Diverse cultures make up this
beautiful country of ours. Many a times the tastes and preferences of people
are revealed by the products they buy for themselves. Having ridden a whole
bunch of bikes in my life, it’s so easy to conclude that Harley motorcycles appeal
to those with a finer taste in life, besides the deep pockets. Or else why
should someone buy a cruiser motorcycle for Rs 16.89 lakh and add expensive
bells and whistles to it?
When I got my hands on the
Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic, I could not help but look at its
girth and fine mature looks. For
record’s sake, the word "softail" is a registered trademark of
Harley-Davidson motorcycles and was coined with the release of the first
Softail motorcycle in the early 1980s. The term softail refers to motorcycles
that have a hidden rear suspension system. It’s basically a hardtail that made
soft with rear suspension that is tucked away from prying eyes.
1,690 cc Air-Cooled, High
Output Twin Cam 103B
130 Nm @ 3000 rpm
Fuel Tank capacity
17.85 kmpl (city & highway combined)
Weight as shipped
Min Ground clearance
Rs. 16,89,000 (ex showroom Delhi)
The Softail is a good mix of
traditional and the modern. This bike is powered by a high output Twin Cam 103B
engine which is basically a 1690cc engine producing a low end torque. Peak
torque of 130Nm comes at around 3000rpm. One also gets the comfort of cruise
control for those long uninterrupted journeys.
The fuel tank is an old-school
one with a modern 3-D medallion on its side which is glass-inlayed. With its
leather saddles, studded seats, laced wheels and white walled tyres, there is a
lot the motorcycle scores on the looks front. The saddlebags also get new
sag-preventing interior supports as a result of which the bags don’t ever have
a dowdy look about itself.
The console mounted on the
fuel tank displays the odometer, along with an ancillary display for gear and
rpm. While the speedometer is loud and clear, the rest of the digital displays
could have been brighter and larger. The fuel gauge too is mounted on the tank
in a neat rectangle space. Do remember, the Harely is bought by not so young
and hence digital displays need to be very prominent. Getting to neutral gear
position is not an easy task and for me it
was an exercise that led me to sweat profusely, especially at traffic
The rider’s position in the
Softail is extremely comfortable with large footboards to plant your feet. The
tall handlebars made of stainless steel that come standard on the Heritage
Softail Classic model make it easy for you to manoeuvre
your bike. You have an option for a two-up seat in the Softail and with
its broad dimensions and back rest; the passenger can definitely be very
comfortable. The pillion seat is also detachable.
And in case you feel you want
the wind on your face and in your hair, you even have an option to detach the
When it comes to riding the
Softail, it’s an easy exercise. The key fob can always remain in your pocket
and all you need to do is to twist the knob on the tank, press down the kill
switch on the right side of your handle bar and press the electric start switch
next to it. The engine roars to life and then it’s just a changing of gears
using the toe-heel rhythm. The high output twin cam 103B engine is quick on its
feet and the low end torque is very evident when you twist the throttle. It’s
an electronic throttle control which means no cable
cluttering up the handlebars.
The engine is mated to a
six-speed transmission. The Softail comes with standard ABS, which means the
giant bike comes to a halt very fast. In fact the new front brake system has
got better in this bike with a lot more reduction in the amount of lever force
required at peak braking. There's a new 4-piston fixed caliper with 32 and 34
mm pistons, premium caliper piston coating to minimize initial displacement and
a larger 300 mm rotor. It all adds up to more stopping power.
The hands-free fob
automatically arms and disarms the vehicle electronic security functions as you
approach and walk away from the bike.
Overall, the Harley-Davidson Heritage
Softail Classic is a big sized cruiser but whether it is fun to ride on India’s
battered roads, is a question that would best be answered by the close knit Harley-Davidson
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