Harley-Davidson is one of the very few iconic motorcycle brands that are still in production for more than a century. And it is also among a few brands that rely on its heritage to move forward, without forgetting the past. This shows in Harley’s product portfolio that is a mix of contemporary and traditional in both products and technology. Today, we are looking at one such HD bike that clearly has its roots in the past but has been given a modern makeover. Welcome to the new Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic.
With the new models, it may look like Harley-Davidson is looking to move over to the dark side. Because though the Heritage Classic has all the cues to be a bike from the 1950s it lacks the chrome heavy treatment and in comes the black. From the engine to the front forks to the handle bar, the new Heritage Classic gets black splattered heavily all around. That doesn’t mean it is deficient of chrome; there is enough to bring out the bling. Like the other Softails in the group, the Classic too gets Daymaker signature LED headlamp, new instrumentation, fuel tank, keyless ignition, security system and steering head mounted USB charging port as standard. Other exclusive features for the bike include detachable windscreen and lockable water resistant saddlebags.
The Heritage Classic, too, gets the new chassis and Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-Twin engine shared with other bikes of the Softail. We have already discussed about the frame and engine when we reviewed the Fat Bob and here’s a brief. The new chassis is 65 per cent stiffer and the new Milwaukee-Eight engine is mounted at a 45-degree angle, making 144 Nm in this bike. The engine gets dual counter-balancers internally that work brilliantly to reduce vibrations. The Classic’s Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine can go from 0 to 100 km/h which is 10 per cent faster than the High Output Twin Cam 103 engine.
The suspension, too, gets a complete makeover in the Heritage Classic with high performance 43 mm Showa front forks and adjustable mono shock to the rear. The Classic gets taller suspension with increased passenger and cargo payload capacity when compared to other Softails. As much as it looks vintage and heavy (330 kg), the Heritage Classic surprises you with the way it rides and changes directions. It feels nice to have a bike that looks like it came from the sets of The Wild One and drives like it is ready for some knee-scrapping cornering. Of course, you cannot bend that far in the Classic but the lean angle has improved and the bike feels very light on its foot. The bike inspires confidence around the corners and changing directions is as precise as it could be. The clutch is still on the heavy side but not too much. Riding position is set for cruising and so are the seats.
From the looks to the tech, Harley-Davidson has banged it right on the head with the Heritage Classic. The saddle bags, windscreen and 19-litre fuel tank are just some of the obvious pointers that you are looking at a highway cruiser. But it’s not just that. The Heritage Classic is agile as well and that is where it appeals.