For decades there have been two camps. Just like the Jets and the Sharks, you were either a Softail® or a Dyna. Today, that all changes. In what could be the biggest development in Harley-Davidson®'s history since the development of Harley-Davidson® itself, the Softail® and Dyna have merged into a single platform.
Harley-Davidson® had a problem. They wanted to install the Milwaukee-Eight® engine into their Big Twin Cruiser lineup, but they needed to create a frame that could replace the old Softail® with an entirely new monoshock Softail® frame to do it. The old Dyna chassis was not capable of accommodating the performance demands of the modern M8 engine. Now that the performance of the Milwaukee-Eight® engine has outgrown the Dyna chassis, people want to know how the M8 is going to work in the Big Twin cruiser platform.
The Motor Company wanted to integrate their new Milwaukee-Eight® V-twin across the lineup, to improve dynamic capability and handling with an increased Softail® lean angle, improve suspension and increase the payload. Finally, H-D wanted to design a more aggressive product by decreasing the weight of the bike and implementing an entirely balanced M8 engine.
To accomplish this, each motorcycle comes on the revolutionized Big Twin cruising platform. This frame offers a 50-percent reduction in parts and 22 percent cut in many welds resulting in a bike that is up to thirty-three pounds lighter in some cases. The Frame is also significantly stiffer to harness the increased torque of the dual-counterbalanced Milwaukee-Eight® 107 and 114 engines.
Problem. Solved. In this marriage of heritage and technology, customers will now have the best of both worlds. Which of the eight distinctive Softail® platforms is right for you? Here they are:
If you need to escape the every day or the coming zombie apocalypse, this is the bike for you. The pipes are neither chrome nor black. Like magic hour in Santa Barbara, these pipes warm to a golden glow. Boasting 16/16-inch wheels, these rapid-fire beach-cruiser tires allow for a 31-degree right, and 32-degree left lean angle. This bike is thirty-three pounds lighter than its 2017 predecessor and built for agility in the corners and massive torque in the straightaways. Top off the 3.5-gallon tank and attack the horizon on a 27.7-inch seat height.
Just like any sculpture you spend lots of time on, you want it to be seen. That's why the Milwaukee-Eight® heads are the center piece of the Street Bob's design. H-D carved the 3.5-gallon fuel tank to narrow perfection giving the rider an ideal vantage point of those heads. Other design cues include bare bones frame with pushrod tubes and a single headlight bezel. This solo revolution is about attitude and nothing else. Stripped down to minimal fenders, seventeen pounds were extracted from its 2017 predecessor. Throw your leg over the 25.8-inch seat and punch both fists in the air.
If you have lived your life as a Dyna rider, this is the new Softail® for you. The narrow, short-arc fender and bobbed rear allow you to lean this bike they way you've never known you wanted. Infinitely customizable, this bike allows you to make the dark cylinder fins and nine-spoke Black Radiate cast wheels with machined highlights your own. Tick the box for the ABS option and experience the ride feel of a 26.2-inch seat height.
Inspired by the evolution of the original '49 Panhead, the Heritage Classic includes dual chrome pipes, fat tires, PD-style windscreen, and a Hydra-Glide-look fork. This bike is 32 pounds lighter than its 2017 predecessor. The unifying feature of all eight Softail® models is the single rear shock. This design change allows for weight reduction and an efficient load direction that travels from the triangulated rear frame directly to the steering head. The Heritage Classic makes the most of this design by also pay homage to the classic hardtail look inspired by the groundbreaking 1937 DL. Toss your gear in the hard-form locking bags-without-sags, fill up the five-gallon tank with console, and feed some power to the 16-inch wire-spoke wheels.
Something Harley-Davidson® has done is, by increasing the valve area by up to fifty percent, the high compression of the Milwaukee-Eight® 107 cuts 0-to-60 time by ten percent. When you then factor in the displacement increase from the 107 engine to the 114 motor, you become nine percent faster in 0-to-60 time than the M-8 107. This is most notable in the 60-to-80-mph range when you want that extra passing power. With the 2018 Fat Boy, riders will enjoy that 114 engine while riding on 18-inch disc wheels with 160F/240R lowest-profile tires. Add to that the bobbed rear fender and 1949 Panhead FL-style “boulder-sized” headlamp, you have a bike 31-pounds lighter than the previous model. Where will the 5-gallon tank with console take you? Wherever you want to go of course.
Suspension is everything. By installing a high-performance front suspension with an easily adjustable hidden rear mono-shock, these 2018 Softail® models weight less, handle better and go faster than any of their ancestors. The Softail® Slim is no exception. Styling cues include a Gloss-black Hollywood handlebar, single headlight, and dark engine cylinders. Even with its bobbed rear and blacked-out fork, the Motor Company made the Slim even slimmer by cutting the weight by thirty-five pounds. Choose the ABS option for added safety and drain every drop of the 5-gallon tank with console.
For someone who enjoys spending Saturday afternoon with a tin of Nevr-Dull, this is the hog for you. Chrome abounds on this beauty with 16-inch drop-center wire-spoke wheels and whitewall tires. Even with its Daymaker LED forward lighting, USB charging port and keyless ignition, this bike is 33 pounds lighter than the 2017 model. The handling is also updated thanks to the improved suspension and quicker-responding Softail® chassis. Taller riders will appreciate the 25.9-inch seat height the 2018 Deluxe offers.
The youngest in the Softail® line, the Breakout 114 has only been around since 2013. And like any youngest kid in the family, this bike commands your attention with a unique personality. This bike is long and low. Riding on low-profile tires mated to Spider-web “Gasser II” 20-spoke, 18/21-inch wheels, the acceleration on this bike will make your teeth rattle like an Apollo rocket. When you also note the 35-pound weight reduction from the 2017 model, you'll understand why the Breakout 114 is so agile at low speeds. Not that you'll want to be using much of the bottom half of the speedometer. Top off the 3.5-gallon tank and race the wind.
Since its inception, Harley-Davidson® has been defined by one word: Freedom. This company offers freedom from the grind, freedom from the mundane, and now, with eight models to choose from, H-D gives you freedom of choice. This merge of the Fat Boy, Softails—Slim, Deluxe, Heritage Classic, and Breakout with the Street Bob, Dyna line—Fat Bob, and Low Rider is revolutionary. The twin-shock Dyna platform is no more. The frame has been reinvented to harness the powerful torque of the Milwaukee-Eight® 107 and 114 engines designed just for Softail® models. Are you ready to join the revolution? Visit our Harley-Davidson dealership to test drive each of the new 2018 Harley-Davidson® models.