2012 Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two First Look

February 1, 2012
Bryan Harley
Bryan Harley
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Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it's chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to 'Merican, he rides 'em all.

Harley-Davidson rolls back the clock back with its Seventy-Two Sportster, harking back to the days of Watergate, a time when the last ground troops were pulled out of Vietnam, the movie “The Godfather” was just being released and gasoline was a whopping 55-cents a gallon. It was also the height of the American chopper movement, bikes with ram’s horn handlebars, stretched forks and banana seats.

2012 Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two Sportster
The Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two features mini-apes, a 21-inch tall laced front wheel, and a skinny frame with a peanut tank.

The 2012 Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two draws upon the year 1972 for its DNA, rolling with mini-apes on a skinny frame and tires. The newest addition to Harley’s Dark Custom line also resurrects the famous Harley “peanut” tank. The new Sportster lists for $10,499 in Big Blue Pearl or Black Denim and jumps to $11,199 for the Big Red Flake paint job. Motorcycle USA will get to spin around Daytona Beach Bike Week on one of these babies the beginning of March, after which we’ll offer up our first ride impressions. Until then, here’s more info courtesy of The Motor Company.

The Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two motorcycle is a metal flake dream machine, a Sportster on a trip back to the days when the cool kids rode a Sting-Ray and the big boys parked choppers in a row on the curb. Those motorcycles were long and lean; candy-apple color and gleaming chrome shimmering in hazy summer sunlight. From its Hard Candy Big Red Flake paint and ape bars to its narrow whitewall tires, the Seventy-Two is a respectful nod to that era, and to the influence of the custom culture that still percolates today along Whittier Boulevard, the legendary cruising street in East Los Angeles also known as Route 72. A new generation of custom builder is tapping into that era and making a fresh statement, not just in California but in garages across the country, even around the world.

“In creating the Seventy-Two, we were also inspired by the vibe of the early chopper era,” says Frank Savage, Harley-Davidson Manager of Industrial Design. “Those bikes were colorful and chromed, but also narrow and stripped down to the essentials. You look at period examples and they are almost as simple as a bicycle. It’s a custom style that’s very particular to America and that California scene.”

Metal flake, an iconic design element of the ’70s, appeared in everything from dune buggy gel coat to vinyl diner upholstery, and on custom motorcycles. Harley-Davidson brings the sparkle back on the Seventy-Two with Hard Candy Big Red Flake paint. This new finish is created by applying a black base coat, followed by a polyurethane system that carries hexagon-shaped flakes that are more than seven times the diameter of metal flake used in typical production paint. Each flake is coated with a thin aluminum film and then tinted red. Four applications of clear coat, combined with hand sanding, create a smooth finish over the flakes.

“The final touch to the Hard Candy Big Red Flake paint is a logo on the tank top and pinstripe scallop details on both fenders,” says Savage. “Each was originally created by hand, and we recreated that art in a decal for production, so they still have the appearance of hand-applied graphics in that they are not exactly perfect. The graphics are then covered with a final clear coat application.”

A solo seat and side-mounted license plate bracket leave much of the chopped rear fender – and more of that paint – exposed on the Seventy-Two. The powertrain is finished in Gray powdercoat with chrome covers and a new round air cleaner with a dished cover. A classic Sportster 2.1-gallon “peanut” fuel tank adds a final period touch to the motorcycle.

Key features of the 2012 Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two include:
Air-cooled Evolution 1200cc V-Twin engine with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI), rated at 73 ft. lbs. peak torque at 3500 rpm.
Powertrain is finished in Gray powdercoat with Chrome covers.
Paint color choices include Hard Candy Big Red Flake with period pinstripe details on fenders and fuel tank, Black Denim, and Big Blue Pearl.
Classic 2.1-gallon peanut fuel tank.
Dunlop white side wall 21-inch (MH90-21) front and 16-inch (150/80B16) rear tires.
Chrome Laced wheels.
Ten-inch mini-ape handlebar mounted on a two-inch high riser.
Chrome, eight-inch round air cleaner cover with center screw mount.
Chopped rear fender exposes rear tire.
Side-mounted license plate bracket.
Chrome, staggered, shorty dual exhaust with slash-cut mufflers.
Solo seat with black textured vinyl cover.
Handlebar-mounted speedometer with chrome cup.
Chrome rear fender struts.
Chrome coil-over pre-load adjustable rear shocks.
Forward foot controls.

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