Harley-Davidson Softail Standard: Big Twin ownership comes to the masses
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Harley-Davidson's Big Twin range – powered by the Milwaukee-Eight range of engines – has plenty of big bike character, but for the majority of models in the range that has come with a big bike price to match. Until now.
Entering the market this year is the Harley-Davidson Softail Standard, which brings the Milwaukee-Eight well into the sub-$25,000 market.
Priced from $22,750, the Softail Standard is a stripped back bike built on Harley’s popular Softail platform, meaning it has the appearance of a hardtail frame but in reality has some of the best suspension the Motor Co has sprung to date – including a monoshock cleverly hidden away in the rear.
Harley describes the Softail Standard as a lean bobber profile steeped in attitude, with the "dynamic performance of the Harley-Davidson Softail chassis and the unrelenting power of the Milwaukee-Eight V-Twin powertrain."
Harley is making a clever move here, by bringing to market a bike which boasts traditional Harley styling cues and a traditional Harley engine into a price range normally reserved for the brand’s high-end Sportster models.
With the future of the ageing Sportster lineup unknown since the engines which power the line now unable to meet Euro5 emissions standards along with Harley’s new range of water-cooled bikes soon to enter the market, the Softail Standard is targeting those riders who want a “real Harley” but don’t want to spend in excess of $30,000 for a Milwaukee-Eight powered bike.
Styling is based around a classic Vivid Black paint scheme, which is highlighted with traditional chrome and polished parts for that classic Harley aesthetic.
Harley's aim here was to present a bike that defines what a Harley-Davidson is in its most distilled form and that certainly appears to be what it’s achieved here.
Other styling touches include a solo seat and chopped rear fender combination along with an all-black 1753cc Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine highlighted with polished rocker, primary and timer covers. Cylinder head fins are not highlighted, accentuating the very minimalist look.
The exhaust is always an important part of any Harley, and the Softail Standard is no different. Breathing through a 2-into-2 offset shotgun exhaust with chrome shields and mufflers, the exhaust helps to enhance the long, low profile of the bike.
Rolling stock comes in the form of a classic 19-inch and 16-inch spoked wheel combination, while the look is finished with a set of mini-ape handlebars.
Naturally, with the Softail Standard being the cheapest Softail currently available, Harley-Davidson expects prospective owners to spend more by dipping into the extensive parts catalogue, going as far to call the Softail Standard a “blank canvas” for customisation.
On top of the usual additions, Harley-Davidson is offering four packages as a customisation starting point for the Softail Standard Model.
Harley-Davidson has just added the Softail to its local lineup.
Also just confirmed for NZ is Harley's first EV bike, the LiveWire, which we rode last year. It'll be available at select Harley Davidson dealerships, including Auckland Harley-Davidson and Hamilton’s Road and Sport, from September. The price: $53,995.