As this article goes live, Harley-Davidson is utilizing social media to reveal its 2016 model line up via a choreographed round-the-world event, taking place live in seven cities across the globe. This 30-minute global event will be simulcast on Periscope, Twitter’s new live-streaming app, and then uploaded later to the Harley-Davidson YouTube feed. Beginning with coverage in Portland, OR, where MO staffer, Evans Brasfield, is one of the moto-press attending the event, the live-stream will jump around the continents to Sydney, Tokyo, Barcelona, Toronto, Mexico City, and Las Vegas before returning to Portland to wrap up the event.
While this type of large-scale unveiling is noteworthy on its own, in terms of the resources required to pull it off, we – and we are sure that you – are more interested in what 2016 has in store from the iconic American marque. For starters, the live event will introduce the world to the new Iron 883, Forty-Eight, Harley-Davidson Street 750, Softail Slim S, and Fat Boy S motorcycles.
Harley’s Dark Custom models (shown in the photo above) take elemental motorcycling seriously. Consisting of the essentials required to ride (and profile) and inspired by the home-built customs of yore, the Iron 883 and Forty-Eight take urban motorcycling seriously. For 2016, the two models gain suspension upgrades, lighter mag wheels, and improved seating for more rider comfort. While the lighter wheels should improve steering response and handling, the upgraded suspension is of primary interest for those who ride on more than billiard-table smooth pavement. According to Harley, the new 49mm fork has been tuned to match the updated adjustable rear suspension. There’s no word on whether this means the Motor Company has increased rear suspension travel to give the suspenders more room to do their job.
The Iron 883 will be available in Charcoal Satin, Black Denim, Olive Gold with an eagle-and-shield tank logo, or Hard Candy Custom Gold Flake with a flame detail paired with black fenders. The Forty-Eight and its Big Twin engine will be available in four solid colors: Vivid Black, Billet Silver, Velocity Red Sunglo and Olive Gold. Also offered are Hard Candy Custom options, Hard Candy Cancun Blue Flake and Hard Candy Gold Flake. Prices have not been announced.
Although technically part of the Dark Line, the Street 750 and Street 500 models get a significant upgrade of their own for 2016 in the form of new front and rear brake systems. Yes, the braking issue we’ve pointed out in all of our tests of the 750 may have been addressed! (We’ll have to wait until we actually get a chance to throw a leg over them to be sure.) The brake changes include 300mm rotors gripped by a “stylized” front caliper powered by a pair of 34mm pistons. The rear is claimed to be of a similar construction. The more efficient aluminum front master cylinder features reduced friction and powers the caliper through new brake lines. The new aluminum rear master cylinder is also claimed to be improved. Additionally, the brake pedal has improved ergonomics thanks to its new position.
Harley-Davidson’s Street models, both 750 and 500, will be available in Vivid Black, Black Denim plus two new colors, Superior Blue and Velocity Red Sunglo. No pricing has been released.
Riders who have envied Harley’s CVO models for their power but didn’t want all the custom paint and accessories should take a look at the new S Series of Big Twins. For the first time, Screamin’ Eagle engines are available in off-the-rack production motorcycles. The Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 has always provided butt-kicking power, and now, it’ll be within reach of more riders. The Softail Slim S, with its classic bobber styling, gets, in addition to those 110 cu. inches, Screamin’ Eagle Stage 1 ￼ high-flow intake and optimized jet-black over/under dual shotgun mufflers. The Fat Boy S will sport the same mufflers while breathing through a Screamin’ Eagle Ventilator intake.
The Softail Slim S will have two color and graphic options, Vivid Black bodywork or the new Olive Gold Denim color with military-inspired tank graphics, while the Fat Boy S will wear Vivid Black and Denim Black. Again, no prices have been released.
Following the increased power trend, the High Output Twin Cam 103 is now included on all Softails and Dynas (except the Street Bob). This engine was previously only available on Harley’s touring bikes. In other Softail news , cruise control will be factory-installed on the Heritage Softail Classic, Softail Deluxe, Fat Boy S and Softail Slim S models. Since all Softail models will now have ride-by-wire, the Breakout, Fat Boy, Fat Boy Lo, and Softail Slim will have cruise control as a factory option. Finally, the Heritage Softail Classic benefits from updated styling for 2016.
Harley’s Custom Vehicle Operations always puts out something extra for the aficionado that has to have the best of the factory’s best. Also, these special bikes are often places that the Motor Company reveals new technology. This year, the CVO models receive a tire pressure monitoring system that links the sensors in the wheels to the info screen on the BOOM! Box infotainment system, allowing the rider to check the pressure at any time. If the pressure ever drops too low, a warning signal will be displayed. The CVOs also gain a new, integrated key fob that links the proximity-activated security system and the electronic luggage locking system for convenience in a single fob. Finally, the CVOs receive LED front turn signals. The three CVO models for 2016 are the CVO Limited, CVO Road Glide Ultra, and CVO Street Glide. Of course, they all get their annual color and badge upgrades. No prices have been released.
After a two year hiatus, the Road Glide Ultra reappears as the latest recipient of the Project RUSHMORE treatment. Consequently, expect to see all of the customer-derived enhancements gracing the other Project RUSHMORE touring models. Most notably, the Road Glide Ultra joins the liquid-cooled generation with its Twin-Cooled High Output Twin Cam 103 which circulates coolant via a thermostatically controlled electric pump through the cylinder heads to twin radiators in the fairing lowers. The Road Glide Ultra will be available in solid colors (Vivid Black, Superior Pearl), two-tone combinations (Billet Silver/Vivid Black, Mysterious Red Sunglo/Velocity Red Sunglo), and custom colors (Purple Fire/Blackberry Smoke, Cosmic Blue Pearl).
If you’re interested in participating in the global event, follow @harleydavidson in the Periscope app, where the ride will remain posted from 7 pm Sunday, Aug 23 for 24 hours until Monday, Aug. 24 9 p.m. Central Time. A recap will be posted to Harley-Davidson’s YouTube channel.
Since MO is on the scene for the event in Portland, we’ll have full tests of select models in the next couple days. Stay tuned…