2017 Harley Fat Boy S

After testing the ’17 Milwaukee 8 Road King Road I wanted to make a direct comparison between it and the latest incarnation of the 110B counterbalanced power plant in the Fat Boy S.

It is very easy to be swept up in enthusiasm for the M8. If you haven’t been fortunate enough to try one yet, take my word for it, it really is ‘that’ good. Conversely, after 3 weeks living with the Fatty I was feeling plenty of love for the big Twin Cam again too.

The older motor actually stood up pretty well in comparison and it all came flooding back as to why I declared the 2016.5 Softail Sim S “The best stock Harley motor I’ve tested”. While now that ‘best’ accolade no longer applies - it does belong to the 8-valve, and there’s no arguing that the Milwaukee 8 is smoother, torque-ier and it taps out further - but all that said - the 110 is also very smooth, responsive, strong - and remains the best engine Harley have fitted in a Softail so far.

The Screamin’ Eagle 110B runs a 101.6 x 111.1 bore and stroke displacing 1801cc with a 9.2:1 compression ratio. With the SE Sports Air Filter and CVO Shotgun over-under exhausts it seemed to breathe quite well (for a stocker). Harley claims maximum torque of 146nm @ 4000rpm – which really does put it in the same kind-of ballpark as the 150nm @ 3250rpm produced by the Milwaukee 8.

The fact that it’s slung in the fabulous-looking, blacked out chassis and running gear was also a big plus. Even just walking up it, to get on board, this bike has some angles that made me stop and drink in its stylish lines. The matte and black chrome finish, denim black frame, swingarm, the black solid wheels, all the extra blacked-out bits and the added Screamin’ Eagle fruit - the whole presentation remains superb to look at.

Riding it is just as pleasant.

On the road the bike is again an interesting mix. Motor, gearbox and chassis all make for a very enjoyable cruiser. Around town it’s a feel good package of the first order. It’s easy to settle in to the comfortable saddle, put feet up on the half moon footboards and rest on the very comfortable pulled back handlebars.

The fat 17 inch wheels and tried and trusted Softail geometry make for a stable, predictable ride. Same with the 41.3mm telescopic front forks and coil over rear suspender. There are 86mm of travel available from the rear and 130mm from the front also making it a very firm ride.

The new hydraulic, nine plate wet clutch was also interesting. Coupled with the Six Speed cruise drive gearbox it made for reliable, easy shifting and finding neutral was very easy – even at the traffic lights or pushing it around in the shed. That was fortunate, because after holding it in for longer periods I found it became a bit heavy. Not excessive, but certainly it needed more effort than the 8-valve’s lightweight lever.

The S has the same chassis set up as the Fat Boy Lo. The advantage is that it suits short inseams and has a saddle height of only 670mm. The down side of the slammed setup is that the bike only has 25.6 and 25.2 degree lean angles.
It’s very easy to touch the footboards on the deck and accordingly you have to be a bit circumspect about corner entry speeds. The up side is that with the 110 cube using the big torque hammer to pull its 333kg mass out of tighter corners is very rewarding.

The ABS 4-piston front (and 2-piston rear) brakes are genuine two-finger units and continue the recent trend of Softails with very good stoppers.

All the usual Harley retro tech and niceties are similar across the 110cube and 107cube models. The security system, self-cancelling indicators, brilliant lighting, trip computer, excellent paint, fit and finish are all as you would expect. The S also comes standard with Cruise Control.

It turned out that it was very good to throw a leg back over the older engine. I enjoyed the ‘S’ for what it is. It’s still a premium cruiser-style.

Type: Screamin’ Eagle® Air-Cooled,
Twin Cam 110B™
Capacity: 1801 cc (110 cu. in.)
Bore: 101.6 mm
Stroke: 111.1 mm
Compression: 9.2:1
Valves: Pushrod-operated, overhead valves
with hydraulic, self-adjusting lifters;
two valves per cylinder

Carburetion: Electronic Sequential Port
Fuel Injection
Air cleaner: Ventilator intake with
fiberglass media,
washable exposed element with rain sock
Exhaust: CVO Shotgun

Type: 6-Speed Cruise Drive®
Clutch: Hydraulically actuated, 9-plate wet,
with high-performance spring
Primary drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio
Rear drive: Belt, 32/66 ratio

F rim: 17 in. x 3.5 in.
R rim: 17 in. x 6 in.
F tyre: D408F
140/75R17 67V
R tyre: D407
200/55R17 78V
F brake: 300 mm x 5 mm
R brake: 292 mm x 5.8 mm

Model: Mild steel tubular frame; rectangular
section backbone; stamped, cast,
and forged junctions; forged fender
supports; MIG welded

Front: 41.3 mm telescopic, “beer can” covers
Rear: Hidden, horizontal-mounted, coil-over