History, with all The Dust Blown Off

Traveling into the past is a thrill when you ride with Harley-Davidson.


Vehicle Profile:

25 Years of the
Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

Since its debut in 1990, the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy has become one of the company’s most popular models. Designed by stylists Willie G. Davidson and Louie Netz, the Fat Boy’s defining characteristic is its front and rear solid-cast disc wheels. The original Fat Boy also featured the first use of shotgun exhausts and gently flared fenders. The 1990 Fat Boy also drew attention with its monochromatic silver paint and silver powder-coated frame set off with yellow detailing. Further details, like the lacing on the seat and fuel tank are indicative of Willie’s fondness for the handmade look. The logo too, is distinctive. Willie G.’s design evokes “patriotism and nostalgia” and is found on every Fat Boy from 1990 to today.

The Fat Boy’s popularity isn’t limited to Harley’s customer base, either. The Fat Boy has appeared in several films and television shows. Probably most famously, it appeared in 1991’s Terminator 2 and again in Terminator: Genisys. One of the bikes from T2 is currently on display at the Harley-Davidson Museum. The Fat Boy has also appeared in Sons of Anarchy, Wild Hogs, and CSI: Miami.

One of the keys to the Fat Boy’s success was the rigorous testing and customer feedback it underwent during the two years before it’s unveiling. Willie G. rode a prototype of the Fat Boy to Daytona in 1988 and again in 1989. These trips were essential to improving the bike and contributed to its eventual popularity. The Fat Boy Lo was introduced in 2010 and advertised as a “darker, lower, meaner” version of the original. It featured the lowest seat height on any Harley motorcycle. The Fat Boy model itself has undergone very few modifications over the years. Aside from some minor design tweaks, it remains faithful to the original design from twenty-five
years ago.

Donating An Artifact

If you wish to offer an item to the permanent collections of Harley-Davidson, please mail or e-mail the following to the address below:

  • A detailed description of the item
  • A photograph of the item
  • Your complete contact information, including phone number

Your submission will be reviewed by the Archives and Curatorial Staff of Harley-Davidson. If we are interested in acquiring the item for the Harley-Davidson Archives collections, you will be contacted for further information. Unfortunately, the Archives cannot accept unsolicited donations.

Harley-Davidson Archives
Attn: Archives Manager
500 W Canal Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202


Adult $20
H.O.G. Member Free
Senior (age 65+) $14
US Military (w/ID) $14
Student (w/ID) $14
Child (age 5-17) $10
Child under 5 Free
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Hours and location

May-September - Daily: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
(Thursday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.)

October-April - Daily: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
(Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.)

Harley-Davidson Museum
400 W Canal Street
Milwaukee, WI 53201
1-877-HD-MUSEUM or 414-287-2789

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