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 –
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.
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