Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S and Moto Guzzi California Custom put to the test

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22nd Pictures

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I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here? Oh no. Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S and Moto Guzzi California Custom are canvas heroes and dream machines. For filmmakers and storytellers.

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Not quite as bulky: high bench, handlebars further forward, running boards a little further back.

A little less casual, but a bit more active.

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Elegant lady: The California Custom is also a dream of a motorcycle, but its design language is more playful and filigree.

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Digital speedometer above the headlight.

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Moto Guzzi California 1400 Custom.

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The 1400 Guzzi twin is fed up with power and charm until you drop. He shakes himself wonderfully charismatically.

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Moto Guzzi California 1400 Custom.

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Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S and Moto Guzzi California Custom.

MOTORCYCLE

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Power on the crankshaft. Measurements on the Dynojet roller test stand 250, corrected according to 95/1 / EG, maximum possible deviation ± 5%.

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Conclusion: Easy riding is actually quite good with both. They’re straightforward, even if they could be movie stars.

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But that doesn’t really matter. The decisive factor is that she too writes her own script for every kilometer. Life is Beautiful.

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Compared to the Fat Boy, the Moto Guzzi is the technically more sophisticated motorcycle.

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Big cruiser – once interpreted in American and once European.

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The Harley-Davidson Fat Boy has remained so true to itself, especially as the "S" with the really big engine.

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Very classic: the Harley rider sits deep in the motorcycle, the handlebars are high and stretches close to the driver, the running boards are far forward. Typical fat boy.

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The engine alone is a stunner and perfectly underlines the Hollywood flair of the whole machine.

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Speedometer unit above the tank.

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Fat boy: Lightweight construction does not play a role in the Fat Boy, many beautiful details pamper the eye anyway or because of that.

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Running boards.

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The incredibly powerful 110 cubic inch "Screaming Eagle" engine was previously reserved for the CVO models.

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Harley-Davidson Fat Boy.

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Daddy Fat Boy and the Boy: Of course we’re talking about the motorcycles, not the drivers. Congratulations on your 25th birthday.

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S and Moto Guzzi California Custom put to the test

Cruiser comparison

I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here? Oh no. Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S and Moto Guzzi California Custom are canvas heroes and dream machines. For filmmakers and storytellers.

M.Motorcycles are machines that fire our imagination and inspire us to dream. They make us actors in the film of our lives, or they take on a leading role themselves. They transport us to places where the action is or turn the street into a scene. Sometimes they get us into sticky situations, sometimes they get us out of them. They are heroes, or they make heroes – on screen or in real life. 

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Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S and Moto Guzzi California Custom put to the test
Cruiser comparison

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S and Moto Guzzi California Custom. Powerful machines. Lots of metal, classic shapes, huge engines. For cool or well-hung protagonists and their big appearances. And for maximum experience. There is something to see and something to touch here. The functionality is reduced to the essentials as much as possible: enjoyable driving. No suitcases, no windshields, no problems. Little spring travel, little lean angle. It doesn’t matter, travel equipment and sporting ambitions just disturb the dreamy weekend shoot anyway.

When it comes to the two-wheeled dream industry, Harley-Davidson and Moto Guzzi put you in the very front row. And this time they send two actors with promising names to the set: Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S and Moto Guzzi California Custom. How they sound. Self-explanatory and self-evident. Even for those who have absolutely no idea about motorcycles. They sound really like Dodge Charger or Ferrari Daytona. They sound like serenity and strength, like sunglasses, freedom, sunset on the prairie or on the Côte d´Azur. And after a lot of other cruiser clichés. Splendid. The script is now set and the actors come to audition.

110 cubic inches-"Screaming Eagle"-engine

The Harley-Davidson Fat Boy has booked a personal trainer for this comparison and is competing as a brand new, full-fat S model. Instead of the usual 103 series, it has the 110 cubic inch “Screaming Eagle” engine, which was previously reserved for the limited Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) models. That means: 1801 instead of 1690 cubic centimeters, 93 hp instead of 79 and 146 Nm maximum torque instead of the 132. To anticipate it: In series production, this engine represents the definition of a befitting cruiser drive. It is as American as the Colt Peacemaker, caliber 45.

