The Harley-Davidson Softail uses a patented rear suspension system to achieve its retro look.
Harley-Davidson developed its Softail motorcycles in order to make a bike with a modern rear suspension that looked like the hardtail motorcycles of years past. The resulting design, in which the rear shock absorbers are hidden beneath the transmission, has been popular since its introduction in 1984, and several different Softail models have been produced. All Softail models in a given model year share the same engine and transmission.
Engine and performance
Before 2000, Softail models did not use a twin cam engine because of the vibration problems associated with the Softail frame. In 2000, Harley-Davidson introduced the Twin Cam 88B, a version of its Twin Cam 88 engine with counter-rotating balancers that controlled vibration and allowed the twin cam engine to be used in the Softail. The 88B is a 1,449 cubic-centimeter, four-stroke engine with two cylinders in a V-twin configuration. It has a bore of 95.3 millimeters and a stroke of 101.6 millimeters. The engine produces 63 horsepower at 5,300 RPM and 78.2 foot-pounds of torque at 3,200 RPM.
In the 2000 model year, Harley-Davidson made changes to the Softail frame to accommodate the Twin Cam 88B engine. The changes resulted in a significant improvement in frame stiffness. The improved chassis also featured a steering head lock and new rear suspension bushings.
The Softail line—along with the Sportster, Touring and Dyna lines—received upgraded brakes in 2000. The bike’s disk brakes were given new four-piston calipers, pads, and redesigned rotors, as well as a restyled rear brake master cylinder.
Retail prices for 2000 model year Softails ranged from $15,995 to $16,590.