April 18, 2019

MEAN MACHINE: HARLEY DAVIDSON FAT BOB

Words: Ajinkya Nair
Photography: Kal Kalim

The sudden jerk of the airplane woke me up from the deep slumber I was in. Four hours of delay, and a two hour flight barely managed to chip off a bit of my excitement. Rushing out of the airport, I breathe a sigh of relief, for the boring leg of my journey was almost over… and begin frantically coughing. The air is thick, and the smoke visible like a blanket, polluting the atmosphere and smelling like a failed chemical experiment. The fridge-like coldness of the winter air was freezing my face off. Claustrophobia on the streets; commuters, shooting menacing glares and hurling abuses at each other, attempt to get back home. Ah, Delhi. This job of mine has taken me to every single extremity of India. Yet it remained a place I was unfamiliar with. But that was about to change now.

I was in the capital city for three days on an assignment, and the people over at Harley Davidson were kind enough to lend me the new Fat Bob to get around town. The keys were handed over to me in the isolated basement of the company’s corporate building. It was well after 10, and all the employees had already rushed home. That transformed the basement to a dimly lit, aurally exquisite playground. Soon after, even the kind gentleman who gave me the keys made his exit. And it was just me and this brutish black bike in front of me. One look at it and you immediately understand that this is no ordinary Harley. The company mentions that the design language has been inspired from the idea of a bloody Zombie Apocalypse. And I have absolutely no trouble placing it in the next movie of the over-saturated genre. The bike is on steroids from every angle. You’ve got a massive 150-section tyre up front and 180-section in the rear, on 16-inch rims. A stubby 2-1-2 exhaust layout enhances the overall look, paired with chopped fenders (it’s a bobber thing). The most unique bit about the Fat Bob has to be the rectangular LED headlamps which helps complete the overall standout look.

The basement resounded with a menacing growl as I brought the engine to life. And the moment I sat on the saddle, I knew that this bike was unlike any other Harley I had ridden before. The Fat Bob is powered by the 1,745cc engine from the family and makes a whopping 145Nm of torque at just 3000rpm. That, paired with a rake of 28 degrees means that this is the sportiest Harley out there. And that lends it a characteristic not usually pinned with bikes from the manufacturer. The Fat Bob leans. It was insanely fun to ride around the beautiful city and wherever the bike was parked, it garnered a lot of attention. Even during the sticky traffic bits that Delhi is known for, the clutch is properly light and apart from a bit of a roast session to my inner thigh, I was good to go. The rear seat is almost nonexistent, and who ever accompanied me for a ride hung on to me for their dear lives!

Three days, 300 kilometres later, I had fallen in love with the Fat Bob and didn’t have the heart to let it go. But as I did, and moved onto the airport to catch my flight, I realised how much I’d unexpectedly fallen for Delhi too.

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