Church Of MO: 2013 Harley-Davidson FXSB Breakout Review

Troy Siahaan
by Troy Siahaan

Harley-Davidson knows how to make a cruiser with attitude, and the 2013 FXSB Breakout is yet another example. Long, low, and powered by 103 cubic inches of American V-Twin muscle, it’s remarkable to think it’s 10 years old now. It’s also remarkable to think that Jon Langston’s writing hasn’t graced the digital pages of in a decade. Here, riding a Harley, Jonny is in his element. Enjoy going back in time with this review.

2013 Harley-Davidson FXSB Breakout Review

Dressed down for the Big Dance

Photos by Brian J. Nelson

With a long, low stance and styling that puts the emphasis on its major components, the new Harley-Davison FXSB Breakout is a no-nonsense power cruiser that embodies the spirit of motorcycling while eschewing the trappings of trendiness.

The new Softail manages this feat by keeping it simple, stupid. The subtle styling touches keep the focus on its parts – a sign that the days of highly stylized bikes like the Cross Bones are rapidly receding in the Motor Company’s rear view mirror.

If the Breakout sounds familiar, it should; it’s the brooding younger brother of last year’s CVO Breakout. But while that $26,499 bike is awash in chrome and sparkle, the production model, in dealerships in April, is a stripped-down, no-BS version that should garner a far wider audience – thanks mostly to its $17,899 price tag.

Harley’s new Softail speaks with a growl and carries a thundering 103-inch stick.

For the first time, Harley has followed one of its CVO motorcycles with a mass-produced version that aims for a wider demographic. This was not an afterthought; these bikes were developed simultaneously, with the limited-production CVO serving as a tasty hors d’oeuvre to the meat-and-potatoes meal served here.

Make no mistake: the Breakout is a bona fide knockout. But it achieves its appeal through poise and confidence rather than flash and dash. The front controls combine with a reach to the handlebar to put the rider in a broad-shouldered, four-point stance. Dual staggered mufflers give the motor a mean growl instead of an obnoxious bark. The 35-degree rake and 5.7 inches of trail contribute to the long, low-slung look, and the wide 49mm fork allows the 130mm front tire to put a bold foot forward.

With a 1.25-inch drag-style handlebar and gasser-style wheels, the Breakout forges a menacing presence. Note the alternately-polished aluminum spokes.

The Breakout’s identity is anchored by its use of gloss black on chrome; it’s an expertly applied scheme that keeps the bike from looking like just a stripped-down Softail. The gloss black adorns the frame and swingarm, headlight bucket, exhaust shields, oil tank, rotors, handlebar, and fork lowers, and it plays off the chrome on the upper fork, air cleaner, fender struts, head covers and pipes to draw the eye toward the Breakout’s major components: its engine and wheels. The doughty look is complemented by a demure handlebar-mounted speedo (with digital trip- and dual odos, range-to-empty counter and clock) and unadorned dash.

The clipped rear fender is positioned close to the tire, so there’s no light shining through between the rubber and the metal – a style crime that detracts from the fat tire profile on so many other low-pro choppers. The passenger pillion features tool-less removal that exposes no bolt holes.

Chopped fenders and a side-mounted license plate expose plenty of rubber.

In the saddle, the Breakout’s 24.7-inch seat height should be more than accessible enough for any rider to plant his or her feet at a stop. The forward controls are large and intuitive. The stretch to the drag bar, however, is not insignificant, and the effect is compounded by the widespread placement of the grips. On our ride around the Florida countryside, the vast reach seemed incongruous to the bike’s handling – but then, Florida’s notoriously straight and flat roads rarely require a rider to use much leverage. Still, this could become a comfort issue over the long haul, particularly for short-armed motorcyclists.

With its wide drag-style handlebar, even average-sized riders need to stretch to reach the grips.

The posture is interactive, though, and when the Breakout pulls strongly from a stop, the rider is prepared. Power is smooth and generous, rider feedback is liberal, and the Breakout’s plush suspension keeps the bumps on the pavement where they belong.

The Breakout’s 710-pound wet weight and 23.4-degree lean angle make the bike easy to manuever via weight shifts, even with that fat 240 out back.

The Twin Cam 103B engine is as ardent as you’d expect from Harley’s stalwart powerplant. Pushing 95.5 ft.-lb. of crankshaft-rated torque, it combines with a six-speed tranny to deliver performance on par with any of Harley’s current production Softails. Whether tearing down the highway or cruising the boulevard, the Breakout delivers.

The Breakout comes in Vivid Black; for $400 extra you can get it in Big Blue Pearl or Ember Red Sunglo (our favorite).

With assured grace and steadfast confidence – and an MSRP lurking at or near the bottom of the range – the new FXSB Breakout surely stands as one of the Softail line’s coolest customers. As with all new Harley-Davidsons, a two-year warranty with unlimited mileage is standard, and Smart Security and anti-lock brakes are optional.

The new Breakout made its debut on Main Street during Daytona Beach Bike Week.
Troy Siahaan
Troy Siahaan

Troy's been riding motorcycles and writing about them since 2006, getting his start at Rider Magazine. From there, he moved to Sport Rider Magazine before finally landing at in 2011. A lifelong gearhead who didn't fully immerse himself in motorcycles until his teenage years, Troy's interests have always been in technology, performance, and going fast. Naturally, racing was the perfect avenue to combine all three. Troy has been racing nearly as long as he's been riding and has competed at the AMA national level. He's also won multiple club races throughout the country, culminating in a Utah Sport Bike Association championship in 2011. He has been invited as a guest instructor for the Yamaha Champions Riding School, and when he's not out riding, he's either wrenching on bikes or watching MotoGP.

More by Troy Siahaan

Join the conversation
2 of 14 comments
  • Mad4TheCrest Mad4TheCrest on Feb 17, 2023

    Wasn't the Breakout the model that was plagued with chassis vibration, or something like that? I remember Harley had a model with a name at least similar to that which saw sales stagnate because of the bad rep from that problem. But my memory is a little fuzzy about HD's from that period 😬

  • Bob Shull Bob Shull on Jun 15, 2023

    Is the rear tire 19x240 and does that size fit a 2001 FXST?