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Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them









Review: 2018 Harley-Davidson Softails

Comprehensive detailed review of each of the eight new models

By Tricia Szulewski, Assistant Editor
10/30/2017

Prettiest Softail – The Deluxe

The Softail Deluxe, one of the 10 most popular models women ride, is clearly meant to capture our hearts with its beauty. The Deluxe exudes classic Harley character and keeps all its best style attributes: wide pullback handlebar, floorboards, whitewall tires, chrome laced wheels and hub cover, chrome side cover, chrome fender trim, and vintage-style solo seat.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails deluxe floorboards
The rider ergonomics on the Deluxe is very comfortable. Floorboards allow you to move your foot position while the wide handlebar makes maneuvering easy. The Deluxe is my favorite Softail for cruising along at an easy pace.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails deluxe electric blue
The 2018 Deluxe is 33 pounds lighter than its predecessor, sporting the most chrome and most vibrant colors of all the new Softails. Shown is Electric Blue.

Reaching the ground is easy for my 5-foot 7-inch frame, but even shorter riders will appreciate the Deluxe’s very low 25.9-inch seat height. This bright color is called Wicked Red, and is complemented with Twisted Cherry along the top of the fenders and tank.
Reaching the ground is easy for my 5-foot 7-inch frame, but even shorter riders will appreciate the Deluxe’s very low 25.9-inch seat height. This bright color is called Wicked Red, and is complemented with Twisted Cherry along the top of the fenders and tank.

The wide one-piece seat is very comfortable. The stitched details look classy and updated, and an optional passenger pillion will attach easily to the mounts you see here.
The wide one-piece seat is very comfortable. The stitched details look classy and updated, and an optional passenger pillion will attach easily to the mounts you see here.

The 2018 Deluxe has a 5-gallon tank and utilizes a tank-mounted dash with an analog speedometer, along with  other digital readings. Every new Softail now gets a digital fuel gauge. Fuel mileage is a reported 47 mpg for all the new Softails which means about 235 miles between fill-ups for models with the 5-gallon tank.
The 2018 Deluxe has a 5-gallon tank and utilizes a tank-mounted dash with an analog speedometer, along with other digital readings. Every new Softail now gets a digital fuel gauge. Fuel mileage is a reported 47 mpg for all the new Softails which means about 235 miles between fill-ups for models with the 5-gallon tank.

Adding some of the Motor Company’s new accessories like this 18-inch king-size detachable windshield ($374.95) and rigid-mount saddlebags ($799.95) will undoubtedly be popular modifications owners will want to do to transform the Deluxe into a great touring bike.
Adding some of the Motor Company’s new accessories like this 18-inch king-size detachable windshield ($374.95) and rigid-mount saddlebags ($799.95) will undoubtedly be popular modifications owners will want to do to transform the Deluxe into a great touring bike.

The Deluxe’s LED headlight, lightbar, and turn signals are updated without losing the vintage flavor by using angular lines that remind me of 1950s hot rods and car hops.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails deluxe led
The Deluxe wins my vote for having the best lighting of all the new Softails with LED lighting all around. It is the only model besides the Heritage that comes with a light bar.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails deluxe led rear
The Deluxe sports the classic tombstone taillight shape and has unique signal stalks that blend modern technology into retro styling.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails deluxe floorboards rear
The Deluxe’s floorboards are positioned up high so you shouldn’t expect to scrape them easily during spirited riding.

I thoroughly enjoyed cruising on the Deluxe and would have been happy riding it a lot more. This bike will surely continue to be a popular model for women, and I’m excited to see all the innovative ways new owners will customize the “prettiest Softail.”

Specs at a Glance: Deluxe FLDE
Engine size: 107 ci (1746cc)
Seat height: 25.9 inches
Weight: 697 pounds
Fuel capacity: 5 gallons
Colors: Vivid Black, Electric Blue, Twisted Cherry, Silver Fortune/Sumatra Brown, Wicked Red/Twisted Cherry
Price: starts at $17,999

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