The 1200 Custom is a relaxed and a civilised motorcycle, in terms of riding dynamics. Usually, the first reaction when you see or sit on a 268kg bulky isn’t very comforting, but get the 1200 Custom in motion and things starts to change. The front set footpegs, good saddle height and the pullback handle bar which is slightly raised aids the overall cruising experience. Harley has focused on minute things and we appreciate that. For example, the seat has been designed in such a way that you feel at home as soon as you sit on it. It’s nicely tucked in and there’s no pressure felt on the back when you’re out for three-four hours of saddle time.
And let’s not give all the credit to these attributes. The 1200cc V-twin engine gets some too. This air-cooled 1202cc engine produces a whopping 96Nm at 3500rpm. This same engine is seen on the Forty. It is eager and starts impressing as soon as you twist the throttle, which by the way, is super sensitive (and we’ll talk about it a little later). The amount of torque that builds up at low revs pushes this 268kg motorcycle and its rider off the ground very quickly. And thanks to that awesome mid-range torque, you swiftly reach triple digit speeds with ease. In fact, this Harley cruises at 110kmph in just under 2700rpm. At 3000rpm and fifth gear, you’re easily cruising at 125kmph. What didn’t impress me was the five-speed gearbox that transfers the power to the rear wheel via a belt drive. There’s a loud clunk whenever you engage the gears and that feeling isn’t acceptable, considering the fact you’re spending almost a million rupees. Coming back to the throttle response, it’s so smooth and crisp that you tend to blame the fueling at low revs each time you use it. And if you encounter a bad patch, chances are your experience will be quite jerky. Solution? You should have excellent throttle control.
Talking about the ride quality, the suspension setup of the 1200 Custom is on the stiffer side. And it helped me during my long stint with the bike on a smooth national highway. But try riding it on the city roads, which is usually uneven, filled with potholes, then you might just be put off city roads altogether. And to make things worse, the clutch feels heavy. Then the ground clearance of 105mm will make you the slowest guy on a speed breaker. In short, the 1200 Custom is a really good highway motorcycle and what surprised me the most was the lean angle. With 26.2 degrees lean angle on the right and 28.3 degrees on the left, the 1200 Custom can be easily enjoyed in most of the hilly region in the country. The brakes have good bite and are linear. For now, the American manufacturer isn’t offering anti-lock braking (ABS) system on the 1200 Custom.