The 2018 Harley-Davidson Fats Bob (Picture Credit: Harley-Davidson)
Harley-Davidson has simply introduced 5 new Touring bikes and eight new Softail cruisers in an enormous revamp of its lineup, together with the demise of the long-running Dyna machines. For many who have been asking how H-D hopes to remain related as its core buyer base will get too previous to trip, right here’s its reply.
Informal observers received’t see a large departure from the model’s primary aesthetic, however Harley-Davidson is pitching its 2018 lineup as the most important bump in sensible efficiency it’s made in a very long time. I’ve to confess, I actually dig the way in which a few of these issues look.
The massive information right here is Harley’s Softail cruiser line consuming the Dyna line, which has principally been one of many Milwaukee motorbike firm’s standard-bearers for 25 years. Whereas some followers will undoubtedly mourn the Dyna’s “loss of life,” motorbike trade commentators appear to be in consensus that the Dyna had been tweaked and torqued and tuned-up as many instances as its chassis might take.
As Harley rolls out its latest, most-powerful engines ever, it wanted a brand new body design to accommodate the additional power.
“New body, new chassis, new suspension, new steel. New every part, actually,” Harley-Davidson Product Portfolio Supervisor Paul James advised the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
And certainly, Harley guarantees that each one eight of the brand new Milwaukee-Eight 107 and 114-powered Softails in its revitalized cruiser lineup are “sooner, lighter and higher dealing with” than any of their Massive Twin cruiser predecessors. (The number-names confer with the engines respective displacements in cubic inches.)
As press releases and promotional clips of those machines begin popping out, I’m positive you’ll hear plenty of strains about “what makes a Harley a Harley” and “one thing one thing soul” however I really preferred what the corporate’s VP of Styling And Design Brad Richards mentioned on digicam: “Type follows perform, however each report back to emotion.”
I can recognize machines that archaic for the sake of manufacturing a particular expertise, but when Harley has managed to protect the inherent coolness of a burbly cruiser with trendy efficiency, the corporate might even have a greater likelihood of retaining relevance than a few of us could have thought.
So far as “kind” goes, Cycle World calls out the brand new designs as “clearly linked to the 1936 EL Knucklehead and ’49 Panhead.” Harley has Jeep’s drawback of not having the ability to mess with its look an excessive amount of with out elevating hell within the fanbase. However on the similar time, H-D actually must wrangle in new riders. I believe the delicate design modernizations we’re seeing listed below are a step in the correct course.
A supply who claims to have hung out working throughout the firm not too long ago defined to us that the 107 engine will likely be normal, with 4 fashions getting an S designation that upgrades to the 114. “The entire new bikes get LED lights, are round 30-35 [pounds] lighter than their previous variations, and are considerably stiffer. So lighter bike, extra engine, stiffer body… these bikes are going to blow the previous ones out of the water,” the supply mentioned in an electronic mail.
That very same individual additionally shared the corporate’s obvious inside codenames for the bikes in its new Softail lineup, which I’ll share with the headline options of every new Softail mannequin straight from Harley-Davidson’s official launch:
Breakout – FXBR/S
Fats Boy – FLFB/S – “Establishment”
Fats Bob – FXFB/S – “Jaws”
Heritage – FLHC/S
Avenue Bob – FXBB – “Johnny Money”
Slim – FLSL
Deluxe – FLDE
Lowrider – FXLR
Extra particularly talking, all these bikes will likely be constructed on a shared platform that makes use of a carbon metal tubular body with a hidden mono-shock within the rear to take care of the looks of a rigid-rear bike with out the ass-punishing trip high quality.
With the bikes saving about 30 kilos a chunk from their predecessors and reportedly placing down extra energy (I can’t discover particular energy claims or assessments wherever but), Harley’s new Softail lineup must be much more partaking to trip.
H-D’s 2018 Avenue Glide Particular
On the Touring aspect, the evolution for 2018 will not be as dramatic. Harley’s big long-range bikes are getting what the corporate calls a “reboot” of styling and “some efficiency enhancements.” The brand new Avenue Glide, Street Glide and Restricted are benefitting from the identical engine upgrades that can give the Softails extra acceleration, in addition to improved stereo techniques and revised physique work. And plainly the Trike, Sportster and Avenue lineups will carry over for 2018.
I personally have by no means really ridden a Harley-Davidson, so I can’t contribute all that a lot private commentary on what this variation goes to imply from a rider’s perspective. I will, nevertheless, be placing a pair hundred miles on a number of machines from the 2018 lineup subsequent week and can report again on how they really feel.