In perhaps one of the most distracting and confusing moves of late, the Motor Company released their 2016 model lineup yesterday morning on Twitter’s livestreaming app Periscope, an app bloggers think is popular somewhere.
Lots of models saw slight upgrades or changes, but the biggest news is that H-D is now offering the 110 ci motor, previously only available in the top-of-the-range CVO line, in a Fat Boy and Slim now. Oh, and the Road Glide Ultra is back.
I wonder how much money Twitter paid Harley Davidson to use their stupid livestreaming app to break the news? As far as motorcyclists go, I’m in the top one percent when it comes to being tech savvy (translation: I’m a huge dork), and I don’t even use that shit. Such a pain in the ass. I can’t imagine the Harley crowd is into it.
Anyway, onto the bikes:
Street 750 and 500
The Harley-Davidson Street 750 and 500 received minor upgrades to the brakes after they were found lacking from buyers and reviewers alike. Both bike are getting 300 mm discs at both the front and rear and Harley is also now using a new aluminum front master cylinder as well as new, higher quality brake lines.
New Sportsters: Forty-Eight and Iron 883
The Sportster range receive new front and rear suspension, as well as seats that won’t fall apart quite as quickly. The new 49 mm cartridge fork contain tripe-rate, progressive-rate springs designed to provide better feel and reduce wheel hop under heavy braking conditions. The new twin, nitrogen-charged, shocks have internal valve stacks with 36 mm pistons and new oil which H-D claim improve damping to make the bikes more comfortable and maintain traction better over small bumps. Both the front and rear are adjustable for pre-load.
Beyond that, the Iron 883 gets lighter mag wheels and a host of cosmetic upgrades, but my eyes glazed over trying to decipher them in a sea of adjectives like “garage built,” “chopped,” “drilled,” and “bullet-hole details” in the press material. The Forty-Eight gets new exhaust shields, new cast aluminum wheels, and some cute horizontal stripes on the tank.
Softail Slim S & Fat Boy S
Until now, you could only get the Motor Company’s 110 cubic inch, 91 horsepower and 110 foot-pounds of torque motor in the premium CVO line, which start at a cool $30k (or as a $2k upgrade you could then pay to have installed).
That changes today, with the Fat Boy S and Softail Slim S ($19,700 and $18,500 respectively), both of which get the bigger motor as well as a new, dark, look. Both bikes also get electronic cruise control, ABS, and a H-D Factory alarm system standard.
Road Glide Ultra
“Since its introduction in 2011, the Road Glide Ultra has been the bike of choice for Harley-Davidson owners who ride the hardest and longest,” said Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Product Planning Director Paul James. “In fact, our research shows Road Glide Ultra riders rack up more miles per season than owners of any other Harley-Davidson model.”
How statements like this, and the fact that the Road Glide Ultra has been on hiatus for two year can co-exist is beyond me, but the Road Glide Ultra is back and actually looks like a nice motorcycle to spend a few thousand miles on.
The Road Glide Ultra is the first touring unit to get Harley’s liquid cooled 103 ci motor, which boosts power and torque while decreasing the heat displaced onto rider and passenger. The bike also gets a new, taller windscreen and fancy infotainment screen.
Questions and Thoughts
Here are the various videos from Harley’s #RideAroundTheWorld livestreaming “event” in order for those who care (you shouldn’t): Portland, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Mexico City, Las Vegas, and the final Slim S unveil back in Portland.
I wonder how much money Harley paid See See’s Thor Drake to host this nonsense and present the Slim S? I hope it’s a lot. That guy is awesome.
How can Harley’s “top-end” motor make under 100 horsepower? Yes, I get that it makes over 100 foot-pounds of torque and that is awesome, but come on.
The World War II inspired Softail Slim S actually looks pretty awesome. Calling the paint Olive Gold Denim is not.
It’s incredible how good Harley is at scratching that “cool cruiser guy” itch with their marketing. On the one hand, it makes me angry how little they try to hide poor products behind style bits and awful lingo. On the other hand, I can’t deny that a couple horizontal stripes on a peanut tank make my shitty hipster heart want to go ride a Forty-Eight.
Photos Courtesy of Harley Davidson.