To celebrate Harley-Davidson’s® 115th Anniversary year, the Motor Company is launching a complete custom revolution: Eight all-new Softail® models that merge the hard-riding performance of the Dyna® line with the unparalleled custom look of the Softail line.
Designed under the largest Product Development Project in company history, the new bikes feature a stiffer and significantly lighter frame built to harness the high torque output of the new dual-counterbalanced Milwaukee-Eight® 107 and 114 engines.
With high-performance dual-bending valve front suspension and an easily adjustable hidden rear monoshock, the aggressively styled 2018 Softail models are faster, lighter and better handling than any of their Big Twin cruiser predecessors.
Paul James, manager of Product Portfolio, Harley-Davidson Motor Company:
“The new Softails are the result of the most extensive research and development program in the company’s history. Thousands of hours of research and testing were put into the complete ground-up design of these new cruisers. We focused on taking the total rider experience to a higher level, where authenticity, heritage and soul meet the modern edge of technology for a ride that must be felt to believe.”
And interpreting Harley-Davidson’s history, authenticity and styling DNA through a modern lens, the eight new Softails feature all-new designs that strongly differentiate them from their predecessors and each other. And from a new base of style, comfort and performance the next generation of factory custom cruisers is ready for riders to elevate even further with their own personalisation.
Brad Richards, vice president of Styling and Design, Harley-Davidson Motor Company:
“The authenticity of Harley-Davidson design comes by sweating the details from start to finish – it’s ‘hard to do and hard to copy.’ Harley-Davidson motorcycles are not a commodity; they are handed down from generation to generation. We look at every nut and bolt on the bike, all the finishes, and every small detail. The new Softail frame is like a piece of art and the more you take off the bike, the more beautiful it becomes. Its design speaks to the teamwork that our styling and engineering processes demand.”
NEW CHASSIS, Frame / swingarm & HIGH-PERFORMANCE SUSPENSION
The handling of a Softail now enters a new era with a lighter, more rigid frame that elevates form and function to a higher plane, while maintaining the classic look of a hardtail and delivering a thoroughly modern ride. Benefits of the new chassis include increased lean angles for many models, sharper turn-in response, quicker acceleration, nimble flickability, lighter weight and easier side-stand lift off than previous models.
A new high stiffness carbon steel tubular frame forms the core of the 2018 Softail chassis and combined with the swingarm significantly increases the rigidity of the chassis. The frame itself is 65% stiffer than the outgoing Softail design, which leads to a 34% increase in overall chassis stiffness. Its design also achieves reduced complexity with a 50% reduction in component parts and 22% reduction in welds.
There are two unique swingarms, one for narrow and one for wide rear tires. The wide chassis is 5.89kg (15%) lighter, while the narrow chassis shaves 8.16kg (20%). The swingarm transfers rear wheel movement to the under-seat monoshock while maintaining the pure, classic lines of a hardtail frame.
Brand new high-performance dual-bending valve front suspension – first introduced on 2017 Touring models – delivers damping performance that’s similar to a cartridge fork but with improved, more responsive damping characteristics. It’s optimised for both comfortable cruising and spirited riding with 130mm of travel. Revised rake and trail also enhance handling ability.
The new monoshock rear suspension preserves the classic hardtail look while revamped geometry improves ride quality, traction and control. Easily adjustable for spring preload it enables a 217kg range of payload capacity for increased passenger comfort and optimum handling.
The all-new Softail models are up to 17kg lighter than before, delivering an improved power-to-weight ratio that provides quicker acceleration, better braking and dynamic cornering capability combined with increased lean angles for many models. Some models feature new tires specifically designed to work with the new Softail chassis and feature optimised constructions and improved compounds for confident, long-wearing performance in all riding conditions. New seat designs and materials provide an improved fit for a wider range of riders and greater comfort for cruising.
NEW POWERTRAIN WITH TWO DISPLACEMENT OPTIONS
All 2018 Softail models get a new heartbeat from the most powerful engines ever offered in Harley-Davidson Big Twin cruisers, the new Milwaukee-Eight™ 107 and 114 V-Twins. Milwaukee-Eight engines retain the iconic 45-degree V-Twin cylinder angle with a broad-shouldered top end accentuated by a single camshaft design that tapers to a slim bottom end for a muscular contour.
The new Softail frame’s rigid mounting points are engineered to tightly package the engine and reinforce chassis stiffness. Milwaukee-Eight engines for Softail models also feature a refined, dual internally counter-balanced system that reduces engine vibration while maintaining the familiar Harley-Davidson feel. Harley-Davidson’s trademark ‘potato-potato-potato’ sound comes through strong with less intake and mechanical noise.
The two displacement options available:
(107 CID; 1745cc) Standard on all models
(114 CID; 1868cc) Optional
THE EIGHT NEW SOFTAILS & THEIR KEY FEATURES
The legendary Fat Boy motorcycle that defined contemporary custom style for decades has outdone itself. Ripped and refined satin-chrome finishes deliver a bold, muscular styling statement showing off its powerful engine and new and improved ride and handling.
- Modern-day interpretation of the classic headlight nacelle
- A 160mm front tire, the widest-ever on a Harley-Davidson production model, wraps the solid Lakester front wheel
Design cues evoke the blacked-out styling of vintage 1950s Harley-Davidson models, updated with a modern edge.
Inspired by the individualism of the ‘70s custom chopper era that birthed the original, the new Low Rider is lighter and faster with corner-carving handling unimaginable back in the day.
Stripped to its essential elements, the Slim pays homage to post-war custom bobbers with a narrow rear end, trimmed front fender, solo seat and minimal chrome.
A classic hi-line showstopper that stands out on any street, the Deluxe glistens with bright chrome while delivering the ride of a seriously modern machine.
With more lean angle and agility than ever imagined in a bike carrying so much dragster attitude and style, the Breakout model takes long, lean muscle to a modern edge.
Tarmac-eating traction, pothole-devouring suspension, agile cornering and a blacked-out take-no-prisoners look make the Fat Bob a groundbreaking motorcycle that could only come from Harley-Davidson.
A bare-bones bike with go-anywhere DNA, the Street Bob motorcycle has a fists-in-the-wind attitude with nothing extra to weigh it down.
NEW TECHNOLOGY FEATURED ON EVERY SOFTAIL
- Under seat spanner wrench: Softail Slim, Street Bob, Low Rider
- External hand adjustment knob: Fat Bob, Fat Boy, Breakout
- Under seat socket adjustment: Deluxe, Heritage Classic
For more information on the new Harley-Davidson Softails and full specifications visit: www.h-dmediakit.com
*Varies by model.
About Harley-Davidson Motor Company®
Since 1903, Harley-Davidson Motor Company has fulfilled dreams of personal freedom with cruiser, touring and custom motorcycles, riding experiences and events, and a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, general merchandise, riding gear and apparel. For more information, visit www.h-d.com.