Harley-Davidson Fat Boy: the story of a myth


Harley-Davidson Fat Boy: the story of a myth

First presented in 1990, the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy has gained legendary status in the world of motorcycles. In order to understand how it achieved its status, we must dive into its history, see how it evolved during the last thirty years, and report some fun facts.

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy history and evolution

The very first Harley-Davidson Fat-Boy was designed by Louie Netz and Willie G. Davidson.
The company wanted it to be perfect so, before entering full production, they put the Fat Boy under a long testing routine and asked for a lot of customers’ feedback. It took two years of tweaking before Willie G. was satisfied about the motorcycle. He even rode it to Daytona twice (1988 and 1999) before the bike was unveiled in 1990.

The 1990 the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy had a silver paint and a silver powder coated frame, yellow detailing, and a unique logo to create a sense of nostalgia and patriotism.

The motorcycle remained untouched until 1994 when the company gave it a seamless exhaust to provide a cleaner look. In 1996 Harley-Davidson engineers revised the switchgear and the master cylinder. Everything remained untouched until 1999 when this model of Harley-Davidson was equipped with a new 1450cc Twin Cam engine. In 2002 it was equipped with immobilizer alarm and bullet style indicators. In 2005 Harley Davidson had a Screamin’ Eagle version of it equipped with everything special that always come with Screamin’ Eagle models. In 2006 the Fat Boy received a 1584 Twin-Cam engine and a six-speed gear box. Nothing changed until 2010 when the company presented the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy Lo, which feature a lower seat height. Everything remains almost untouched until the big revolution of 2018 when Harley-Davidson decides to drastically change its models. The Fat Boy now offer a better riding experience thanks to new Showa suspensions and the Milwaukee Eight engine.

Riding experience

The Harley-Davidson Fat Boy is a fairly heavy bike so, do not expect it to feel light, and to have the agility of Japanese bikes. If you are looking for a motorcycle with those perks, you might want to consider another motorcycle model. Do not get me wrong, its low center of gravity makes it so much simpler to ride and, after long rides, its low leather seat and pullback handlebars will leave your body in a more comfortable place compared to a lot of other motorcycles on the market.

Controversial name

It is known that the name “Fat Boy” comes from the fact that the bike is…well thicker than most other bikes when viewed from the front. This is the explanation that Harley-Davidson gave and we believe it.

However, there is a giant rumor going around that states that the name is a tribute to the bombing of Japan during World War II. The rumor is based on a couple of facts such as:

  • Fat Boy is an amalgamation of the names given to the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (“Fat Man”and “Little Boy”)
  • The launch color of the motorcycle is very similar to that of the Enola Gay and Bockscar (The Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers that dropped the atomic bombs)
  • The solid disks of the Fat Boy resemble those used on planes
  • The yellow rings on the motorcycle are allegedly the same as those on the atomic bomb

Sounds like a huge pile a bull but, hey, if you wanna spend your time looking for evidence that corroborate this theory, knock yourself out.

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy and the studios

This iconic motorcycle made its first appearance on the big screen in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. After helping himself to an Harley-Davidson Fat Boy parked in the parking lot of a truck stop diner, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator rides off into the night.
An image that made millions fall in love with the motorcycle model.
After that, the Fat Boy made is return in Terminator: Genisys, and has appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows like: Seinfeld, CSI: Miami, Wild Hogs, and Sons of Anarchy.

We said pretty much everything there is to say about Fat Boy model. Hope you liked our little walk through the history of this iconic model.

Ends Cuoio and Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

This model is so iconic that we couldn’t resist. We had to go and make leather saddlebags for Harley-Davidson Fat Boy too.

Share this post



Let Freedom Roll

15% OFF on all ROLL BAGS

(outlet excluded)

- valid through april the 22nd -



All customers from United States will not be charged additional taxes and/or custom duties at delivery.
Ends Cuoio covers all fees and duties for you.

Price Based Country test mode enabled for testing Italy. You should do tests on private browsing mode. Browse in private with Firefox, Chrome and Safari