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Published: 12 January 2018

Updated: 12 January 2018

Improved Slim completes new H-D Softail family


Improved Slim completes new H-D Softail family

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

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 & Brakes 4 out of 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.

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.

Engine 4 out of 5

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.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

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.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

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.

Insurance group: 17 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

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.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2018
Year discontinued -
New price £16,045
Used price £7,500 to £18,700
Warranty term Two year
Running costs
Insurance group 17 of 17
Annual road tax £91
Annual service cost -
Max power 86 bhp
Max torque 107 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption -
Tank range -
Engine size 1746cc
Engine type 45º pushrod V-twin
Frame type Tubular steel double cradle
Fuel capacity 18.9 litres
Seat height 660mm
Bike weight 291kg
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

History & Versions

Model history

2012: introduced

2018: all new model

Other versions


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