The Harley-Davidson Softail family is named for its hidden horizontal rear shock absorbers. The Heritage Softail Classic was released in 1986, followed by the Springer Softail in 1988. The first softail transmitted power from a 1,340-cubic centimeter, V-twin, Evolution engine, which idled cooler and did not leak oil like its predecessor. The Softail Deuce, which appeared in 2000, upgraded the Softails to Twin-Cam, 88-B engines. Fuel injection was added in 2001.
Softail Heritage Classic
The Harley-Davidson Softail motorcycles look like retro hardtail bikes, but they have comfortable rear suspension. The shock absorbers are positioned horizontally and hidden under the transmission. The Softail engines are mounted directly on the metal frame which causes vibrations and sounds, known as "Harley vibes." The Softail family offers a choice of front forks and suspensions.
The Softail Heritage Classic FLSTC is large frame with FL-type front forks. The "ST" designation means softail, and the "C" means classic and implies a 16-inch wheel. In 2011, the Harley-Davidson Softail Classic has a 1,584-cubic centimeter engine, a low seat -- 25 to 27 inches high -- and a horseshoe shaped oil tank. New features in 2011 include hand controls, a large odometer and anti-lock brakes. The anti-lock braking system, ABS, prevents the motorcycle's wheels from locking when the driver applies the brakes. The wheels continues to act with the roads surface as directed by sensors in the brake and throttle body improving control of the motorcycle.
The 2011 Harley-Davidson Softail Fat Boy cruiser keeps the chopper heritage of the '60s alive. The Fat Boy is a Softail-family motorcycle with a V-shaped engine and cylinders 45 degrees apart. The distinctive Harley sound results from the second spark plug firing 315 degrees after the first spark plug. Laid-back and luxurious in 2011, the Fat Boy, with brilliant chrome rocker covers, a chrome mirror and dual chrome exhaust mufflers, converts engine power directly to speed. The 1,584-cubic centimeter Twin Cam, 96B air-cooled engine with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection, ESPFI, an engine torque of 93.7 foot-pounds at 3,000 rpm and six-speed transmission, gets 35 mpg in the city and 54 mpg on the interstates. The electronic speedometer, mounted on the five-gallon gas tank, displays an odometer, digital clock, trip meter, fuel-level indicator, low oil pressure light and engine diagnostics. The Fat Boy Dunlop's front tire is 140/75R17 67V, and the rear tire is 200/55R17 78V for a smooth confident ride and excellent traction when braking. Optional anti-lock brakes, part of the 2011 H-D Smart Security System, are in the the wheel hub.
The 2011 Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe is a retro-style cruiser. The 2011 Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe FLSTN has a wide front-end fork and 7-inch motorcycle headlight. White wall tires enhance the 1950s boulevard effect. The Softail Deluxe Twin Cam 96BTM engine transmits 93.67 foot-pounds of torque at 3,000 rpm via a six-speed transmission. The Twin Cam 96B engine contains two push-rod valves per cylinder with self-adjusting lifters. Fuel injection is sequential electronic. The front brake rotor is 11.5 inches by .20 inches, and the rear wheel rotor is 11.5 by .23 inches. The Softail Deluxe seat is 24.5 inches high with a detachable passenger seat.