Cruiser Cruiser Motorcycle Reviews 2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe Review | 10 Fast Facts

2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe Review | 10 Fast Facts

2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe Review | Living Up To Its Name

Much of the news about the all-new 2018 Harley-Davidson Softails has been the transferring of former Dynas to the Softail platform.

While that is undoubtedly a tectonic shift at Harley-Davidson, it is worth remembering that the returning Softails are also all-new machines—and that includes the revered 2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe.

2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe for sale1. The 2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe has a new motor, and it is a great one. The Milwaukee-Eight motor that debuted on the Touring line is now the mainstay of the Softail family. In the case of the Deluxe, it gets the 107 version that puts out 109 ft/lbs of torque at just 3000 rpm. The new air-/oil-cooled motor decimates the previous High Output Twin-Cam 103B powerplant, and is much smoother due to more effective counterbalancing in the motor. This is a huge upgrade.

2. All new for 2018, the Softail chassis is outstanding. Now there is a single shock under the seat, and its action is far superior to the previous design. The new Showa Dual Bending Valve cartridge design fork is also noticeably better, and another trickle-down from the Touring line. The new frame is lighter and stiffer, giving the Deluxe a greatly enhanced feel of the road. The old Deluxe looked retro and had a retro chassis—this is a 21st century chassis that is befitting the muscular Milwaukee-Eight 107 powerplant.

3. Although the 2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe is 33 pounds lighter than last year, the improved frame is what makes it feel more agile. Rather than battling the forces of flex as you did on the former Deluxe, the 2018 Deluxe responds to input without ambiguity. In town it works through traffic effortlessly, and with infrequent reminders that you are shepherding 697 pounds of motorcycle among the cars. Add in the extra power from the Milwaukee Eight 107, and you can easily put this motorcycle where you want it to be on the road.

2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe Price4. The new suspension sucks up the imperfections in urban roads nicely. While our transportation dollars find their way to anything but road repair in Los Angeles, the 2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe is no longer nonplussed by potholes and manhole covers. You will still feel them on the Deluxe, but the jolts through your body have been removed. If you are familiar with the old Deluxe, this is something you will note instantly—the ride is unmistakably and demonstrably improved on rough roads.

5. You can now have serious fun in the canyons on the Deluxe. Between the flexy frame, jolting suspension, and limited cornering clearance, the previous Deluxe was for light duty only in the twisties. With those problems solved, the 2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe loves to make time in the canyons. Even on the rough parts of Mulholland Drive—a classic twisting urban road—the Deluxe stays unfazed.

6. Cornering clearance is up 8.5 percent on the right and 4.8 percent on the left. This might not sound like much, but it makes a big difference. You have to push the Harley-Davidson branded white-walled Dunlops seriously to scrape the floorboards. Composure is outstanding, though with 30 degrees of rake and a wheelbase longer than 64 inches, you do have to plan ahead; the Deluxe prefers to stick to its line.

2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe Review7. The ergonomics on the Deluxe remain outstanding. The Deluxe has always been one of the most comfortable non-Touring Harley-Davidsons, and the new design respects that. The seat is supportive, the grips sweep back to a natural position, and the floorboards are right where you want them. While it is a bit of a stretch to ride through the five-gallon tank without a break—the estimated range of the Deluxe is 235 miles—you can ride for a few hours in town without a second thought. The air cleaner is less intrusive than before—a nice plus.

8. If you stay off freeways, you can throw saddlebags bags on and do some solo weekend touring. There is nothing nicer than cruising along backroads on the 2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe, and if you are going for an overnighter, it’s willing to oblige. High-speed Interstates are a bit more challenging, though, as the pure upright seating and wide arm position does allow the windblast to hold sway over 60 mph or so. Stick to the secondary byways and ride to your heart’s content.

2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe specs

9. The 2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe still looks deluxe. Appearance is always a matter of taste, and I like the look of the Milwaukee Eight powerplant. Diehards will initially object to the oil cooler on the frame’s downtubes, though I predict they will eventually come around. The rest of the look is still there, including the iconic triple headlights (now LED!), tombstone taillight, and fat white-walled tires. Chrome may be less in style these days, though you would never know it looking at the new Deluxe. As John Lennon famously sang, “We all shine on.”

10. We are impressed by the new Softail line, and the Deluxe is substantially improved. I have always loved riding the Deluxe—if there were a Monopoly piece denoting a motorcycle, it would look like the Deluxe. On the older Deluxe, I just rode around the shortcomings and didn’t worry about them. That’s no longer necessary on the 2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe, as it is an outstanding motorcycle to ride that doesn’t exclusively rely on its looks to justify its existence.

Photography by Brian J. Nelson, Tom Riles, and Kevin Wing

RIDING STYLE

2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe Specs

ENGINE

  • Type: Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-twin
  • Displacement: 107ci
  • Bore x stroke: 3.937” x 4.374”
  • Maximum torque: 109 ft/lbs @ 3000 rpm
  • Compression ratio: 10.0:1
  • Valve train: Single-cam; 4 vpc
  • Exhaust: 2-into-1-into-2
  • Cooling: Air and oil
  • Transmission: 6-speed
  • Primary drive: Chain
  • Final drive: Belt

CHASSIS

  • Front suspension: Non-adjustable Showa fork
  • Rear suspension: Spring-preload adjustable shock
  • Wheels: Chrome steel-laced
  • Front tire: 130/90-16; Harley-Davidson Dunlop D402F
  • Rear tire: 140/90-16; Harley-Davidson Dunlop D402
  • Front brakes: Disc w/ fixed 4-piston caliper
  • Rear brake: Disc w/ floating 2-piston caliper
  • ABS: Standard

DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES

  • Wheelbase: 64.2 inches
  • Rake: 30 degrees
  • Trail: 5.7 inches
  • Seat height: 26.8 inches
  • Fuel capacity: 5 gallons
  • Estimated fuel consumption: 47 mpg
  • Curb weight: 697 pounds

2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe Colors and Prices (MSRP):

  • Vivid Black: $17,999
  • Twisted Cherry; Electric Blue: $18,399
  • Silver Fortune/Sumatra Brown; Wicked Red/Twisted Cherry: $18,749

2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe Review | Photo Gallery

 

 

Don Williams
Don Williamshttp://www.ultimatemotorcycling.com
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."

2020 Salt Lake City 1 Supercross Preview: Racing Returns May 31

After a long break from racing due to the government response to the COVID-19 virus, the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross Championship Series is back....

2021 Beta RR 2-Stroke Off-Road Line-Up First Look

For 2021, Beta is continuing to offer four two-stroke off-road RR models ranging from the agile 125 RR to the torquey 300 RR. There...

2020 Ducati Custom Rumble Winner Crowned: Scrambler 1100 FT

The third Ducati Custom Rumble competition between builders of custom Ducati Scramblers has a winner—Marco Graziani of CC-Racing Garage. Entered in the Bully category,...

Ducati Team Signs Jack Miller for MotoGP in 2021

Before a MotoGP race has been run in 2020, the Ducati Team has signed Jack Miller for its 2021 MotoGP factory squad. Miller, 25,...

Lieback’s Lounge: Rookie Mistakes & Homemade Gaskets

There was a vague smell of gas, but I thought nothing of it. That changed quickly about 50 miles into a 200-mile ride after fueling...

Emula Concept First Look: With 2electron McFly Technology

One of the prime complaints many motorcyclists have about electric motorcycles is that they don’t deliver the visceral experience that comes from an internal...