To celebrate Harley-Davidson’s 115th Anniversary year, the Motor Company in India launched a complete custom revolution: Four all-new Softail models that merge the hard-riding performance of the Dyna line with the looks of the Softail line.
Designed under the largest Product Development Project in the company’s 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 engine. 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.
Peter MacKenzie, Managing Director, Harley-Davidson India and China said, “Our new offerings strongly demonstrate Harley-Davidson’s focus on reinventing products for motorcycle enthusiasts and aspiring riders. The 2018 Softail® custom motorcycles have been inspired by Harley-Davidson’s history, authenticity and styling DNA through a modern lens. The response to the first look has been very positive and we are confident that the motorcycles will further enhance the sport of leisure motorcycling in India.”
The four 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.
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.
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 V-Twin. 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.
(107 CID; 1745cc) Standard on all models
• 100mm bore and 111.1mm stroke, with 10.0:1 compression ratio
• 0-60 mph – 10% quicker acceleration than the High Output Twin Cam 103
• 60-80 mph/5th gear – 16% faster acceleration than the High Output Twin Cam 103
THE FOUR NEW SOFTAILS & THEIR KEY FEATURES
• Aggressive, steamroller stance and front end design
– 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
• 16kg weight reduction to previous model
• Standard ABS
• 240mm rear tire with solid Lakester rear wheel
Design cues evoke the blacked-out styling of vintage 1950s Harley-Davidson models, updated with a modern edge.
• New detachable windscreen
• New rigid, lockable, sealed, water-resistant saddlebags
• Taller suspension with increased passenger and cargo payload capacity
• 17kg weight reduction to previous model
• Standard cruise control and ABS
• 2-1-2 upswept performance exhaust with a custom finish
Largest aggressively treaded tires from the Motor Company: 150 mm front and 180 mm rear
• Dual disc front brakes
• 13.2 litre fuel tank
• 15kg weight reduction to previous model
• Inverted 43mm cartridge style front forks
• Smooth-top 13.2 litre fuel tank
• Black spoke wheels with chopped fenders
• Low-profile riser-mounted digital instrument screen
• 7kg weight reduction to previous model
• Lowest MSRP in Softail line
NEW TECHNOLOGY FEATURED ON EVERY SOFTAIL
• Unique Daymaker Signature LED Headlamps on all models
• Improved electrical system charging, more than doubled at idle speeds
• Easily adjustable rear shock pre-load settings (method varies by model)
– Under seat spanner wrench: Street Bob
– External hand adjustment knob: Fat Bob, Fat Boy
– Under seat socket adjustment: Heritage Classic
• New instrumentation
• Keyless ignition and security system standard
• Steering head mounted USB charge port
• New fuel tanks