The 2018 Softail Deluxe is the result of the biggest-ever product revamp by Harley Davidson. The bike is a result of the merger of the Dyna and Softail product lines into one big Softail family.
A brave move indeed, the Softail Deluxe, marks a new design direction. Classy and nostalgic in its appearance, the bike brings in some fat custom style of its own. Having a modern, high output twin-cam engine at the core with a performance to match, the Softail Deluxe offers an abundance of unique chrome features. Reviving the memory of a ’50s boulevard look, the bike reflects on Harley Davidson’s cautious approach as to not let go of the heritage status some of its prime models have come to evoke.
Bathed in chrome
At front, the large LED head lamp is flanked by two smaller auxiliary LED lights. The angular indicator holders (they are found at the rear too) and the chrome garnish on the edge of the mudguard (it is the same at the rear too) add to some lovely details. The mighty attractive paint scheme is a head turner. Riding on 16-inch dia wire wheels with the rim, hub and spokes bathed in chrome, the white wall tyres of the Softail Deluxe are of Dunlop. The dual fuel caps (the left one is decorative), the pull-back handlebar and the instrument console all reek of chrome. The hologram effect tank is of 19-litres.
The scooped-out single seat with a height of 675mm makes for comfortable seating. With high levels of fit and finish, the bike is laced with a keyless start and stop. The engine, which seems to have been dipped in abundant chrome like most other parts that make this bike, fits tightly within the frame. Gaps are minimal, and the wiring is well concealed.
With the engine oil-cooler subtly housed at the front of the frame, the bike is equipped with an alarm that goes off the moment someone mounts it. That is, if he is not in possession of the key fob. While a standard key is necessary to lock the handlebar, the alarm can only be de-activated by taking the key fob closer to the bike. Sans side-stand warning or engine cut-off warning light, the Softail Deluxe feels smooth and is devoid of any excessive vibrations because of the twin counter balancers of the 1745cc engine.
A massive wave of torque is available and it is easy to smoke the rear tyre. The real fun is when the bike reaches the three-digit territory. Riding it past 150kmph feels like merely cruising. The Softail Deluxe rewards the most when lazily cruising down the highway. The access to massive doses of torque can be had with a small twist of the throttle. The new frame, with a monoshock suspension at the rear (neatly hidden inside the frame structure) lends a stiff edge to the ride. The Showa suspension at the front and rear has improved the ride, especially on less-than-ideal roads.
Feels stable at all times
Weighing 318kg, the bike exhibits a considerable improvement in the handling department. The low centre of gravity contributes to immense stability. This helps to negotiate city traffic and close the gaps. The clutch is on the heavier side. Out on a twisty mountain road, the Softail Deluxe feels highly stable. The forward set foot rests limit the angle of lean in corners, but does not sacrifice stability. Soaking up irregularities well, it manages to ride on narrow and rough country roads with surprising ease. The 115mm ground clearance, however, calls for exercising caution when negotiating humps or speed breakers.
Exerting a strong braking force, the bike comes with an ABS system, the front brake lever, however, does call for an amount of effort to exert a strong bite.
At Rs 18.64 lakh ex-showroom, the Softail Deluxe with its rigid mounted engine and a six-speed cruise drive transmission is a highly desirable machine.
Pros: Retro styling, lot of chrome, comfortable, strong and fast