News 23 Aug 2017

Harley-Davidson unleashes broad new 2018 Softail range

A total of eight new models revealed for the next season.

Source: Supplied.

To celebrate the 115th global anniversary year of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, the manufacturer has announced eight all-new Softail models to be introduced for 2018.

The new models include the Fat Boy, Heritage Classic, Low Rider, Softail Slim, Deluxe, Breakout, Fat Bob and Street Bob, which are all equipped with the standard Milwaukee-Eight 107 powerplant, or an optional Milwaukee-Eight 114 on the Fat Bob 114, Fat Boy 114, Breakout 114 and Heritage Classic 114 models.

Designed under the largest product development project in company history, the new bikes feature a stiffer and significantly lighter frame built to harness the high torque output of the new dual-counterbalanced Milwaukee-Eight 107 and 114 engines.

With high-performance dual-bending valve front suspension and an easily adjustable hidden rear mono-shock, the aggressively styled 2018 Softail models are lighter and better handling than any of their big twin cruiser predecessors.

The handling of a Softail now enters a new era with a lighter, more rigid frame that elevates form and function to a higher plane, while maintaining the classic look of a hardtail and delivering a thoroughly modern ride.

Benefits of the new chassis include increased lean angles for many models, sharper turn-in response, quicker acceleration, lighter weight and easier side-stand lift off than previous models.

A new high stiffness carbon steel tubular frame forms the core of the 2018 Softail chassis and combined with the swingarm significantly increases the rigidity of the chassis.

The frame itself is 65 percent stiffer than the outgoing Softail design, which leads to a 34 percent increase in overall chassis stiffness. Its design also achieves reduced complexity with a 50 percent reduction in component parts and 22 percent reduction in welds.

There are two unique swingarms, one for narrow and one for wide rear tyres. The wide chassis is 5.89 kilograms (15 percent) lighter, while the narrow chassis shaves 8.16 kilograms (20 percent). The swingarm transfers rear wheel movement to the under-seat monoshock while maintaining the pure, classic lines of a hardtail frame.

Brand new high-performance dual-bending valve front suspension – first introduced on 2017 Touring models – delivers damping performance that’s similar to a cartridge fork but with improved, more responsive damping characteristics. It’s optimised for both comfortable cruising and spirited riding with 130mm of travel. Revised rake and trail also enhance handling ability.

The new mono-shock rear suspension preserves the classic hardtail look while revamped geometry improves ride quality, traction and control. Easily adjustable for spring preload it enables a 217 kilograms range of payload capacity for increased passenger comfort and optimum handling.

The all-new Softail models are up to 17 kilograms lighter than before, delivering an improved power-to-weight ratio that provides quicker acceleration, better braking and dynamic cornering capability combined with increased lean angles for many models.

Some models feature new tyres specifically designed to work with the new Softail chassis and feature optimised constructions and improved compounds for confident, long-wearing performance in all riding conditions. New seat designs and materials provide an improved fit for a wider range of riders and greater comfort for cruising.

An official release date is yet to be confirmed, however more information and pricing on individual models can be found by visiting