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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

All-‘Rounder – The Heritage Classic

As the only new Softail to come with saddlebags, a windshield, and cruise control, the Heritage Classic will be the natural bike of choice for riders who plan to ride long distances in comfort. The Heritage is one of the four Softails available with a Milwaukee-Eight 107 and 114 engine.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails heritage test drive
I was fortunate enough to test both the Milwaukee-Eight 107 and 114 versions of the Heritage and really appreciated the extra pull of the 114. I noted the difference in a more relaxed rpm at higher speeds with the bigger engine.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails heritage cruise control
Cruise control is available as an accessory option for all the Softails but is standard equipment on the Heritage. The new turn signal switch reminds me of the buttons Harley used a few years ago. The feedback Harley received from riders about not being able to “feel” these buttons generated a redesign to a better switch with a curvature like the horn button you see here. Unfortunately, this turn signal button has no curvature and it’s difficult to feel the engagement.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails heritage saddlebags
The wide rider’s seat is very comfortable and passenger accommodations are decent. The hard-sided leather-covered saddlebags are mounted without quick-release hardware, so removing them will require tools. They’re lockable and use a one-touch keyed push-button on top of the bag lid.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails heritage saddlebag open
The bag lid pivots out away from the bike providing full access and a good view inside. The hinge and metal bracket that connects the lock seem flimsy though and you have to line the lid up just right or it may not close correctly.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails heritage no windshield
The Heritage Classic gets a more sinister, blacked-out look for 2018. The air cleaner, fork legs, tank dash panel, light buckets, and hardware details on the seat and bags are all black. Pictured is the Industrial Gray Denim/Black Denim-colored Heritage 107 with the quick-release windshield removed.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails heritage windshield
The riding position is relaxed with wide bars placed so they’re easily reached. Floorboards allow you to find a comfortable position for your feet. The windshield suited me well because I look over the shield with a couple inches to spare, and the air was directed up over my helmet.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails heritage seat
The Heritage Classic’s seat height of 26.3 inches is a little less than an inch higher than last year’s model. Still, for my 5-foot 7-inches, there’s no problem getting my flat feet on the ground.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I could have on a bike that looks fairly generic to me. Maybe it’s the bland Red Iron Denim color that just doesn’t grab me, but I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this motorcycle as much as I did. Having wind protection, a 5-gallon fuel tank, and ergonomic comfort certainly plays into my favorable view of the Heritage, but riding through several series of tight twisties without dragging a floorboard and feeling very stable is what ultimately made me a true fan.

A motorcycle that can do-it-all very well, the Heritage Classic continues to be a great choice for women looking for a lightweight touring bike ready to go as is. However, the dark “muscle-y”styling of this particular motorcycle doesn’t seem to be calling to women. I appreciate the classic style in the wide bars and fenders, laced wheels, and chrome wheel hubs, but I don’t expect most lady riders to embrace all the black parts that used to be chrome.

Specs at a Glance: Heritage Classic FLHC/FLHCS/FLHCSANV
Engine size: 107 ci (1746cc); 114 ci (1868cc)
Seat height: 26.3 inches
Weight: 728 pounds
Fuel capacity: 5 gallons
Colors: 107 – Vivid Black, Twisted Cherry, Silver Fortune, Olive Gold/Black Tempest, Industrial Gray Denim/Black Denim; 114 – Vivid Black, Twisted Cherry, Silver Fortune, Olive Gold/Black Tempest, Industrial Gray Denim/Black Denim, Red Iron Denim; ANV – Legend Blue/Vivid Black
Price: 107 – starts at $18,999; 114 – starts at $20,299; ANV – $21,199

Click here for the next Softail.
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