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Harley-Davidson Cross Bones First Look

Monday, January 21, 2008
While the look may turn back the pages of history  the performance should be all 21st century.
Harley Davidson's newest softail, the 2008 FLSTSB Cross Bones, pays homage to the days when knuckles and pans were the rage with its mini apes, sprung seat and front end, classic half-round footboards and a gloss black round air cleaner.
The black block letters on the white marquee read Harley-Davidson Dark Custom. Anxious journalists filled the taut, dark confines of the Viper Room Saturday night in anticipation of the unveiling of The Motor Company's latest endeavor. Guns & Roses' 'Rocket Queen' echoed from the cave-like acoustics of the famed Hollywood club as a DJ kept the vibe on high. The circle around the motorcycle sitting in the middle of the dance floor under a shiny black veil tightened as Willie G. stood to introduce the newest softail, the Harley-Davidson Cross Bones.

Applause filled the room as Willie G. and son Bill, Harley-Davidson's V-P, lifted the veil. The bike is a real looker, lots of springs and high handlebars. Mini-apes drape over a sweet custom-style dual tank. A shiny Springer on a fat knob of a front tire gives the front end a brutish stance. The fat-bottomed leather solo seat has dual springs and a metal pan design that dates back to the 30s. The retro feel of the bike is reinforced by the bike's gloss black round air cleaner cover and old-style half-round rider footboards.

"We have a litmus test at The Motor Company. A lot of workers on the line are hard-core riders, and when we roll these bikes down the assembly line for the first time, we always know when we have a home run because the line slows way down when they like what they see," said Bill Davidson. "The Cross Bones definitely passed the test."

Harley looked to its knuckles and pans of yesterday for styling cues on the latest motorcycle in its Dark Custom line. The Cross Bones has the "retro look of a Springer front end and other post-war era bobber styling cues like a sprung solo seat, half-round rider footboards, Gloss Black round air cleaner cover and chopped front fender." Harley has done its homework because these styling cues are reflected in current trends in the custom building scene.

And while the look may be retro, the performance should be all 21st Century. It's got a black and polished version of Harley's Twin Cam 96B providing the power.

"The Twin Cam 96 on the Cross Bones has unfinished fins. We just cast the engine and then leave them alone," said Project Leader Jim Williams.
Willie G. and his son Bill Davidson pose with the latest softail from The Motor Company.
The iconic Willie G. and his son Bill Davidson mug for the cameras at Hollywood's infamous Viper Room Saturday night for the premier of the '08 Cross Bones.

The progressive powertrain includes a 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission and H-D's Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI). It exits out of a straight shot exhaust system with chrome slash-cut mufflers. The Cross Bones' rear suspension has the vintage rigid look without the rigid ride thanks to its hidden horizontal coil-over rear shock absorbers tucked out of sight below the powertrain.

The tank is a defining element of the Cross Bones character. The bike has split tanks with a gloss black "cat-eye" styled console dividing the two cells with a new raised speedometer face. The console only comes down half-way the tank where the chrome gives way to a hand-laced leather tank panel that disappears under the sprung solo seat.

The 'Dark' attitude of the Cross Bones is exhibited in its Gloss Black painted Springer front end, black bucket headlamp and black mini ape-hanger handlebar. The chopped front fender puts the spotlight on a burly front wheel, and a Bobtail fender helps showcase a wide 200mm rear tire. The matching tread tires ride on Steel Laced wheels with Gloss Black painted rims. The bike is the latest of Harley-Davidson's Dark Customs, a family that includes the Nightster, Night Train, Night Rod Special and Street Bob. You can check out more on The Motor Company's Dark Customs at www.harley-davidson.com/darkcustom.

The raw aggressive styling of the Cross Bones is no mistake. Harley is exposing a fresh, mainstream side of the venerable Motor Company. At the Viper Room intro, V-P Bill also announced that Harley-Davidson is now the exclusive motorcycle sponsor of the UFC. The Bar & Shield logo was emblazoned center stage of the octagon at an event that aired December 29. The popular Mixed Martial Arts arena possesses the type of swagger and attitude that Harley is hoping to tap into with its new arena of Dark Customs. It is the first worldwide sports endorsement the Company has done besides racing endorsements.
The fins of the Twin Cam 96 are unfinished and complement the Cross Bone s unique Gloss Black round air cleaner cover.
First came the Nightster, then the Rocker and Rocker C, and now the Cross Bones. Harley's latest trend of producing street-savvy bikes should help it attract a younger generation of riders.

