[Test Ride Report] Can’t stop enjoying “XL1200X Forty Eight”

  • 28/09/2016
[Webike News Editorial Staff]

We will introduce our favorite model that we chose in “JAIA’s Joint Motorcycle Test Ride” held at the Oiso Prince Hotel in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Let’s see it with “ordinary riders’ eyes” including public roads and Seisho Bypass (toll road).

2016 XL1200X Forty Eight

Forty Eight that is popular as “Vintage-style custom sportster.”
Its style – fat front tire, small fuel tank and lowered height – has attracted even those who have not ridden the machine.

“What if it runs?”
Now, we will show you the latest Forty Eight based on the 2016 model that we took a test ride.

XL1200X Forty Eight Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: from 1,500,000 Yen (tax included)

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Small tank is very attractive

It is the fat tire that grabs your attention when you look at Forty Eight first. In addition, it could be another characteristic that “the body looks rather larger than other Sportster series.”
There is a hidden trick here: the fuel tank is slightly smaller than other Sportsters.
The small tank makes the tire and body relatively look larger, and this creates Forty Eight’s distinctive style.

The tank capacity is as small as 7.9L, but the fuel efficiency of 20.4Km/L (catalog value) makes up for it. With thinking early fueling is one of the pleasure of riding Forty Eight, the machine may look lovable.

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Traditional style coexists with latest drivability


Because of the image of the fairly fat 130/90 tire, to be honest, I thought it would be difficult to handle the machine.
Contrary to my expectation, the vehicle turns naturally with just turning my face to the direction I want to go. After a few turnings at intersections, my negative thoughts went to somewhere.


As seen in the picture (right/ the model’s height: 169cm), the steps of Forty Eight are positioned in the front. So, you need to throw out your legs boldly to the steps.
In addition, there is some distance between the handlebar and a rider because the seat is low. So, you need to stretch your arms forward a little. This brings “an open feeling” that characterizes Cruiser motorcycles.

Due to this position, some of small people or female riders may get anxious about shift operation, brake pedal force, or brake and clutch lever operations. In such a case, it is recommended to ask a motorcycle shop to adjust the position.

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High speed driving and Caution

In straight lines and express ways, I drove so proudly and so comfortably that I couldn’t help smiling unintentionally like “I am now driving a Cruiser motorcycle.”
I think that this is thanks to the open style in which you throw out your legs.

However, it is also true that I felt an uneasy feeling that the wind might get my legs off the steps when strong winds sometimes blew from the front in this test ride on express ways.
This may be because I did not get used to a Cruiser style motorcycle or because my clothes influenced something. Preparing for such unexpected events are recommended.

One more caution. You should be aware of vibrations caused by gaps of the road surface.
Although it may depend on a seat cushion, tire inflation pressure or settings of suspensions, Forty Eight surely transfers bumps in the road to riders.
“That’s why it’s fun” is true in a way, but you should know in advance how much dangerous it is and how much shock will be transferred to your body with how large gaps.

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Forty Eight Utilities

The speed meter is a simple analog type and is positioned at the center of the handlebar which is characteristic of a sportster. The numerical value is easy to see with km indication.


Indicators such as a blinker and a neutral lamp are located below the meter. Each of the lamps is small but securely visible.
I didn’t feel a big problem in visibility.


The digital panel below the center of the analog meter can display in sequence ODO, twin trip, drivable distance with the amount of fuel remaining, current gear position, revolving speed, and clock.

Forty Eight – Handling and Accessible riding position

The handle position looks higher because of the small tank, but it is actually almost same as IRON883.
The low seat height and accessible riding position enables you to move with straddling the machine, in some cases.

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Harmony of “fun” and “comfort”

Elegantly driving with throwing out your legs and with pleasantly sounding heart beats of the engine; enjoying the small tank and vibrations caused by the road surface. In addition, the natural handling and the excellent style. All of them are fun and comfortable. You can’t resist this charm.


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