Driving report new Harley Softail models


Driving report new Harley Softail models

A heart for softies

Harley goes future: with two balance shafts and a handful of other plasticizers. Fat Boy, Springer, Heritage are affected & Co ?? yes, the one with the rigid frame look.

You left out little at the profound press conference in Nashua / USA. Described the 2000 Softail models from the front brake cylinder to the last screw. Everything sounded very good too. Really interesting. The most exciting moment, however, came when one of the technicians pulled out an ordinary cardboard box ?? maybe 40 by 60 by 40 centimeters tall? and announced with a proud voice: »Here, in this box, are the few parts that we took over from the 1999 vintage. The rest is history. “
Not bad, the number. Too often, Harley-Davidson felt misunderstood when presenting revised models. Too often the unsuspecting journalle was amused by seemingly marginal changes. That shouldn’t happen this time. It worked out. The ladies and gentlemen of the trade press poked their noses into the box with curiosity: handlebars, headlights, a handful of small items ?? that’s it.
Even if it was a bit cheated, the show was okay. Sharpened the eye for the differences between old and new, which actually go much further than the cloudy eye. The frame, for example, has been completely revised and now consists of 17 instead of 34 parts. The swing arm plus secondary drive are also fresh. And even the engine has never existed in this form. The Twin Cam 88 and its two lower camshafts made their debut in the Dyna and Electra Glide models a year ago, but without the suffix B. This stands for two balance shafts. And they are new. Rotating in opposite directions, they nip most of the vibrations of the two-cylinder in the bud. Of course it takes strength. A Dyna produces 68 hp, while a Softail only captures 63. However, when you consider that Fat Boy & Co. until now had to be fed up with the lean 56 HP of the far more sluggish Evo engine, there is no reason to open your mouth.
For all those whose brains are knotted by the Harley terminology: Softails, whether Fat Boy, Night Train, Heritage or Springer, can be recognized by the fact that they pretend they have no rear suspension. Is of course a bluff. The suspension struts are hidden under the engine block, and the rigid frame look achieved in this way looks heavily like motorcycle classicism. Exactly like the now outside oil lines of the Softails. A tribute to the Knucklehead models of the 1940s.
Modern mood, however, in the control center. Gone are the days when you buckled your upper body into unexpected idle times. The pre-Christian noises faded from the depths of the gear shaft. Forget the unworthy poking around in search of the green light. As promised, the modifications to the clutch and gearbox make the five gears more enjoyable.
The deceleration tactics have also been improved: four-piston fixed caliper brakes, front and rear. Something’s really going on now. Except for the models with a Springer fork. They are still fiddling with this poor single-piston system on the front wheel. And somehow that’s a good thing, because their pathetic effect already embarrasses the pretentious fork construction to crack.
It was still nice with the Springers in the vast forests of New Hampshire. Because in the US you only brake two or three times a day. In addition, the good, old, European standards of value on the streets of North America are already shaking. Performance and stuff are hardly of any interest there. In a country where the speed limits are just above freezing and the nearest shopping opportunities are behind the horizon, completely different things count. The quality of the view of the tank, instruments and lamp pot, for example. Or the handlebars? the only component that you can hold onto on long journeys. If you have the choice, you will be happy to use the Fat Boy, which is blessed with a truly Olympic sail pole. As wide as the Po plain, it gives the fat guy something like handiness. Quite the opposite: the narrow drag bar of the pitch-black Night Train, which needs to be guided with an iron grip.
The differences between the individual Softails are at exactly this level: wide or narrow handlebars, large or small front wheel, running boards or footrests, windshield or none. And yet we are dealing with six completely individual motorcycle types. (No, this sentence did not come from the Harley press kit, but from a conviction). Fact ?? Even the character of the Twin Cam engine comes across differently in all models: lively with the Standard, serene with the Fat Boy, a bit slack with the Heritage Springer.
D.he thing with the balance shafts was a great idea, by the way. In any case, I didn‘t miss a single vibration. It’s not that bad if you can have a beer in the evening without spilling half of it. Especially since the V-twin did not become a wimp, but has gained in persuasiveness: more pressure, more revving, more drive. And its inimitable pulse is still there.

Chronicle of Harley-Davidson Softail models

In 1984 the first Softail came on the market. Their success prompted Harley to found an entire clan. Today it comprises six models, all of which have the so-called Twin Cam 88B engine with 1449 cc. The 45-degree V2 develops 63 hp at 5300 rpm and 106 Nm at 3200 rpm. The current family photo shows from left to right: Night Train, type code FXSTB, weight 305 kg. Springer Softail, FXSTS, weight 315 kg. Heritage Softail Classic, FLSTC, weight 335 kg. Softail Standard, FXST, weight 305 kg. Fat Boy, FLSTF, weight 320 kg. Heritage Springer, FLSTS, weight, 340 kg. All machines are delivered with an unregulated catalytic converter. The prices for the 2000 vintage have not yet been set, but should be increased by a maximum of five percent. Prices 1999: 26,900 (standard) to 36,450 marks (Heritage Springer).

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