2012 Headbanger Motorcycles Lineup – First Ride ImpressionsMon, 30 Apr 2012
Our European correspondent Tor Sagen was invited to test the 2012 offerings from Italy-based Headbanger Motorcycles. Headbanger offers six different models, some of which available in a couple of variants. Tor shared with us some of his first impressions of Headbanger’s 2012 range.Woodstock Boogie
The Woodstock Boogie is bobbed to perfection and evokes something nearly primeval in a motorcyclists heart. The Boogie is available in two versions: the base model features ape hangers and a peanut tank, but you can also get a version with a larger tank and drag bars. Both are powered by air-cooled and carbureted S&S Panhead 93 c.i. (1,530cc) V-Twin engines.
The big old engine stutters to life accompanied by a deep growling soundtrack. The Boogie really is a true bobber with a small rear fender and no mudguard at all over the fat front wheel that sits on a stunning springer fork. The seat is proper old school on both models, but remarkably comfortable.
The Woodstock Boogie ape hanger version features tall handlebars and a skinny 21-inch front wheel. In front of the seat sits a small 9-liter (2.4-gallon) peanut fuel tank.
Claimed dry weight is 233 kilos (492 pounds) for the ape hanger version (the bobber should be heavier than the ape version, but we don’t have those figures yet). The Ape Hanger is a pure styling element to add as much attitude as possible, if by attitude you mean riding in a straight line. It’s certainly not made for corners, that’s for sure.
The dragbar variant is easier to steer and comes equipped with a larger 18-liter (4.8-gallon) fuel tank and a fat 16-inch front tire.
The Woodstock Boogie is my definitive favorite of all the 2012 Headbanger Motorcycles and I’ll tell you more about it in my full review. Prices start at 25,000 euros (US$33,000) ex-factory for the models tested. Adding VAT and freight etc it will easily come to around 30,000 euros (US$39,700).High Flyin’
The High Flyin’ is Headbanger’s muscle bike, featuring a crude, cruel and beefy S&S Shovelhead 113 c.i. (1,850cc) V-Twin engine. This air-cooled monster vibrates and shakes like a banker at the pearl gates and the torque developed is unbelievable. You really do physically feel that you’re sitting on top of a very powerful engine that lacks any refinement – but in a good way.
You will not want to do long journeys on the High Flyin’ though as the big forces affecting the Softail chassis and drag handlebar will tire you out quickly. At a standstill it’s easy to admire the High Flyin’ 21-inch big spoke front wheel and 18-inch rear with a 180 section tire. A crown filler cap sits on top of the small 4.8 gallon fuel tank. The High Flyin’ starts at 22,000 euros (US$29,000) ex-factory.Summertime
The Summertime is Headbanger’s ’70s muscle bike-inspired offering featuring an S&S Knucklehead air-cooled 93 c.i. (1,530cc) air-cooled V-Twin. As with the other Headbanger motorcycles there’s no electronics, just pure V-Twin engine in a chassis to suit.
The Summertime may be spectacular to look at but it’s my least favorite in the range for ride and comfort qualities, or at least for a 6-footer like me. The T-bar didn’t suit me much and I felt the Summertime was the oddest handling bike of them all. The Summertime features the same type of seat as on many other models but oddly enough I never felt as comfortable on the Summertime as on certain other models. Narrow wheels are the name of the game for the Summertime.
It looks good but doesn’t ride as well as it looks. Model tested starts at 28,000 euro (US$37,000) ex-factory making it the most expensive of the range.Foxy Lady Classic and Foxy Lady Bobber
The Classic (pictured above) is a styling hint to the old Indian Motorcycles and is the only touring bike in the Headbanger range. The Classic has got a gem of an engine in the RevTech 100 (1,640cc) V-Twin. The carburetor is tuned to perfection and it was my favorite engine configuration in the range, offering lots of torque on tap straight away and a gorgeous soundtrack. A two-up seat and footboards adds to the comfort of this motorcycle which you could nearly call conventional. Leather saddlebags are standard and with the pillion seat this is the one if you want to carry a pillion regularly.
The Bobber on the other hand is a completely different animal but still on the comfortable side with a large padded seat. I tested the version with ape hangers and the Foxy Lady Bobber handles better than the Woodstock Boogie Ape Hanger version.
The big 4.8 gallon fuel tank in rust & gold paint dominates the front. The Classic starts at 20,000 euros (US$26,500) and the Bobber at 19,500 euros (US$25,800) ex-factory.Hollister and Hollister Long
The Hollister and Hollister Long are proper old school bobbers but they handle really well. The standard Hollister is sort of Headbanger’s entry level model with the RevTech 88 (1,450cc) V-Twin while the Hollister Long that I tested featured the RevTech 100 (1,640cc). The Hollister’s footpegs are placed further forward than on the other Headbanger models.
The standard Hollister (above) has a shorter handlebar and wheel base while the Long is stretched out in all directions. The riding position is much more comfortable than it may look in photos and the Hollister Long is my second choice of Headbanger Motorcycles after the Woodstock Boogie.
The stretched riding position gives a more awkward shifting up process than the standard Hollister but that’s the only backside really. As your left foot is very near the primary belt drive it’s important to make certain there are no loose shoe laces near it. The Hollisters starts at 17,769 euros (US$23,500) ex-factory.Gypsy Soul
Gypsy Soul bobber edition is another stunning Headbanger creation and the features include a springer fork and the S&S Shovelhead 93 (1,530cc) air-cooled V-Twin. 18-inch wheels and drag handlebar creates a fine handling cruiser and the springer fork with a tiny headlamp is a nice touch. The small 8-liter (2.1-gallon) fuel tank doesn’t give you a good range but it’s probably desirable to stop often to admire the fine details. The Gypsy Soul starts at 21,300 euros (US$28,200) ex-works.
[Photography by Marco Campelli and Orazio Truglio]
By Tor Sagen
See also: Vespa Arrives in India, Polaris Reports Q1 2012 Results, 2012 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class Nominees Announced.