The FLSTSB Cross Bones will come in premium custom graphics with wicked striping and paint featuring new Dark Blue Pearl, Dark Blue Denim, as well as Vivid Black, Black Denim, Olive Pearl and Pewter Denim. Of course, there's already a list of aftermarket accessories to give it that final touch of personalization. The newest softail stickers for $16,795, or $17,140 for color.

American Thunder's host , Jay Barbieri, best summed up the general consensus of the crowd about the new Cross Bones.

"It kicks ass, Bill" Barbieri shouted over the crowd. And it does. Can't wait until the press intro.

2008 FLSTSB Cross Bones features:

Rigid-mount, 1584 cc Twin Cam 96B balanced engine
6-speed Cruise Drive transmission
Black powder-coated engine with polished rocker box covers and pushrods and untreated fins
Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Gloss Black painted Springer front end with chrome springs
Gloss Black mini ape-hanger handlebar
Straight shot exhaust with chrome slash-cut mufflers
Adjustable sprung solo seat with leather lacing
26.6-inch seat height
Harley-Davidson and hot girls - the two go hand in hand.
We're not saying that riding the new Harley-Davidson Cross Bones is going to help you land beauties like these, but it definitely won't hurt your chances any.

Chopped front fender with striping
Bobtail rear fender with striping
Gloss Black cat-eye tank console with new speedometer face
Gloss Black round air cleaner cover, oil tank and rear fender supports
Distinctive five-gallon fuel tank with hand-laced leather tank panel and striping
200 mm rear tire
Laced Steel front and rear wheels with Gloss Black painted rims
Half-round old-school foot boards
Horseshoe oil tank with Harley-Davidson patent badge
Optional Smart Security System

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TheDudeAbides   April 5, 2013 06:04 PM
Harley Davidson doesn't make an automatic transmission .
Westy -Mr  December 31, 2010 04:17 PM
Gotta git me one of these babies!!
Capt Brian -Captain  October 13, 2010 09:18 AM
Help me out here what is Harleys 6 speed CRUISE DRIVE transmision? Is this a automatic 6 speed Can not seem to get the anwer.
fred -old man short  September 22, 2010 08:41 PM
i'm looking at a 2008 crossbones. i got a 2003 sportster 1200 custom anniversary thing with all the chrome and pipes and stuff, but it just doesn't work when I put the ol' lady on it. Had an '86 fxr but sold it to finish building the house, back in '90. long time without a bike till I got the sporty. It ain't makin' it. Gonna check out a '08 cross bones, only got 1250 miles on it. He's hurt and needs to sell it. Can't sell the damn sporty, but, man, that cross bones is one sweet machine. I'll keep ya posted. I might sell, no, rent the wife and get this thing evern I gotta keep the sportster for my honey to ride. Oh, I'm only 5 foot 4. We'll see how it goes...
Tom -2009 Bones  August 19, 2010 07:04 PM
Since Harley discontinued the Heritage Springer, this is the best looking Harley on the market! I have owned (brand new) 5 Harleys now and the only one thas even compares to it is the heritage springer! If Harley still made them I would have bought that, but since they don't..........this is a VERY CLOSE second...in fact it is even better in some ways. I am a tall man, 6' 2" and I fit on this even better than the Heritage Springer! The only thing I had to get used to is staying on the springer seat. Once I mastered that......it is a superb ride! I fugured I better get used to it since it is one of the things that caught my eye!!! I have had a SuperGlide, a Fatboy, the Heritage Springer, a Road King and now the Cross Bones! All I can say is that Harley Rules.......all other bikes are just wanna be's! Keep up the good work Harley!!!
coyote -spedo  June 12, 2010 09:05 AM
take a close look at speedo.im on my third speedo,the area from 0-60,the black sticker lifts up off the backing plate.
anyone else have this problem?
Douglas -Cross Bones 2009  April 30, 2010 06:36 PM
I bought mine last week. I've owned Kawasaki zx10r (08 race production bike) and own a Yamaha Road Liner 08...The Harley Davidson Cross Bones is one hell of a ride. Love the six speed transmission. Good job Harley Davidson. Ride...
Marty -a must have bike  April 17, 2010 10:24 AM
I was deployed when the crossbones came out, I knew right then and there that was the bike for me. When I returned, I went straight to my Harley dealership and sat on a brand new 2008. The "bones" had minor modifications, which contained a softtail seat instead of the old style spring seat. I also added "black" vance & hines short stacks, and powder coated some of the engine parts: primer cover, derby cover, top rocker boxes, transmission cover. We all can agree that the look and style of the bike is unique itself.

