'07 Harley Heritage Softail 96 cube - SjB {P}
An uncle was sixty years old yesterday, and one of his pressies was 24 hour hire of a 2007 model Harley Heritage Softail "Bagger" with the new ninety six cubic inch motor. Yup, 1584 cc! In a bike, with two cylinders. Though not the largest capacity full production motorcycle (The Triumph Rocket Triple for example comes to mind with 2.3 litres) it is the largest production motor themselves H-D have produced. Potato-potato-potato-potato through the "shortie" pipes heralded his arrival past my home office window, photographs buzzing on the wall in sympathy and kids running agog to the kitchen window opposite.

After plenty of photos and video had been taken we went out for a ride, he on the Softail and me on my Hornet 600; what a contrast! The Hornet, with a puny 599cc (three quarters of one cylinder in the Harley) left the slumbering giant for dead whenever the road opened up, let alone round the corners, and following the Harley on uneven roads I could see it bucking and weaving far more than the Hooner (a 32 deg steering angle doesn't help) but after a session on the Softail's pillion - I wasn't insured to ride, so didn't - it all made perfect sense. Trundling along through beautiful early autumn evening Cotswold countryside, taking it all in and feeling like you're sat on a living, breathing, being. Need to overtake? No need to mess with the gears. 86ft/lb torque at 3,200 RPM sees that it's easily done despite a 326Kg kerb weight! (The Hornet is 176Kg) Potato-potato becomes a flatulent BAAAARK followed by pop-pop-pop-pop on the overrun before the rhythmic potato-potato-potato chimes in again, bike pulsing in harmony. Back on the Hornet and looking in my mirror, the Softail had real presence too, large central round headlamp flanked by two round driving lamps. Even though one of them failed mid ride on this brand new machine, build quality and tactile feel was a world apart from Harleys built during the AMF years and felt right up to the mark. Some nice technology touches too like a proximity key (walk up, sit astride, press starter, engine starts) but the nice old traditional chunky, chromed, function selector switch on the tank was still firmly in place.

During our ride out I thought of you Growler - probably cussing my rice rocket ;-) - and sent you a metaphorical and very sincere "get well".

So, I'd rather give garage space to the GS1200R I rode and reviewed a few weeks back (that bike REALLY appealed) but it's true that the Harley gave a real sense of occasion. Here's hoping my next business trip to Milwaukee allows me to hire one, too (I took leather jacket, gloves, and boots last time - helmet is rented with the bike - but they were all rented out during what turned out to be a Harley celebration weekend).




'07 Harley Heritage Softail 96 cube - cheddar

Did you see this, 1670cc aircooled v-twin in a contemporary sports chassis, 110 lbft torque and 100kg less than a Harley. Your local Yamaha dealer would probably have a demo bike.


I was reading that Harley D will put the water cooled motor from the V-Rod etc into the traditional softails etc next year, I guess down to emissions, might lose a bit of character.


'07 Harley Heritage Softail 96 cube - Glaikit Wee Scunner {P}
A great birthday present.
And no-one dressed as a refugee from the Village People either.
I wasna fu but just had plenty.
'07 Harley Heritage Softail 96 cube - SjB {P}
And no-one dressed as a refugee from the Village People either.

LOL :-)
I still think I looked out of place though!
'07 Harley Heritage Softail 96 cube - SjB {P}
Hi cheddar. Yes, I've seen the MT01 thanks; it doesn't do anything at all for me to look at though, and whilst the riding experience is always the most important factor - I've never ridden one so can't form my own opinion - looks matter too. Also, when it comes to big, non-pure-sports, V twins, somehow if it's Jap it feels contrived; not the real deal. The utterly gorgeous Honda Rune is the only exception that springs to mind. Looking at Harley's 2007 catalogue, the VRSCDX Nighthawk Special looks utterly fabulous. If I wasn't married and didn't have the twins about to hatch, my priorities would be somewhat different and if I hadn't already purchased the GS to supplement the Hornet, I might be reaching for my cheque book...! (Instead, two Recaro Young Profi Isofix seats are due to arrive this afternoon)

I agree regarding putting the Revolution engine in the traditional Harleys; "Only" eleven hundred or so Cubic centimetres, so much smaller than the 1,600CC experienced yesterday, it also delivers its weaker torque much higher up the rev range (about 7,000RPM from memory) so is somewhat out of character. No doubt it has been designed with significant boring and stroking in mind though.
'07 Harley Heritage Softail 96 cube - SjB {P}
Nighthawk = Night Rod
'07 Harley Heritage Softail 96 cube - cheddar
Do you mean Nightrod as opposed to Nighthawk, i.e. VRSCDX Nightrod Special, I agree it looks fab though I fear poor dynamics by Japanese / Euro standards and lack of character / heritage by good 'ol USA HD standards might mean it falls between stools. Also 'only' 80 il/ft at 7000 rpm against the MT01's 110 lb/ft at 3750 rpm.
'07 Harley Heritage Softail 96 cube - cheddar
By the way, the Rune is a flat six.
'07 Harley Heritage Softail 96 cube - SjB {P}
Realised that afterwards! Thanks! In that case there are no Jap, no sports, V-twins I like!
'07 Harley Heritage Softail 96 cube - SjB {P}
Do you mean Nightrod as opposed to Nighthawk,

See the typo correction I posted before your reply.
'07 Harley Heritage Softail 96 cube - cheddar
Sorry, my reply took 10 mins because the phone rang.

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