Harley-Davidson shout about the FXDR’s 43% lighter alloy swingarm, lighter wheels (including rear solid disc deliberately reminiscent of the V-Rod) and the best lean angles of any Softail.
But this is no sharp sportster: the drag bike kicked-out forks and comedy 250-section rear tyre make steering unnervingly slow and laboured; that rake compromises the USD forks and twin discs while bumps uncomfortably jar the bike’s – and your – rear end.
Yes, once acclimatized and confident the FXDR will carve a curve but it’s nowhere near as nimble as H-D’s own, 114-powered Fat Bob and a Diavel will destroy it.
Inlet tweaks and a new two-into-one exhaust help boost this bigger, 114ci version of the 'Milwaukee Eight' from 85bhp to 91 ponies. But, to be honest, I couldn’t tell the difference.
So, though decent and delivering familiar Harley rumbling and lumbering, on this evidence it’s not really deserving of the performance 'R' tag. It’s no V-Rod, certainly no 150bhp+ V-Max or Diavel, and if you want the true 'stop light to stop light acceleration' Harley promised, you'd best go and buy a Stage two or three tune (which, considering the hefty base price, is a little disappointing…)
There's nothing wrong with the FXDR here. The Milwaukee Eight engine debuted two years ago on Harley’s tourers with no complaints, mechanically it’s quite simple and the cycle parts are better than most. Solid it is – and should remain so.
Geometry and styling aside, the FXDR has a similar specification to Harley’s Fat Bob but that bike, even in 114ci trim, costs over £5000 less. Nor does the FXDR have particularly impressive clocks or even a pillion seat. Overall, the fact it costs so much is something of a mystery.
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Starting at £19,855 the FXDR is not only the most powerful (just) of Harley’s Softails – but the most expensive, too, so it’d be reasonable to expect to get a few posh bits.
There aren’t many. True, there’s the uprated engine, twin discs, fancy wheels and USD forks, but the better-handling Fat Bob gets most of those for around £5K less.
What’s more, the FXDR's clocks are basic (with only a small, switchable LCD panel with a strip of idiots underneath) and there’s not even a pillion.