Harley-Davidson 2018 Softail Pictorial Overview

Evans Brasfield
by Evans Brasfield

Because seeing is believing

The changes made in the 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail line were so numerous we couldn’t fit them in one article! To read about the hows and whys of the changes, check out “ Harley-Davidson Introduces All New 2018 Softail Line.” This article is strictly an adjunct to that text which is intended to let you know what happened to each individual member of the completely revamped Softail line. Strap on your helmet; this is gonna be quite a ride.

Fat Boy

Is it possible to recreate an icon? Harley sure thinks so. For 2018, the Fat Boy gets even beefier with a 160mm front tire, the widest ever fit to a H-D production model. Above it, wrapped in satin chrome, is a shapely headlight nacelle, teleported directly from 1950s TV screens. Like all the Softails, the Fat Boy carries the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine standard, but for more beef, riders can step up to the optional 114 cubic inch version. With all the big changes in the Fat Boy, it still managed a 31-pound weight reduction compared to 2017.

Heritage Classic

If you like your vintage 1950s styling with a modern flavor, you’re gonna like the changes ladled upon the 2018 Heritage Classic. Starting up front with a new detachable windscreen, the touring amenities also feature rigid, lockable, water-resistant, and removable saddlebags. The taller suspension offers increased passenger and cargo payload capacity. ABS and cruise control are standard. Harley still managed to shave off a whopping 32 lbs. from the 2017 Heritage. A Milwaukee-Eight 114 is available as an option.

Low Rider

Perhaps 1970s-style choppers are more your speed. The Low Rider’s Milwaukee-Eight exhales through a 2-into–2 shotgun style exhaust, while the cast 19-inch front and 16-inch rear “Radiate” wheels assist in cornering performance that is much improved over last year. Don’t forget to take a gander at the retro dual tank with built-in speedometer and tachometer.

Softail Slim

Post-war-era bobbers were all about stripping away the non-essential elements. For 2018, the Softail Slim was shorn of 35 pounds! However, Harley didn’t skimp on styling. The Slim still sports a narrow rear end, a trimmed front fender, a solo seat, and minimal chrome. Like all the new Softails, the Slim received new LED lighting in the form of a nacelle that integrates with the covered front fork.


If you like your cruiser dripping with chrome, the Deluxe fits the bill with brightwork from stem to stern. The signature LED headlight is complemented by LED running lights featuring integrated LED turn signals. The all-LED lighting is filled out in the rear with a Tombstone taillight and turn signals. The Deluxe’s performance is updated, thanks to the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine and the new, more capable Softail chassis. ABS is standard.


The Breakout may be about dragster attitude, but for 2018, it includes actual cornering clearance. With the Milwaukee-Eight 107 or the optional 114 providing the motivation, the 21-inch front wheel and the 18-inch 240mm rear bring the strip to the street. To highlight the importance of the Breakout to Harley-Davidson, it receives a bespoke, signature Daymaker headlight with swooping modern lines. Atop the handlebar riser, flush-mount LED instrumentation provide all the information a rider needs without cluttering up the lines of the front end. ABS is standard.

Fat Bob

Looking like something straight-out of an action-adventure movie, the Fat Bob delivers the most performance of any of the new Softails. The Milwaukee-Eight 107 and beefy optional 114 bellow through the two-into-one-into-two performance exhaust system. The bespoke Softail chassis with 28° rake and the longer-travel suspension give the Fat Bob its cornering chops – to the tune of more than 30° of lean angle on both sides. The inverted fork holds a 150mm front tire. Out back a 180mm tire completes the look with its matching blocky, adventure-inspired tread pattern. The LED Daymaker headlight is unlike anything we’ve ever seen from Harley. All this and a 33-pound weight savings over last year’s model.

Street Bob

The Street Bob gives you only what you need for an elemental ride with the fists in the wind. New for 2018 is the smooth 3.5-gallon tank that helps to show off the beauty of the Milwaukee-Eight’s top end. Spoked wheels are framed with chopped fenders. The clean minimalist style receives the virtually invisible low-profile riser-mounted LED digital instruments. The Street Bob lost 17 lbs. in the transition to the new model year but retains the lowest MSRP in the Softail line.

Evans Brasfield
Evans Brasfield

Like most of the best happenings in his life, Evans stumbled into his motojournalism career. While on his way to a planned life in academia, he applied for a job at a motorcycle magazine, thinking he’d get the opportunity to write some freelance articles. Instead, he was offered a full-time job in which he discovered he could actually get paid to ride other people’s motorcycles – and he’s never looked back. Over the 25 years he’s been in the motorcycle industry, Evans has written two books, 101 Sportbike Performance Projects and How to Modify Your Metric Cruiser, and has ridden just about every production motorcycle manufactured. Evans has a deep love of motorcycles and believes they are a force for good in the world.

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  • Rick Rick on Aug 24, 2017

    I think it was a mistake to get rid of the v-rod, they should of added the needed sixth gear, made it more of a sport bike to compete in the street fighter genre,that would have shook things up for the better.

    • See 6 previous
    • Sayyed Bashir Sayyed Bashir on Aug 28, 2017

      My picture was better.

  • Green Mellow Green Mellow on Aug 27, 2017

    Two Brothers Racing have already fabbed a prototype replacement for the Fat Bob's stock exhaust. I wonder how much lighter it is than the original.

    Making of: https://m.youtube.com/watch...

    Sound clip: https://youtu.be/JnKfa2LEIJY

    • Cmon Cmon on Aug 31, 2017

      Doesn't matter how much lighter it is, that's like flicking a fly off a hippos back. Not gonna notice a pound off a Harley or 50 pounds for that matter. Why does that tractor only have two wheels?