An updated list of motorcycles certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists two new Harley-Davidson Sportster variants for 2018.

The two new models, identified as a Forty-Eight Special and an Iron 1200, were included in the list of 2018 models certified to use Harley-Davidson’s air-cooled 1200cc Evolution Sportster engine along with the 1200 Custom, Roadster, and the Forty-Eight (both the regular model and the Anniversary Edition color variant pictured below) which are already available for sale.

(UPDATE: the Forty-Eight Special will be identified by the model code XL1200XS, which is no surprise as the regular Forty-Eight goes by XL1200X. The Iron 1200 will go by XL1200NS, which has ties to both the Iron 883 XL833N and the long-discontinued Nightster XL1200N.)

The Forty-Eight Special and Iron 1200 were added to the EPA’s list of certified models in a document dated January 2018. The document was previous updated in October 2017, only certifying the existing 1200cc Sportster models. Apart from the addition of the two new model names, the filings for the 1200cc Sportster engine remain the same, with no changes to claimed power output or emissions levels. The certification number, JHDXC01.2CEA-006, remains the same, just with the addition of  “-R01” at the end, with indicating a revision.

The fact nothing else had changed in the engine’s emissions data tells us a couple of things. First, whatever the Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special are, their engines and exhaust systems are fundamentally the same and did not require additional emissions testing; and second, it means at some point in the last few months, someone at Harley-Davidson submitted a revised filing for the sole purpose of adding the two names. That would suggest an official announcement for the two models will be coming sooner rather than later.

Of the two, the Iron 1200 is probably the easiest to figure out. Expect it to look like the current Iron 883 Sportster (pictured above) but with the larger engine. In other words, a blacked-out engine with chrome highlights, chopped fender, solo tuck-and-roll seat and low-rise drag-style handlebars.

The Forty-Eight Special name offers slightly more ambiguity. The word “Special” can mean anything, but we do have a few of recent Harley examples to look at in the Road King Special, Road Glide Special and Street Glide Special. In these cases, “Special” meant a blacked-out version of the base model. In this case, we expect the Forty-Eight Special to have a black engine, exhaust system and fork tubes, and possibly a different wheel design.

What’s curious is where the Forty-Eight Special relates to trademarks Harley-Davidson recently filed for the name “48X” in the U.S. and other markets.  The 48X is likely a separate project that will come much farther down the road, as the EPA filings make no mention of it. A change from spelling out “Forty-Eight” to the numeral “48” would suggest a more substantial change than just replacing chromed parts with black.

Given the timing of the revised EPA certification, we expect Harley-Davidson will reveal the new Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special fairly soon. Keep checking right here on Motorcycle.com for the latest.

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  • Born to Ride

    Why have color options for the bikes you already sell when you can make each color/seat/engine finish a new model?

    • Abigail

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    • Sayyed Bashir

      Like Indian does?

      • Fast2win

        At least your keeping an eye on those Indians. Lol. I was thinking that it was a new or hotter motor .Maybe next year .

      • Born to Ride

        Yep. Two models, 6 colors. Instead of 6 models with a color or two each, yet share the same engine, chassis, frame, and suspension.

    • Gabriel Owens

      Dont know how to send private message so here will do. Would you rather new Speed Triple R for 12500 or new street triple R for 8600? What say ye?

      • Born to Ride

        Do you have really nice twisty roads where you live? If so, you’ll not find a better roadster for carving them up than the Street triple. But the suspension is pretty stiff and the ergos compact. If I didn’t have the Multistrada for riding down the highway and doing all-day rides, I’d be disappointed. The speedie is much bigger and has a waaaay better saddle, and still handles pretty well. I think it’s a better for a one bike garage. To me they aren’t really comparable rides. Both excellent.

        • Gabriel Owens

          Just really interesting some of the deals im finding in my area on cycle trader. 2017 fz07 for 5499 for example. Z650 and sv650 cheaper that that. Duke 390 for 4400. Was considering selling the fjr in favor of a 2018 rocket 3 when i came across the Triumphs.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            They’re still making those? The Rocket III I mean. I saw one on the freeway many years ago, and that was it.

