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Freedom 101: Anatomy Of The 2018 Softail Family

Posted by Dan Novit

Jun 7, 2018 9:51:12 AM


Well folks, we’re pretty much sitting smack-dab in the middle of 2018 and, by now, hopefully you've had the chance to experience the reinvented Harley-Davidson's Softail® lineup. As you may have noticed, the most recent generation of Softails bring a wealth of visual and performance changes that simply can't be ignored. So it's only natural that you may have some questions regarding the recent changes, or perhaps you're wondering why the Dyna® family was left out of the 2018 new model year launch.



We'll take some time in this post to ease those concerns and address some of those lingering quandaries regarding the redesigned 2018 H-D® Softails.

Now some of you may be protestors of change, but if there’s one thing to know about Harley-Davidson®, it’s that change isn’t a process of throwing out the old, rather optimizing the classics to modernize- yet preserve and respect- their legendary roots.

With that being said, if you’ve taken a gander at the 2018 lineup, you may be under the impression that the infamous H-D Dyna family simply didn’t make the cut this year- but the truth is quite the contrary. When you step back and take a look at the new Softails, you’ll realize that the flesh and bones of the beloved Dyna are still very much alive within the Softail family.

What Happened To Dyna?

Die-Hard Dyna lovers can find solace in the completely reimagined Street Bob®, Fat Bob®, and Low rider®, with everything you love about these fan-favorites, sitting even prettier within a brand-spankin’ new body, optimized for style and performance. 


                       2015 Dyna Fat Bob                                                     2018 Fat Bob


You’ll notice that these classics share the same, improved frame design as other members of the Softail family; the Fat Boy®, HeritageBreakout®, Deluxe, and Softail Slim® are now the brothers and sisters of the former Dyna kids- without the sibling rivalry. But let’s not forget the mid-model birth of the newest addition to the Softail family: the Sport Glide®, which comes equipped with detachable, locking saddlebags and a mini-fairing.                       








                          2018 Sport Glide

But enough about change- let’s talk about what this new Softail lineup has in common.

What's New About The 2018 Softail?

We’re talking a re-engineered frame, improved suspension, and newer light-weight components that shave more than 30 pounds of meat off the bones. In essence, each new Softail- including the redeveloped Dynas- have been revamped for better
handling, lighter weight, and improved rider/passenger comfort.                                                                                                                                Redesigned Softail Frame

                                             How The Milwaukee-Eight® Completes The Package                                                                                                        

In 2017, Harley-Davidson redefined riders’ freedom experience with the introduction of the all-new Milwaukee-Eight® engine, the 9th- and most breathtaking- addition to the H-D V-Twin family. While the Milwaukee-Eight’s debut entrance was exclusive to the touring line, many Harley-lovers quickly realized that it’s massive power couldn’t possibly be restricted to a single Harley® family.

So it came with little surprise (though much excitement) when the reintroduction of the new-and-improved Softail family revealed it’s most prominent feature, nestled comfortably within it’s newly designed frame: the roaring presence and unmatched glory of the Milwaukee-Eight 107 & 114 engines.

If you’ve already taken a new Softail for a spin, the experience speaks confidently for itself, especially when paired with the immense torque of the M-8. But, for those who haven’t swung-a-leg over one of these for a test-ride yet, we’ll do our very best to describe the Milwaukee-Eight experience with words. 

milwaukee8-107                                                                     Milwaukee-Eight 107

She’s got power - The M-8 comes equipped with 4-valve heads, a higher compression ratio, and even larger displacement. That’s more torque behind your throttle-roll, and the adrenalin to match.

She’ll give you good vibes -  With a dual internally counter-balanced system, 75% of your primary vibrations are cancelled out while at idle, and both rider and passenger will experience a more refined feel and increased comfort. This comes with no sacrifice to the iconic- and satisfyingly intimidating- V-Twin design.

She’s still loud- and even more proud - While the Milwaukee-Eight makes no apology for it’s thunderous roar, the less-desirable mechanical thuds and powertrain noise have been eliminated, thanks to lighter valves, optimized cover designs and driveline improvements. It meets global noise and emissions standards, yet retains it’s classic and boisterously authentic Harley tone.

