The Harley Davidson Heritage Softail motorcycle is the quintessential American cruiser. It is not built for performance but the look and feel. It has showstopping vintage detail and pure rock and roll style. This Harley Davidson Heritage Softail review will show you that, in all aspects, this bike is worth the money.
A Harley Davidson Heritage Softail is not a performance motorcycle. This is a relatively big motorcycle that consumes more fuel than other bikes of its class and size. But it has a lot of character. Its ride is also smooth and controlled and not mushy like some cruisers of other brands.
If you are after a motorcycle that you can use for touring, consider the Heritage Softail. The general easy feel and the superb riding position of the Heritage Softail make it an excellent choice for touring. Its nostalgic appeal is its primary catch.
Read on to learn more about the Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic, its background, its specs and features, and other information that will show you if it is the bike that you’re looking for.
About the Harley Davidson Heritage Softail
Back-to-Basics Ride with Classic Styling
The Harley Davidson Heritage Softail offers a back-to-basics ride combined with classic styling. Harley made some minor changes in the bike in 2016 but not that much. The only notable exception is the color. Harley Davidson added a few new two-color schemes to the bike.
Retained Some Standard Features
Overall, the Heritage Softail Classic still has retained some of its standard features such as:
- Passenger sissybar,
- Triple headlights,
- Cruise control,
- A lot of leather options with conchos on the seat and saddlebags,
- Quick-detach windshield,
- Tall and wide bars, and
- Whitewall tires.
Not a Performance Bike
The Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic is not a performance bike, and it does not pretend to be. It is big and fat and is a heavy gasoline guzzler. But it has a lot of character. Its 2020 refresh job now has an unexpected amount of power, grace, and tech.
Offers a Smooth and Controlled Ride
The Softail Heritage Classic offers a smooth and controlled ride. Its ride quality is not mushy as with the cruisers of other brands. As such, it is great for touring. It also has a great riding position, and its easy feel lends to its great ride quality.
Two Types of Harley Davidson Heritage Classics
There are two types of Harley Davidson Heritage Classics:
- Softail Heritage
- Softail Classic
Both have the same length of wheelbases and the same trail figures, and roughly the same weight. But the Softail Classic is an inch taller than the Softail Heritage or Deluxe, which has a seat height of 24.5 inches.
The Softail is a unique word to name a motorcycle. Harley Davidson used this word to name its bikes with shock absorbers or rear suspension springs hidden from view. This contrasts with the hard-tail motorbikes with shocks and suspensions that can be readily seen on the outside.
Harley Davidson Registered ‘Softail’ As Its Trademark
Harley Davidson has registered the word ‘Softail’ as its trademark. The company coined this word in 1984 for one of its motorcycles, the FXST Softail. There is another version of the Heritage Softail Classic. It is the Softail Slim.
Cruiser with Minimal Styling
The Softail Slim is designed to be a cruiser with minimalist styling. This bike has attracted young riders and custom builders as well. It has a very nostalgic and vintage appeal because of its 1950s design elements.
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Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Features
The Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic comes with a lot of usable features. Its standard features are the following:
- Engine Kill Switch
- Speedometer – Analogue
- Gear Indicator
- Tachometer – Digital
- Tripmeter Type – Digital
- Tripmeter Count
- Fuel Gauge
- Fuel Warning Indicator
- Low Battery Indicator
- Low Oil Indicator
- Pillion Seat
- Pillion Grabrail
- Pass Light
Here are some key features of the Heritage Softail Classic that have left good impressions on those who tested the motorcycle in real road situations:
Ridden by riders into cross-country slogs, the Harley Davidson Heritage Softail did not experience skids, jumps, and wheelies. This motorbike is built for the open road, and it seems to have proven itself as such. The Heritage Softail is propelled by a 1,690 cc engine that can provide 95 lb.-ft of torque.
But it has a twin cam 103 that can provide sufficient grunt to give you a comfortable ride. This cutting-edge technology is the foundation of Softail’s smooth ride. It can deliver an ample amount of torque.
The 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission also helps considerably by evenly distributing the power for a more comfortable ride. This motorcycle has a ride-by-wire throttle, so don’t think that it is really antique.
While the Heritage Softail showed superb performance on the highway, it struggled and complained while negotiating stop-and-go traffic in L.A. and San Francisco. The heat and the hills in these places will put tremendous pressure on all kinds of bikes, especially when fully loaded.
Cutting corners is relatively easy for Heritage Softail. It has handlebars that are both wide and heavy. They will do your bidding just as you like and won’t give you any control worries at all. On the road, the Harley Heritage Softail is solidly planted. Its braking is good, and overall it offers a very comfortable ride.
Its seat is more like a plush couch than a motorbike seat. It has full-length footboards so that you can choose different feet positions. But the heel-toe gear shifting takes time to get used to. Don’t worry though, because, after some time, you’ll forget that it’s there.
