It's been 30 years since the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy's first model year, and 29 years since Arnold Schwarzenegger made it an iconic Hollywood ride by pitting it against a T-1000-piloted semi-truck in 1991's Terminator 2: Judgement Day. The storied American bike brand is celebrating with a 30th Anniversary edition of the heralded hog that's limited to 2,500 examples.
Technically, the Fat Boy debuted in 1989 as the 1990 model. Venerated stylists Willie G. Davidson and Louie Netz designed it to look fresh and contemporary with classic brand cues. Harley-Davidson has more details on the original model's look:
To achieve a “milled from billet” look the bike was finished in monochromatic Fine Silver Metallic with a matching powder coated frame, and rolled on aluminum disc wheels – the rear exposed by the Softail chassis – that would become the defining characteristic of the Fat Boy model.
The look was beefy for the time, from the fat front tire covered with a trimmed fender to the wide handlebar and a seven-inch headlamp in a massive chrome housing perched on a polished FL-style nacelle. Davidson designed the winged tank logo, which has been an enduring feature of the Fat Boy model.
The Fat Boy 30th Anniversary motorcycle is available exclusively with a dark Vivid Black headlamp nacelle, handlebars and controls. The Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-Twin is also murdered out, but gets subtle bronze-tone lower rocker covers that match a distinctive "waterslide" Fat Boy tank logo. Satin black cast aluminum disc wheels—wrapped in 160mm rubber in the front and 240mm rubber in the back—tie the menacing look together.
The frame and suspension combine to form a chassis that’s stiff and lightweight, which the company promises will provide expectation-defying performance. The mono-shock rear suspension preserves the intentionally hardtail-like lines of the Softail setup and has a single coil-over shock absorber below the seat to improve handling. Remote hydraulic pre-load is adjusted by knob that's also conveniently located below the seat.
Dealer-installed Screamin’ Eagle upgraded parts from Harley are available to boost engine performance even further, but the Fat Boy 30th Anniversary model starts at $21,949.