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Harley-Davidson introduces eight new iconic Softail motorcycles

Kicking off a custom revolution: Largest-ever product development project launches Harley-Davidson into its 115th anniversary year

Milwaukee, Wis., Aug. 22—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.

Click here to download a spec chart for all new 2018 Softail models.

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 hardtail 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 hardtail frame.

Compared to prior year models the 2018 Softails feature a stiffer and significantly lighter 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 130mm of bump-devouring travel. Retuned and optimized rake and trail also enhance the motorcycles’ handling performance.

All-new front and rear suspension components are calibrated to enhance the comfort, control and performance of the 2018 Softail motorcycles

The new mono-shock rear suspension preserves the classic hardtail 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.

With an easily adjustable hidden rear mono shock, the 2018 Softail models are faster, lighter and better handling than any of their Big Twin cruiser predecessors

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.

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 and 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

  • (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

  • (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
  • 60-80 mph/5th gear -13 percent faster acceleration than the Milwaukee-Eight 107

Modern styling and 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.

Distinctive Daymaker Signature LED headlamps are featured on the 2018 Softails

“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
  • 240mm rear tire with solid Lakester rear wheel
  • Optional: Milwaukee-Eight 114 Engine

The FLFBS Fat Boy 114 with the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine

Heritage Classic

  • 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
  • 32-pound weight reduction to previous model
  • Optional: Milwaukee-Eight 114 Engine
  • Standard cruise control and ABS

The FLHC Heritage Classic lives up to its moniker

Low Rider

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.

  • 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

FXLR Low Rider with the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine

Softail Slim

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.

  • 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

FLSL Softail Slim with the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine

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

The FLDE Deluxe with the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine

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 49mm front forks
  • 18-inch rear (240mm tire) and 21-inch front (130mm 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

The FXBRS Breakout 114 is powered by the 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 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: 150mm front and 180mm rear
  • Dual disc front brakes
  • 3.6-gallon fuel tank
  • 33-pound weight reduction to previous model
  • Inverted 43mm cartridge style front forks
  • Optional: Milwaukee-Eight 114 Engine

The FXFB Fat Bob shines in Softail glory

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 line

 

FXBB Street Bob with the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine

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
  • New instrumentation
  • Keyless ignition and security system standard
  • Steering head mounted USB charge port
  • New fuel tanks

*Varies by model

Click here to download a spec chart for all new 2018 Softail models.

—Press release

6 comments

  1. The “new” softail frame looks like what the jap bikes have been doing for years. And no more dyna family of bikes! I just finished looking at these bikes on the website. Maybe its me, but I was disappointed! Even the colors this year don’t cut it for me……those 2016-2017 left-overs at the dealer are looking pretty good…….

    [Reply]

  2. Meanwhile, my 2012 street glide dies when I use the rear brake. Just the rear brake, in gear, any gear, even neutral. Disconnected the rear brake switch, still dies. Clutch is adjusted correctly and not worn. Non abs, no anti theft, only mod is Rinehart slip ons.

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  3. Would like to see the heritage with bags and windshield.

    [Reply]

  4. Please rush me all details with pictures of the new models.

    [Reply]

  5. Since when did a Low Rider become a Softail?

    [Reply]

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