With the demise of the FXDR and the V-Rod, the 2021 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob 114 inherits the mantle of the hot-rod cruiser from The Motor Company. With bobbed fenders, fat 16-inch tires, exposed air-filter, and a robust exhaust system, the Fat Bob 114 looks the part of a tough-guy boulevard brawler.
There’s no doubt the Fat Bob 114 delivers the performance goods around town. A pavement rippling 118 ft-lbs of torque is produced at just 3500 rpm, so acceleration is always at your beck and call. Thanks to a slow-turn throttle, the Milwaukee-Eight 114 isn’t jumpy—it’s insistent. Twist the throttle, and you gain mph at a rate that is as smooth as it is impressive—don’t worry, there’s still enough V-twin purr to keep you content. While there may be some competition for you at the stoplights, it will take a dedicated opponent to shut you down when the light turns green.
The ergonomics of the 2021 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob 114 are perfect for the stoplight antics. You’re firmly entrenched in the all-day comfortable seat with your legs forward, though not excessively so. The grips are about where you’d like them to be for riding, if not profiling. The seating position gives you a feeling of comfort and authority. You know you can move out quickly and look good doing it—the hallmarks of a great motorcycle.
Of course, riding in an urban environment is about more than dashing from stop to stop. You have to deal with road irregularities and traffic, and the Fat Bob arrives at the city limits ready for the demolition derby.
It may look like a low, mean cruiser—and it is. However, there is some suspension travel lurking beyond that 28-inch seat height. The rear wheel gets 4.4 inches of travel thanks to a smartly damped and sprung shock—spring preload is adjustable via a knob, should you carry a passenger. The fork gives you over five inches of travel. Add to that the high-profile Dunlops with Harley-Davidson branding, and you have plenty of protection from potholes, dips, and railroad crossings.
The suspension is at its most impressive on battered urban freeways, which feature seamed concrete slabs that can feel as whooped out as Glen Helen after an all-day pounding. Between the Fat Bob’s geometry, suspension, and tires, the chassis makes short work of the obstacles, while the power allows you to go as fast as you like. Moving into position on the freeway is a pleasure, with the vast dollops of torque at any rpm, plus the stability of the 63.6-inch wheelbase and, again, the Fat Bob’s fat Dunlops.
Our test bike had a Wind Splitter H-D Detachable Compact 15-inch Windshield installed. Although it might not look like much, the $420 accessory keeps a ton of freeway windblast off your chest. Really, at anything above 35 mph, you’ll notice how much wind is being displaced. Around town in the summer, you will want to pull it off to increase airflow—a no-tool job. If you do a decent amount of freeway work, it’s a nice add-on.
In close quarters, the Fat Bob is agile enough for filtering to the front of any red-light line-up. Working your way through traffic requires a bit of muscle to coax the 676-pound motorcycle to go where you want it to go. The wide handlebar has an odd downward droop that counteracts bar risers, but it works. While 114 cubes could be considered overkill for urban prowling, the big V-twin is docile enough if you have even the slightest semblance of throttle control. If you need the massive power, it’s only a wrist-twist away.
Perhaps a secret identity of the 2021 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob 114 is that it’s quite fun when it’s time to carve up the canyons. If you’re the type of rider who knows how to exploit torque and stability, the Fat Bob is quite rewarding. The chunky Dunlops provide plenty of traction all the way to your heels touching down, which happens later than you think—cornering clearance will be satisfactory for most riders.
Braking is an interesting proposition on Harley-Davidson cruisers. Some have a strong rear-brake that gets lots of use—others, not so much. Put the Fat Bob 114 down as one of the not-so-strong rear brake H-Ds. For those who don’t care about the back brake, you’re in luck—the twin 300mm discs on the front wheel have four-piston calipers doing the business. With the Dunlop’s wide footprint, the front is capable of serious deceleration without triggering the ABS.
Riders who like to constantly monitor their speed will not be happy with the tank-mounted round display. The tachometer takes over most of the real estate, and I never feel the need to know what rpm the motor is at—I can tell by feel. The speed is a small digital display in an unreadable position if you have a full-face helmet on. I’m a full-face guy, so about the only time I check out the dash is at a stop. Actually, most of the time I’m on a fruitless quest to find neutral. The transmission must be tied to the signals, as I always seem to find N just as the light turns green.
The 2021 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob 114 is great fun to ride, and you can present yourself as the hottest of hot rods, if you prefer. No one needs to know that the beastly motor can be a pussycat, and you’re pampered by the suspension, seat, and ergonomics.
Photography by Kelly Callan
- Helmet: Arai Defiant-X
- Jacket: The Trans-Am by Cortech
- Back protection: Fly Racing Barricade Back
- Gloves: Tourmaster Gel Cruiser
- Jeans: The Ventura by Cortech
- Shoes: Harley-Davidson Tremont Waterproof
2021 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob 114 Specs
- Type: Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-twin
- Displacement: 114ci (1868cc)
- Bore x stroke: 4.016” x 4.5” (102 x 114mm)
- Maximum torque: 118 ft-lbs @ 3500 rpm
- Compression ratio: 10.5:1
- Valvetrain: Single-cam; 4 vpc
- Lubrication: Dry sump
- Exhaust: 2-1-2; catalyst in muffler
- Cooling: Air and oil
- Transmission: 6-speed Cruise Drive
- Primary drive: Chain
- Final drive: Belt
- Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable 43mm inverted cartridge fork w/ triple-rate springs; 5.1 inches
- Rear suspension; travel: Spring-preload adjustable shock; 4.4 inches
- Wheels: Cast aluminum
- Front: 16 x 3
- Rear: 16 x 5
- Tires: Dunlop Harley-Davidson
- Front tire: 150/80 x 16
- Rear tire: 180/70 x 16
- Front brakes: 300mm discs w/ 4-piston calipers
- Rear brake: 292mm disc w/ 2 piston caliper
- ABS: Standard
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 63.6 inches
- Rake: 28 degrees
- Trail: 5.2 inches
- Seat height: 28 inches
- Fuel capacity: 3.6 gallons
- Estimated fuel consumption: 47 mpg
- Curb weight: 676 pounds
2021 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob 114 Colors and Prices
- Vivid Black: $18,799 MSRP
- Billiard Red; Deadwood Green Denim: $19,199 MSRP
- Price as tested: $19,219 MSP