When Harley-Davidson launched its new lineup of 2018 Softails® at Annual Dealer Meeting 2017, the public was introduced to an all-new motorcycle platform – the result of the largest research and development program in the company’s history.
Interpreting Harley-Davidson’s history and styling DNA through a modern lens, the new Softail models feature all-new designs that strongly differentiate them from their predecessors and each other. “The authenticity of Harley-Davidson design comes by sweating the details from start to finish – ‘hard to do and hard to copy.’ Harley-Davidson® motorcycles are not a commodity; they are handed down from generation to generation,” said Brad Richards, vice president of styling and design. “We look at every nut and bolt on the bike, all the finishes, and every small detail. The new Softail frame is like a piece of art, and the more you take off the bike, the more beautiful it becomes. Its design speaks to the teamwork that our styling and engineering processes demand.”
Compared to prior year models, the new bikes feature a stiffer and lighter frame to help harness the torque of the new dual-counter-balanced Milwaukee-Eight® 107 and 114 engines. The 2018 models are up to 35 pounds lighter than 2017 models, delivering an improved power-to-weight ratio that provides quicker acceleration.
With high-performance dual-bending valve front suspension and an easily adjustable hidden rear mono-shock, the aggressively styled 2018 Softail models are faster, lighter and better handling than any of their Big Twin cruiser predecessors.
“Thousands of hours of research and testing were put into the complete ground-up redesign of these new cruisers,” said Paul James, manager of product portfolio. “We focused on taking the total rider experience to a higher level, where authenticity, heritage, and soul meet the modern edge of technology for a ride that must be felt to believe.”