HD’s New Softail a Lean Return to Basics

Perhaps staying in step with the rest of America, Harley Davidson’s newest softail is forgoing yards of chrome and fearsome features to instead hit the road as something lean and basic, something that promises only what it delivers, something that harkens back to leather caps and the classic, iconic custom bikes of the 1950s.

It is also slim, much slimmer than the HD motorcycles of recent years. It has been narrowed at both ends, with its front fenders trimmed and its rear end kept clean and simple. Harley-Davidson Senior Designer Casey Ketterhagen says that the new softail marks a change in course for the American motorcycle maker. “It’s time to make the engine the focal point of the motorcycle, so we put a Softail on a diet to get the proportions back in check,” said Ketterhagen.

Ketterhagen added, “Scale down the rear with a narrow tire and chopped fender and the heart of the bike, the motor, once again becomes the focus. We left a gap between the nose of the seat and tank so the rider can see the top of the motor. I like to be able to look down and see what’s moving me.”