In contrast, the key data of the Motorbike Guzzi California Custom, the most American of all European motorcycles, look almost modest. The eagle from Mandello has to be content with 1380 cubic centimeters, after all the thickest twin from Old Europe. But: Thanks to shorter strokes, higher compression and four-valve technology, there are still 97 hp in the vehicle registration and 120 Nm maximum torque are promised. An encounter at eye level. Which performance makes the director applaud? Quiet on the set, camera rolling, action!

ABS, six-speed gearbox, cruise control and on-board computer

From a purely visual point of view, both motorcycles represent the different philosophies, the different genetic makeup that they contain. The Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S lives up to its name. In the close-up: fat fork, fat tank, fat disk wheels, fat lamp, fat deer antler handlebar, fat engine. The whole thing finished in a luxurious matt black, a touch of chrome exactly where it belongs – the reinterpretation of a young icon is ready. Everything about it looks like it has been milled from one piece, like a piece. In this respect, at first glance, not much has changed in 25 years of Fat Boy.

But Harley-Davidson has always given the technology the right updates. Today, ABS, six-speed gearbox, cruise control and on-board computer are all part of the good sound. The seating position is the best standard cruiser, only the strange cranking of the handlebars disturbs the Hollywood swing feeling a little. On the other hand, the driving behavior is not rocky at all – surprising turn. Although the fat boy also lifts 334 kilos, which is appropriate to his name, the center of gravity is as low as the level of the dialogues in the "Transformers" movie. In addition, the chassis is significantly stiffer than that of older Fat Boys, the tire dimensions are roadworthy and the geometry is good. This means that the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S rides nicely round and homogeneously within the scope of its possibilities, and in connection with the very low seat height of only 670 millimeters is really a, cough, Easy Rider.

If you have no muscles, you can train yourself here

Sure, the 86 millimeters of spring travel of the two struts under the engine are as modest as the action in "Sharknado", sensitive people will lack comfort here. For fans of the Milwaukee forge, however, that’s exactly what makes real Rock’n Rolla. That fits, character actors and such. The lonely front four-piston brake caliper alone has to work hard to reduce the speed on the 300 mm disc. In general, the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S requires binding input in terms of brakes, gears, clutches and steering. If you don’t have muscles, you can train yourself here.

The Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S then rewards you with plenty, plenty of V2 thrust. The Twin Cam 110 B hangs gently on the gas, but punches like a wild bull when it counts. This is how every Harley should go. It also sounds wonderfully bassy, ​​sonorous and snotty, in the finest Dolby sound – and at an absolutely acceptable volume. In any case, it roars and runs so splendidly that sometimes you would want a little more lean angle. It is all too easy for running boards and asphalt to have an uncanny encounter of the third kind.

Guzzi California is more polished, more filigree

The Moto Guzzi California Custom, on the other hand, is more polished and filigree, despite all the cruiser heavy weights. More European if you will. Even the sitting position shows where the action is developing. You sit much higher (755 millimeters), more on the bike than in a motorcycle, the handlebars a little further forward, the feet a little further back. Not sporty, but a little more committed. In detail, the custom looks more elegant, playful and well-designed. Just look at the headlights, the speedometer unit or the LED rear lights. This attention can also be found in the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S, but the sparkling clean workmanship of the Guzzi is partly offset by shirt-sleeved carriage bolts. The dignified appearance of the California is also underlined by the controls: easy-to-use clutch, slender gearbox, snappy brakes, attractive chassis and blessed with reserves.

Indeed, the way the Moto Guzzi California Custom draws long arches with the stoic calm of a Clint Eastwood hero is impressive. Long runs, and 1685 millimeters of wheelbase and 155 millimeters of caster are already damn long. Its center of gravity is noticeably higher, which makes it look a bit more wobbly, especially in the city, and it steers in more sluggishly, but the chassis works noticeably better and also has that crucial bit more freedom of lean angle. No, that’s not sporty either, after all, with a full tank of 323 kilos, the Moto Guzzi has just ten kilos less on its ribs than the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S. Nevertheless, it has that finesse, especially on the country road , Which at Harley you probably don’t give a damn about.