This month will be a year that I have owned my crossbones, and already I have 10,000 miles on it. I have riden my bike to Florida and back, I have participated in an "iron butt ride"(1,000 miles in 24 hrs - which accomplished in 23 hrs and 50 mins.- not for the weak at heart!)and the handling and performance of the bike is superb.

I was once told that a bike, tells the tale of a man, kind of becomes a part of a man's personality. I have found my personality. I have definitely found the bike and style for me.

Keep both wheels on the ground!
Matt -Cross Bones  April 14, 2010 01:45 AM
I picked up my 2010 Cross Bones just last weekend after waiting for it since last november. It hasn't been the best weather but even in the cold it's great fun rideing the Cross Bones. I made a few changes to the bike among which, Vance and Hines exhaust, lost the ape hanger, and made the complete engine black. It looks and rides great.
Black Duck -Cross bones  April 11, 2010 05:45 PM
The looks are amazing, best Harley has produced in decades! The only problem I found was the heal shifter, which was an easy solution. Romoval! I replaced the pipes with black slip ons and black heat guard. I don't have the time or patience to deal with any chrome and the springs are more than enough. If you don't like wind in your chest drive a car! Dumbass!
Red -10 mos and 10k later  April 8, 2010 02:54 PM
after 10k miles i took the cat out and pu a k+n inlet filter, what a change. I will not have the dealer reprogram, that really sounds outside of thier ability, runs good now. soft HD tire shot at 5600 miles, put on pirelli and it looks like ill get at least 10k out of it. this bike came with badlander low seat and it suits it, stock saddle was slippery. Rode all last summer and didnot have any temp issues, matter of fact except for junk chrome on primary cover this bike has not given me a single reason not to love it. see lots of posts on this bike and have to agree that it should have double disk up front. RIDE

Rugby -Prop  April 4, 2010 10:37 AM
Just bought a brand new '09, picking it up Friday. Have a Road King for times when I need to pack - this one is just for the fun of it. Not sure why they put chrome exhaust on it - but a flat black Thunder Header will fix that in a jiffy.

NOT a yuppie motorcycle - the wind is SUPPOSED to be in your chest.
Audon -YES!!  October 25, 2009 05:40 PM
Just went to Javelina Harley yesterday. Sat on 2 '09 models (one with springer seat, one with some other low seat) and an '08 with spring seat. Let me say, with the spring seat the ape hangers felt perfect, wasn't reaching up for 'em. I'm 6'3. Gonna buy one and lose the floorboards and highway pegs. Maybe the engine guard too.
carlo -hd  October 17, 2009 09:24 AM

