Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic Review: Opulence Motorized

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Added in: Harley Davidson

This happens to be the third set of wheels from the Milwaukee manufacturer under the Motoroids review net. Having reviewed the street-cred Harley Davidson Iron 883 and the iconic Harley Davidson Fatboy earlier, this time we bring you the proverbial “palace on two wheels”- something that’ll make most other motorcycles look like wooden planks in terms of luxury. A fusion of nostalgic dresser styling mated to a modern Twin Cam 103 Engine displacing a colossal 1690 cubic centimeters. Gentlemen, say hello the Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic.

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We had a memorable 500 kms outing with the grandiose Harley – riding it all the way from Pune to Goa, passing through the lovely wide stretches of NH4, the narrow Nipani-Ajra section to the twisting ghats of Amboli. The motorcycle threw its own set of surprises and sounds (no way missing that) through the journey. And we’re highlighting every bit of our experience in our Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic review! Here we go then!

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NEXT PAGE FOR STYLING, FEATURES AND BUILD QUALITY

STYLING, FEATURES AND BUILD QUALITY

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The Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic was meant to bedazzle the onlooker. Sparing the tank and the fenders, the vintage but elegantly styled Harley has been wrapped in gleaming chrome. A central large headlight with twin passing lamps with hanging blinkers placed before the detachable king sized screen, meaty front forks with fat white-walled tyres mounted on wired chrome wheels- the Heritage works its charm on you right from the word go.

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The tank mounted chromed instrumentation is easy to read providing the necessary numbers including the distance to empty (DTE) indicator. The ignition knob is located below the speedometer, when flipped reveals the round key ignition slot. As we had outlined in our Harley Davidson Fatboy review, the motorcycle could still be started without the key and it’s quite possible to forget to turn off the ignition after you have turned off the engine. The refueler cap on the 18.9 litre tank is non-lockable and can be opened by mere rotations- a risky proposition when parked in public places.

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And then you have a spotless chrome and wrinkle black draped massive v-twin letting out those orderly placed twin exhaust pipes. Two reinforced and chrome studded leather bags add to the glee when looking at the Heritage Softail. The luxurious puffy leather seats for both rider and passenger would make you hop onto the motorcycle right away. Add to that a wide handlebar and half moon footboards that ensure the best treatment on the Heritage Classic when you’re munching miles. With such creature comforts on offer, the only thought on your mind would probably be a perennial journey into the orbit.

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Quality on the Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic is top notch. Our images might seem muddy, but it’s the untimely rains that played havoc during the ride. The chrome and paintwork is spotless and it would be a task finding uneven surfaces or edges on the motorcycle.

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The only ungainly bit seems to be the retro hardtail resembling softail rear frame which looks industrial grade on a motorcycle that looks no less than a work of art.

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The trademarks Harley Davidson switchgear, rubber grips, footboard mats etc. are all constructed out of high grade material. Overall, the Heritage Classic doesn’t disappoint on the quality and a shiny Heritage under the sun is pure eye candy to look at.

NEXT PAGE FOR PERFORMANCE- ENGINE & GEARBOX

PERFORMANCE

ENGINE & GEARBOX

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Powered by a fuel injected 1690cc v-twin, the air-cooled Twin Cam 103B is the same motor that powers the Fatboy too – albeit in a slightly different state of tune. Though the horsepower figures remain similar at 61 bhp, torque figures on the Heritage Classic read 130 nm @ a lower 3000 rpm compared to 132 nm @ 3250 rpm on the Fatboy. All this torque to the pulley mounted on the rear 150 section tyre is sent via a maintenance free belt drive through a six speed gearbox.

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The Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic is for sure an intimidating bike to look at first, especially if you haven’t ridden Harleys earlier. Swing your leg over, dab on the electric starter to get the Heritage burbling to life. All apprehensions come to life while getting the Heritage out of the parking lot- in our case, we had to cautiously squeeze it out of extremely narrow spaces. The weight is surely overwhelming and with the wide handlebars, the Heritage Classic does put you to task.

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Fortunately, the anxiety is short-lived as the Heritage with the humongous torque being cranked within its cylinders makes light work of its 341 kg. Hit traffic and you’re back to square one- the Heritage just doesn’t belong to clogged streets! Negotiating the motorcycle is one factor and then there is the heavy clutch! Prolonged riding in stop and go situations would leave you with an aching left wrist. Hit the highways and everything will be forgiven- for the Heritage Classic though nowhere close to sportsbike performance, pulls with utmost ease and authority for a motorcycle of its size and weight. Except the clunky first gear slot, the rest of the gears shift with relative ease.

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The Heritage Classic is an absolute charmer on the highways. The weight aids impeccable straight-line stability to the motorcycle and the Heritage feels like a locomotive on rails. Again acceleration is not the Heritage’s forte (rather the case with all Harleys except the V-Rod) and it would be incorrect to expect sports bike performance from this rumbling cruiser. However the torque buildup is quick and linear with a sudden boost of torque just before the peak rpm- not to mention the exhaust note is a pure aural treat.

