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Meet next year’s Harleys | Manufacture News | News

Australia’s top-selling roadbikes are about to get even better

In what it describes as its “largest-ever development project”, Harley-Davidson has revealed eight new models as it expands the Milwaukee-Eight engine to the Softail range.

Next year’s Harley line-up looks significantly different.

The old Dyna model family – defined by its combination of a twin-shock chassis and Harley’s big twin engines –
is gone.

In its place is an extended Softail line-up that now incorporates several models that were previously Dynas.

An entirely new Softail frame was designed for 2018 to accommodate the Milwaukee-Eight V-twin.

First released in the firm’s 2017 Touring line-up, the Milwaukee-Eight combines old-school pushrod technology with modern four-valve combustion chamber architecture. It has now entirely replaced the old ‘Twin Cam’ engine.

The 2018 Softail frame is claimed to be 65 per cent stiffer than the old version. It consists of 50 per cent fewer parts, reducing the number of welds, cutting weight and increasing strength.

As before, it’s distinguished by a design that hides the rear monoshock to give the visual impact of a hardtail chassis.

Depending on the model using it, there are two different swingarms to allow for wider or narrower rear rubber, and the chassis will be fitted with two specs of the Milwaukee-Eight engine.

The ‘107’ is the base version, with 1745cc capacity (107 cubic inches, hence the name) that produces around 69kW – Harley doesn’t make official claims about power – and, more importantly, 145Nm at 3000rpm.

If that’s not enough, several 2018 Softails also have the ‘114’ version of the engine. At 1868cc, it’s good for about 161Nm at 3000rpm and somewhere in the region of 75kW. The larger capacity comes from a longer stroke (114.3mm versus 111.1mm) and bigger bore (up 2mm to 102mm).

Missing in action are the Wide Glide, which was a Dyna model but hasn’t been re-created in Softail form, and more notably the V-Rod Muscle and Night Rod Special. The latter two were the last remnants of the VRSC models that ushered in a DOHC water-cooled engine to Harley’s mainstream range in 2001, and they remained Harley’s highest-performing machines in terms of power, as opposed to sales.

Elsewhere, there are three new CVO touring models – the CVO Street Glide, CVO Road Glide and CVO Limited – all with a Screamin’ Eagle 117 version of the Milwaukee-Eight. With capacity upped to 1923cc, it makes 169Nm at 3500rpm and about 78kW.

HERITAGE CLASSIC
Still looking much like the old model, the 2018 bike gets a detachable screen and hard, lockable panniers instead of soft, leather ones. The 114 engine is optional, as is an Anniversary model. From $31,750

FAT BOY
For 2018 it looks more aggressive than ever thanks to a 160-section front tyre and a reshaped headlight nacelle housing an LED lamp. It’s claimed to be 16kg lighter. The 114 engine is an option, as are Anniversary paint schemes.
From $30,995

STREET BOB
Again, the Street Bob used to be a twin-shock Dyna, now it’s a Softail. It is 7kg lighter and the cheapest model in the Softail range. From $23,495

SOFTAIL SLIM
While it looks very similar to the older model, the new Softail Slim is claimed to be 17kg lighter. From $26,250

DELUXE
Again, you might not instantly spot the new look, but the ‘blade’ indicators and LED lights are notably different. Again, it’s 17kg lighter with the new frame and engine.
From $29,495

BREAKOUT
Another model that’s lost 17kg with the new frame and engine, the Breakout also has the options of the 114cu in Milwaukee-Eight and an Anniversary version.
From $31,250

FAT BOB
The Fat Bob looks notably different in Softail form. Twin, upswept end cans, shorter fenders and a 43mm USD cartridge fork mean it looks far sportier. It’s 15kg lighter and the 114 engine is an option. From $27,495

LOW RIDER
Formerly a Dyna, the 2018 Low Rider is now a Softail with hidden rear suspension. From $24,250

115th Anniversary models

As well as releasing its new Milwaukee-Eight-powered Softail range, Harley-Davidson confirmed its 115th Anniversary machines.

These models all get blue and black paintwork with special logos, and the Milwaukee-Eight-powered bikes get the larger, 1868cc ‘114’ version of the engine.

The most expensive anniversary model – the CVO Limited – has the bigger 117 Screamin’ Eagle mill.

By Ben Purvis