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2011 Harley-Davidson Dyna Fat Bob

Dyna Feature Motorcycle Reviews Harley Reviews Harley-Davidson

2011 Harley-Davidson Dyna Fat Bob


NEW BIKE TEST By Joe Knezevic – My favorite bike from Milwaukee
Let’s say hypothetically you were fortunate enough to have a suitor who offered to buy you a brand-new Harley-Davidson and all you had to do was pay to register and insure the bike. Do you know what bike you would choose? If I were given that offer, without a doubt I would choose a Dyna Fat Bob. Sure, I might go with the 2010 CVO version, but I would be just as grateful for a stocker like the 2011 Sedona Orange model seen here.

From the moment I first met Fat Bob, I felt like we had a bond. After my initial ride at the 2008 model launch where the bike was introduced, I knew I was going to really like the bike. So much so that it didn’t even bother me when I heard fellow journalists say “Look at Fat Joe on a Fat Bob.” In actuality, I thought that comment had a nice ring to it; it made me feel like Bob and I were best friends who just happened to be fat, and everyone else was just jealous at how well we complemented each other.

When I take a step back and look at the Fat Bob there are so many things that this bike does for me, I’m not surprised at how quickly it has squeezed to the top of my list of favorite Harleys. First and foremost, the rubber-mounted TC 96 engine and six-speed CruiseDrive transmission has a black powdercoated finish and features polished covers which, in my opinion, is the best look for a Twin Cam powertrain. From there, I’m drawn to the 49mm wide front end that is topped with drag handlebars and twin chrome headlamps. It’s also hard to miss that the bike is grounded by fat 16″ wheels (a 130 up front and a 180 out back). Add to that the aggressive tread pattern on the tires, and this bike has a nice, mean stance. Next, I appreciate how the classic 5-gallon Fat Bob fuel tank and Bobtail rear fender work so well together. On top of all that, the Fat Bob comes with forward-mounted foot controls, making it comfortable for a fat guy like me. I guess overall this bike just looks like it is made in the US and obviously made to be ridden.

This model is meant to be lots of things for the Motor Company, and I think it has succeeded. As I said in my first review of this model back in April 2008, to me, the Fat Bob is a throwback to all those FLHs that people bobbed back in the day. Even though it’s a modern bike, I believe it fits nicely into the Harley family tree from a historical sense. It may not be the smoothest riding Harley or have the quickest handling, but it does the job well enough for me especially since it has a starting price of $14,999.

In case you haven’t already figured it out, I like the Dyna Fat Bob, and I think it likes me. Whether it’s from a styling, comfort, or performance point of view, this bike delivers what I want in a cruiser. Sure, it’s not the most comfortable ride, but that’s what touring bikes are for. The handling is a bit slow thanks to the fat front and rear tires, but it’s not supposed to be a sportbike.

Heck, no bike is perfect, but this one does enough things well that it might be perfect for me. As always, there are some simple upgrades I would do right off the bat if I owned one. Those changes include making the bike more conducive for taking longer trips by upgrading the seat and adding some simple carrying capacity. And while I was at it, a new air cleaner and pipes to let the 96″ breathe better couldn’t hurt. Since this bike is owned by Harley corporate, I’ll see if H-D will let me make those changes to our test ride. If so, I’ll be sure to run those install stories in future issues of American Iron Magazine.

So next time you see a long-haired, fat, verbose guy riding a Fat Bob, be sure to stop him and say hello. If it’s me, I’d love to hear what you think of this bike and how I look on it. More importantly, you’d better have an answer for me when I ask you which Harley you would pick if someone offered to buy you one. You already know my choice. AIM

Story as it appeared in the May 2011 issue of American Iron Magazine.



