There’s noth­ing soft about this Sof­tail, writes

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Two Wheels -

LIKE an im­pos­si­bly high and thin stiletto heel, the Har­leyDavid­son Black­line is an im­prac­ti­cal fash­ion trend. Both look great, but for the wearer or rider they are fairly im­prac­ti­cal. Rather than be­ing de­terred by the dis­com­fort, he or she is drawn in by the look at me’’ fac­tor. And rid­ing this bad boy down the street you are bound to at­tract at­ten­tion. the cheap­est Sof­tail, and should be, as it is stripped to the bone for style. To be fair, it is also loaded with some tasty chrome.

It would be heresy to com­pare a Har­ley to a met­ric cruiser, but it does stand up well in value against its Amer­i­can coun­ter­part Vic­tory, maker of the Jack­pot ($28,490) and Ve­gas ($22,495-$24,495). Speak­ing of heresy, Sof­tails now come with a rev counter and gear in­di­ca­tor. This may not come as a great shock to rid­ers of other bikes, but in Har­ley-world it’s big news.

It is pow­ered by the reg­u­la­tion Sof­tail rigid- mounted, counter–bal­anced Twin Cam 96B V-Twin en­gine with fuel in­jec­tion and six-speed trans­mis­sion. The stripped-down and black­ened Sof­tail joins other

dark cus­tom’’ mod­els in the fleet such as the top-sell­ing 883 Iron Sport­ster.

The rear mud­guard is bobbed over a slim 144mm tyre, the com­pact sin­gle head­light and speedo are tucked low into the wide FX front end, and the laced wheels are black-rimmed. front tyre are a recipe for tricky han­dling. Har­ley could not have made the task more dif­fi­cult had it fit­ted roller skates.

A big front wheel re­quires a wide han­dle­bar to turn it. Thank­fully the rear tyre is nar­row so it turns a lot bet­ter than ex­pected.

Af­ter a while you set­tle into the groove of the ma­chine, slow down, ac­knowl­edge the en­vi­ous looks from passersby and plug into the throb of the en­gine.

Not un­like a stiletto, get­ting around on it doesn’t be­come any eas­ier and pretty soon you are tak­ing a break to ease your aching back. That’s when the crowd will gather to ad­mire the Mil­wau­kee met­al­work. $25,750 (two-tone paint $400 ex­tra) 24 months (un­lim­ited km) 18.9 litresECONOMY 6.7L/100km (ur­ban), 4.4L/100km (high­way)

1600km/8000km 121Nm, 1584cc air-cooled, Twin­Cam 96BTRANSMISSION6-speed cruise drive

2362mm(L), 630mm(seat height), 1689mm(WB), 133mm(clear­ance)

21 x 2.15; 16 x 3

Hard act to fol­low: The Black­line is all about the look

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