The engine feels composed and vibe free until the needle crosses the 140 kph mark. The Heritage can be ridden at a constant 140 kph in fourth gear which we were assuming to be the top gear- such was the relaxed nature of the engine. The sixth gear is essentially an overdrive and anything below 120 kph in top gear induces knocking. Post 160 kph, the speedo needle would refuse to move any further, and that point can be well considered the Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic top speed. With the king-sized windscreen in place to save your face from the howling winds, the Heritage Classic could well be considered as a 140 kph all-day cruiser. But there’s a catch. Read on.

NEXT PAGE FOR PERFORMANCE- HANDLING, RIDE QUALITY AND BRAKING


HANDLING, RIDE QUALITY AND BRAKING

We have already spoken about the intimidating size and weight of the Heritage Classic and the efforts needed to squeeze it out of tiny spaces. Also as mentioned above, the Heritage Classic displays amazing poise in a straight line. However any undulations in your way during triple digit speeds does tend to unsettle this burly cruiser. The well laid Pune-Bangalore highway had its own set of bumps along the way that induced the Heritage’s front to twitch, and we had a few seconds of nervousness trying to calm down the motorcycle.

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Later diverting from Nipani towards Goa and from wide open highways, we were riding through the internal narrow roads with the Amboli ghats throwing up a perfect opportunity to test the Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic’s handling capabilities. The Harley Davidson branded Dunlop tyres offer adequate grip to the motorcycle and the Heritage surprisingly is easy to handle. It makes no fuss going around the corners, till the time you keep an eye on the lower ground clearance. We pushed the motorcycle to its limits and though it didn’t weave out of its desired line of cornering, we had the footboards grinding against the tarmac. Overall, the Heritage Classic corners well considering its size and weight.

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The ride quality is an absolute delight on the Heritage Classic. The wide handlebars, a well contoured leather seat and rubber matted half moon footboards render a perfect long haul cruising position. The full length footboards offers the rider different positions to place his foot based on his comfort preference. The front suspension is soft and has enough travel to soak up the rough surfaces, and any compromises on comfort due to the lesser travel on the rear suspension is compensated by the splendid and cushy leather seat.

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Coming to braking, a 300+ kgs motorcycle calls for strong brakes. The Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic features a four piston caliper mounted over the front 292mm single disc and a similar size rotor with two pot caliper at the rear. ABS comes as a standard feature. Unfortunately, the Heritage Classic similar to the Fatboy pleads for a twin disc brake setup upfront. Though braking during sedate speeds is not an issue, but slowing down the Heritage from high speeds gives a faded and spongy feedback from the discs. A harder squeeze on the levers is needed to bring the Heritage to a decided halt, but you would generally end up overshooting your desired spot. Riding the Heritage Classic was a treat indeed and it was only the braking that left us disappointed.

NEXT PAGE FOR CONCLUSION & TECH SPECS

CONCLUSION

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Though there might be other touring motorcycles from the Harley lineup to choose from, but it would be difficult for a true blue Harley lover to look beyond the classic 60’s design of the Heritage. The majestic road presence is another aspect which is hard to ignore. The Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic embodies tradition with modern tech and offers a luxurious ride which very few motorcycles in the world could match. So if you’re a Harley fan and looking to buy a long haul cruiser that’s comfortable for solo as well as two up riding- the Heritage Classic checks all the boxes.

HARLEY DAVIDSON HERITAGE SOFTAIL CLASSIC TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINE
TypeAir-cooled, Twin Cam 103B™
Bore98.4 mm
Stroke111.1 mm
Displacement1,690 cc
Compression Ratio9.6:1
Fuel SystemElectronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Max Power61 bhp @ 5200 rpm
Max Torque130 nm @ 3000 rpm
DRIVETRAIN
Primary DriveChain, 34/46 ratio
Final DriveBelt
CHASSIS
ExhaustChrome, staggered shorty exhaust with dual mufflers
Wheels FrontSteel laced
Wheels RearSteel laced
DIMENSIONS
Length2405 mm
Seat Height690 mm
Ground Clearance131 mm
Rake (steering head)31 degrees
Trail147 mm
Wheelbase1,635 mm
TYRES
Front SpecificationMT90B16 72H
Rear Specification150/80B16 71H
BRAKES
Front4-piston caliper with 292 single disc with ABS
Rear2-piston caliper with 292 single disc with ABS
Fuel Tank Capacity18.9 l
Oil Capacity3.3 l
Weight (Ride Ready)341 kgs
LEAN ANGLES
Right24.4 degrees
Left25.9 degrees
ELECTRIC
Lights (as per country regulation)
Indicator Lamps 7High beam, neutral, low oil pressure, turn signals, engine diagnostics, security system (optional), 6-speed, low fuel warnings
GaugesTank-mounted electronic speedometer with odometer, time-of-day clock on odometer, dual tripmeter, RPM/gear display, fuel gauge with low fuel warning light and countdown feature, low oil pressure indicator light, engine diagnostics readout, LED indicator lights, 6-speed indicator light
Fuel Efficiency (as tested on the ride)15 kpl
Price (Ex-showroom, Delhi)INR 16,19,000/-

 

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HARLEY DAVIDSON HERITAGE SOFTAIL CLASSIC IMAGE GALLERY

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