You are here
Home > Vehicles > motorcycles > New Harley-Davidson Softail Models Lose Weight With New Frame, Suspension and Engines (Bike Reports) (News)

New Harley-Davidson Softail Models Lose Weight With New Frame, Suspension and Engines (Bike Reports) (News)

The following press release from Harley-Davidson announces redesigned Softail models featuring new frames, suspension components and engines resulting in lighter weight and higher performance. Here is the press release:

MILWAUKEE (Aug. 22, 2017) – To celebrate Harley-Davidson’s 115th Anniversary year, the Motor Company is launching  a 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 compared to prior year models feature a stiffer and significantly lighter frame built to harness the pulse-quickening torque 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 mono-shock, the aggressively styled 2018 Softail models are faster, lighter and better handling than any of their Big Twin cruiser predecessors.

“The new Softail models are the result of the most extensive research and development program in the company’s history,” said Paul James, manager of product portfolio, Harley-Davidson. “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.”

NEW CHASSIS

The handling of a Softail motorcycle 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 hard tail and delivers a thoroughly modern ride. Benefits of the new chassis include increased lean angles, sharper turn-in response, quicker acceleration, nimble flick-ability, lighter weight, and easier side-stand liftoff than predecessor Softail and Dyna models. The steel foundation of the next generation of custom Harley-Davidson motorcycles has been forged.

Frame / swingarm

A new high stiffness carbon steel tubular frame forms the core of the 2018 Softail chassis. The completely redesigned frame and swingarm significantly increase the rigidity of the new chassis.  The frame itself is 65 percent stiffer than the 2017 Softail frame, which leads to a 34 percent increase in overall chassis stiffness. The frame design achieves reduced complexity with a 50 percent reduction in component parts and a 22 percent reduction in welds. There are two unique swingarms, one for narrow and one for wide rear tires. The wide chassis is 15 percent lighter (13 pounds) and the narrow chassis is 20 percent (18 pounds) lighter than the 2017 Softail frame. The swingarm transfers rear wheel movement to the under-seat mono-shock while maintaining the pure, classic lines of a hard tail frame.

HIGH-PERFORMANCE SUSPENSION

All-new front and rear suspension components are calibrated to match the dynamics of the new chassis, wheels and tires to enhance the comfort, control and performance of the 2018 Softail® motorcycles. The new high-performance dual-bending valve front suspension, which was first introduced on 2017 Touring models, delivers damping performance that is similar to a cartridge fork but with improved, more responsive damping characteristics. The suspension is optimized for both comfortable cruising and spirited riding with 130 mm of bump-devouring travel. Retuned and optimized rake and trail also enhance the motorcycles’ handling performance.

The new mono-shock rear suspension preserves the classic hard tail look while revamped geometry improves ride quality, traction and control. The new easily adjustable mono-shock enables a 240 pound range of payload capacity for increased passenger comfort and enhanced dynamic handling compared to 2017 Softail models.

Ride and handling agility

The all-new Softail models are up to 35 pounds* lighter than 2017 models, delivering an improved power-to-weight ratio that provides quicker acceleration, better braking and enhanced dynamic cornering capability combined with increased lean angles. Some models feature new tires specifically designed to work with the new Softail chassis and feature optimized constructions and improved compounds for a confident, long-wearing ride in all riding conditions. New seat designs and materials provide an improved fit for a wider range of riders and greater comfort for cruising. Bar none, the 2018 Softail models are the best handling cruisers Harley-Davidson has ever produced.

NEW POWERTRAIN

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.

ICONIC LOOK

  • 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 engine mounting is engineered to tightly package the engine and reinforce the chassis stiffness.

SMOOTHER RUNNING & PURER SOUND

  • Milwaukee-Eight engines for Softail models 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.

TWO ENGINE DISPLACEMENT OPTIONS

Milwaukee-Eight 107 Engine

(107 CID; 1746cc) Standard on all models

  • 100 mm bore and 4.375 inch stroke with 10.0:1 compression ratio
  • 0-60 mph – 10 percent quicker acceleration than the High Output Twin Cam 103
  • 60-80 mph/5th gear – 16 percent faster acceleration than the High Output Twin Cam 103

Milwaukee-Eight 114 Engine

(114 CID; 1868cc) Optional

  • Available on four models: Fat Bob® 114, Fat Boy® 114, Breakout® 114, Heritage Classic 114
  • 102 mm bore and 4.5 inch stroke with 10.5:1 compression ratio
  • Ventilator Intake with 114 graphics and badging
  • Standard ABS
  • 0-60 mph – Nine percent faster acceleration than the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine
  • 60-80 mph/5th gear -13 percent faster acceleration than the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine

MODERN STYLING & DESIGN

Interpreting Harley-Davidson’s history, authenticity and styling DNA through a modern lens, the eight new Softail models feature all-new designs that strongly differentiate them from their predecessors and each other. From a new base of style, comfort and performance, the next generation of factory custom cruisers are ready for riders to take even higher with their own personalization.

