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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

Boundary Pusher – The Breakout

The Breakout breaks the mold with its low, mean, dragster profile. The giant 240mm rear tire and raked out front end looks intimidating, and dares you to push your own boundaries. The 66.7-inch wheelbase is the longest of the Softails, and the most challenging to ride.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails breakout profile
Both the Breakout and the Fat Boy use the wider swingarm to accommodate their 240mm rear tires. They also both are available with the 114, Milwaukee-Eight, but the Breakout has a more extreme rake and forward pegs.

You may think it’s rather difficult to get a motorcycle with a wide 240mm rear tire like this to turn. That’s what I thought too, until I hopped on and tested it for myself. Taking corners and “turning” the motorcycle took a little getting used to, but the geometry engineered into this bike is impressive. Still, this motorcycle never stopped intimidating me, forcing me to break through some of my own boundaries.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails breakout riding left
The Breakout is the only Softail that feels like it was made for a big man to ride it. It takes some strength to initiate the lean, planning, and skill to get your line through a curve just right, and effort to move your weight forward and into the curves.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails breakout tank
The Breakout is the most custom-looking of the Softails. Everything about it screams “power.” The small 3.5 gallon tank and optional 114-inch Milwaukee-Eight reinforce this idea.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails breakout riding right
Riding casually is hard to do on a bike that is so obviously all about showing off.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails breakout led
The Breakout’s light is uniquely shaped—oval with a very pronounced curve that you don’t see head-on. The vertical LED is a signature look.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails breakout dash
Like the one on the Street Bob, the Breakout gets a riser-clamp display, only this one is chrome.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails breakout seat
Like the one on the Street Bob, the Breakout gets a riser-clamp display, only this one is chrome.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails breakout seat height
At 25.6 inches, the Breakout is nice and low. Reaching the drag-style handlebar will be a stretch for smaller riders but felt comfortable for my 5 foot 7 inches.

The Breakout was my last Softail to test. Frankly, I was dreading it based on that big fat tire, long wheelbase, and menacing look. I’d watched many other riders before me struggle trying to keep the big bike in line through some very tight turns.

I surprised myself and impressed all the guys when I kept right up and held my lines when I took off on the Breakout. I might even say that I enjoyed myself in pushing those boundaries.

But I know that most women don’t ride hard like that, and it’s certainly not sustainable for long periods of time. I was happy to have had the opportunity to have fun on this monster, but happier to trade for the other big fat-tired bike, the Fat Boy, for the final trek to the hotel.

Specs at a Glance: Breakout FXBR/FXBRS/FXBRSANX
Engine size: 107 ci (1746cc); 114 ci (1868cc)
Seat height: 25.6 inches
Weight: 672 pounds
Fuel capacity: 3.5 gallons
Colors: 107 – Vivid Black, Black Tempest, Twisted Cherry, Silver Fortune; 114 – Vivid Black, Black Tempest, Twisted Cherry, Silver Fortune; ANX – Legend Blue Denim
Price: starts at $18,999; ANX starts at $21,199

Click here for the next Softail.
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