Red alert on pull inspection

Even if the Guzzi-1400 doesn’t quite have the super-size-me-displacement of the Fat Boy S and a few horses are blown with the wind on the test bench – the Guzzi-Twin is also a great cruiser engine. He grabs down hard and does not shy away from revs, is downright revving. A look at the performance proves it: Moto Guzzi California Custom and Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S don’t give each other anything when it comes to acceleration and torque. The good vibration evaluation, however, goes, second turn, to Italy. The 1400 rumbles and pulsates so wonderfully fat that the double equalizer, on the other hand, looks a little tame.

Finally, it should be noted that the tire test in the German autumn almost won the mark for both "Red alert" requires. Wet, cold and the endurance Dunlops of the test machines are not really best friends. After all, the Moto Guzzi California Custom has a sensitive, three-stage traction control – modern times. And she is content with the more modest fee. If you consider the real value compared to the Harley, 18,000 euros inclusive appear as an immoral offer. Nevertheless, the approximately 1300 euros surcharge for the powerful 110 S engine of the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S compared to the standard model are absolutely fair.

But that’s really enough of the disdainful fact check. You don’t necessarily have to tackle two world stars with scales and a pull-up bar. Instead, let’s enjoy how they enchant us with their performance. If they were really actors, the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S would be Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Terminator 2", who else. Hard shell, big muscles, black leather jacket. Binding, gripping, but somewhere deep down a soft core. A likeable action hero with a heart. The Moto Guzzi California Custom, it would be more like Monica Bellucci in "Matrix". An elegant black-haired beauty, beguiling, perfectly styled down to the smallest detail. A dark temptress who breaks the hearts of the good rather than the bones of the bad. Real stars, character actors for the movie of your life, that’s them both. And cut!

Measured values ​​and conclusion


MOTORCYCLE

Power on the crankshaft. Measurements on the Dynojet roller test stand 250, corrected according to 95/1 / EG, maximum possible deviation ± 5%

Always over 120 Nm, at its peak a huge 143 Nm: This is what the power of sheer displacement looks like. The Screaming Eagle 1800er is a cream pie from an engine, pushes the almost seven hundredweight motorcycle forward in every speed range. Currently the most powerful cruiser V2 on the market. But the Moto Guzzi California Custom also runs splendidly, 110 Nm under 3000 tours are no sticking out of paper. Tea torque sink does not interfere with driving, but rather pleases the real revving. The 1400 is not afraid of any revs and stays on top of the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S. Two great engines.

Conclusion

Big cruiser, once interpreted in American and once European. The Harley-Davidson Fat Boy has remained so true to itself, especially as the "S" with the big engine. That alone is a stunner, perfectly underlines the Hollywood flair of the whole machine. The more technically sophisticated motorcycle is the Moto Guzzi California Custom, but that doesn’t really matter. The decisive factor is that she too writes her own script for every kilometer. Life is Beautiful. 

25 years of the Harley Fat Boy


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Daddy Fat Boy and the Boy: Of course we’re talking about the motorcycles, not the drivers. Congratulations on the 25th.!

"I’ll be back!" Arnie whispers to the audience at the end of the movie in the action classic "Terminator 2". In 1991, the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy also made its big appearance in the film, one year after its appearance, and served the Terminator as an image-building vehicle. And vice versa. Arnie actually came back at some point, the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy was never gone. The Softail offshoot with the characteristic disc wheels has been a reliable constant in the Harley range since then and has been carefully modeled over the years. Initially with 1338 cc and 56 hp, the sequel from 2000 with 1449 cc and, most importantly, a balance shaft for the frame-mounted engine. Then in 2007 go three with 1584 cubic meters and a six-speed gearbox. Finally, the big 1690 completed the series.

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