          • Gabriel Owens

            2018 model now with MORE torque.

          • Born to Ride

            Nice, there’s a 2013 speed Triple R with forged wheels for 7700$ in my neck of the woods. If only my new bike quota for the year wasn’t filled lol.

          • Gabriel Owens

            Yep and btw, you had me at better ergos. Going to single exhaust drops a lot of weight off the speed supposedly too.

          • Born to Ride

            If you have a CB1000R, why do you need another full size open classer? Get yourself the streetie and tear it up man. That’s my recommendation. 😉

  • What about the skulls? What do we know about the skulls? Any changes?

    • TheMarvelous1310

      Nope, they still don’t come with skulls unless it’s a dealer special, but they do nice flames, pinstripes, and glitter.

    • Alaskan18724

      SKULLS! SKULLS! SKULLS!

      • Rachel

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  • mikstr

    Line-up starts here for newly lipsticked, same (useless) pig….

  • Alaskan18724
  • SFview

    When is Harley going to update these Sportster engines with a balance shaft. It’s a no brainer. Higher revs, more horsepower.

    • gjw1992

      Probably the 48X thing Dennis went on about.

    • Campi the Bat

      Rumour has it a clean-sheet Sportster is due later on this year, so here’s hoping. What I’d like to see from Harley for all of their 45° engines is a dealer-installed Stillwater kit that swaps the balance shafts for units that cancel out primary imbalances completely. That way, those of us that don’t need toy bikes that rattle can finish off what the engineers started.

  • Alaskan18724

    Still fun to ride.

    • Gabriel Owens

      Just like a fat chick

      • Alaskan18724

        Different strokes….

        • Gabriel Owens

          Pun intended.

    • Born to Ride

      Are they though? I rode on my buddies Bolt to give him a chance to try out my Multistrada a while back. We were up in the mountains on some roads I thoroughly enjoyed on my Guzzi in the past. His pegs touched down hard on these roads even cruising at the speed limit, the engine vibed badly compared to my Guzzi, and the whole frame felt like it was flexing and not tracking properly. In other words, it rode like shit. If I didn’t know that he bought it brand new, I would have guessed that the thing had been wrecked. He only had like 5500 or 5900 miles on it at the time, and if you read reviews of that bike, everyone says it’s a better ride than the sporty in every way minus the pose factor. If you gotta Hog it up, at least get a dyna or something.

      • mikstr

        “If you gotta Hog it up,…” go see a doctor, they have pills for that now…

      • jeff benson

        My last Sporty was an 85 Xlx. It handled well enough. No sportbike but it was stable and predictable. Was pretty fun actually after I had the heads flow benched and upgraded the carb. It takes real “genius” to produce a bike that’s a flexy flyer.

      • Alaskan18724

        Yes, they are. They are elemental motorcycles. Just go ride!

  • Biker Bob

    Very disappointing that HD is including these two models in the “100 new models in 10 years” sham.

  • spiff

    The EPA certifies the new 2019 Harley Davidson Sportster, the BNG 1200.

    • Born to Ride

      Lol. No it’s FLDXCTR-BNG

      • spiff

        Better hurry to your dealer. This will be a limited run of 100,000 for the unforeseeable future.

        (I kid, Harleys are good bikes. It’s just their marketing and R&D are obviously full of yes men.)

        • Born to Ride

          As much shit as I give their “lifestyle image” driven marketing. I still want a Low Rider S with 14” shocks and a thickly padded 2up saddle. It is simply a gorgeous bike.

          • Alaskan18724

            Best looking Harley in years. I covet. Been trying to figure a good saddle for a tall guy two-up without ruining the lines. Too badly….

          • Alaskan18724

            I’m guessing the Tallboy from my ‘06 FXD35 might not fit a ‘17 Lowrider S. Then again, who knows until you try? It’s only a thumb twiddle to get it off….

          • Born to Ride

            Yeah I’d want a saddle that comes straight back from the tank with no scoop. I want legroom with my mid controls

          • Alaskan18724

            Anybody make such a thing these days?

          • Alaskan18724

            Wish I could graft the saddle from a 1982 GS850….