New Harley-Davidson Sportster Seventy-Two

The Harley-Davidson® Seventy-Two™ is a New Narrow Sportster in Sparkling Metal Flake Paint. A Sportster® on a trip back to the days when the cool kids rode a Sting-Ray and the big boys parked choppers in a row on the curb. Those motorcycles were long and lean; candy-apple color and gleaming chrome shimmering in hazy summer sunlight. From its Hard Candy Big Red Flake paint and ape bars to its narrow whitewall tires, the Seventy-Two is a respectful nod to that era, and to the influence of the custom culture that still percolates today along Whittier Boulevard, the legendary cruising street in East Los Angeles also known as Route 72. A new generation of custom builder is tapping into that era and making a fresh statement, not just in California but in garages across the country, even around the world.

“In creating the Seventy-Two, we were also inspired by the vibe of the early chopper era,” says Frank Savage, Harley-Davidson Manager of Industrial Design. “Those bikes were colorful and chromed, but also narrow and stripped down to the essentials. You look at period examples and they are almost as simple as a bicycle. It’s a custom style that’s very particular to America and that California scene.”

Metal flake, an iconic design element of the ’70s, appeared in everything from dune buggy gel coat to vinyl diner upholstery, and on custom motorcycles. Harley-Davidson brings the sparkle back on the Seventy-Two with Hard Candy Big Red Flake paint. This new finish is created by applying a black base coat, followed by a polyurethane system that carries hexagon-shaped flakes that are more than seven times the diameter of metal flake used in typical production paint. Each flake is coated with a thin aluminum film and then tinted red. Four applications of clear coat, combined with hand sanding, create a smooth finish over the flakes.

“The final touch to the Hard Candy Big Red Flake paint is a logo on the tank top and pinstripe scallop details on both fenders,” says Savage. “Each was originally created by hand, and we recreated that art in a decal for production, so they still have the appearance of hand-applied graphics in that they are not exactly perfect. The graphics are then covered with a final clear coat application.”

A solo seat and side-mounted license plate bracket leave much of the chopped rear fender – and more of that paint – exposed on the Seventy-Two. The powertrain is finished in Gray powdercoat with chrome covers and a new round air cleaner with a dished cover. A classic Sportster 2.1-gallon “peanut” fuel tank adds a final period touch to the motorcycle.

Key features of the 2012 Harley-Davidson® Seventy-Two™ include:

 • Air-cooled Evolution® 1200cc V-Twin engine with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI), rated at 73 ft. lbs. peak torque at 3500 rpm.
 • Powertrain is finished in Gray powdercoat with Chrome covers.
 • Paint color choices include Hard Candy Big Red Flake with period pinstripe details on fenders and fuel tank, Black Denim, and Big Blue Pearl.
 • Classic 2.1-gallon peanut fuel tank.
 • Dunlop® white side wall 21-inch (MH90-21) front and 16-inch (150/80B16) rear tires.
 • Chrome Laced wheels.
 • Ten-inch mini-ape handlebar mounted on a two-inch high riser.
 • Chrome, eight-inch round air cleaner cover with center screw mount.
 • Chopped rear fender exposes rear tire.
 • Side-mounted license plate bracket.
 • Chrome, staggered, shorty dual exhaust with slash-cut mufflers.
 • Solo seat with black textured vinyl cover.
 • Handlebar-mounted speedometer with chrome cup.
 • Chrome rear fender struts.
 • Chrome coil-over pre-load adjustable rear shocks.
 • Forward foot controls.

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29 Responses to “New Harley-Davidson Sportster Seventy-Two”


  1. 1 roscoe Feb 1st, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    HDs response to the Victory Highball?

  2. 2 BB Feb 1st, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Really? Another “custom” Sportster? I know they are the entry level HD, but come on. How many different Sportster platforms do we need?

  3. 3 nicker Feb 1st, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    More to the point, how is this “custom”…… ???

    -nicker-

  4. 4 Sollis Feb 2nd, 2012 at 2:01 am

    nice job on copying WCC apes

  5. 5 lu Feb 2nd, 2012 at 6:21 am

    with a bibble as after market catalogue…
    they can do a new model at day! :)

  6. 6 Rick Lossner Feb 2nd, 2012 at 7:21 am

    The 48 works for me…. if I wanted this, I’d buy one off craiglist for 1/2 this ( or less )

  7. 7 calif phil Feb 2nd, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I like it, The 2 gal peanut tank is really nice, I could do without the whitewalls. I bet they sell a lot of them.