3. Latest Touring Technology
The Heritage Softail comes with modern touring technology. It results in a smooth ride regardless of the distance that you travel. You will enjoy a smooth ride with its low seat height, wind protection, ample storage space for luggage, great engine performance, and enough accommodations for your passenger.
The Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic is great for touring because of its excellent riding position. It uses the balanced style of the Big Twin of Harley, where the engine is directly mounted to the frame. This arrangement decreases the vibrations of the bike through a counterbalancer.
The Heritage Softail has a more vintage and rawer feel to it. The rear shock hidden under the bike gives it that “hardtail” appearance. Both the suspension and the motor combine to give this motorbike a less smooth feel than the Road King while offering a lot more personality.
4. Braking System
The Heritage Softail is also equipped with ABS. But the single front disc rotor of the motorcycle somehow compromises its stopping performance. Its pillions offer fewer feet comfort than the bigger touring motorbikes of Harley since they are pegs, not floorboards.
5. Tubed Tires
The Heritage Softail Classic runs on tubed tires, not tubeless tires. Some say that tubed tires are more prone to flats than tubeless tires. So, avoid riding on road shoulders since there is more debris on them than on the pavements of roads and streets.
The Heritage Softail is well appointed for touring. You can take it on a ten-day trip, and it will carry all the essential items you need. In that sense, this motorcycle is convenient. It has two big panniers on both sides of the seat.
7. Fuel Efficiency
Surprisingly, the Heritage Softail does not consume so much gas as other big motorcycles. Its five-gallon tank fully loaded will take you longer than other big bikes. On average, it consumes one liter for every 15 kilometers it travels.
Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Specs
Heritage Softail Essential Specs
The many specs of the Heritage Softail define the kind of motorcycle that it is. If you want to know its essential specs, they are as follows:
- Engine size – 1,745 cc
- Maximum Power – 65 brake horsepower
- Maximum Torque – 144 nM
- Mileage – 15 kilometers per liter
- Transmission – 6 speed
- Fuel – gasoline
- Dimensions – 94.88 x 37.6 x 41.26 in. [2410 x 955 x 1048 mm] (LxWxH)
- Kerb Weight – 316 kg
Heritage Softail Full Specs
The table below will give you the full specs of the Heritage Softail:
|Engine cc||1745 cc|
|No. Of Cylinders||2|
|Valves Per Cylinder||4|
|Max Power||65 bhp @ 5500 rpm|
|Max Torque||144 nM @ 3000 rpm|
|Cooling System||Air Cooled|
|Overall Riding Range||178 miles (286.5 km)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||5.04 gal. (19.1 L)|
|Reserve Fuel Capacity||0.87 gal (3.3 L)|
|No. Of Gears||6 Gears|
|Front Brake Type||Disc|
|Rear Brake Type||Disc|
|Front Disc/Drum Size||11.81 in (300 mm)|
|Rear Disc/Drum Size||1.62 in (292 mm)|
|Chassis and Suspension|
|Chassis Type||Mild Steel; Tubular Frame; Rectangular Section Bac|
|Wheel and Tires|
|Wheel Size||16 inches|
|Wheel Type||Spoke Wheels|
|Dimension and Weight|
|Kerb Weight||696.7 lb. (316 kg)|
|Length||94.88 in (2410 mm)|
|Width||37.6 in (955 mm)|
|Height||41.26 in (1048 mm)|
|Wheelbase||64.17 in (1630 mm)|
|Ground Clearance||4.72 in (120 mm)|
|Seat Height||26.97 in (685 mm)|
Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic Review
Below is a great 2021 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail review to help you appreciate the beauty, power, and capacity of this motorbike:
This is a full review of the machine, from the walk-around to the actual test drive of the motorcycle. The reviewer first explained some of the details relating to the Heritage Softail. Then he showed the beautiful details of the motorcycle.
After explaining all the essential information about the Heritage Softail Classic, the reviewer took it for a ride on the road. In this video, you will see how this Heritage Softail handles itself while the reviewer notes how the vehicle performs.
Overall this video shows the Harley Davidson Heritage Softail to be a competent and powerful motorcycle. The reviewer also seemed to be very comfortable driving the vehicle as it makes its way on the roads and streets.
The Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic motorcycle is the quintessential American cruiser. It is not built for performance but the look and feel. It has pure rock and roll style and showstopping vintage detail.
The Heritage Classic won’t give you as much efficient fuel economy. But this is not why people buy this motorcycle. They are buying more into the brand than the motorcycle itself.
While the HD Heritage Softail Classic is fuel-hungry, its ride is smoother and more controlled compared to the cruisers of other big motorbike brands. If you are after brand reputation and prestige, you should consider choosing the Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic.