Posts Tagged ‘BreakOut’

2018 Softail Lineup – Eight all-new models

When is “new,” “all-new,” “brand new,” “built from the ground up new,” “the newest,” “newer and refreshed,” advertising claims of an existing or previous Harley-Davidson really new?

Is there no objective basis by which to measure when a motorcycle is actually “new?”  What do you think?

It’s been reported that motorcycle enthusiasts are holding on to their old, reliable wheels for longer stretches of time, but Harley-Davidson wants to change that and has rolled-out the “brand new” 2018 #FreedomMachine models. Dealer launch video is HERE.

Send in the millennials and let’s make a deal!

Or in other words,  what the company is hopeful for after the ‘largest ever product development project’ was undertaken.

All-new Softail mono shock rear suspension

They may not look very different, but the 2018 changes to the engine, frame and suspension over shadow any “new” colors, new handle bar position or new seat thread design.  “All-new” is really what we’ve been promised to modernize these traditional bikes and it’s not a rehash of the old.

The quick read is that the Softail and Dyna product lines, as riders have known them previously, are gone.  The Dyna family is discontinued and the Dyna nameplates are now Softails!

Softail Big-Twin cruiser models

That’s the provocative and on the 2018 model revamp, all of the models that used to be in the Dyna’s lineup — the Fat Bob, Low Rider and Street Bob — rolled into the Softail lineup — Softail Slim, Heritage Classic, Deluxe, Fat Boy and Breakout — Harley completely redesigned the Softail chassis.  Not a minor cosmetic change, but a complete overhaul of the entire frame and suspension.  The new under-seat mono shock rear suspension aims to offer improved ride quality, traction, and control while the triangular swingarm maintains the classic lines of a hardtail frame.  The revamp also includes key accommodations for last years release of the Milwaukee-Eight, the first four-valve-per-cylinder heads engine packaged into the classic 45-degree V-twin.

From the styling department, all the new 2018 bikes have a much darker and aggressive paint scheme.  It’s largely a brooding “protester” feel with colors matched and with a “masked” or blacked out engine. There are smaller changes to individual models such a color-coded inner fairings, new wheels (including a 21” one for the Road Glide) and different exhaust finishes.  Oh and don’t forget that riders can now pair Bluetooth headsets with the stereo to remain wirelessly “connected” — on its top-of-the-line touring models.

I’ll address the hype right here: Your motorcycle and your smartphone are starting to have a lot in common, though only one can be used to take a selfie — at least for now.

115th Anniversary Eagle Badge

Lastly, the motor company announced the 115th Anniversary edition motorcycles.  There will be two limited-edition, serialized designs with 115th Anniversary Eagle and special anniversary paints available on nine different models in 2018 to celebrate the birthday.

But, what about that peculiar

In the social media and PR launch extravaganza for the 2018 line up earlier this week, Harley-Davidson quietly discontinued the V-Rod.

Discontinued V-Rod

The 2017 V-Rod Muscle and Night Rod Special are the final iterations of the VRSC (V-Twin Racing Street Custom) line.  You may recall this motorcycle had the Revolution engine that was co-developed with Porsche and based on the VR-1000 Superbike that Harley used in competitive drag racing.  It had a hydro formed tubular frame, a gas tank under the seat with round-topped airbox cover up front posing as a gas tank.

This was often referred to as the Harley for the non-Harley motorcycle rider and was a testimony that engineers and the brand were capable of doing something very different.  It was introduced in 2001 and discontinued 16-years later.

It would seem that Harley-Davidson is no longer “building products that fulfill customers dreams on the drag strip!

Photos courtesy of Harley-Davidson

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2014 Harley-Davidson Breakout

2014 Harley-Davidson Breakout

Harley-Davidson has initiated a voluntary recall in Canada.  

The Campaign number is #2014058 and is targeted at repairing at least 297 motorcycles.

The motorcycles effected are the 2014 Harley-Davidson Breakout and 2014 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim.  According to the Road Safety Recalls Database, the motorcycles may not comply with Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 – Lighting System and Retroreflective Devices.

The problem is due to a programming error in the body control module, where the brake lamp lit area may be less than what is allowable by the above standard. This could render the vehicle less visible to other motorists, possibly resulting in a crash causing property damage and/or personal injury.

Dealers will correctly reprogram the settings in the body control module.

Recalls in Canada are often followed by the U.S. counterparts, and it’s anticipated that the NHTSA will be involved shortly and the effected number of motorcycles will increase.

Photo courtesy of H-D.

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2013 H-D FXSB Breakout

2013 H-D FXSB Breakout

Introduced last week at the 72nd Daytona Bike Week,  the latest Softail model is called the 2013 FXSB Breakout (MSRP $17,899).

It has gloss black Gasser cast aluminum wheels on a 130mm wide and 21-inches high front while a 240mm chunk of Dunlop rubber on the rear. It comes equipped with 1.25-inch drag bars that sit atop a beefy fork, the bars are mounted atop a four-inch riser with a speedo incorporated into the chrome risers. The wide front fork kicks out at a 37-degree angle while the front fender has been cut down about as much as legally possible.  There is the Twin Cam 103B engine and its machined fins and chrome covers contrasting the black powder-coated cylinders.

2013 Honda Fury

2013 Honda Fury

If the name is familiar it’s because the motor company released a CVO version of the motorcycle back in August of last year.  The production version receives the same long and low stance with the sinister looking disposition.  Someone in marketing didn’t get the memo that factory custom chopper manufacturers have been dropping like flies!

The Breakout is the first CVO model to be “reverse” adapted into a production model.  You might recall that CVOs are typically “juiced” up motorcycles taken off the production line and layered with chrome.  Up until 2009 they were all hand-built, but these days you’ll find them rolling along on the standard production line in York.  And, if imitation is the highest form of flattery then this year’s “breakout” is proof that the copy kat’s are alive and well.  But, who is copying who?

Take the 2013 Honda Fury (MSRP $13,390) which continues to sport a fuel tank with distinctive lines mounted high on the backbone, opening up the space above the engine and the tubular frame. It rolls with a 21-inch tall front wheel that is kicked out at a 38-degree angle and the chopper-ish dimensions balanced out by the 200mm wide rear.   It’s powered by a liquid-cooled 1312cc V-Twin.  Since the Fury’s introduction in 2010 the entry price point has jumped only $391.

2014 Star Bolt

2014 Star Bolt

And then there’s Yamaha’s Star Motorcycles who recently unveiled the 2014 Star Bolt (MSRP $7,990), a simple and stripped-down performance bobber ready for personalization.  A direct competitor for the minimalist H-D Sportster crowd.  The Bolt is powered by a 60-degree, 950cc (58ci) air-cooled V-Twin with fuel injection. A five-speed transmission provides the power via belt drive to the cast-aluminum rear wheel. A double-cradle frame, using the engine as a stressed member, along with a 540-pound curb weight will make this motorcycle easy to handle.   There are some nice touches such as a smoked-lens digital meter, wave brake rotors and LED tail lights to bring home some modern performance to the Bolt.

Whenever I hear about copy kat merch, I almost always think of China knock-offs.  It’s not completely undeserved, given all the fake DVDs, designer clothing and copy Rolex watches.  But, on the motorcycle front Harley-Davidson looks at minimum liked they rolled out a recalibrated Rocker C version or worse is complicit in “breaking out” a Raider/Stryker copy.

Photos courtesy of H-D, Honda and Yamaha.

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