Harley-Davidson Softail at 40: Celebrating Legendary Custom Styling Dominance

Welcome to Myers-Duren Harley-Davidson in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where we celebrate the rich heritage and innovative spirit of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Harley-Davidson Softail®, a revolutionary platform that has set the standard for custom and cruiser motorcycles since 1984.

The Foundation of an Iconic Family of Factory Custom and Cruiser Motorcycles

1984 Harley-Davidson Softail

A Historic Milestone

In 1984, Harley-Davidson introduced the Softail® motorcycle platform, an engineering marvel combining the aesthetic of a vintage hard tail with the comfort of a hidden rear suspension. This innovative design featured a clever swingarm that provided a clean, uncluttered profile. The Softail® chassis quickly became the foundation for many iconic Harley-Davidson® factory custom models.

1984 Harley-Davidson Softail Hidden Rear Suspension

A Family of Cruisers

Since its introduction, the Softail chassis has undergone significant evolution. The current Softail chassis, launched in 2018, supports eight models in the 2024 Harley-Davidson Cruiser lineup. Each model is engineered for stiffness, lightweight agility, and superior performance, meeting the high expectations of cruiser enthusiasts.

Modern Engineering Meets Classic Design

The Softail chassis features a rear mono-shock for premium suspension performance, ensuring a smooth ride and excellent handling. The coil-over shock absorber is conveniently located below the seat for easy pre-load adjustment, maintaining the signature “hard tail” look. Powered by the Milwaukee-Eight® V-Twin engine, each Cruiser model offers a rigid-mounted engine for enhanced rider and passenger comfort and improved chassis stiffness.

2024 Cruiser Lineup

Harley-Davidson’s 2024 Cruiser lineup is the most diverse ever, offering something for every rider. Whether you’re looking for nostalgia or modernity, these models provide unmatched versatility and enjoyment for every journey.

Softail® Standard

The Softail® Standard offers the essential Harley-Davidson® cruiser experience. It features a lean, lightweight frame and classic chrome and polished finishes. This model is perfect for riders who want a blank canvas for customization without breaking the bank. The Softail® Standard provides the foundation for a personalized ride that can evolve with your style.

Street Bob® 114

The Street Bob® 114 is all about raw bobber attitude. With a mini ape handlebar and chopped rear fender, this model exudes a no-nonsense vibe. Modern technology like the digital riser gauge and signature LED forward lighting complement its old-school aesthetics. The powerful Milwaukee-Eight® 114 engine ensures thrilling performance, making it an ideal ride for those who crave style, power, and rideability.

Low Rider® S

Straight from the factory, the Low Rider® S embodies the big attitude of West Coast style combined with unrelenting performance. It features a powerful Milwaukee-Eight® 117 engine, inverted front forks, and dual front disc brakes for enhanced handling and stopping power. The bike’s aggressive stance and bold design make it a standout in the Harley-Davidson lineup.

Low Rider® ST

2024 Harley-Davidson Low Rider STThe Low Rider® ST takes the iconic Low Rider® S and adds features for longer rides. Detachable hard saddlebags and an aerodynamic fairing make it the perfect weekend escape machine. The bike’s clean-and-lean West Coast style, coupled with outrageous performance, caters to riders who value both aesthetics and functionality.

Breakout®

2024 Harley-Davidson BreakoutThe Breakout® model stands out with its long and lean chopper styling. Powered by the Milwaukee-Eight® 117 engine, it delivers unrelenting power to a fat 240mm rear tire. The exposed bobtail fender highlights the bike’s muscular presence. It’s the ultimate ride for those who want to make a bold statement on the road.

Heritage Classic 1142024 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic 114The Heritage Classic 114 is the quintessential American cruiser, draped in pure nostalgia. Inspired by Harley-Davidson® models from the 1950s, it features show-stopping vintage details and pure rock and roll style. The powerful Milwaukee-Eight® 114 engine ensures a ride that’s as thrilling as it is stylish.

Fat Boy® 114

The Fat Boy® 114 is an icon in the Harley-Davidson lineup. Known for its steamroller stance, it features cast aluminum Lakester wheels and a unique headlamp nacelle. The Milwaukee-Eight® 114 engine provides robust performance, while its bold design commands attention wherever it goes.

Softail Origins

The Softail story began in the early 1980s when Harley-Davidson acquired a concept from independent designer Bill Davis. The design, featuring hidden rear shock absorbers, was perfected by Harley-Davidson engineers and introduced in 1984 as the FXST Softail®. This model combined the styling of a hard tail with the comfort of full rear suspension, thanks to the innovative placement of horizontal, gas-charged shock absorbers.

Evolution and Impact

The FXST Softail model debuted with the all-new Evolution® V-Twin engine, a critical component in Harley-Davidson’s resurgence during challenging financial times. The combination of the Evolution engine and the Softail® chassis helped secure Harley-Davidson’s competitive position in the market.

Historic Highlights

Over the years, the Softail platform has enabled the creation of numerous iconic models:

1986 Heritage Softail

The 1986 Heritage Softail brought back the classic Harley-Davidson® look with its FL front end, full-skirted front fender, laced wheels, and prominent headlamp. This model’s design elements were inspired by the 1949 FL Hydra-Glide, capturing the essence of Harley-Davidson’s rich history. Its timeless appearance made it an instant favorite among riders and non-riders alike.

1988 Springer™ Softail

1988 Harley-Davidson Springer SoftailThe 1988 Springer™ Softail was a bold move by Harley-Davidson, reintroducing the Springer front suspension that had been discontinued in 1952. This model offered a unique blend of vintage style and modern engineering, creating a visually exciting motorcycle that stood out from the crowd. The Springer™ front end became a symbol of Harley-Davidson’s commitment to innovative design.

1990 Fat Boy®

1990 Harley-Davidson Fat BoyThe 1990 Fat Boy® quickly became one of the most iconic models in Harley-Davidson history. Distinguished by its solid cast aluminum wheels and massive presence, the Fat Boy® embodied a bold and muscular look. Its design, paired with powerful performance, ensured its lasting popularity. Today, the Fat Boy® remains a key part of the Cruiser portfolio, continuing to capture the spirit of Harley-Davidson.

1999 Softail Deuce™

1999 Harley-Davidson Softail DeuceThe 1999 Softail Deuce™ was perhaps the most radical of the Softail factory customs. It introduced a new “stretched” gas tank, sleek chrome fork sliders, an all-new rear fender, and the Twin Cam 88B™ engine. The Deuce™ pushed the boundaries of factory custom design, offering riders a motorcycle that was both stylish and powerful.

2008 Cross Bones™2008 Harley-Davidson Cross BonesThe 2008 Cross Bones™ was a pure vintage bobber, featuring a Springer™ front end, wide tire, laced wheels with black rims, a sprung solo seat, half-moon footboards, and flat Denim paint. This model was a throwback to the classic bobber style, capturing the essence of the post-war custom motorcycle movement. The Cross Bones™ stood out with its distinctive look and nostalgic appeal.

Experience the Legacy

At Myers-Duren Harley-Davidson in Tulsa, Oklahoma, we invite you to explore the legendary Softail lineup. Celebrate 40 years of innovative design and performance that continues to define the Harley-Davidson legacy. Visit us today to experience the history and future of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

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