“The authenticity of Harley-Davidson design comes by sweating the details from start to finish, ‘hard to do and hard to copy.’ Harley-Davidson motorcycles are not a commodity; they are handed down from generation to generation,” said Brad Richards, vice president of styling and design, Harley-Davidson. “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.”

EIGHT new SOFTAIL MODEL KEY FEATURES:

FAT BOY®

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.

  • Aggressive, steamroller stance and front end design
  • Modern-day interpretation of the classic headlight nacelle
  • 160 mm front tire, the widest-ever on a Harley-Davidson production model, wraps the solid Lakester front wheel
  • 31-pound weight reduction to previous model
  • Standard ABS
  • 240 mm rear tire with solid Lakester rear wheel
  • Optional: Milwaukee-Eight 114 Engine

HERITAGE CLASSIC

Design cues evoke the blacked-out styling of vintage ‘50s 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
  • 32-pound weight reduction to previous model
  • Optional: Milwaukee-Eight 114 Engine
  • Standard cruise control and ABS

LOW RIDER®

Inspired by the individualism of the ‘70s custom chopper era that birthed the original, the new Low Rider model is lighter and faster with corner-carving handling unimaginable back in the day.

  • Throwback-style dual tank-mount speedo and tach gauges, headlight visor and fuel tank graphics
  • 19-inch front and 16-inch rear Radiate cast wheels
  • 2-into-2 Shotgun exhaust

SOFTAIL SLIM®

Stripped to its essential elements, the Softail Slim model pays homage to post-war custom bobbers with a narrow rear end, trimmed front fender, solo seat and minimal chrome.

  • Dark finishes adorn the laced wheels, Hollywood handlebar, and all-new front-end design
  • Low-slung tuck and roll seat
  • Bold and smooth new front nacelle and fork cover styling
  • 35-pound weight reduction to previous model

DELUXE

A classic hi-line showstopper that stands out on any boulevard, the Deluxe glistens with bright chrome while delivering the ride of a seriously modern machine.

  • Signature all-LED lighting from front to back: headlight, running lights, Tombstone taillight and blade-like turn signals
  • Signature pull-back handlebar
  • 33-pound weight reduction to previous model
  • Standard ABS

BREAKOUT®

With more lean angle and agility than ever imagined in a bike carrying so much dragster attitude and style, the all-new Breakout model takes long, lean muscle to a modern edge.

  • New smooth-top 3.5-gallon fuel tank
  • Long and wide with low-slung raked out 49 mm front forks
  • 18-inch rear (240 mm tire) and 21-inch front (130 mm tire) Gasser-style gloss-black powder coated cast aluminum wheels
  • Distinctive Daymaker™ Signature LED headlamp
  • Low-profile, riser-mounted digital instrument screen
  • 35-pound weight reduction to previous model
  • Standard ABS
  • Optional: Milwaukee-Eight 114 Engine

FAT BOB®

Asphalt-eating traction, pothole-devouring suspension, agile cornering, and a blacked-out take-no-prisoners look make the Fat Bob® model a groundbreaking motorcycle that could only come from Harley-Davidson.

  • 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
  • 6-gallon fuel tank
  • 33-pound weight reduction to previous model
  • Inverted 43 mm cartridge style front forks
  • Optional: Milwaukee-Eight 114 Engine

STREET BOB®

A bare-bones bike with go-anywhere DNA, the all-new Street Bob motorcycle has a fists-in-the-wind attitude with nothing extra to weigh it down.

  • Smooth-top 3.5-gallon fuel tank
  • Black spoke wheels with chopped fenders
  • Low-profile, riser-mounted digital instrument screen
  • 17-pound weight reduction to previous model
  • Lowest MSRP in Softail lineup

NEW TECHNOLOGY FEATURED ON EVERY SOFTAIL MODEL

  • 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: Softail Slim®, Street Bob®, Low Rider®
    • External hand adjustment knob: Fat Bob, Fat Boy, Breakout®
    • Under seat socket adjustment: Deluxe, Heritage Classic
  • Steering head mounted USB charge port
  • New instrumentation
  • Keyless ignition and security system standard
  • New fuel tanks

See more of MD’s great photography:

Instagram


Similar Articles

3 thoughts on “New Harley-Davidson Softail Models Lose Weight With New Frame, Suspension and Engines (Bike Reports) (News)

  1. Pretty great post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to mention that I have truly loved browsing your weblog posts.
    In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I’m hoping you write once more very soon!cheap nhl jerseys from China

Leave a Reply

Top