Harley-Davidson Softail Slim | Preview

2012 Harley Slim

Classic bobber styling and modern Softail handling – that’s what the new Harley-Davidson Softail Slim is all about.

The Motor Company unveiled its new creation Wednesday, the Softail model slimmed down to the bare essentials, reminiscent of the custom bobbers of the 1950s.

To enhance these Old School aesthetics, Harley offers a trimmed front fender, narrow rear, solo seat, minimal chrome, low-23.8-inch seat height and rider floorboards.

The Slim’s Softail chassis may appear like a hardtail frame, but features coil-over shock absorbers mounted horizontally and out of sight within the frame rails. And of course, as on all 2012 Harley Softails, the machine arrives with the counter-balanced Twin Cam 103B, a motor that creates 98.7 ft. lbs. of torque at 3000 rpm.

Casey Ketterhagen (Harley-Davidson Senior Designer) says: "It’s time to make the engine the focal point of the motorcycle, so we put a Softail on a diet to get the proportions back in check. Scale down the rear with a narrow tire and chopped fender and the heart of the bike, the motor, once again becomes the focus. We left a gap between the nose of the seat and tank so the rider can see the top of the motor. I like to be able to look down and see what’s moving me."

Harley adds to the simple look by combining the brake, turn and tail lights, and adding a side-mounted license plate. The bike also features minimal chrome, allowing the motor to garner the most attention.

Another retro feature is the Hollywood handlebar, named due to its wide bend and cross brace, a bar that was originally an accessory for Harley-Davidson motorcycles with a Springer fork.

Casey Ketterhagen says: "I’d personally like to strip the bike down even further, but this is as far as we can go on a production model. The Slim is intended to be a direct interpretation of home-built customs of the 1940s and 50s, and we used a number of components that evoke that era, beginning with a Hollywood handlebar."

Other period styling cues include a gloss black "cat’s eye" tank console with a retro speedometer face, half-moon rider footboards, a round air cleaner cover, and gloss black wheel rims and hubs. The cover of the solo seat is stitched in a tuck-and-roll pattern.

Casey Ketterhagen says: "The seat really gives you the feeling of sitting in the bike, rather than on it. The bars are nice and low, too, so when you’re riding you have an unobstructed view forward, which reinforces the idea that this is a very elemental motorcycle, a real back-to-basics ride."

Following are the highlights, specs, color options and MSRP for the 2012 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim.

2012 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim Highlights:

  • Powertrain finished in Black powdercoat with polished covers
  • Hollywood handlebar with cross-brace
  • Gloss Black, round air cleaner cover
  • Black "cat’s eye" console holds electronic speedometer with retro-style face
  • Chopped rear fender
  • Chrome, over/under shotgun exhaust with slash-cut mufflers
  • Classic 5.0-gallon Fat Bob fuel tank
  • Dunlop 16-inch (MT90B16) front and (MU85B16) rear tires
  • Black, Steel Laced wheels
  • Gloss black headlamp with chrome trim ring
  • Half-moon footboards with retro-style foot control pads
  • Trimmed FL front fender
  • Side-mounted license plate
  • Combined stop/tail/turn tail lights
  • Solo seat with black tuck-and-roll vinyl cover
  • Forged rear fender supports are finished in Gloss Black powdercoat
  • Gloss Black "horseshoe" oil tank
  • Rigid-mounted, air-cooled, 1690 cc Twin Cam 103B counter-balanced engine with Automatic Compression Release (ACR) rated at 98.7 ft. lbs. peak torque at 3000 rpm.
  • 6-speed Cruise Drive
  • Security Package Option (factory-installed option) includes: Harley-Davidson Smart Security System with proximity-based, hands-free security fob and Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)

2012 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim Specs:


  • Length: 94.3 in. (2395 mm)
  • Overall Width: 39.0 in. (990 mm)
  • Overall Height: 43.3 in. (1100 mm)
  • Seat Height: 23.8 in. (605 mm)
  • Ground Clearance: 4.5 in. (114 mm)
  • Rake (Steering Head) 31°
  • Fork Angle: 31°
  • Trail: 5.8 in. (147 mm)
  • Wheelbase: 64.4 in. (1636 mm)
  • Weight: 671 lbs. Dry; 700 lbs. Wet
  • Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons


  • Engine: Air-cooled, Twin Cam 103B
  • Valves: Pushrod-operated, overhead valves with hydraulic, self-adjusting lifters; two valves per cylinder
  • Bore x Stroke: 3.875 in. x 4.38 in. (98.4 mm x 111.1 mm)
  • Displacement: 103 cu. in. (1690 cc)
  • Compression Ratio: 9.6:1
  • Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
  • Lubrication System: Pressurized, dry-sump
  • Transmission: Six-Speed Cruise Drive


  • Frame: Mild steel tubular frame; rectangular section backbone; stamped, cast, and forged junctions; forged fender supports; MIG welded
  • Swingarm: Mild steel, round tube sections, forged junctions; MIG welded
  • Front Forks: 41.3 mm telescopic, "beer can" covers
  • Rear Shocks: Hidden, horizontal-mounted, coil-over Black
  • Wheel Front: Steel Laced 16 in. x 3 in. (406 mm x 76 mm)
  • Wheel Rear: 16 in. x 3 in. (406 mm x 76 mm)
  • Brakes: 292mm rotor, 4-piston caliper; front; 292mm rotor, 2-piston rear
  • Front Wheel Travel: 5.1 in. (130 mm)
  • Rear Wheel Travel: 4.3 in. (109 mm)

2012 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim Color Options/MSRP:

  • Vivid Black / $15,499
  • Black Denim / $15,884
  • Ember Red Sunglo / $15,884


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