Harley-Davidson fattens the family

Harley-Davidson has killed off the Dyna family and married it with the Softail, fitting them with two different Milwaukee Eight engine capacities.

The combined Softail/Dyna family have lost the Wide Glide, Low Rider S, Fat Boy Lo and Softail Slim S models. That means the Dyna Fat Bob (pictured), Low Rider and Street Bob are now part of the Softail family. The rest of the Softail family comprise the Slim, Deluxe, Breakout, Fat Boy and Heritage Classic.

For 2018, the new Softails come with LED daytime running lights, digital instruments, hand-adjustable rear shock and a mix of Milwaukee Eight 107 and 114-cube engines. The V-Twins have also been counter-balanced for the hard-mount fit to the frame, so you get a smoother ride. However, many diehard Dyna fans will miss that almost comical vibration at idle and the rapid throttle response from the unbalanced engine.

With a 34 percent stiffer frame and new Showa forks, Harley claims the 2018 Softails are up to 17kg lighter, handle better and accelerate faster.

Earlier this year Harley CEO Matt Levatich said they would introduce 100 new models in the next 10 years. His announcement was quickly followed by the new Road King Special and the 750 Street Rod. The eight new Softails put Harley on track for its 100-model target.

However, there are several model deletions as mentioned, plus the V-Rod Night Rod and Muscle which have now ceased production.

The Softails get the 107 (1746cc) engine from the Touring range with 92.5hp (69kW) at 5000rpm, compared with the previous 103m (1688cc) Twin Cam’s EPA-rated 80.5hp (60kW) at 4000rpm.

The Fat Bob, Fat Boy, Breakout and Heritage Classic also come with a choice of the 2017 CVO 114-cube 1868cc engine rated at 100.6hp (75kW) at 5000rpm compared with the current 1802cc engine’s 87.2hp (65kW) at 4000rpm. The CVO range now gets a 117 (1923cc) engine pumping out 105bhp (78.3kW).

Also, to celebrate Harley’s 115th anniversary in 2018, there will be a range of limited-edition anniversary models across most families. Anniversary models include the CVO Ultra Limited, Tri Glide Ultra, Street Glide, Street Glide Special, Ultra Limited, Breakout, Fat Boy, Heritage Classic and Sportster Forty-Eight.

For the first time, Harley-Davidson Australia is also able to offer their Trikes after finally overcoming Australian Design Rules roadblocks.

Story by Mark Hinchliffe.