Sof­tail im­proves­ona clas­sic

Har­ley-Davidson comes up with ways to make the Deluxe model even bet­ter, writes Mark Hinch­liffe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Bikes -

HOW do you mod­ernise a clas­sic? Har­ley-Davidson has the an­swer in the new Sof­tail Deluxe. This is a bike with min­i­mal­ist lines and gadgets, yet an ocean of chrome and bling.

But cus­tomers want some mod­ern touches and Har­ley has been able to oblige with­out clut­ter­ing the look or spoil­ing the tra­di­tional lines.

One such update is the slightly larger LCD screen, which now in­cludes quite a bit of info for a tra­di­tional cruiser nor­mally known for its sim­plic­ity.

The info on the LCD screen can now be tog­gled via a handy switch on the top of the light switch on the left hand­grip, rather than the hard-to-reach po­si­tion on the back of the speedo.

The screen not only in­cludes fea­tures such as a clock and a dis­tance-to-empty in­di­ca­tor, but also a rev counter and gear shift in­di­ca­tor.

Har­ley-Davidson Aus­tralia spokesman Adrian O’Donoghue says the mod­i­fi­ca­tion, which is com­mon to all Sof­tail mod­els, is cus­tomer driven.

‘‘Pre­vi­ously, there was only a sixth gear in­di­ca­tor light, but many cus­tomers asked for ad­di­tional gear in­di­ca­tors,’’ he says.

‘‘There­fore, when we up­dated the Sof­tail elec­tronic sys­tem, we were able to add this highly re­quested fea­ture.

‘‘Some cus­tomers also want en­gine RPM in­for­ma­tion, but they also want to keep the look of their Sof­tail clean and, there­fore, they don’t want to add a sep­a­rate tachome­ter. For cus­tomers who don’t want to add a tach, they can now get this in­for­ma­tion through the new sys­tem.’’

The 2011 Sof­tails also in­clude Har­leyDavid­son’s new elec­tronic sys­tem, with new hand con­trols.

‘‘The hand con­trol switch technology was up­dated and in­cludes an im­proved tac­tile re­sponse,’’ says O’Donoghue.

‘‘The pre­vi­ous switches had a longer travel with no tac­tile feed­back, while the new switches have a shorter travel and in­clude tac­tile feed­back. These changes were made to en­hance rider feel.’’

All Har­ley-Davidson Sof­tail mod­els ex­cept Cross Bones now fea­ture ABS. Other new Sof­tail fea­tures in­clude: TRIP switch se­lec­tion moved to the left-hand con­trol (re­moved from the con­sole/speedo) for eas­ier rider ac­cess. FEWER wires to make it eas­ier to change or re­place han­dle­bars. HAZ­ARD on/off moved to a sin­gle but­ton on the right-hand con­trol, in­stead of pre­vi­ous ac­ti­va­tion by hold­ing down the two in­di­ca­tors. NEW fuel tank panel and sissy bar trim on the FLSTC Her­itage Sof­tail Clas­sic. NEW mir­ror chrome fuel tank medal­lion on the FLSTF Fat Boy.

Cus­tomers get their way: The Sof­tail Deluxe has min­i­mal­ist lines and gadgets but lots of bling.

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