Harley-Davidson Softail: The Future of Iconic Cruisers
The latest revamp in its global lineup is “the largest product development project in company history”, claims H-D.
Harley-Davidson has revealed its all-new Big-Twin cruiser model range for 2018, which includes five new Touring bikes and eight new softail cruisers in one of the biggest product refresh by the company. This also means that the Softails and Breakout rage are merged with the legendary Dyna machines that were synonymous with the brand for decades.
H-D’s design team groups the new lineup into three categories – the ‘Foundational Standards‘ that include Heritage Classic, Deluxe, and Slim; ‘Modern Classics‘ – Low Rider, Street Bob, and Breakout; and the ‘Revolutionary DNA‘ – Fat Boy and Fat Bob. This can be termed as one of the most radical move by the bike company in years, demonstrating the new thinking to blend the traditional strengths with the modern aspirations of the new generation buyers.
The entire Softail cruiser lineup shares an all-new chassis, single coil-over rear shock, and the new-gen Milwaukee-Eight V-twin engines in 107ci (1,750cc) or 114ci (1,870cc) in select variants. The extra valve area (up 50 percent over the previous two-valve motors) and high compression of the Milwaukee-Eight engine is said to make a huge difference in the way these cruisers drive, with enhanced output and acceleration figures. It also features noise-reducing single four-lobe camshaft.
The motorcycles also use an all-new frame that reduces the bike’s weight by up to 35 pounds, also improving power-to-weight ratio and ride-handling quality. In fact, the fully counterbalanced M-8 motor is bolted rigidly into the frame, adding chassis stiffness and preventing vibration passing on to seat, pegs, and bars. The frame now offer three steering head angles – 28 (standard), 30 (high), and 34-degree (wide/narrow) rakes – for the convenience of the rider. Further, all the new cruisers boast eye ball-grabbing Daymaker LED forward lighting, keyless ignition technology, and USB port.
Also Read: Harley-Davidson India: 2017 Line-up Updates
Harley-Davidson motorcycles are usually big, muscular, and powerful. They have a heritage and nostalgic feel in them, reflected in their traditional design, paint shades, fit and finish, and even in their names. Held rigidly by such higher standards and expectations by bikers for decades, radical changes in products and packaging is not that easy for the company. With the new updates, H-D seems to move ahead with changes by ensuring the heritage and legendary characters of the brand in tact. After all, the buyer preferences and expectations are not static, new thinking has to be constantly infused to lead the public taste and industry standard.