Swanny -Cross Bones  September 19, 2009 09:25 PM
I am looking at the cross bones wondering if it is the best choice for me, a first time bike buyer. I am 6'6" and felt real comfortable when sitting on this bike. All your comments are makeing the decision easier. Thanks everyone.
Kevin W. Flowers -Cross Bones  September 17, 2009 07:47 AM
The guy that wanted to take the bus back after riding the Cross Bones is evidentally not a Biker LOL. I got a 2008 Bones and she is bad to the Bone. I'm just adding my fender kit from Kyle at "Shadetree Fabrications" and it will be the ENVY of every biker after completion. Keep on designing Willie G. fine job.
Kevin W. Flowers -Cross Bones  September 17, 2009 07:46 AM
The guy that wanted to take the bus back after riding the Cross Bones is evidentally not a Biker LOL. I got a 2008 Bones and she is bad to the Bone. I'm just adding my fender kit from Kyle at "Shadetree Fabrications" and it will be the ENVY of every biker after completion. Keep on designing Willie G. fine job.
Kevin W. Flowers -Cross Bones  September 17, 2009 07:45 AM
The guy that wanted to take the bus back after riding the Cross Bones is evidentally not a Biker LOL. I got a 2008 Bones and she is bad to the Bone. I'm just adding my fender kit from Kyle at "Shadetree Fabrications" and it will be the ENVY of every biker after completion. Keep on designing Willie G. fine job.
dave -crossbones  September 2, 2009 02:50 PM
Ryan; man whats the problem? If your going to make a bold statment and put down Harleys new creation, you need to follow it up with an explanation other wise you sound like a goldwing haten punk.
chad -yup  July 17, 2009 08:35 PM
have over 9000km on my 08 crossbones.... LOVE IT... HATED the spring seat, traded it for a badlander and the crossbones really came alive.....cant beat the front end on this bike.... shes a keeper for sure
Red -cross bones  June 22, 2009 08:10 PM
I have put 3k on my 2009 Cross Bones in the first 2mos, and it is as sweet as I hoped. No it is not an FLH or a heritage (I have a 1987 Elect and the wife has a 2000 fatboy) it is a @$%^*@#$%% springer. Ithought the ride and handling were great. IM 6'4 and this bike actually fits. test rode a Fatbob, streetglide and rocker but the crossbones won out. My wife was shocked that I bought it new, first NEW vehicle I ever bought for myself. Two problems with the bike 1) the chrome on the primary cover looks like it came from china 2) it is an absolute bitch to clean the bugs out of the springs on front end and as sweet as it is I still love my wife,kids and dog more
Ryan -crosssbone  June 22, 2009 04:02 PM
Took a crosssbone for a ride at the laconia bike demos this week was tempted to leave it on the side of road and take the bus back what a horible bike was glad to get back on my heritage
Dennis -2009 CrossBones  June 21, 2009 05:43 AM
This bike can be fitted with a windshield but it takes away the look of the Crossbones. If you dont want wind in your face buy the Electra Glide or as my buddy says The Nifty 50
Dennis -2009 CrossBones  June 21, 2009 05:35 AM
First let me say that I have owned 6 other motorcycles that were not American made and this is my first Harley Davidson I ever purchased. I had 3 sport bikes 1 suzuki GSXR 1000, 2 Kawasaki's Ninja ZX6R and ZX10. Cruisers Suzuki Marauder 800, Kawasaki Vulcan 2000, and a Suzuki Boulevard M109R. I must say that the Crossbones is the best motorcycle I have ever driven. Its comfortable, great sound with vance and hines pipes short shots blk, handle bars perfectly located. Nice fat tires front and rear. The old style in a new package is a head turner. Now I have ridden pretty good distance on the bike and handling is like a sport bike with the comfort of a cruiser. I will never buy another make or brand other than Harley for the rest of my life. The other bikes I had were nice but no comparison to Harley.
Bull -Mike  June 4, 2009 09:34 AM
Mike, do realize how gay your question is ? Do yourself a favor, buy a Gold Wing....
Mike -Cross Bones  May 18, 2009 01:48 PM
I am thinking about buying a Cross Bones but have read that the ride is not very good. Also read that you catch a lot of wind on your chest when going down the interstate. Can anyone tell me how the ride is/
Dan -2009 Cross Bones  March 22, 2009 02:01 PM
I was so impressed with the old school "bobber" looks of the 2008 Cross Bones that I purchased a 2009 Cross Bones, the first of March 2009. In Nova Scotia, Canada, we still have an abundance of snow and riding is totally out of the question until the latter part of April. The Harley dcealership delivered the bike and placed it in my garage (mansland). I have a continuous line-up of rubber-neckers constantly in my garage and all are amazed at the bike.I wouldn't go as far to say "I love it more than my wife" (as commented by the other comments) but it certainly comes in a solid second. Can hardly wait until the snow clears.
AWESOME -BIKE  December 29, 2008 03:05 PM
I bought it brand new and just love it. i'm 6'6" and everything falls into place, not one complaint. love it more than my wife!
Tup -crossbones  December 19, 2008 06:58 AM
The looks are fine. But the ride is not like anything I've ever driven.