Harley Davidson Fat Boy Pros & Cons (Explained)

The Harley-Davidson Fat Boy, with its iconic design and powerful V-twin engine, stands as a testament to the brand’s rich heritage and the allure of cruising on an American classic.

However, as with any motorcycle, the Fat Boy comes with its set of strengths and considerations.

In this article, we’ll delve into the pros and cons of the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy…


Iconic Design:

The Harley-Davidson Fat Boy’s design is a timeless representation of Harley’s heritage. With solid-disc wheels, a massive front end, and a distinctive overall aesthetic, it’s an instantly recognizable icon in the motorcycle world.

The design not only pays homage to the brand’s legacy but also stands out in a crowd, enhanced by the presence of abundant chrome accents that contribute to its classic appeal.

“I’ve had three Fatboys and loved them all. They’re one of the best bikes, looks and power, HD has ever come out with.” – HDForum.com

Powerful Engine:

Harley-Davidson is synonymous with powerful engines, and the Fat Boy lives up to this reputation. The bike typically features a robust engine, often a V-twin, delivering ample torque.

This provides riders with a satisfying and commanding performance, especially when cruising on highways or tackling long stretches of road.

Comfortable Cruising:

The Fat Boy prioritizes rider comfort, offering a relaxed and laid-back riding position. The ergonomics are designed for extended journeys, making it an ideal choice for riders who enjoy covering substantial distances. The comfortable cruising stance allows for a more enjoyable experience during long rides, reducing fatigue.

Many owners will however suggest upgrading the saddle.

“I have the 2019 Fat Boy with a Saddleman Explorer seat. The wife and I are very comfortable on the bike for long distances, no problem doing 800-1000km days with a soft bag on the back for our essentials. We use it for overnight trips to a week or two of touring.” HDForums.com

It also boasts a well-engineered suspension system that contributes to a comfortable and controlled riding experience. Its suspension setup, often featuring front forks and a rear monoshock, is designed to absorb bumps and imperfections in the road, providing a smooth ride for the rider.

Customization Options:

One of the hallmarks of Harley-Davidson ownership is the ability to customize the bike to suit personal preferences. The Fat Boy, like many Harley models, offers an extensive range of accessories and aftermarket parts.

This customization potential allows riders to make their Fat Boy a unique reflection of their style and preferences, including the option to add or enhance chrome elements.

Build Quality:

Harley-Davidson is renowned for its commitment to build quality. The Fat Boy typically boasts excellent craftsmanship and durable materials, contributing to a sturdy and reliable motorcycle.

This emphasis on quality ensures that riders can enjoy their bikes for many years, even under demanding riding conditions, and the chrome elements often enhance the bike’s overall durability and visual appeal.

Heritage and Resale Value:

The Fat Boy benefits from Harley-Davidson’s rich heritage, contributing to its timeless appeal. This heritage, combined with the brand’s loyal following, often translates to solid resale value. Harley-Davidson motorcycles, including the Fat Boy, tend to retain their desirability in the used market, making them a good investment for riders who might consider upgrading or changing models.

Keep in mind though, that once you ride your Fat Boy off the lot its price will automatically drop.

Related: Are Harley-Davidson Fat Boys Reliable? (9 Important Facts)


Weight and Size:

The Fat Boy’s weight and size can be challenging for riders who are not accustomed to larger bikes. Maneuvering at slow speeds or in tight spaces may require additional effort, and some riders might find it less suitable for urban commuting compared to more compact motorcycles.

Limited Agility:

Cruiser motorcycles, including the Fat Boy, are not known for their agility. The design prioritizes stability on straight roads over nimbleness in corners. While it excels at cruising on highways, riders looking for a more agile and sporty experience might find the Fat Boy less suited to aggressive cornering.

Price Tag:

Harley-Davidson motorcycles often come with a premium price tag compared to some of their competitors. The initial cost, along with potential expenses for customization and accessories, may be a consideration for riders on a budget.

Starting prices are currently at $20,199

Technology Features:

While Harley-Davidson has made strides in incorporating modern technology, some riders may find that the Fat Boy lacks certain advanced features that have become standard on motorcycles from other brands. This includes electronic aids, advanced instrumentation, or connectivity options that enhance the overall riding experience.

Fuel Efficiency:

Cruisers, by their nature, often have lower fuel efficiency compared to lighter, more fuel-efficient motorcycles. The Fat Boy’s larger engine and weight may result in increased fuel consumption, which could be a consideration for riders who prioritize fuel efficiency.


Harley-Davidson motorcycles are known for their signature V-twin engine vibrations. While some riders appreciate the tactile feel of the engine’s pulses as part of the authentic Harley experience, others may find prolonged exposure to these vibrations fatiguing, particularly on longer rides.

Before deciding on the Fat Boy, potential buyers should weigh these pros and cons based on their individual preferences, riding habits, and priorities. Test rides and thorough consideration of personal preferences are essential steps in the decision-making process, and the abundance of chrome should be a factor for those who appreciate its classic, gleaming aesthetic.

No Windshield:

The absence of a windshield on the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy may be considered a drawback for riders who prioritize wind protection, especially during longer rides and highway cruising. A windshield can significantly reduce wind fatigue by diverting airflow away from the rider, enhancing overall comfort.

Additionally, a windshield can provide some protection from debris and insects, contributing to a more relaxed and enjoyable riding experience. For those who prefer enhanced wind protection, the lack of a windshield on the Fat Boy might be considered a limitation.

“My Fat Boy looks far better without the windshield on it, but at 54 years old I’m not a big fan of wind, sand, road debris, or insects smacking me in the face. I’d much rather ride with a light and comfortable novelty helmet and a pair of glasses behind my windshield, than having to wear a 3/4 lid with full face shield and picking dead bugs off my leathers at the end of the day…..” – HDForums.com

Plain Wheels:

While the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy is celebrated for its iconic design, some riders might find the plain-looking wheels to be a missed opportunity for enhanced aesthetics. In the world of custom motorcycles, where personalization is highly valued, the plain-disc wheels might lack the intricate detailing or bold styling found in other aftermarket options.




  • Michael Ta Nous

    I've been weaving words into stories since my early scribbling days, and my journey in the world of motorcycles and their communities spans almost two decades. Living with a talented motorcycle mechanic as a roommate, our garage transformed into a vibrant workshop where I absorbed the intricacies of...