Difference Between Harley Davidson 96 & 96b Motors

The 96 engines are being phased out of certain Harley-Davidson models as of 2012.

Harley-Davidson released a pair of twin-cam motorcycle engines to replace the old twin-cam 88 line. The 96 and 96B engines have much in common, but there are a few key differences, including the bikes on which the engines come standard. The 96 engine also is referred to as the 96A engine. Both were released as part of the generation of engines following Harley-Davidson’s Evolution line.


The 96 and 96B are not interchangeable. The type of motorcycle determines which engine is used. Any bike with a 96ci-sized engine that is part of the large touring lineup or a member of the Dyna family comes equipped with the 96 engine. The 96B engine is installed in Softail models.


Although the engines share many parts, they are connected to the bike frame in different ways. The 96 engines are rubber-mounted. This means that rubber stoppers are installed around the engine to reduce its vibration and extraneous movement. The 96B engine does not have this isolation feature. The 96B engine is attached directly to the bike frame. However, the mounting system of the 96 engine does not significantly reduce vibration at idling. Instead, it runs more smoothly as the engine accelerates. The 96B is mounted in a fashion that reduces vibration even at idle.

Counter Rotating Shaft

The “B” in the 96B engine stands for balanced. This is because there is a countershaft inside the engine. The shaft spins to counteract the vibration of the engine. This counteracting spinning shaft is placed between the flywheels. The design is part of the reason that the engine produces less vibration when the bike is operating at low revs.


The 96B engine produces slightly less power than the 96 engine. Of course, other factors contribute to the bike’s overall power, but there is a difference between the two engines. A 2009 Softail produces 87.0 foot-pounds of torque. In comparison, the 96A engine in a 2009 Dyna Super Glide is rated at 92.0 foot-pounds of torque.