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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

Iconic Thoroughbred – The Fat Boy

If ever there was an iconic motorcycle, it is the Fat Boy. The challenge for designers to recreate such a well-known superhero had to have been the most daunting task of this project. Maintaining the epochal Fat Boy look was mandatory in order to keep the faithful captivated.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails fat boy profile
Solid fat wheels, big fat tank, solid headlight shroud, chunky fenders, floorboards, the new Softail has it all, but with updated details. You know when you gaze upon it that it’s a Fat Boy, but there’s something different. Something cool and captivating.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails fat boy tires
The Fat Boy’s 240mm rear tire is the same size as the Breakout, but a shorter wheelbase, different sized front tire, and a different riding position change the ride character between the two bikes drastically.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails fatboy handlebars
The wide bars and geometry of the rake make maneuvering the Fat Boy easy. This Softail surprised me the most, in a very good way. I was happy to test the extra grunt of the 114 on this model.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails fat boy headlight
The satin chrome finish on the Fat Boy is a new process that isn’t found on any of the other bikes yet. I like how it is bright when it reflects light but without the mirror effect of chrome.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails fat boy dash
The dash is tank-mounted like the previous Fat Boy, but has the updated digital displays resting in a tank panel that’s dressed in that new satin chrome finish.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails fat boy seat
The seat is fairly wide and comfortable, and probably the most generic-looking seat of all the Softails.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails fat boy seat height
The Fat Boy’s seat height is 25.9 inches, less than an inch taller than the previous model.

I hadn’t spent too much time on the previous version of the Fat Boy because there were many aspects of the motorcycle that didn’t appeal to me. The wide bars made me feel like a sail in the wind and I found the upright seat position uncomfortable. I didn’t particularly care for the styling either. But this new Softail really surprised me. While it’s still a sit-upright position, I feel less like I’m sitting “on” the bike, rather I’m a part of it.

Women who gravitate towards the Fat Boy will love the new power and suspension improvements. And they will certainly look super cool easily managing what looks like a beast of a bike that rides like a well-trained thoroughbred.

Specs at a Glance: Fat Boy FLFB/FLFBS/FLFBSANV
Engine size: 107 ci (746cc); 114 ci (1868cc)
Seat height: 25.9 inches
Weight: 699 pounds
Fuel capacity: 5 gallons
Colors: Vivid Black, Black Tempest, Industrial Gray, Bonneville Salt Pearl, Wicked Red/Twisted Cherry; ANV – Legend Blue Denim, Legend Blue/Vivid Black
Price: 107 starts at $18,999; 114 starts at $20,299; ANV starts at $21,199

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