2023 Harley-Davidson Breakout review - a performance cruiser motorcycle, but now with a bigger engine


  • Bigger, better engine
  • Improved levels of comfort
  • More attitude and enhanced looks

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Power: 102 bhp
Seat height: Low (26.2 in / 665 mm)
Weight: High (684 lbs / 310 kg)


New £24,917
Used £19,000 - £24,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

There are plenty of cruiser motorbikes out there, and there are a few Harleys to choose from, too, but if you want the most badass, fastest, most drag-strip-inspired of all, you want the Harley-Davidson Breakout.

Originally introduced in 2013 with the then ‘Twin Cam’ 103ci (1690cc) version of Harley’s traditional 45-degree, air-cooled, pushrod V-twin, it proved popular in the UK. The 2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout received a significant makeover, with the new single-shock Softail frame and Milwaukee Eight 107ci 1746cc engine (with the then biggest 114ci/1868cc version also available as an option). But now, Harley has made it bigger and brighter again.

And we can’t talk about bigger without bringing up that new engine, which is a whopping 1923cc. With 102bhp and 124.6lb.ft on tap (both up on the 107’s 86bhp and 107lb.ft) with the old, optional 1868cc 114 in-between, there’s more than enough punch.

Harley-Davidson Breakout cornering on the road

Where the 2018 Breakout took its inspiration from drag bikes, for 2023 Harley has gone all Carlos Fandango with lashings of brightwork and four new paintjobs headlined by this ‘Baja Orange’. So, the 117’s fender (mudguard) brackets, side covers, muffler (silencer) shields, turn signals, mirrors and distinctive (and slightly intrusive) ‘Heavy Breather’ air intake are all now chrome while the other paint options are Atlas Silver, Black Denim or Vivid Black. Actually, make that ‘only’ paint options – orange has apparently already sold out.

A big thing to note is the new fuel tank. For 2023 the Breakout reverts to the larger, five-gallon (18.9-litre) tank used by the original up until the 2018 model. That upgrade saw not only a new engine and chassis but also a slimming programme which both cut kilos and used a smaller 3.7 gallon (13.6-litre) tank. The US market, apparently, didn’t approve, leading to the Breakout being dropped from its domestic range. Now it's back, with the big tank restored.

If any two aspects define the Breakout they’re surely its big engine… and even bigger wheels. In terms of the latter, dimensions are unchanged at 18-inches rear wearing an ultra-fat 240-section Michelin Scorcher tyre and 21in/130 front. The wheels themselves, however, are new: a stylish ‘Roulette’ design with 26 alternately contrasting spokes.

Harley-Davidson Breakout front wheel

As far as riding comfort goes, although the ’23 version of the Breakout 117 is a significant improvement, the handling element still leaves a lot to be desired. Although the Breakout was never the best ‘riding’ Harley, thanks to its brutish, long and lean lines and beast of a back tyre, no Hog had a more powerful visual impact. For many that was enough. That’s unchanged, in fact, thanks to the extra chrome, smart new wheels and vivid colours, it’s actually enhanced.

The bigger 117ci engine is a bonus, too. Although, in reality, the new Breakout’s performance is not dramatically different to before, its barroom bragging rights most certainly are. Instead, the biggest improvement is its much better comfort. With the old Breakout you tolerated its awkwardness and lack of comfort for its attitude and looks. Now it’s a bike you can genuinely tackle big miles on – in style.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
3 out of 5 (3/5)

With an ultra-fat 240-section Michelin Scorcher tyre and 21in/130 front, the most kicked-out version of the Softail frame (with a whopping 34 degrees of rake), a long 1695mm wheelbase and hefty but low slung 310kg wet weight, the Breakout 117 has the steering characteristics of a container ship, with equally minimal ground clearance. However, it’s worth noting that you do tune into it.

Perhaps the biggest criticism of the old 2018 Breakout was rider comfort – or the lack of it. The drag bars/feet forward riding position could be an awkward stretch and put most of the rider’s weight on their backside which, over jolts and bumps was jarring.

This has now been subtly but significantly improved. The bar risers are 3/4inch (19mm) higher and so nearer the rider while the seat has also been reshaped to accommodate the new tank. Although that sounds minimal, I had no major comfort concerns during half a day in the saddle over all types of road.

