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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, Editor

Barry White (Low and Mellow) – The Slim

Another very popular model that women enjoy, the Slim continues to boast the lowest seat height of all the Softails, and at 25.5 inches it shares the lowest seat height of all 2018 Harley-Davidsons with the Sportster SuperLow.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails slim seat height
At 25.5 inches, the 2018 is up 1.7 inches from last year’s Slim but remains the lowest Softail in Harley’s lineup. What Harley calls a “small straddle triangle”—meaning the space between your seat, arms, and legs when seated on the bike and reaching to the bars —will still allow short riders to fit this bike well.

The Slim seems to have changed the least stylistically, maintaining its blacked-out vintage bobber theme with fat spoked wheels, short fenders, Hollywood handlebars, solo seat, fat fuel tank, and floorboards. I’ve nicknamed the Slim the “Barry White” Softail because it looks so good just cruising mellowly down the boulevard.

More power, better lean angle, and improved suspension is the common theme with all the new Softails, but the Slim was probably in the most desperate need of the latter two since the earlier generation Slim’s suspension had a tendency to bottom out over mild bumps, and floorboards would grind easily during mild cornering.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails barry white
Improved cornering clearance, suspension, and a 35-pound weight reduction make the new Slim a better machine, but cruising at a slower pace is what this Barry White Softail is better at doing.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails slim seat
The low slung tuck-and-roll solo seat will fit smaller riders well, but is uncomfortable for my size 14 butt.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails slim wicked red
Harley mixes a good amount of gloss black with chrome on the Slim, which fits this model well. This beautiful color is Wicked Red.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails slim dash
The dash, a black version of the same one on the Deluxe, is mounted to the Slim’s 5-gallon fuel tank.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails slim led
The large, single Daymaker style LED headlight gets a chrome ring that sits in a black headlight shell. The black and chrome theme continues with the Hollywood handlebar, triple trees, and fork legs.

review 2018 harley-davidson softails slim front profile
I particularly like the front profile of this low, mellow Slim. If only there was a better place for that license plate bracket!

review 2018 harley-davidson softails slim side profile
The 2018 Slim Softail is a good-looking motorcycle. It feels small for me, but shorter riders who enjoy a more mellow ride will enjoy what the Slim has to offer.

Specs at a Glance: Softail Slim FLSL
Engine size: 107 ci (1746cc)
Seat height: 25.5 inches
Weight: 671 pounds
Fuel capacity: 5 gallons
Colors: Vivid Black, Black Denim, Industrial Gray Denim, Wicked Red, Bonneville Salt Denim
Price: starts at $15,899 (ABS $795)

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