  1. pjcolorado June 15, 2014

    We now have 5 Harleys in our garage. The 2011 Fat Bob is my favorite. It started in 2009 when I surprised my wife with a 1200 Sportster with custom paint job for her birthday. It then was followed by me getting a custom 2000 Ultra Classic, then a 2003 100th Anniversary V Rod. We then got this Fat Bob with an amazing custom paint job and just recently got my wife a 2007 883 Low. I love this Fat Bob and it gets compliments everywhere I go. I love the power and the brawn. The only thing I don’t like is the stock Dunlop D427 tires. They put me all over the road. I will replace them with Avon Cobra’s once they wear out. That’s what I have on my VROD and it rides like a dream. Otherwise I put Metzeler ME888 tires on the other bikes and love those as well.

  2. Steve November 11, 2012

    On My second FatBob, rode 1200miles in one day on my last one, no problems. Ended up doing over 100k on the bike. Just bought another, picked it up Friday, already fitted full stage one, small plate etc.
    Ready to do another 100k

  3. Vince October 3, 2012

    Just bought my first Harley, 2009 Fatbob. Coming from sport bikes, I feel like I lost my virginity all over agian!! Loving every second of this bike. Good article.

  4. Dave S. September 9, 2012

    Purchased my 2010 Fat Bob FXDF, yes, TWICE. It was new in June 2010 as my first Harley. Owned many other bikes prior to this, and Wow, best ride ever. Agree with all previous statements made in above posts. The experience of this ride is like no other. Long story in short, saw a leftover 2010 Road Glide at the local dealer and fell in love. Traded in the Fat Bob, had the Road Glide 8 months, and took it back to the same dealer. Unbelievably, he still had my Fat Bob for sale. Yes, I traded in the Road Glide to get my first Harley back!! Back on my first Harley love and would like to share something else with every Fat Bob owner and rider out there. Please, Please check ALL bolts for any loose fits that you can get your hands on. Recently had rear muffler bracket bolts SHEER OFF and Cracked the transmission casing!!! Frantically, I called my dealer and was told to bring it in. Under my second warranty, Harley Davidson replaced the entire transmission casing, all bolts, hardware, and Labor costs installing ALL of it with Loctite, AT NO CHARGE!!! Folks, IT DOESN”T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS. I am a Harley Davidson Owner for LIFE. Please check your rear muffler brackets for tight bolts. Use Loctite on them!! Also check any other nut or bolt that you can get your hands on including clutch handle assembly on the handlebars AND check your transmission drain plug. Mine was dripping. Make sure it is snug. Even after all this, I insist on owning my Fat Bob FXDF. No other better handling Harley that I can compare it to my riding style. Corners like no other. Just rode a loaner 2012 Heritage Softail for 3 weeks and I could hardley wait to get back on my Fat Bob. Good Luck & Safe Rides to all of you.

  5. Layne August 2, 2012

    I have a 2011 Sedona Orange Fat Bob and absoultely love it! It is an incredible ride. I test drove a Fat Boy and passed (money was no object). Love riding this bad boy and cannot get enought of it.

  6. Jack June 14, 2012

    I started with 2007 Sportster 1200 low and have enjoyed performance, fit, and cosmetic modifications. I was told I’d eventually upgrade. It was bound to happen. Saw the 1200 FXDF, got the nod from my wife, gave it a test ride, and ordered it up. The rest of this riding season is going to be even better than the beginning. Ride hard and ride safe all!

  7. Paul May 21, 2012

    Just got my first Harley and its a 2011 Fat Bob. Can’t believe the ride compared to my Yamaha. Agree with everything said. Love the bike.

  8. Tera April 2, 2012

    The hubby bought his 2009 FatBob in 20 11…an impulse buy I guess you would call it…but what a buy. I have ridden his several times and fell in love. I have a 2002 Softtail std. That just don’t feel quite right…that is until last weekend when @you a rally @you a local dealer I saw her in all her fabulous glory. A 2011 FatBob in white denim and yes she called to me. Now the Softtail is for sale and I now have myy own Fatbob…so to answer your question when someone did offer to buy me a new Harley…I chose the Fatbob. 100 Miles and counting and I am so in love!

