No Dyna, no deal? A look into the 2018 Softail family.
In our heart of hearts, as Harley-Davidson motorcycle fans, we know it’s all about the look, the sound, and the feel of an unmistakable ride. But, what happens when all of that suddenly changes?
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Since 1991, the Harley-Davidson Dyna, with its exposed conventional units straddling the rear fender strut, has been the stiff-chassis middle child of the Harley family, along with four other motorcycles in the lineup: The Softail (FLS), The V-Rod (VRS), Touring (FLT), Sportster (XL). The Dyna debuted as a limited production model, the FXB Sturgis in 1991. Since Dynas feature tubular steel frames and are designed for twin external rear shocks attached to a double-sided swingarm, the chassis was soon determined to be better suited for the Evolution engine, and soon replaced the FXR by 1995. The Dyna has been near and dear to our hearts ever since.
That is until the 2018 Harley-Davidson lineup was announced, and the Dyna is no more. As Harley-Davidson announced on Tuesday, the name of “Softail” is now what encompasses all Softail and Dyna models. That’s right. As this year, we will no longer see the production of our beloved Dynas. Now, they are listed as Softails.
While Softail is a familiar name, what will be called “Softail” in 2018 is entirely different than what we’re used to.
What’s New with the 2018 Harley Softails?
The frames of these 2018 Softails lost weight all over the place. All in all, the redesign of the all-new frame reduces total weight by up to 35 pounds, but the weight loss wasn’t all just to the frame. Aluminum pieces were used in places like the fender struts and triple clamps in place of steel, while 13 pounds were taken off the wide chassis, and narrow chassis lost 18 pounds.
The weight-loss was done to increase speed and agility, and improve such things as handling and braking. And, as Harley-Davidson claims, these guys are 10 percent faster from 0-60 than the previous High Output Twin Cam 103 engine.
They’re more rigid.The redesigned mild-steel tubular frame is stiff, 65 percent stiffer in fact, than the outgoing Softail frame. This new frame has 50 percent fewer component parts, 22 percent fewer welds and, with the solid-mount engine, makes for an overall 34 percent more rigid chassis.