HARLEY-DAVIDSON DELUXE FLDE (2018 - on) Review

At a glance

Power: 86 bhp
Seat height: Low (26.8 in / 680 mm)
Weight: High (668 lbs / 303 kg)

Prices

New £17,245
Used N/A

Overall rating

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

Like all the new Softails, the Deluxe is punchier, handles better and, with new clocks and lights, better equipped as well. If ‘50s-style Harleys are your thing you won’t be disappointed.

Ride quality & brakes

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

The focus of the new Softail family is the all-new Softail frame (so-called as it hides the rear suspension giving a classic hardtail ‘look’) which now uses an inclined single shock, Yamaha LC style, in place of dual shorter units previously mounted beneath the transmission. The new tubular steel double cradle is also claimed to be substantially lighter, stiffer and comprise far fewer components. Three different head angles, two shock lengths and two widths of swing arm are also employed in a modular approach to create the eight different models.

With the Deluxe, this stronger, lighter frame (overall weight saving is an impressive 33lbs) means the handling is notably more taut and lithe than before.

Engine

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

As with three other members of Harley’s new Softail family, the new Deluxe now uses the four-valve, partially oil-cooled ‘Milwaukee Eight’ 107ci V-twin, as introduced in its 2017 touring range, and modified for Softail use via a new oil cooler subtly positioned between the downtubes. Plus, as they’re rigidly mounted in the new Softail frames (in the tourers they’re rubber mounted), they also come with two, not one, balancer shafts.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value

Along with the new frame, uprated engine and cycle parts and new equipment such as lights and clocks, the build quality of the new Deluxe, and indeed all the 2018 Softail family, has been noticeably improved. The jury necessarily has to remain out on reliability as it’s simply too early to say as we write. However, with the powertrain being based on that of the proven ‘Project Rushmore’ touring family and quality seemingly raised throughout, we’ve little cause for concern.

Value vs rivals

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

Harley ownership never comes cheap and with prices starting at over £12K that’s certainly not changed with the updated and improved Deluxe. That said, it also goes better, handles better and while Harleys of yore were often criticized for feeling as if they were hewn from cast iron that’s certainly no longer the case. And with this new Deluxe, they’re shinier and slicker than ever, too.

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

With the Softail Slim and Heritage Classic now going for a more post-WWII ‘40s ‘bobber look, that leaves the Deluxe as the only ‘50s-inspired cruiser in Harley’s range. Reassuringly, though, it does it better than ever. The whitewall tyres, wire wheels and lashings of chrome ‘look’ is retained but with new tank, oil tank, striking new LED lights and new clocks, it’s delivered better than ever. The uoprated engine and chassis are bonuses on top. OK, there’s still no electronics and little by way of luxury but it is a classy machine and Harley have noticeably raised their game.

Specs

Engine size 1746cc
Engine type 45º pushrod V-twin
Frame type Tubular steel double cradle
Fuel capacity 18.9 litres
Seat height 680mm
Bike weight 303kg
Front suspension Showa telescopic forks, no adjust
Rear suspension Monoshock, adjustable spring preload
Front brake 275mm disc, four-piston calipers. ABS
Rear brake 275mm two piston caliper. ABS
Front tyre size MT90B16 72H
Rear tyre size MU85B16 77H

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost -
New price £17,245
Used price -
Insurance group 17 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 86 bhp
Max torque 107 ft-lb
Top speed 110 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

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