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2020 H-D Softail Standard 

24th February 2020

 

Harley-Davidson | Milwaukee-Eight | 107-inch

 

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Harley-Davidson has officially announced the launch of the 2020 Softail Standard; a move that effectively quenches all the rumours that have been bouncing around the www. The Softail has been (woefully?) absent from the Harley-Davidson line-up for over a decade. But evidently Milwaukee has deemed it the right moment to reintroduce the model, and in doing so update it with at least some of the latest bells and whistles.

 

Starting with the motor, the obvious power unit to fit is the Milwaukee-Eight, but "only" the 107-incher (1,750cc). However, rather than rubber mount it, the engineers and accountants have opted for solid fixings. So it vibrates a lot? Well, more than it might. Then again, this lump is running twin counter-balancers. So no one needs to lose their teeth fillings. The pay-off, we're told, is slightly more certain handling. Do we believe that?

 

Maybe. In theory.

 

The cylinder heads, incidentally, are four-valve per head. Dual knock sensors are fitted. The compression is a hefty 10:1. And you've got oodles of torque and that fabulous potato-potato sound.

 


 

To keep that engine looking both mean and keen, the stylists have blacked out everything inboard, and polished or chromed all the prominent stuff, then capped it with an understated circular air filter and a pair of 2-into-2 offset shotgun exhausts and silencers.

 

The frame, as you'd expect, is Harley-Davidson's standard steel Softail chassis running a typical faux hardtail regulated by a fairly basic single shock-absorber/damper. There's adjustment for pre-load, but that's all.

 

 

The front fork, meanwhile, is pretty standard fare for H-D but incorporates dual bending valve technology designed to enhance the ride and preclude unnecessary diving, but without sacrificing sensitivity. That's the idea, anyway (and much of the techy details go over our lids). The entire front end is chromed or polished, and it's as minimalist as it can be.

 

Wheels are chrome steel with wires; 19-inch front and 16-inch rear. The brakes, naturally, offer anti-lock technology.

 

You'll pay extra for a dual seat. The fuel tank holds 3.5 gallons. The colour is Vivid Black only. And the price is 11,495.

 

 

Sound like cost-cutting exercise? Does to us. But Harley-Davidson certainly needs to trim some fat and refill its depleted coffers. But we quite like this bike. The simplicity. The heritage. And that fabulous Milwaukee-Eight motor which, even in its lowest incarnation, is still a wonderful creation and certainly one of the best looking engines on the planet.

 


 

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