don’t have to worry about the fast part. The straight lines are handled by a pair of chubby Michelin Scorcher 11s and abundant rake.
2. With a 160mm front tire and 240mm rear, the Fat Boy’s intention to move forward with authority is made clear. With 700 pounds underneath you, carlike slabs of rubber on the 18-inch wheels, and a fork angle of 32 degrees, the Fat Boy demands that you go where you point him. You are definitely rewarded with a stable ride, as the annoyances of poorly maintained urban streets are rendered moot. Seams, bumps, and potholes are swallowed up by the Fat Boy without hesitation. You are going straight ahead, and nothing is going to change that mission. The Softail’s suspension has already proved itself—that’s a Showa Dual Bending Valve fork under those covers—and the extra rubber on the pavement gives you a bit of protection from harsh road realities.
3. Even in the city, you do have to make left- and right-hand turns at some point, and the Fat Boy will begrudgingly oblige. It’s usually enough to have a 240 in the back to make a rider reluctant to engage in cornering. However, the Fat Boy ups the ante with a 160 in the front. If you haven’t figured it out by now, he wants to go straight—exclusively. Fortunately, the Fat Boy is not quite as hard-headed as he would like you to believe. Apply enough body English and pressure to the thankfully wide handlebar, and you can change direction. Pick your trajectory carefully, as the Fat Boy is not a fan of changing his line once the turn is instigated. Get it right, and you’ll love the stable, absolutely planted feel.
4. When you do want to make a cornering adjustment, do not touch the front brake. Any invocation of the 300mm front disc makes the Fat Boy stand up and the front-end wobbles. Instead, feather along with the 292mm rear disc and exploit the rubber patch the 240 lays down. The Fat Boy will work with you, as long as the job is done on his terms.
5. Freeways are interesting on the 2020 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary. The famous freeways of Los Angeles are a disaster, as they are built by well-connected contractors with seemingly no oversight—and then they are ignored as they fall into disrepair. The pavement is a maze of cracks, bumps, Botts’ Dots, wavy rain grooves, and winding seams between unlike materials—in other words, perfect for motorcycle testing. Without any doubt, the Milwaukee-Eight 114 will hurl you along at whatever pace you desire. However, the upright, wide-arm ergonomics do turn you into a bit of a sail, so holding on becomes part of the process. In a straight line, the Fat Boy barrels through any road blemishes without a care. However, sweeping turns at freeway speeds can be tricky, as the Fat Boy wants to stand up when additional power is applied. It is definitely an entertaining mode of transportation.
6. Ergonomics on the Fat Boy reward riders of size. It’s not a ride for the petite, though everyone is welcome. It’s a rangy motorcycle, with floorboards up front, wide bars, and a thick girth. The seat height of 26.6 inches doesn’t discriminate, but if you don’t have a strong upper body, steering the Fat Boy will be overwhelming. The 160 that proffers stability also demands respect for its footprint. Hit the gym, if necessary.
7. You won’t be at a loss for positive attention on the Fat Boy 30th Anniversary. While riding around, people will roll down their windows to express approval of its appearance. Sometimes, people will stop driving to tell you how cool the Fat Boy 30th looks. The solid-disc machined aluminum wheels always garner their share of attention, and the 30th’s blacked-out scheme and bronze touches add to its role as an attention-grabbing device. Of course, the rumble of the 114 from the dual exhausts plays a part in directing glances (and stares) in your direction.
8. Riding the 2020 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary demands commitment. You are trading on the Terminator persona, so make sure you’re up to the challenge. Heavy steering and stability are the Fat Boy’s claims to fame—look elsewhere for agility. The power is there to get you in all kinds of trouble on the city street, so confirm your checking account balance before aggressively twisting the throttle. Be generous when people express appreciation for your motorcycle. If you can do all that and have $21,949 on hand, or the ability to borrow it, then you’re qualified for the Fat Boy 30th Anniversary experience.
Photography by Kelly Callan
- Helmet: Arai Defiant-X
- Jacket: Joe Rocket Sprint TT
- Gloves: Joe Rocket Cafe Racer
- Jeans: Joe Rocket Accelerator
- Boots: Highway 21 Low Primary Engineer
2020 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary Specs
- Type: Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-twin
- Displacement: 114ci
- Bore x stroke: 4.016” x 4.5”
- Maximum torque: 119 ft-lbs @ 3000 rpm
- Compression ratio: 10.5:1
- Valvetrain: Single cam w/ pushrods; 4 vpc
- Exhaust: 2-into-2
- Cooling: Air
- Transmission: 6-speed
- Primary drive: Chain
- Final drive: Belt
- Frame: Mild tubular steel w/ rectangular section backbone
- Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable Showa Dual Bending Valve inverted 49mm fork; 5.1 inches
- Rear suspension; travel: Spring-preload adjustable shock; 3.4 inches
- Wheels: Lakester cast aluminum
- Front: 18 x 4.50
- Rear: 18 x 8.00
- Tires: Michelin Scorcher 11
- Front tire: 160/60 x 18
- Rear tire: 240/40 x 18
- Front brake: 300mm disc w/ 4-piston fixed caliper
- Rear brake: 292mm disc w/ 2-piston floating caliper
- ABS: Standard
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 65.6 inches
- Rake: 30 degrees
- Fork angle: 32 degrees
- Trail: 4.1 inches
- Lean angle, right and left: 25.6 degrees
- Seat height: 26.6 inches
- Fuel capacity: 5 gallons
- Estimated fuel consumption: 47 mpg
- Curb weight: 699 pounds
- Color: Vivid Black Anniversary
2020 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary Price: $21,949