HARLEY-DAVIDSON SOFTAIL SLIM (2018 - on) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£420|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
One of the most nimble and easy of all the new Softails to ride, the new Slim is now also quicker and, thanks to improved lights, clocks and detailing, better equipped than ever, too.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
The result of that added to the Slim’s continuing low-slung stance is probably the most nimble and easy of all the 2018 Softails to throw around. In short, if you want a light (ish), low, easy handling Harley Big Twin, the Slim, more than ever, is the one.
EngineNext up: Reliability
As with three other members of Harley’s new Softail family, the new Softail Slim 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 qualityNext 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 Softail Slim, 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 rivalsNext up: Equipment
Harley ownership never comes cheap and that’s certainly not changed with the updated and improved Softail Slim. That said, It’s also the one that also, arguably, has the most convincing, post-WW2 ‘bobber’ look, thanks to its unique combination of fat tyres and black wires, single seat, low bars and minimal chrome. It’s also a doddle to ride, thanks to its footboards is surprisingly comfortable over distance and, overall, if you want a big twin Harley bobber that’s an unthreatening, brilliant ride, this is the one.
As with the Heritage Classic, Harley has totally revamped the Softail Slim’s styling for 2018 as well. It’s effectively a minimalist, fat-tyred Harley big twin that’s been give the blacked-out, ‘40s ‘bobber’ look reminiscent of the originals created by post-WW2 US soldiers from war-surplus Harleys. As such, don’t expect much in terms of frills and luxuries. That said, it has been thoroughly improved thanks to the new engine and chassis along with new LED headlights, stylish new clocks and more. 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.
|Engine type||45º pushrod V-twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel double cradle|
|Fuel capacity||18.9 litres|
|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||130/90 x 16|
|Rear tyre size||150/80 x 16|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£420|
|Used price||£10,000 - £15,500|
17 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||86 bhp|
|Max torque||107 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
2018: all new model
Owners' reviews for the HARLEY-DAVIDSON SOFTAIL (2018 - on)
2 owners have reviewed their HARLEY-DAVIDSON SOFTAIL (2018 - 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£420|
Annual servicing cost: £450
Power delivery, handling and ride position are excellent, and a pleasure to ride at any speed. Stock seat is rubbish, under moderate acceleration one can end up on the rear fender, already replaced with a step up Saddlemen. No passenger seat or pegs is a bummer as is the lack of heated grips. The seat has to be removed to alter preload
Ride quality very good, brakes average
Plenty of low down torque from the M8 provides staggering acceleration and means you don't always have to be in the absolute right gear
Build quality and finish is excellent, hardly any plastic in sight.
Get around 45 mpg, insurance around £200 so not bad. It seems to me that these bikes have relatively low depreciation as I was initially looking for newish second hand, but ended up buying new with a decent discount which was cheaper
You don't get much!
Buying experience: From dealer, unseen during lockdown. Negotiated a £1,000 discount
Annual servicing cost: £400
Nimble, Torquey, great Flicability around cities, Plenty of Power for ANY style of riding. Very impressed with the Handling in the corner's for a Cruiser ;) ONLY thing I am NOT impressed with is the Seat is HARD on my Butt :( Needs a little more height at the backside to keep you in the seat when mashing the throttle ;)
Suprisingly well for ONLY a Single disc but they made up for it with a 4-Piston Caliper ;)
Just Nice and smooth power delivery . Putting even a Stage 1 (Air Cleaner *high breathing* & Slip On Mufflers w/Tune*) REALLY woke it up and gave it a Very nice driveability, biggest change was Sound ;) & Power from 2,000 rpm to 5,250 rpm is a nice increase from stock.
Service Cost per year
The Seat is still my biggest complaint-TOO HARD and needed to be a little higher at the back to keep you on the bike when you Give full throttle ;) The Screamin' Eagle Ventilator Air Cleaner Kit was an excellent Upgrade for me, with the Screamin' Eagle Pro Street Tuner, and S&S Grand National Slip On Mufflers. Sounds GREAT and is everything you could expect from stage 1 build.
Buying experience: My Buying experience was a pleasant one, I purchased from Riverside Harley-Davidson- Riverside, CA Great People to see when you are ready to purchase a NEW or Used bike.