Harley goes hard with new Softail range

Harley Davidson Softail Range 2018
Radically revised Softail family with five new models, new tech and wild styling debut in Singapore, from $39,500

November 16, 2017 saw the debut of Harley-Davidson’s all-new Softail family of motorcycles here.

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In the past, that would have meant new paint colours and a few mechanical tweaks, but lately the Motor Company has been on a much-needed change game. In the past few years we’ve seen it take some very unconventional steps, including the Livewire project, the new, entry-level Street 750 model, the almost-a-cafe-racer Roadster, while improving the basics of the brand like the Forty-Eight.  

Harley Davidson Softail range 30

The ‘meat’ of the Hog range has always been the Softail and Dyna lines though, which span models like the Fat Boy and Heritage Classic. Now H-D has collapsed both lineages into one Softail family, with seven individual bikes from five model nameplates in this new range taking their bow in Singapore.

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Historically, this is a big thing: The Dyna range always held the more performance oriented big Harleys, like the Low Rider S and drag-racing inspired Breakout, most immediately identifiable by their rear twin-shocks.

Harley groups the new Softails into three types: Functional Standards, Modern Classics, and Revolutionary Design DNA.

Under Functional Standards are the Heritage Classic models.

heritage classic
Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic

Modern Classics include the Low Rider, Street Bob and Breakout, while the Revolutionary Design DNA bikes are the Fat Bob and Fat Boy.

Three additional Softail models announced internationally, the Deluxe, a retro-themed classic cruiser, the Sport Glide, a stripped-down bag-packing tourer, and Low Rider, a 70s influenced chopper, will be launched at a later date.

sport glide
Harley-Davidson Sport Glide

All new Softail models share the same basic platform and engines, which H-D says is up to 65 percent stiffer, yet significantly lighter than before. Models with a regular rear tyre/swingarm save 8.16kg from before, while wide models have a 5kg weight saving.

Many of the improvements from the Touring line-up of Harleys are now on the Softails.

The front forks are new Showa Dual-Bending Valve units, while the rear is a discreet monoshock. The new bikes also come with two engines, the new Milwaukee Eight series of V-Twins, in 1,745cc (107 cubic inches) and 1,868cc (114 cubic inches).

H-D’s latest, much-improved Milwaukee Eight engine 

While they share the same hearts and bones, the bikes all look very different and have obviously unique characters.

The Heritage Classic models keep the faith with more conventional looks, including round headlights, but even the pair (it comes in 107 or 114 engine choices) have plenty of technology including LED headlights, ABS brakes and electronic throttle control.

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Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

In comparison, the Fat Boy, which will always be known as the bike Ahn-Nuld rode down a canal in Terminator 2, looks like it collided head-on with the T1000. IT’s chrome-y, yes, but now with a lot more modern touches: The imposing chrome forks and headlights are now styled into a single, sleek piece, while the huge 240mm rear wheel shows off the deep-cut matte metallic wheels off nicely.  

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Harley-Davidson Fat Bob

The Fat Bob almost throws the H-D style rulebook out the window: Its square LED headlight unit wouldn’t look out of place on a Japanese or Italian techno-cruiser, which is exactly the point. It also blends other style points reminiscent of different Harleys – the upswept, completely-shielded exhaust system looks a little like the XR 1200, Harley’s sportiest model in recent times, while the long rear fender brings the classic Night Train to mind.

2018 Harley-Davidson Softail family pricing and pics
street bob
Street Bob FXBB – $33,900, $34,500 dual-tone paint
fat bob

Fat Bob FXFB – $42,000
Fat Bob FXFBS 114 – $47,500

fat boy
Fat Boy FLFB – $47,000*
Fat Boy FLFBS 114 – $53,000*

heritage classic
Heritage Classic FLHC – $48,500*
Heritage Classic FLHCS 114 – $54,000*

Breakout FXBR – $48,000

*Add $500 for dual-tone paint
Prices quoted include ARF, number plates, road tax, registration, but no COE.

about the author

Derryn Wong
CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats.