Harley-Davidson Unveils 2018 Softail Lineup, Ditches Dyna Models
The new bikes promise lighter weight, quicker acceleration, and easier handling than their predecessors.
On Tuesday night, Harley-Davidson unveiled a transformational lineup change for its 2018 motorcycles. The Dyna lineup has been merged into the Softail lineup to create one cohesive line of Big Twins slotted above the Sportster and below the Touring bikes.
The new Softails have an all-new lighter, stiffer frame, new suspension, and most importantly, the new 45-degree, four-valve-per-cylinder Milwaukee-Eight V-Twin engine now with dual counterbalancers. All of the new bikes come standard with a 107 c.i. engine, while a few are available with a bigger 114 c.i. option. Thanks to the new frame, the new bikes are about 35 pounds lighter than their predecessors.
The eight new Softail models have been put in three different categories by the design team; Functional Standards, Modern Classics, and Revolutionary Design DNA. Although the Dyna line has been discontinued (at least for now), a few Dyna models have been reborn as Softails.
In the Foundational Standards category, we have the Heritage Classic, which has a 114 option, the Deluxe, and the Slim. Aesthetically, these aren’t too different from other modern Harleys, and they’re likely intended to appeal to Harley’s base.
In the Modern Classics category, there’s the Low Rider, the Street Bob, and the Breakout, which offers a 114 variant. These are a bit more modern-looking and they seem like they’re supposed to appeal to a younger crowd. These could be considered “muscle bikes,” and the Breakout looks like it would be at home in a Victory showroom...if Victory still existed.
Finally, the Revolutionary Design DNA models are the Fat Boy and the all-new Fat Bob, both of which are available with a 114. The Fat Boy has a new face with a new satin chrome headlight housing, but the rest of the bike looks familiar. The Fat Bob is the most radically styled of the new Softail models. It has a horizontal oval headlight, bronze-colored pipes, a blacked out frame and wheels, and a straight handlebar. It looks quite modern, but it still has a classic Harley-Davidson peanut-shaped gas tank that kind of throws off the look. It looks like it’s trying to be a Ducati Diavel, but still very much a Harley at the same time.
The new 2018 Softail lineup is an effort by Harley to get young blood into their dealerships on on their bikes. The company's customer base is aging, and it seems Harley is hoping these new bikes with refreshed looks, better engines, and lighter frames can get the youths more interested in buying new bikes.