Motorcycles

Harley-Davidson redesigns its Softail family from the ground up

Harley-Davidson redesigns its ...
Only the names remain unchanged in Harley-Davidson's 2018 Softail range
Only the names remain unchanged in Harley-Davidson's 2018 Softail range
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Harley-Davidson introduces the 2018 Softail model family with new engine, frame and suspensions
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Harley-Davidson introduces the 2018 Softail model family with new engine, frame and suspensions
Only the names remain unchanged in Harley-Davidson's 2018 Softail range
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Only the names remain unchanged in Harley-Davidson's 2018 Softail range
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Street Bob is the most affordable Softail model
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Street Bob is the most affordable Softail model
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Street Bob is available with the Milwaukee Eight 107 engine only 
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Street Bob is available with the Milwaukee Eight 107 engine only 
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Street Bob sports a 3.5 gal (13.2 l) fuel tank
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Street Bob sports a 3.5 gal (13.2 l) fuel tank
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe uses front and rear LED lights
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe uses front and rear LED lights
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe is the shiniest of the Softails
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe is the shiniest of the Softails
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy with its characteristic solid wheels
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy with its characteristic solid wheels
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy can be optionally ordered with the 114 Milwaukee Eight motor
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy can be optionally ordered with the 114 Milwaukee Eight motor
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic is the most expensive Softail model
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic is the most expensive Softail model
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic has cruise control and ABS braking as standard
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic has cruise control and ABS braking as standard
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout is equipped with a minimal digital instrument on the handlebars riser
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout is equipped with a minimal digital instrument on the handlebars riser
The headlights of the 2018 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic
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The headlights of the 2018 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim is 35 lb (15.8 kg) lighter than the 2017 model
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim is 35 lb (15.8 kg) lighter than the 2017 model
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim is the family's essential bobber
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim is the family's essential bobber
View from the rider's seat on the 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim
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View from the rider's seat on the 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout is among the Softail models that can be equipped with the bigger 114 Milwaukee Eight motor
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout is among the Softail models that can be equipped with the bigger 114 Milwaukee Eight motor
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout rolls on a tall 21-inch front wheel
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout rolls on a tall 21-inch front wheel
The raked-out and aggressive-looking 2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout
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The raked-out and aggressive-looking 2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout
The new headlight nacelle of the 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy
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The new headlight nacelle of the 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob stands out among the Softails thanks to its fat tires
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob stands out among the Softails thanks to its fat tires
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob can be ordered with the 114 c.i. Milwaukee Eight engine
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob can be ordered with the 114 c.i. Milwaukee Eight engine
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob is the only Softail to employ inverted front forks
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob is the only Softail to employ inverted front forks
The distinctive LED headlight of the 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob
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The distinctive LED headlight of the 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob
The external preload adjustment knob on the 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob
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The external preload adjustment knob on the 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob
Cockpit view of the 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob
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Cockpit view of the 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Low Rider
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Low Rider
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Low Rider is equipped with a 2-into-2 Shotgun exhaust system
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Low Rider is equipped with a 2-into-2 Shotgun exhaust system
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Low Rider runs on 19-inch front and 16-inch rear Radiate cast wheels
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The 2018 Harley-Davidson Low Rider runs on 19-inch front and 16-inch rear Radiate cast wheels
The Milwaukee Eight 107 motor in polished trim, as used in the 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail range
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The Milwaukee Eight 107 motor in polished trim, as used in the 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail range
The blacked-out version of the Milwaukee Eight motor, as used in the 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail range
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The blacked-out version of the Milwaukee Eight motor, as used in the 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail range
The Milwaukee Eight 114 c.i. motor is an option for only four of Harley-Davidson's 2018 Softail models
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The Milwaukee Eight 114 c.i. motor is an option for only four of Harley-Davidson's 2018 Softail models

After debuting in Harley-Davidson's Touring models last year, the new Milwaukee Eight motor will now make its way to the 2018 Softails, too. The eight models that make up this popular model family also benefit from a new frame and suspension, making for what the company calls a custom revolution.

The Softail family holds the middle ground between the entry-level Street and Sportster motorcycles, and the high-end Touring motorcycles. The 2018 Softail lineup has undergone a sweeping redesign that practically leaves only the names unchanged.

Harley-Davidson built the new Softails around its new fuel-injected V-twin motor, the Milwaukee Eight. It will be available in two versions measuring 107 and 114 c.i. (1,746 and 1,868 cc) in capacity, but the bigger engine option will only be available for the Fat Boy, Heritage Classic, Breakout and Fat Bob models.

The Milwaukee Eight 107 motor in polished trim, as used in the 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail range
The Milwaukee Eight 107 motor in polished trim, as used in the 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail range

The powertrain is housed in a brand new steel frame which, compared to the 2017 version, is 34 percent stiffer, and is complemented with two new swingarm designs depending on the width of the rear tire. The 2018 chassis offers an overall weight reduction from 15 to 20 percent, depending on which swingarm is fitted on the motorcycle.

Another feature directly transferred from the 2017 Touring models is Harley-Davidson's dual-bending valve front suspension system. At the rear, all Softails are equipped with a new emulsion-type mono shock unit, hidden under the seat to preserve the classic hardtail look. The preload adjustment method of the rear suspension is model-dependent, with a classic spanner wrench accessible under the seat for Softail Slim, Street Bob and Low Rider, an external knob adjuster for Fat Boy, Fat Bob and Breakout, while the Deluxe and Heritage Classic models go for an underseat socket adjuster.

The new Softail range also receives an infusion of fresh tech that includes LED Daymaker headlamps, new instrumentation, keyless ignition and USB charging ports mounted on the steering head.

Source: Harley-Davidson

3 comments
VincentWolf
No electrics no thanks. Junk.
f8lee
Huh - I think Eric Buell put it best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izzlN2zC8PU&list=FLr-hHkScMRizPGso6WuJ1JA&index=16
Paul Muad'Dib
I don't understand why people would want to buy something new that looks like it was designed in the 50s.