Harley-Davidson has launched the all-new Softail range for 2018 in India, introducing four new models in the 2018 Harley-Davidson line-up. The new Softail range gets all-new engines, a completely re-designed chassis from the ground up, new chassis and suspension, and even new design and bodywork. Harley-Davidson says the new bikes are not only lighter in weight, but have better performance, better handling, better acceleration, better braking and have dramatically improved over the outgoing models. Here's a look at all you need to know about the 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail range.
1. What models are in the 2018 Softail range?
Internationally, Harley-Davidson has introduced as many as eight new models in the 2018 Softail range, but for India, four models have been introduced. These include the Harley-Davidson Street Bob, Harley-Davidson Fat Bob, Harley-Davidson Fat Boy and the Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic. Next year, Harley-Davidson India will also introduce the 115th Anniversary Fat Boy special edition model.
2. Is the engine all-new?
The new 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail range uses the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine; it's a new engine, yes, but has already been introduced in the Harley-Davidson Touring range last year. The Milwaukee-Eight engine has a lot of changes from the earlier Revolution X engine. For one, the Milwaukee-Eight uses four valves per cylinder in the 45-degree v-twin, and so the name "Eight" together with Harley's home ground Milwaukee. The Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine displaces 1750 cc, but still retains the traditional push-rod activated valves. In addition, the Milwaukee-Eight engine has counterbalancers, so there's less vibration, and more refinement, but still retains the traditional Harley-Davidson sound.
3. Has the chassis been changed?
The 2018 Softail models also get all-new frames, and Harley-Davidson says the new Softail range was designed under the largest product development project in the company's history. The new bikes feature a stiffer and significantly lighter chassis, built to support the high torque output of the new dual counterbalanced Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine. Overall, the frame is 34 per cent stiffer than the outgoing Softail models. There are also two new swingarms - one for narrow and one for wider rear tyres. The new Softail models are also significantly lighter than the outgoing models, with up to 17 kg weight loss, delivering a better power-to-weight ratio. The result is better acceleration, better braking and dynamic cornering ability combined with increased lean angles.
4. What about the suspension?
The new Harley-Davidson Softail models also feature all-new suspension. Up front is a new, high-performance dual-bending valve suspension, that is said to give more responsive damping characteristics, at the same time providing much better handling for spirited riding, and offers 130 mm of travel. Revised rake and trail on the front suspension also aids in better handling. At the rear is an underseat, "hidden" monoshock, preserving the hardtail look, but without compromising on ride quality, traction and control.
5. Any other changes in styling?
Yes, the new Softail range also look completely new! The bikes all feature unique LED headlamps, new fuel tanks, new instrumentation, standard keyless ignition and security system, steering head mounted USB ports, as well as new seats with improved cushioning for greater comfort during long rides.
6. How much do they cost?
The 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail range starts with the new Harley-Davidson Street Bob, priced at ₹ 11.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The new Harley-Davidson Fat Bob is priced at ₹ 13.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy at ₹ 17.49 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), and the 2018 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic is priced at ₹ 18.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).