Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe

On the Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe, you have a motorcycle brimming with nostalgia and vintage design, while H-D’s newest Big-Twin powerplant lopes down below to provide the thoroughly modern motivation. The 45-degree, 107-inch Milwaukee-Eight V-twin serves up a stronger top-gear roll-on than previous engines while keeping the distinctive character the brand’s known for.

The current Softail Deluxe harkens back to 1949 when Harley-Davidson first mounted hydraulic front forks on their rigid FL frames to replace the previous springer front ends. The Harley Softail Deluxe’s beefy front fender has shades of the old FL, but this one’s cut high for an easy view of the chrome laced rim and gangster whitewall tire. Thanks to the faux-rigid frame, the original geometry shines all the way down to the triangular swingarm that mimics the looks of the old hardtails. A coil-over monoshock just beneath the seat buoys that special swingarm, and brings spring-preload adjustability.

Want laid-back? Those low and wide pullback bars mounted on risers give the rider plenty of room to roll in an upright position. Nobody’s going to stop you from mounting a two-up seat, but the stock solo seat here just looks right. The factory improved the Softail lineups’ handling by both lightening and stiffening the frame and ditching the old generic front suspension in favor of a set of Showa’s Dual Bending Valve forks, but you’d never know it by the classic chrome beer-can skirts and tripletree covers that cement the1950s boulevard vibe.

But the Milwaukee-Eight powerplant steals the show, with an undersquare layout, a total displacement of 107 inches (1,746 cc), and a 10-to-1 compression ratio. The 109 pounds of grunt pushes all of the Softail cruisers, and it comes on early at only 3,000 rpm so you’ll get to the good stuff quickly. And with ABS, security and LED lighting included in the standard equipment package, you won’t be sacrificing technology for style.

Pros: Gorgeous period styling, a hugely improved suspension and the smooth, powerful Milwaukee-Eight engine.

Cons: Single disc front brake seems like the bare minimum of stopping power for this big cruiser.

2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe head and taillight

2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe Headlight (Left); Tail light (Right)


Harley Softail Deluxe Specs & Pricing

Dripping with chrome and oozing style, the Harley Softail Deluxe has all the hallmarks of a 1950s-era boulevard cruiser, all set upon the Softail chassis. The impressively modern ride comes courtesy of a revamped suspension and that 107 cu. in. Milwaukee-Eight powerplant.

Engine: Milwaukee-Eight V-twin
Displacement: 107 cu. in. /1,746cc
Transmission: 6-speed Cruise Drive
Compression ratio: 10.0:1
Valve train: Single-overhead cam; 4 valves/cylinder
Cooling: Air-/oil-cooling
Overall length: 95.1 in.
Seat height: 26.8 in.
Ground clearance: 4.5 in.
Wheelbase: 64.2 in.
Front suspension: Nonadjustable Showa Dual Bending Valve fork
Rear suspension: Spring-preload-adjustable mono shock
Wheel size, front: 16 in.
Wheel size, rear: 16 in.
Front brakes: Disc w/ fixed 4-piston caliper
Rear brake: Disc w/ floating 2-piston caliper
Fuel capacity: 5.0 gal.
Running weight: 697 lb.
GVWR: 1,160 lb.

As with most Harleys, the Deluxe's pricing depends on the kind of paint you choose. The price of the Harley Softail Deluxe is $18,049 in Vivid Black, while color options cost $18,499. At the top are the two-tone models which cost $18,779, and $19,199 for custom colors. ABS and the H-D Factory Security System come standard on the Harley Softail Deluxe.

Softail Deluxe Parts & Accessories

The Softail Deluxe comes with not-so-subtle classic touches, but because it's a Softail, it runs with Harley-Davidson’s powerful Milwaukee-Eight engine, which is solidly mounted to the chassis and utilizes dual counterbalancers to snuff out primary vibration.

And the Softail Deluxe is ripe for customization. Harley Softail Deluxe parts and accessories can be easily bought from Harley-Davidson or from any number of aftermarket suppliers. The most popular Softail Deluxe parts to get modified include the bike's controls, handlebars and grips, while fueling upgrades also make the cut for top mods. Of course, most people also include exhaust and intake modifications to their list of Softail Deluxe accessories.