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Harley-Davidson's ''Seventy-Two'' a flashback to the 70's



The Harley-Davidson® Seventy-Two motorcycle is a metal flake dream machine, a Sportster® motorcycle on a trip back to the days when the cool kids rode Sting-Ray bikes and the big boys parked choppers in a row on the curb. Those motorcycles were long and lean; candy-apple colour 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 model 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.

Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two
Photo: Harley-Davidson

“In creating the Seventy-Two [motorcycle], we were also inspired by the vibe of the early chopper era,” says Frank Savage, Harley-Davidson Manager of Industrial Design. “Those bikes were colourful 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 Motor Company brings the sparkle back on the Seventy-Two motorcycle 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 the metal flake that is used in typical production paint. Each flake is coated with a thin aluminium 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 shows off more of the paint exposed on the Seventy-Two motorcycle. The powertrain is finished in grey powdercoat with chrome covers and a new round air cleaner with a dished cover. A classic Sportster® 2.2-gallon “peanut” fuel tank adds a final period touch to the motorcycle. The Harley-Davidson® Seventy-Two motorcycle will be available in Canada through the network of authorized Harley-Davidson® Retailers at a suggested Canadian Retail price of $11,919. For information on free test rides, please visit the events tab on

Key features of the 2012 Harley-Davidson® Seventy-Two motorcycle include:
  • Air-cooled Evolution® 1,200 cc V-Twin engine with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI), rated at 73 ft. lbs. peak torque at 3,500 rpm
  • Powertrain is finished in grey powdercoat with chrome covers
  • Colour choices include Hard Candy Big Red Flake with period pinstripe details on fenders and fuel tank, Denim Black, and Big Blue Pearl
  • Classic 2.2-gallon peanut fuel tank
  • Dunlop whitewall 21-inch (MH90-21) front and 16-inch (150/80B16) rear tires
  • Steel Laced Chrome wheels
  • Ten-inch mini-ape handlebars, mounted on a two-inch high riser
  • Dished round air cleaner cover with centre screw mount; eight-inch diameter
  • Dual staggered exhaust with slash-cut chrome 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

As reported by Deeley Harley-Davidson® Canada