  8. 8 frank nunes Feb 2nd, 2012 at 8:40 am

    i ride wide glide, so for me its cool,in this day&age low buck is in and you can add stuff at home. wont be tradeing

  9. 9 Sportster Mike Feb 2nd, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Frisco style right out of the crate – about 3 years late….
    would prefer to alter a 48 to suit

  10. 10 Chessie Feb 2nd, 2012 at 8:46 am

    I like the primary cover. The rest of the bike looks pretty much just like my ’93 (if I put a forward control kit on it). Nothing very new here. Pretty basic. Don’t even have an RPM gauge on it. I think having just a speed-o looks awful. “BALANCE, Grasshopper….balance.” They can have the stupid looking white walls. I’m not the kind of gal who has all day to keep that stuff clean.

  11. 11 Mauler Feb 2nd, 2012 at 8:57 am

    This is not the answer to the highball. The highball is Victory’s answer to the Street Bob and Cross Bones. This is H-D expanding it cheaper lineup. I’m a sucker for the apes so I am biased but I really like this. Its different than the other Sporties in the lineup right now and gives customers a custom option. They’d have to spend a chunk to get this bike built if they bought one of the others. Its a smart move.

  12. 12 Alan sharp Feb 2nd, 2012 at 9:38 am

    one for the lades……………………….

  13. 13 Hamilton Feb 2nd, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Bravo Harley.

  14. 14 Shifter Feb 2nd, 2012 at 11:20 am

    3 to 5 years later Harley is riding custom trends established by custom builders. A better strategy than the one of Victory trying to impose models conceived by a team of engineers with no designing skills. Harleys keep a better resale value. These 2 new models are going to sell very well.

  15. 15 Dog Williams Feb 2nd, 2012 at 11:23 am

    I figure it is what it is, after they dumbarsed the old Cuctom into fatties I suppose there was a gap for the 21″ front style, nothin new but it ain’t too bad . . . regardless of ‘design’, Harley’s paint quality on is millenia away from where it used to be.

  16. 16 Luis Feb 2nd, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Looks like the tank is angled vs the 48′s level tank. I can’t imagine the pump is further back to compensate so I expect worse range than the 48

  17. 17 Buffalo Dean Feb 2nd, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Great looking Sportster for those who don’t want to change anything to a factory bike. Well done Harley.

  18. 18 Mikes Hawg Paint Feb 2nd, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Perfect “Bay area” commute bike! will probaly see lots of them running around there soon!

    HD has been having fun coming up with “big flake” colors lately…nice!

  19. 19 Rumble Feb 2nd, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    So uh, whats the big deal? just another sporty with bars too small to really call apes, so they’re nowhere near anything cool. A couple of parts are shiny, and some white walls? what’s so cool about this bike? -not a darn thing, man. At least that Highball has nearly 100 horses right out of the gate, and only costs around $13k

  20. 20 Scooter Feb 2nd, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    God another harley parts bin bike. Under powered, out dated and overpriced. At least it doesn’t have a stupid name like the majority of harley’s. Another girly bike.

  21. 21 JROD Feb 2nd, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Victory’s look like metric shit. This bike is pure cool.

  22. 22 Smittydog Feb 2nd, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    It would look better with black exhaust pipes.

  23. 23 Tan~Dawg Feb 2nd, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    whoopsy-daisy HD ur about 4 years behind the cool kid trends! Wake me up when it’s over…

  24. 24 Geno Feb 3rd, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    nice nice nice
    should have raked that frame a lil more
    and added 4″ to the tubes
    but overall another winner

  25. 25 badams Feb 3rd, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Metalflake? Customs only
    Apes? Dyna Wide Glide only
    White Walls? Road King only

    Its understood that the effort to appeal to a wide audience with do-dads to give people the sense of HD custom sensations makes sense on paper, and not everyone is into cafe styles BUT a custom Sportster is usually set up as a stoplight screamer or clean lean little cutie pie.

    HD designers: Look back Elvis era of the bike, or check out what the Japanese cats are doing with them.

  26. 26 Grip Ace Hidden Switch System Feb 6th, 2012 at 10:58 am

    The possibilities are endless.

  27. 27 NewHampshire Mike Feb 11th, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    just picked one up yesterday.. Love everything about it, perfect blend of old skool and new!!!!

  28. 28 Danchi Apr 18th, 2012 at 5:23 am

    years ago I sand mail to HarleyDavidson and ask them if there is posible to make a new sportster softail and I wish that someday they will to grasp this very good idea. I think that there is alot of customers that know what is good style and can’t afford big softail like fatboy. There is also customers that are smaller than others and smaller low softail with sportster engine, fat rear tire (200), with good strait/raw design,…this will be mega sale hit I think. Think about all smaller guys and all girls! They can finaly enjoy the ride. But harley didn’t answer me back about my idea (I also got design picture which I give them for free)

  29. 29 dave May 1st, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    I love the old 68-75 bikes. love the skinny frame the peg clearance is nice also, love the gas tank to. super clean bike. eaasy riders!!!

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