Motorcycle Types Cruiser 2017 Harley-Davidson Softail Breakout Review | Go Straight, Young Man

2017 Harley-Davidson Softail Breakout Review | Go Straight, Young Man

2017 Harley-Davidson Softail Breakout | Point and Shoot Motorcycle

2017 Harley-Davidson Softail Breakout horsepower
2017 Harley-Davidson Softail Breakout Review

When you talk about dual-purpose motorcycles, the 2017 Harley-Davidson Softail Breakout isn’t going to usually come to mind. However, the Breakout has two very distinct purposes—going fast in a straight line, and looking good while doing it.

Without any doubt, the 2017 Harley-Davidson Softail Breakout succeeds impressively in its two primary goals. Thanks to a wheelbase over 67 inches, a rake of 35 degrees that is kicked out an additional two degrees thanks to an offset triple clamp, and a 240mm Dunlop rear tire, there is no doubt the Breakout wants to go straight.

Harley-Davidson isn’t shy about the straight-arrow handling of the Breakout. There is a modest 23.4 degrees of lean angle on each side before the peg feelers touch down, and they will grind the asphalt in town with regularity unless you tip-toe around corners.

It doesn’t take any effort to keep the Breakout going straight. The fat 18-inch rear tire pushes it along, and even the 21-inch front Dunlop is a beefy 130mm wide. The result is a generous footprint on the pavement, along with a tire profile that resists leaning.

That’s not to say that it is impossible to turn the Breakout. It can be muscled around in parking lots and urban areas—it’s just not very much fun to do so. In the canyons, take it easy and prepare for the inevitable feeler contact.

2017 Harley-Davidson Softail Breakout seat height
2017 Harley-Davidson Softail Breakout Review

While some Breakout owners may ride into the hinterlands to meet their friends at an enjoyable destination, most will prefer to stick close to home. The freeway is not a preferred place to ride the Breakout, as the ergonomics have you sitting up straight with arms wide, turning you into a kite as speeds increase. The lower the speed limit, the more you’ll enjoy the 2017 Harley-Davidson Breakout on the highway.

That’s all forgiven, of course, as you stomp around town on the 700+ pound beast. The High Output Twin Cam 103B is a potent motor that stands ready to do battle at stoplights. Twist the throttle at any rpm, and be ready to move forward quickly. You only have to hit 3000 rpm to tap into the Breakout’s 100 ft/lbs of torque. Shift quickly and leave lesser vehicles behind.

The great look of the Breakout is another reason to stay in town. Wherever you go, compliments will follow. Whether you are at a stoplight, the gas station, or a gathering, heads will turn and interest will be directed your way. The 2017 Harley-Davidson Softail Breakout has an undeniable charisma.

Certainly, for those urban and suburban rides, the Breakout is a comfortable motorcycle. It may look a bit ungainly, with the forward pegs and wide bars. However, the bars come back far enough to prevent fatigue and back pain, the pegs aren’t too much of a reach, and the air cleaner stays out of the way of your knee and you don’t show up at the café twisted up with your spine feeling like it’s a DNA double helix.

2017 Harley-Davidson Softail Breakout price
2017 Harley-Davidson Softail Breakout Review

The suspension is fairly lengthy, but it doesn’t feel like it. Non-adjustable, as you would expect, it is just a bit more friendly than harsh, though not by much. That’s probably a good choice, as a bike so reluctant to turn doesn’t need mushy suspension, nor does it need a rubber-mounted motor—the balanced 103B is a good call.

Braking is decent, primarily because you have a good angle on the foot brake. Combine a 292mm rear rotor and a 240mm rear tire and you’ve got some strong stopping power to supplement the single 300mm disc up front, which also works on a lot of rubber. ABS allows you to be a bit on the aggressive side, though in most situations the High Output Twin Cam 103B’s compression does most of the deceleration work.

The 2017 Harley-Davidson Softail Breakout is an imposing motorcycle that knows its place, and in its place it is a dominant machine. Indulge yourself in some acceleration, and enjoy the attention you will receive on the motorcycle. Yes, the simple pleasures in life.

Photography by Kelly Callan


2017 Harley-Davidson Softail Breakout Specs:


  • Type: High Output Twin Cam 103B V-twin
  • Displacement: 103 cubic inches
  • Bore x stroke: 3.87” x 4.374”
  • Maximum torque: 100 ft/lbs @ 3000 rpm
  • Compression ratio: 9.6:1
  • Valve train: Double cam w/ pushrods; 2vpc
  • Cooling: Air
  • Lubrication: Dry sump
  • Transmission: 6-speed
  • Final drive: Belt


  • Frame: Mild tubular steel w/ rectangular backbone
  • Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable 49mm fork; 4.6 inches
  • Rear suspension; travel: Horizontally mounted twin dual shocks; 3.6 inches
  • Wheels: Gloss Black Turbine w/ machined highlights
  • Front tire: 130/60-21; Dunlop Harley-Davidson D408F bias
  • Rear tire: 240/40-18; Dunlop Harley-Davidson D407 radial

    Front brake: 300mm floating rotor w/ four-piston caliper

  • Rear brake: 292mm fixed rotor w/ floating two-piston caliper
  • ABS: Standard


  • Wheelbase: 67.3 inches
  • Rake: 35 degrees
  • Fork angle: 37 degrees
  • Trail: 5.7 inches
  • Seat height: 25.8 inches
  • Fuel capacity: 5 gallons
  • Estimated fuel consumption: 42 mpg
  • Curb weight: 707 pounds

2017 Harley-Davidson Breakout Softail Colors:

  • Vivid Black
  • Charcoal Denim
  • Velocity Red Sunglo
  • Crushed Ice Denim
  • Laguna Orange
  • Hard Candy Hot Rod Red Flake

2017 Harley-Davidson Softail Breakout Prices (MSRP):

  • $19,299 (Vivid Black)
  • $19,699 (Charcoal Denim; Velocity Red Sunglo; Crushed Ice Denim)
  • $20,249 (Laguna Orange)
  • $20,499 (Hard Candy Hot Rod Red Flake)

2017 Harley-Davidson Softail Breakout Review | Photo Gallery

Don Williams
Don Williams
With 45 years of riding experience, Don Williams is a fan of all kinds of motorcycles. He enjoys sport bikes, cruisers, dirt bikes, touring bikes, adventure bikes, dual sport bikes, and rideable customs. Ask Don what his favorite bike is and he will tell you, "Whatever bike I'm on."

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