Custom – Contact with the Harley-Davidson Softail 2018 range – Page 2 – Review of the Fat Bob “114” 2018

TEST

Contact with the 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail range

Custom - Contact with the Harley-Davidson Softail 2018 range - Page 2 - Fat Bob & quot; 114 & quot; review 2018

Site briefly tested four of the eight new Softail models in the 2018 Harley-Davidson lineup: Fat Bob, Fat Boy, Street Bob and Low Rider. This short contact reveals some real improvements on these bikes now powered by the new eight-valve twin, the Milwaukee-Eight.

In the saddle !

Page 2 – Test of the Fat Bob "114" 2018

This is the bike Site was able to spend the most time on and clearly the one we liked the most: the 2018 Fat Bob erases a lot of preconceived ideas about Milwaukee production! The first shock is primarily visual with this massive front axle, impressive, threatening limit !

  • MNC duel : Fat Bob 2010 Vs Triumph Thunderbird

Between its original rectangular LED headlight – which replaces the previous double optic rimmed in chrome, the old Speed ​​Triple way -, its wide flat handlebars and its large 150 mm front tire (130 mm in 2017), the "Big Bob" is impressive! Its 43 mm inverted Showa fork (a first on a Softail) and its 4-piston calipers even give it a sporty silhouette, perfectly assumed..

Because of a nice Cruiser, the Fat Bob now wants to be Muscle Bike – role formerly provided by the -, with its weight less and its additional muscles especially in version "114". Certainly, its 94 hp make you smile compared to the 152 nags of a Ducati X-Diavel or the 200 hp of the late Yamaha V-Max. What do you want: at Harley, the race for power is not in the house culture !

Custom - Contact with the Harley-Davidson Softail 2018 range - Page 2 - Fat Bob & quot; 114 & quot; review 2018

On the other hand, the mechanical sensations are the subject of a very particular care: the Fat Bob is no exception, immersing its pilot in a unique sensory environment. This goes through its deaf "potato" which escapes manly from the superimposed exhausts, its vibrations which tickle the back from the very hollow saddle, this heat which radiates on the right side despite the efforts made in terms of cooling…

And performance side, the Milwaukee-Eight 114 gives for its money, agreeing to go down to 1300 rev / min without grazing before expressing itself in flexibility from 1500 rev / min. The driving thrust – because alive – is frank from 2000 rev / min to 4000 rev / min, offering vigorous revivals if not particularly nervous. With barely 95 hp to drag 306 kg, obviously do not hope to stand up to a sporty roadster !

If tickling the breaker at 5500 rpm is hardly useful, the operating range is wide enough to avoid juggling with the 6-speed gearbox. So much the better because if the clutch lever – not adjustable – has softened considerably, the transmission remains quite slow and noisy. The typical Harley "Klong" when the premiere goes by is still part of the decor !

Dynamic, yes. Sporty, not quite.

This torquey and charming engine is brilliantly assisted by a chassis in clear progress compared to the previous generation. The bike – otherwise impeccably finished – gained in agility and balance, sweeping away our fears related to its wide front tire of "Beach Bike", type Suzuki Van Van.

Custom - Contact with the Harley-Davidson Softail 2018 range - Page 2 - Fat Bob & quot; 114 & quot; review 2018

More obvious to grip thanks to its revised position (rear footrests and handlebars closer to the bust), the Fat Bob 2018 finally offers only a slight resistance to setting on the angle, before tilting with good grace and relative precision. Quite remarkable considering its 28 ° caster angle and 1615 mm wheelbase !

Its ground clearance – significantly increased – is sufficient in most cases, especially if care is taken to round off the trajectories. It is also a good way to avoid being out of line when exiting a curve, because the mass of the machine and its engine brake generate considerable inertia. Big arms required when the pace increases ! 

Custom - Contact with the Harley-Davidson Softail 2018 range - Page 2 - Fat Bob & quot; 114 & quot; review 2018

Among the other strengths of the Fat Bob: a turning radius sufficient to turn around without maneuvering on a country road, a well-designed saddle in which the foundation wedges comfortably and a promising operation of suspensions, especially at the front.. 

The new inverted fork is not only there for decoration: it is convincing on bumps, and without failing the strong slowdowns generated by the front calipers. Because yes, the Fat Bob brakes well, and not only from the rear like most Harleys: when you are told that it is worth the detour, this bike available in black at € 19,660 (€ 17,860 with the Milwaukee-Eight 107) !

Fat Bob 2018 tech sheet 

Engine

  • 45 ° V-twin, tumbled, air-oil cooled. 4-valves per cylinder
  • 86 hp at 5020 rpm and 145 Nm at 3500 rpm in Milwaukee-Eight version "107" (1745cc)
  • 94 hp at 5020 rpm and 155 Nm at 3000 rpm in Milwaukee-Eight version "114" (1868cc)
  • Final belt drive

Cycle part

  • Double steel cradle.
  • 43 mm inverted fork, non-adjustable / Mono-shock absorber adjustable in preload.
  • 120 mm ground clearance
  • 1615 mm wheelbase
  • 28 ° caster angle
  • 710 mm seat height
  • 13.6 liters of tank
  • Tires in 150/80/16 and 180/70/16
  • 306 kg fully loaded

Price 

  • € 17,860 in black and € 18,160 in color with Milwaukee-Eight 107
  • € 19,660 in black and € 19,960 in color with Milwaukee-Eight 114

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