American giants Harley-Davidson have today unveiled new versions of its Softail range with a massive number of updates that promise less weight, updated engines, new suspension and an all-new chassis design on all the bikes.
Harley has combined its existing Dyna and Softail ranges and fitted the new Milwaukee-Eight engine design, in 1745 and 1868cc specs, first seen in this year’s big touring motorcycles. The company claims that the new models come as the result of the largest new model development programme in the company’s 115 year history and will deliver a vastly improved riding experience, without losing the character and traditional appeal with which the brand is synonymous.
The eight new models all share a brand new chassis design featuring a carbon steel tubular frame that’s claimed to be 65% stiffer than the one on outgoing models. The new bikes are claimed to be more agile, with more lean angle and better acceleration. The new frame consists of fewer components and fewer welds, saving almost 6kg on models with the wider rear tyres and over 8kg on bikes with the narrower specification rear tyre and swingarm. The result is an overall weight saving of up to 17kg on some models, with the new ‘dual bending valve’ suspension also brought in from the touring models and promising a much improved riding experience.
The eight new Softails in the range are:
Street Bob – Classic Harley bobber. Semi apehanger bars with blacked out engine and exhausts. £12,295
Fat Bob – Fat tyres, double hard looks and new rectangular headlight. £14,295.
Low Rider – Elegant Seventies styling. Cast wheels, kicked out front end and dials on the tank. £13,645
Breakout – Low and mean dragster styling, Flat bars, cast wheels and option of bigger ‘114’ engine. £17,245
Softail Slim – Another traditional H-D bobber. Solo seat, fat tyres, loads of attitude. £16,045
Fat Boy – The Harley icon retains the classic look. Smart solid disc wheels, funky new headlight and, of course, new chassis tech. £17,545
Softail Deluxe – 1940s styling, heavily sculpted front fender, whitewall tyres, tank mounted speedo. Looks wise, it’s pretty much as traditional as it gets. £17,245
Heritage Classic – Fifties inspired soft bagger with screen and comfy seat for added touring capability. £17,995.
As well as the new chassis and Milwaukee-Eight engine designs, the eight new models also share a host of new features and modern technology that belies the traditional looks of the American iron. All bikes come with LED headlamps, dubbed ‘Daymaker’ in H-D speak, handlebar mounted USB charging points, keyless ignition and security systems as standard. Harley might not stray too far from their winning formula when it comes to the look and feel (not to mention sound) of their bikes, but the new models are packed full of the modern gizmos and gadgets you’d come to expect from motorcycles sold at such premium prices.