There is big news from the other side of the motorcycle industry, as Harley-Davidson has merged its Dyna and Softail lines into one, while releasing 13 “new” motorcycles for the 2018 model year.
The new bikes fill out the Softail and Touring lines for the Bar & Shield brand, and feature the company’s new Milwaukee-Eight 107 and 114 engines.
These changes for the 2018 model year mark the most performance that the Softail line has ever seen, with Harley-Davidson Product Portfolio Manage Paul James saying that the new bikes required “the most extensive research and development program in the company’s history.”
The eight new Softail models include: Fat Bob (above), Street Bob, Fat Boy, Heritage Classic, Low Rider, Softail Slim, Deluxe, and Breakout. All eight Softail models will come with the 107ci engine, with the Fat Bob, Fat Boy, Breakout, and Heritage Classic also coming with the 111ci engine as an option.
For the Touring line, three of the five new models will come with the limited edition “CVO” badge, and as such will come standard with the Screamin’ Eagle performance package and the 117ci version of the Milwaukee-Eight engine.
Harley-Davidson’s new model push is part of a commitment to bring 50 “new” motorcycles to market over the next five years. As we can see though, for Harley-Davidson, “new” models means vastly similar machines with different cosmetic fitments and differentiations – per usual.
Whether this can turn Harley-Davidson’s lackluster sales around in the United States and abroad remains to be seen. From our perspective, we would like to see more from the American brand.