2018 Harley-Davidson Softails First Look |
New Motors and Chassis

The 2018 Harley-Davidson Softails have revealed themselves, and the big news is the Milwaukee-Eight motor making its way from the Touring line to the Softail line, along with a new chassis.

Here are the essential fast facts you need to know about the 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail motorcycles.

1. There will be eight 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail motorcycles. All are returning models—Fat Boy, Fat Bob, Street Bob, Low Rider, Heritage Classic, Deluxe, Slim, and Breakout. You will note that three of those bikes used to be in the Dyna line—Street Bob, Low Rider, and Fat Bob.

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2. You get a choice of two motors on four models. The Milwaukee-Eight 107 will be standard on the 2018 Harley-Davidson Softails. If you want more power, the Milwaukee-Eight 114 will be available as an option on the Fat Bob, Fat Boy, Breakout, and Heritage Classic.

3. Acceleration will be significantly increased. According to Harley-Davidson, acceleration from 0-60 and roll-on acceleration from 60-80 is strongly increased going from the High Output Twin Cam 103 to the Milwaukee-Eight 107. Expect a similar serious bump up from the Milwaukee-Eight 107 to the 114 version.

2018 Harley-Davidson 115th Anniversary Fat Boy 114 Softail
2018 Harley-Davidson 115th Anniversary Fat Boy 114

4. There’s a new chassis around the Milwaukee-Eight motors. The frame is lighter and has increased rigidity, which is a good thing with the more powerful motors. Harley-Davidson claims a 34-percent increase in chassis stiffness compared to last year, with the wide version of the Softail swingarm dropping 13 pounds and the narrow edition losing 18 pounds. The frame is also a simpler design, with significantly fewer welds and parts.

5. Along with the new frame comes upgraded suspension. Each 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail motorcycle gets a Showa dual-bending valve fork (also trickled down from the Touring line), along with a new single shock. Fork travel will be five inches on the Softails, while the shock will have spring-preload adjustment for a 240-pound range of riders and payload—the Fat Bob, Fat Boy, and Breakout will have tool-free adjustment of the shock spring.

2018 Harley-Davidson 115th Anniversary Breakout 114 Softail
2018 Harley-Davidson 115th Anniversary Breakout 114

6. The overall weight of the Softail models will drop as much as 35 pounds. Along with the additional power, the performance improvement of the 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail motorcycles should be meaningful.

7. There will be other handling enhancements, depending on the model. Some Softails will enjoy more cornering clearance, while others will get new tires to take advantage of the chassis and motor enhancements.

8. All 2018 Softails get Daymaker Signature LED Headlamps. Additionally, there will be new fuel tanks and instrumentation on all the Softails. All models will be equipped with a USB port on the steering head, plus keyless ignition and security system, as standard features.

2018 Harley-Davidson 115th Anniversary Heritage Classic 114 Softail
2018 Harley-Davidson 115th Anniversary Heritage Softail Classic 114

9. The 2018 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic gets upgrades to its touring capabilities. There’s a new detachable windscreen, new rigid bags that are lockable and weather resistant, and taller suspension with a higher cargo-carrying rating.

10. Harley-Davidson feels the 2018 Softails will retain the look and feel that aficionados demand. According to Harley-Davidson Vice President of Styling and Design, Brad Richards, “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.”

11. There will also be 115th Anniversary editions. For those who like something special, Harley-Davidson will be offering the 115th Anniversary Breakout 114, Fat Boy 114, and Heritage Classic 114. This means features such as exclusive paint, graphics, seat, and numbering.

Expect our first reviews of the 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail motorcycles before the end of August.
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