As we expected, Harley-Davidson is expanding its Sportster lineup with the introduction of the new Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special. The two models join the Forty-Eight, 1200 Custom and Roadster in using Harley-Davidson’s 1202cc Evolution V-Twin Sportster engine.

2018 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special draw inspiration from the custom-bike scene with mini-ape bars and ’70s-inspired fuel tank graphics.

“Since its inception, the Sportster has offered the perfect combination of size, power and character that makes it appealing to so many different riders,” says Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson V.P. of Styling & Design. “A Sportster is a relatively easy bike to strip down and reinvent. What we’ve done to create the new Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special is what Sportster owners have been doing with their own bikes for generations.”

2018 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200

The Iron 1200 is more than just an Iron 883 with a bigger engine. Yes, the extra 319cc displacement does make a difference, increasing maximum torque output by 36% (a claimed 73.0 lb-ft compared to the Iron 883’s claimed 53.8 lb-ft.).

Harley-Davidson added a satin-black mini-ape handlebar with an 8.75-inch rise, 32-inch spread and 6.5-inch pull back which opens up the rider triangle more. The single headlight is wrapped in a black screen inspired by West Coast styling trends that further highlights the height of the mini-ape bars.


The 3.3-gallon fuel tank comes in with multi-colored striped graphics that emphasizes the tank’s iconic shape. Behind it sits a café-inspired solo seat. Harley-Davidson offers a choice of Vivid Black, twisted Cherry and Billiard White colors.

Like the 883 model, the Iron 1200 has a blacked-out engine, with chrome pushrod tubes and tappet covers for contrast. The nine-spoke wheels are similar to those on the Iron 882, but without the chrome highlights.

Anti-lock brakes and the Harley-Davidson Smart Security System are available as factory-installed options.

The 2018 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 is  priced at $9,999, a grand more than the Iron 883 but the least expensive of the 1200cc Sportster models.

2018 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Special

The Forty-Eight Special shares the same beefy front end as the regular Forty-Eight, with a 130mm front tire and 49mm forks and large forged aluminum triple clamps.

The Special adds a 7.25-inch Tallboy handlebar (shorter and with less pull-back than the Iron 1200’s mini-ape) and chrome engine covers and exhaust shields to differentiate it from the regular Forty-Eight’s blacked-out look.

The 2.2-gallon “peanut” tank sports horizontal striping framing the Harley-Davidson logo. The Forty-Eight Special comes in three color options: Vivid Black, Wicked Red and Billiard White.

Other features include black split 9-spoke cast aluminum wheels and Scorcher 31 tires from Michelin. ABS and Harley’s Smart Security System are available as factory-installed options.

The 2018 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Special is priced at $11,299, matching the price of the regular Forty-Eight and the Roadster.

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