Harley-Davidson Breakout rear



Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Harley’s largest engine is a seriously impressive bit of kit, offering a serious amount of punch from that hefty motor. ‘117’ refers to its capacity in cubic inches which equates to a whopping 1923cc.

The big twin’s delivery is familiar, characterful and more flexible and versatile than you might expect with a traditional Harley clunkiness and crude charm but also, in this tune, an extra macho raw punch that excites when you whack open the throttle.

Harley-Davidson Breakout engine

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Harley-Davidson have really cemented their reputation as a reliable brand, with the previous generation of the Softail family seeing very little in terms of problems and issues.

The build quality is still consistently impressive across the board, and the latest Breakout 117 carries on that tradition to an impressive level. It’s also worth noting that the majority of Breakouts will probably cover less in terms of mileage compared to the truly touring-bred machinery.

Harley-Davidson Breakout right side static

Our Harley-Davidson Breakout owners' reviews don't show anything concerning.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

At almost £25,000, the Harley-Davidson Breakout 117 is not a cheap motorcycle, by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, even though it’s not directly comparable it’s more expensive than pretty much any of its rivals, and that includes the likes of the cheaper Indian Chief Dark Horse.

Looking to Europe, even the sportier Ducati Diavel V4, or the beastly Triumph Rocket 3 are cheaper than the Harley and they both destroy the American contender in power and performance, too.

But then again, you’re paying for the style, the brand and everything that comes with it, which is pretty much unique.

Harley-Davidson Breakout rear action shot


3 out of 5 (3/5)

In terms of its appearance, the Breakout 117 wins the equipment competition hands down, and for a lot of customers, that’s all that they ask for.

However, in terms of true equipment, it’s pretty much bare to the bones. In terms of electronics, all you get is ABS, switchable traction and cruise control, which is fed through a small LCD dash.

Harley-Davidson Breakout dash


Engine size 1923cc
Engine type Air-cooled pushrod V-twin
Frame type Tubular steel double cradle ‘Softail’
Fuel capacity 18.9 litres
Seat height 665mm
Bike weight 310kg
Front suspension 49mm ‘dual bending valve’ telescopic forks, non-adjustable
Rear suspension 'Softail’ monoshock, remote preload adjuster
Front brake 300mm front disc with four-piston caliper, ABS
Rear brake 292mm disc, twin-piston caliper, ABS
Front tyre size 130/60 B21
Rear tyre size 240/40 R18

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 50.3 mpg
Annual road tax £117
Annual service cost -
New price £24,917
Used price £19,000 - £24,000
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 102 bhp
Max torque 124 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 209 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2013 – Original ‘Twin Cam’-powered, 103ci (1690cc) FXSB Softail Breakout launched along with high spec ‘CVO’ version
  • 2018 – All new Harley-Davidson FXBR Breakout launched based on new Softail chassis and ‘Milwaukee Twin’ 107ci/114ci engine
  • 2020 – Now only available with 114ci engine
  • 2023 - New version introduced with 117ci engine

Other versions


Owners' reviews for the HARLEY-DAVIDSON BREAKOUT (2023 - on)

2 owners have reviewed their HARLEY-DAVIDSON BREAKOUT (2023 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your HARLEY-DAVIDSON BREAKOUT (2023 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Equipment: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
5 out of 5
25 March 2024 by SA755

Year: 2023

The bike is awesome, PERIOD!! you will never regret buying it.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

it's a masterpiece, so treat it as one.

Engine 5 out of 5

Torque monster

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Every detail in the bike screams QUALITY

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

you get everything you need on a motorcycle to enjoy.

Buying experience: thanks to Harley Davidson Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

5 out of 5 Worth every cent live it
19 October 2023 by Timl101

Version: Orange

Year: 2023

Overall love it.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Front fork springs to ridged for country roads out back Australia ordered some springs and changing oil to a 5W

Engine 5 out of 5

Be better after re tuning

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Need to change all oils at 1st inspection. Also add tuning ing usb ! Ran lean at mid rpm and ditch at higher with just pipes changed before re mapping

Equipment 5 out of 5

Sissy bar good add. Also got the handlebar bag to put my phone in. Good for maps. Also put a Sena 50c in my helmet. USB port comes in handy for re changing. I sometimes leave phone plugged in (when doing more than 250km)

Buying experience: Bought from Highway Harley. Great service from sales and management. Loved being able to talk to my mechanic for day about tuning etc.

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