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Harley Davidson SPRINGER SOFTAIL Custom Motorbike Review

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Harley-Davidson FXSTS Softail Springer motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 3

The Harley-Davidson Softail Springer is an ultra retro Harley based on the FXST Softail. Minimal but charming cruiser which harks back to the post war years when Harley-Davidson motorcycles were popular and their identity was really cemented. ‘Springer’ front Forks are based on the 1948 model but the rest of the Harley-Davidson Softail Springer is relatively modern – well as modern as air cooled Harleys ever were.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 4

Unlike the newer Softail Springer, the Springer Softail is an older model and is fitted with the older 1340cc engine. It’s got less power and torque and is even cruder than the later model. The gearbox is equally primitive. But in such a nostalgic package, it all somehow works even if it’s slower than a diesel Ford Focus.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 3

Those springer forks may look cool – but they’re old technology with precious little updating them. TheHarley-Davidson Softail Springer is a bouncy ride with just the rider and gets more so if you add a pillion. Ground clearance is limited like all Harleys and the Harley-Davidson Softail Springer's brakes are mediocre at best.

 

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 3

It’s that same Harley story here – the standard Harley-Davidson Softail Springer is a blank canvas for most people. There’s an enormous range of extras and alternative parts to personalize the bike and tailor it to your needs. Comfortable for some as standard but the Harley-Davidson Softail Springer's arse-low, feet forward riding position doesn’t suit everyone.

 

Harley-Davidson FXSTS Softail Springer (1988-2003)

Detail Value
Engine size 1340 cc
Power 55 bhp
Top speed 110 mph
Insurance group 15 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 3 rating is 3
Engine rating is 2 rating is 4
Ride & Handling rating is 2 rating is 3
Equipment rating is 2 rating is 3
Quality & Reliability rating is 3 rating is 4
Value rating is 4 rating is 3

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Harley-Davidson Softail Springer is an older model and not quite as trouble free as the latest machines Harley have to offer. Electrical problems are not uncommon, corrosion can rear its ugly head, while gearbox and engine problems are less frequent but not unheard of with the Harley-Davidson Softail Springer.

Value

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3

Buy an older Harley-Davidson Softail Springer for a good price, keep it garaged, don’t use it in winter, don’t do a huge mileage and you could just hit that biking jackpot – the depreciation free motorcycle. If you buy from a dealer it’s unlikely though. And prices are high considering it’s an older, slower motorcycle. Find a Harley-Davidson Softail for sale.

 

Insurance

Insurance group: 15 of 17

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Model History

1988: Harley-Davidson Softail Springer launched.
1993: Gearbox and belt drive updated.
1995: Vacuum fuel tap and smooth exhaust added.
1997: Rear wheel hub now aluminium.
1998: Clutch gets nine plates for better operation and longevity.
2002: Immobiliser/alarm added and bullet shaped indicators.

Other Versions

None

Specifications

Top speed 110 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 15.1 secs
Max power 55 bhp
Max torque 53 ft-lb
Weight 285 kg
Seat height 685 mm
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Average fuel consumption 42 mpg
Tank range 175 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 15 of 17
Engine size 1340 cc
Engine specification 4v V-twin, 5 gears
Frame Steel spine
Front suspension adjustment None
Rear suspension adjustment Preload
Front brakes 292mm disc
Rear brake 292mm disc
Front tyre size 80/90 x 19
Rear tyre size 130/90 x 16

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 3(2 reviews)

  • my springer

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 3

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    anyone who buys a harley and thinks they are the ultimate in motorcycling will be sadly dissapointed . i have owned harleys for over 25 years and they cannot compare with jap reliabilty in anyway , but having said that they have something that a jap could never have and that is true soul. the bike i ride at present is a 1997 springer softail with the evo motor. this bike has toured some 17 countries and all over the uk , had a bottom end rebuild at 55000 and now getting a top end rebuild at 100000 miles . you really do have to keep on top of them making sure that after every ride they are cleaned otherwise they will soon start to look shabby. the motors are good for around 70000 miles then they need work but a harley will go on for ever so long as they are given fresh oil evey 4000 miles . the belt drive is good and needs changing at 60000 miles having said that i have never had one break on me in over 200000 miles . the brakes are woeful with only a single front disc stopping over 600 lbs of motorcycle, but as will all harleys they can be upgraded (at a cost).the ride i would describe as interesting if ridden hard and things will touch down with ease, the front end takes a little getting used. the rear suspenion is fine and i am still running the original shocks. gearbox is best described as clunky but i have never had any problems with it. to sum up there is a lot of bull written about harleys my view would be if you like retro dont mind working on the bike and cleaning then a harley is fine ,they look good they hold thier price as long as the miles are kept down (but if you dont ride them i dont see the point). a harley is unlike any other motorcycle ,the japs will never be able to produce what harleys have and even for all thier faults i would never sell my springer .so find a nice one clean and cherish it and keep it for ever just dont get sucked into the harley bull

    07 May 2012

  • my springer

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 3

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    anyone who buys a harley and thinks they are the ultimate in motorcycling will be sadly dissapointed . i have owned harleys for over 25 years and they cannot compare with jap reliabilty in anyway , but having said that they have something that a jap could never have and that is true soul. the bike i ride at present is a 1997 springer softail with the evo motor. this bike has toured some 17 countries and all over the uk , had a bottom end rebuild at 55000 and now getting a top end rebuild at 100000 miles . you really do have to keep on top of them making sure that after every ride they are cleaned otherwise they will soon start to look shabby. the motors are good for around 70000 miles then they need work but a harley will go on for ever so long as they are given fresh oil evey 4000 miles . the belt drive is good and needs changing at 60000 miles having said that i have never had one break on me in over 200000 miles . the brakes are woeful with only a single front disc stopping over 600 lbs of motorcycle, but as will all harleys they can be upgraded (at a cost).the ride i would describe as interesting if ridden hard and things will touch down with ease, the front end takes a little getting used. the rear suspenion is fine and i am still running the original shocks. gearbox is best described as clunky but i have never had any problems with it. to sum up there is a lot of bull written about harleys my view would be if you like retro dont mind working on the bike and cleaning then a harley is fine ,they look good they hold thier price as long as the miles are kept down (but if you dont ride them i dont see the point). a harley is unlike any other motorcycle ,the japs will never be able to produce what harleys have and even for all thier faults i would never sell my springer .so find a nice one clean and cherish it and keep it for ever just dont get sucked into the harley bull

    07 May 2012

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