Last week I spent a few days with the Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe. A motorcycle that combines style, luxury and old-world charm. The first sight of the Softail Deluxe is spectacular!

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Back In 2017, Harley-Davidson decided to merge the Dyna and Softail lines of motorcycles into one Softail family. A bold move, something the purists didn’t take too kindly then.

Then they decided to take the new Softails into a new design direction with some of the iconic models. This was again very gutsy, considering Harley as a brand is hugely driven by the “heritage” tag their motorcycles carry. While the new Fat Bob and Fat Boy designs were contemporary and funky, the Deluxe remained true to the original and classical design brief. Thus, keeping the traditional Harley customer base happy.

The Deluxe is a classic retro-themed motorcycle all the way. Lots and lots of chrome is on offer, 16-inch wire-spoke wheels with white-walled Harley-Davidson-branded tyres by Dunlop.

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The Softail Deluxe is an attention magnet if there ever was any! Starting with the large LED headlamp which is flanked by the two smaller auxiliary LED lights. Then comes the attractive angular indicator holders at the front and rear, the chrome garnish on the edges of both fenders. Which is offset by the eye catching Electric Blue paint scheme.

Swing your leg over the bike, and the view that greets you is one filled with chrome through and through from the dual fuel caps, the easy going pull back handlebar, the shiny instrument cluster housing and the top circumference of the three lamps. The Deluxe comes with a low single seat, but as is the case with almost all Harley models, an optional pillion seat can be added.

The build quality and finish on the Deluxe is of the highest standard. The chrome-treated engine fits tightly within the frame with minimal gaps, the wiring is concealed well, and the engine’s oil-cooler is housed at the front of the frame. The motorcycle comes with a keyless start/stop system. The only time you need a key is to lock the handlebar.

There is an alarm system that goes off if someone sits on the bike. The only way to deactivate the alarm is take the key close to the motorcycle to turn it off. There is unfortunately no button on the key to turn it off. This can be annoying at times as in the building complex’s we live in, there is always some fool who likes to sit on the bike to click selfies!

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What’s the engine like?

The Softail Deluxe comes with a 1,745cc twin-cam engine that has impressed everyone. The Twin counter-balancers have ironed out excessive vibrations making the ride very smooth. The throttle response is very good with massive amount of torque on offer. Open the throttle and you will zip by faster than can be imagined. But this is not the kind of bike you want to ride in a rush or flat out. This is a motorcycle to lazily cruise down the highway, accessing torque whenever you need to.

The Softail frame neatly hides a mono-shock which allows the engine to be rigid-mounted. The higher levels of stiffness results in a considerable improvement in the handling department. One of the other reasons in the way the Softail rides so well on our roads is, courtesy the new Showa suspension on the front and rear.

For a bike that weighs 318kg, the Deluxe wears its bulk very lightly.  A low centre of gravity matched with stability, meant I was weaving through heavy traffic very easily.  I was riding and flicking the Softail like most other motorcycles which was fantastic considering its size. Truth be told, this makes for a fantastic commuter, something I don’t mind riding daily. Hats off to the Softail designers for making this possible!

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On the open road at higher speeds, stability is constant with an excellent suspension. This suspension system is extremely refined soaking in bumps and inconsistencies. I rode the Softail on all sorts of roads in the city and highway. At no junction did I have to worry about road conditions, of how the bike would handle that! The Softail has 115mm of ground clearance which means one must be cautious and slow over speed breakers.

The bike’s braking is top draw with the ABS system working smoothly. In situations involving quick braking and sudden stops, the Softail performs with flying colours.

For the prospective Harley buyer who’s in the market for old school candy with just the right amount of modern technology, the Softail Deluxe is the motorcycle for you.

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Priced at Rs 18.65 lakh (ex-showroom, India) it’s expensive, but also one of the most desirable bikes out there.

And you can ride it every day too…

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sanjeev joshi

sanjeev joshi

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