Another first for us this year, we are fortunate to add Harley-Davidson to our test drives. I hadn’t had the opportunity to ride a Harley since selling my ’48 a few years ago. I had forgotten how special they were…
Today I am testing the 2022 Harley-Davidson Softail standard. Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine with a 6-speed transmission. Engine power of 87HP and 149Nm of torque compared to 94hp and 161Nm found in the Milwaukee-Eight 114 available on the Street bob version.
While I mention engine power, truth be told, it’s not really necessary. In the sense that, it is more than adequate, nice sound and accelerating in my humble opinion. For those eager for speed and acceleration, there is a plethora of upgrades and stages available with both Harley / Screamin’ Eagle and other after-market products.
For the transmission, back in my ’48 era, I wished I had a sixth gear more often than not… Now that I’ve ridden the Softail, I realize that the Softail’s “Cruise Drive” transmission is almost perfect. The gear ratio with the wheel drive ratio makes it a super pleasant motorcycle to ride in all conditions, city or highway and even in low-speed traffic.
Unquestionably, the Softail standard is nice and clean, it has a unique and distinctive look of its own. No bells and whistles. Just enough chrome, just enough black. I love the instrumentation recessed into the cover of the risers top clamp. Minimalist, super clean and displays everything you need via a button on the handlebar.
Another important characteristic of Harley-Davidson is the size of everything. The handles, the handlebars, the brake and clutch levers, the shifter and the brake pedal are massive. Nothing delicate and we like it like that. Even though the bike itself isn’t particularly big, when you ride, it feels like you’re taking up space, as if the road belongs to you.
It’s hard to ignore the culture surrounding the Harley-Davidson brand. That said, the driving experience of their iron horses seems to justify the attachment and rallying around them. Beyond sound and looks, the overall driving feeling also has something to do with it.
For me, when I ride a Harley-Davidson, I tend to adopt a peaceful ride and take the time to ride and enjoy. The engine idling, the sound and vibration when I ride calms me down. I’ve ridden and owned several brands over the past 25 years, but I only found this feeling of tranquility on a Harley-Davidson. The destination then becomes secondary to the journey itself.
The handling and riding are very pleasant, do not think that the mini apes affect driving or even your comfort. I found it all very natural and more pleasant than I would have thought at first glance. I have a shoulder injury and was unsure if there would be any impact to my ability for longer rides or constant discomfort, but far from it. In fact, it puts my shoulder in a neutral (level) position and does not require more effort from me than a lower handlebar.
The suspension is rather rigid compared to other manufacturers, but pleasant and adapted to the conditions encountered in our beautiful province. It provides a smooth ride on the open road and doesn’t bang in potholes.
On the braking side, I was surprised to use the front brakes so much. The rear brake is weak and impractical in my opinion for its weight. If it was mine, I’d probably make some changes to it. I am picky about braking, personally I like solid braking both front and back.
Being a solo bike, I did not have the opportunity to ride with passengers, but I do not think I am wrong in saying, that it will be just as pleasant to ride two up. You can easily add a pillion style seat or a more comfortable double seat as needed. The Street Bob, on the other hand, comes standard with a pillion passenger seat, perfect for short/medium rides.
If you don’t like cleaning and polishing too much, or would like more color options, I invite you to look at the Street Bob 114, which is a “pimped” version of the Softail standard. In addition to the blackened engine, exhaust and other parts and the stylish color choices offered, you will have a few more horsepower as a bonus! Changes that will cost you more if you make them yourself, than the difference at the purchase. Give it a thought!
On the other hand, if you want a solid platform on which to express your unique personality, the Softail standard is the perfect canvas.
After a few hundred very pleasant kilometers on the road, I had a broken heart returning the Softail. I really enjoyed this bike, on all levels and more than anticipated. The 2022 Harley-Davidson Softail is a solid choice. If you have the opportunity to try it out, don’t miss it! Check our calendar
often, as we post the demo ride events every year or call your local Harley-Davidson dealer
for a test ride.
Thanks to Harley-Davidson Canada for the opportunity and Léo Harley-Davidson for the preparation.
If you have any questions or comments, don’t be shy!
Knuckle / LeCarnetMoto.com