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2018 Harley-Davidson Street Bob | BIKE TESTS

The Street Bob is one of three Dyna models to shed its twin rear shocks and become a Softail for 2018.

First rider

At a glance

Price:  $23,495 (ride away)

Engine:  107 Milwaukee Eight (145Nm)

Seat Height:  690mm

Wet weight:  297kg (claimed)

Colours: Vivid Black, Olive Gold, Red Iron Denim, Wicked Red, Industrial Grey/Black Denim

The Street Bob is one of three Dyna models to shed its twin rear shocks and become a Softail for 2018.

You may remember that Harley copped a bit of stick due to clumsy mid-mounted controls when it introduced its Roadster model into the Sportster range last year. The Street Bob also has mid-mounted controls but they work extremely well. While I prefer forward controls to stretch out a little more, the ergonomics of the Street Bob work for tall and short riders alike.

I’d been briefed on the new miniature digital instrument panel mounted on the handlebar riser, but still wasn’t prepared for how small the unit is. The small instrument panel tops off the minimalist, chopped-back look of the Street Bob with its cut fenders, flat-top tank and single seat. It’s also the lightest of the Softails at a claimed 297kg (wet).

The high-set Ape Hanger ’bar and skinny front tyre (mounted on a 19-inch wheel) restricts your ability to throw it around as well as some of the other bikes in the range, but it’s a confident little handler.  The new Showa Dual Bending Valve (SDBV) fork, mated to the more rigid and lighter monoshock chassis highlight to bike’s easy-riding nature.

On the comfort front, I felt a little tightness creeping into my shoulders so I don’t think I could ride it all day due to the limited support of the single seat, and with my big, gangly arms the only thing I could see in the mirrors that hang directly below the hand grips was… my own arms.

I was also surprised an how quiet the M-8 engine is. At first, I was a little disappointed at the lack of noise, but once behind other bikes I realised the exhaust sound was there (though with its usual subdued note from the OEM system), though the engine and induction noise is considerably less than the Evolution engine it replaces.