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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.