The Harley-Davidson Fat Boy has been one of the brand's most recognizable models since its debut in the early nineties. It's a low-profile cruiser with giant steamroller tires, floorboards, muscular build, open range of customization, and it's set at an affordable price. It really shot up in popularity when Arnold Schwarzenegger was seen riding it in the famous semi-truck chase scene in the 1991 film Terminator 2. Since then, it has been an all-American symbol of "machismo" on the global motorcycle market. Many Harley-Davidson competitors have attempted their own versions of the cruiser, though none of them have been able to perfectly replicate, let alone supersede it, and that earns it major respect points from the biker community.

But as popular and iconic as the Fat Boy is, does it really warrant the amount of hype it receives these days? Not to mention that it isn't the easiest motorcycle to ride either. It surely dominates on the straightaways, but it comes with a rough learning curve when learning to move through sharp twists and turns. While other Harleys like the Road Glide Special, Lowrider S, and Sportster S are garnering lots of attention from both newer and veteran riders, is the Fat Boy's time in the cruiser lineup might be up.

Related: 5 Reasons Why The Harley Davidson Fat Boy Is Awesome (And, 5 Reasons Why It Isn’t)

Why The Harley-Davidson Fat Boy Is Underrated

2021 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 114
Press photo of the 2021 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 114

What makes Harley-Davidson's cruiser lineup, so special is that nearly every single one of its models is special and unique in their own way. Riders that demand more speed and performance will gravitate towards the Lowrider S and the Fat Bob. Those looking for simplicity would enjoy a Street Bob. Then there are those who are looking for something big, comfortable, and badass. That's where the Fat Boy comes in. Its low seat height, elongated design, and giant steamroller tires make it the epitome of the cruiser class because it is built for that very reason. The Fat Boy is the kind of bike one rides after a long work week. It is also the kind of motorcycle one takes down to their favorite bar for bike night to hang out with friends over a big plate of hot wings.

Unlike the rest of the current softail models, the Fat Boy is only one of two that come equipped with full-size floorboards instead of foot pegs. Anyone that has made the transition from pegs to floorboards understands what a world of difference this means in terms of comfort. Being able to evenly distribute your weight across your entire foot instead of concentrating all of it on the arch is a small change that makes a huge difference.

Not to mention that it just simply looks like motorcycle-version of a nightclub bouncer. It's a laid-back cruiser with a muscular build, a deep contrast to many of the other high-performance cruisers in Harley-Davidson's lineup. There's a reason why everyone associates the Fat Boy as "the Terminator bike." Because it's big, strong, and exudes a "bad-to-the-bone" attitude without even trying.

Why The Harley-Davidson Fat Boy is Overrated

2020 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy
Press photo of the 2020 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

Nobody is denying that the Fat Boy deserves a place in Harley-Davidson's lineup of iconic models. But as cool as it looks, it also comes with a big learning curve, depending on the experience level of the rider. The main reason being those gigantic tires. This bike has no problem moving in a straight line. It's the twists and turns that can turn this motorcycle's primary features into its Achilles heel. Bigger tires mean greater road coverage, and many newer Fat Boy riders admit to experiencing wider-than-usual turns. Harleys like the Street Bob and the Lowrider S have narrower tires, so they can weave in and out of traffic cones easily. But with the Fat Boy, it may take a few tries. This is a motorcycle better suited for intermediate and experienced riders, and even they need to ride this bike a few times in order to understand how it handles turns. While it is likely some Fat Boy owners have taken their bikes to ride the famous Tail of the Dragon route in Tennessee, it would certainly be a challenge. Not to mention that in the unfortunate circumstance where you find yourself with a flat tire, be prepared to pay up for a new one.

Related: This Custom Harley-Davidson Fat Boy Is A Sassy Beast

The Fat Boy also doesn't offer much new in the technology department. While the latest versions come equipped with an LCD screen in the center console, riders hoping for more bells and whistles can expect to pay for it. This bike is definitely for the extrovert that loves a little extra attention wherever he/she goes. So if you consider yourself to be an introvert, and can't stand the thought of having everyone's eyes on you and your bike, you may want to consider a different model.

The Final Verdict

2023 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 114
Press photo of the 2023 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 114

Like the saying goes, "variety is the spice of life." While Harley-Davidson's Fat Boy has certainly acquired a loyal fan base after spending 30+ years in the cruiser category, it should also be noted that this bike isn't for everyone. Not everyone will fall in love with the Fat Boy's unique and muscular build, its signature fat tires, and its simplified attitude towards high-tech features, and that's okay. If everyone adored this motorcycle without question, then, at the end of the day it wouldn't be unique or special. This motorcycle has been a staple in Harley's lineup for multiple generations, and as long as there's a market for people that enjoy a laid-back cruiser that celebrates your classic biker image, then the Fat Boy is here to stay.