She’ll keep you cool - With the rider in mind, Harley has improved thermal comfort by reducing heat absorption, increasing heat rejection and redesigning the exhaust system, which directs hot airflow away from the passenger.


The Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight engine not only pays homage to it’s ancestors through a well-preserved historical design, but implies a modern, mechanical dominance through innovations in comfort and efficiency. Harley-Davidson continues to hold a dominant position in the motorcycle community, and the M-8’s presence in the market certainly makes a bold statement.

So who knows what changes we’ll see this coming August with the release of the 2019 models? The most important thing to remember- for the moment, anyway- is that everything you've ever loved about the Softails continue to live and breathe, reincarnated as a powerful new breed amidst the rumbling H-D family. But don’t take our word for it- there’s no reason you should wait to experience the full-potential of a new Harley-Davidson Softail and it’s most sophisticated V-Twin yet. The only way to feel the difference is to head on over to ISSHD for a test ride. Freedom awaits.

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Topics: Service & Maintenance, New Bike, Test Riding, Softail, Dyna

Why Harley-Davidson changed their 2018 Softail Lineup

Posted by Hannah Kirkland

Sep 8, 2017 1:20:30 PM

We're nearing the end of summer and that means Harley-Davidson has unleashed their new 2018 models. One major change for this model year was to combine everything you love about Dynas with everything you love about Softails to create one all-new family of Softails. A lot of H-D riders are wondering what exactly this means for their 2017 and older Dyna favorites. We at Indianapolis Southside Harley-Davidson are hoping we can answer those questions and alleviate some concerns for you.

 Street Bob 1.jpg

   Street Bob 6.jpgStreet Bob 2.jpg

The new H-D Softail Street Bob

The bikes included in the new Softail line are:

  • Street Bob
  • Fat Bob
  • Low Rider
  • Fat Boy
  • Heritage Classic
  • Breakout
  • Deluxe
  • Softail Slim

To all the Dyna diehards out there not sure what to make of the new Fat Bob, Street Bob, and Low Rider, don’t worry. The new models include the most powerful engine that produces more torque than has ever been offered on these cruiser bikes. The Milwaukee-Eight 107 and 114 engines give faster acceleration to get from 0-60 faster than ever. There’s a new, reinvented frame, new metal, new suspensions, etc. The new Softails have features that come from the 2017 touring line, including the H-D dual-bending valve front suspension system. They’ve changed what was old, but kept what Dyna riders loved.

low rider.jpg

The new Low Rider

American Iron Magazine says, “The fundamental tenets of this product lineup are: engine, dynamic capability (better handling), rider and passenger comfort, and weight reduction. No rider can argue that improvements in these points don’t lead to a better ride”. The eight new Softails all are up to 35 pounds lighter than its previous counterparts. They still have the classic cruiser look you’re used to, but with some modern features. The new bikes have better suspension, and with a lighter bike, the ability to steer and turn more easily. According to Harley, the new Softail models “have a 34% stiffer chassis overall. You get quick and precise response to your inputs, which means riding hard and true never felt easier”.

chassic.jpgWhat this new lineup gives H-D fans is potential. There’s aggressiveness in these bikes, customization options, new colors, updated style. We know Harley has that distinctive Harley look, and at first glance these models may seem way different. However, the Softails still have what H-D riders want—just with some slight variations and upgraded parts.

There are tons of articles out there about the new models, but the best way to decide what you like is to ride them. On September 9th and 10th, ISSHD will be hosting our Fall Demo Days with the 2018 H-D Demo Fleet. You’ll be able to see the new bikes up close and personal, as well as take ‘em for a guided demo ride. We can answer any questions that you may have about any specific model, and help you compare them to older bikes. Southside Harley is committed to making this transition as easy as possible for our guests, and Fall Demo Days is an ideal time to do that. You can also always contact our awesome Motorcycle Sales Team and they'll be happy to talk you through the new bikes and schedule individual test rides if you can't make it to demo days. PRE-REGISTER FOR  FALL DEMO DAYS



Topics: New Bike, Softail, Dyna, Demo Days