  9. ray d'mello March 9, 2012

    would like to know,what in your opinion would be the best exhaust/air filter combo for the 2011 fat bob for better sound and performance.

  10. Michael Hackett February 8, 2012

    Ordered a 2012 Fat Bob in December 2011…ships to arrive Mid-Feb 2012. Owned many Harleys over the years (One even made Cover of Hot Rod Bikes). Anyway – can’t wait to see the new Fat Bob. This one will be totally Blacked Out. Additions – Black Cut-Out Wheels – Black Slotted Rotors – Black Slotted- Clutch/Brake Levers – Brake – Shifter – Connecting Tranny Shifter Rod K&N Intake – Race Tuner along with Complete Chrome Bolt Kit. At a later date will plug in 255 cams with adjustable pushrods.

    Looking forward to warm weather!!

  11. Gman January 18, 2012

    Bought a 2012 Fat Bob, Thanksgiving week. What a cool ride. Handles great in the curvy canyon roads near my home. Only complaint is the low pipes, they drag when you lean, especially on uphill right handers. The power is amazing with the 103 engine. The range of torque in 2nd and 3rd on the curves gives the rider confidence not normally seen in a heavy bike. I like it!

  12. Bryan V January 11, 2012

    I have an 08 Fat Bob, was the 2nd one out of the local Harley Dealership. I have almost 15000 miles on it and have loved every one of them. The fat tires make it a perfect bike for the Montana roads. I did change the seat and handle bars going with a sundowner seat and 12″ Wide Glide Mini Apes. What a diffrence in long rides. Longets trip so far was 2560 mi in 5 days and the Fat Bob never missed a beat. I feel the Fat Bob is one of the best bikes in the Harley line. I cant wait for the next 15000 mi.

  13. Husker January 1, 2012

    Just got my 2012 Fat Bob 3 days ago and I can’t stop riding it. I about froze to death today, but I don’t care. I love riding this bike. This bike handles like a dream. Best Dyna Harley ever!!!!

  14. Renee August 8, 2011

    I have always been a Harley fan since I was too little to ride on the back and my dad would sit me up front (it was the 70’s, dont call CFS) anyways I did fall hard for the fat bob this year and bought he Sedona Orange model, added a windshield since most my riding is long hwy, then quick detach bags, I have put 3000 on it since mid June and plan on a lot more, I do find over the other models the front end has a lot of weight to it, I am not a big girl,however when I have had different male riding friends offer to move it they have always commented on the high feeling seat position and he the heavy feel as well. it corners well, rides straight and when you giver her some space and open it up the take off is quick and smooth, my dislike is the loud clunky transmission, and a low rider would be a nice option too.

  15. Robert July 27, 2011

    I purchased a 2011 fat bob (white hot denim) i think the best color for the fat bob thank you. Looking forward to many, many miles. As comfortable for me being 5’8″, as for my father, 6’2″. Best dyna ever.

  16. Brian M July 10, 2011

    Perfect combo of style, performance and American attitude Bought the 2008 Fat Bob Nov. 2007. Delivered it Feb 2008 and ride her every chance I get. In fact I’ll be in Europe for 10 day and I just rented one from THE HOUSE OF FLAMES IN MUNICH for riding around the Alps

  17. DAVE W. July 8, 2011


  18. Joker May 23, 2011

    I bought this exact bike the first of may I can’t tell you how much I love riding this machine. Your detail to the bike is right on. It spoke to me the same as it did you so I had to buy it. Can’t wait to ride to sturgis this year and put some serious miles on this thing.

  19. jason Stone May 15, 2011

    Just bought this exact bike two weeks ago. I love it. My last bike was a 2008 dyna super glide stage 3 103 cu in. This bike rides awesome, the fat tires absorb a lot of bumps, holes etc… So far so good. looking forward to motoring.