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Major changes in 2018 Harley-Davidson motorcycles confuse some fans, please most
New quick-change Harley-Davidson Sport Glide joins 2018 Softail family
Harley-Davidson celebrates its 115th anniversary with the 2018 model year. In addition to six motorcycle “family” groups with 32 distinct models, the Milwaukee company launched 10 distinctively styled 115th Anniversary editions. When you add four Softail models that available with one of two different engines, the 2018 model count jumps to 46.
Harley already promised to launch 100 new models in the next 10 years, including a full line of electric-powered motorcycles. According to Harley-Davidson Museum Vice President Bill Davidson in a conversation with Drive, the ebikes won’t have the distinctive 45-degree V-twin “potato-potato” sound. Instead, the electric motorcycles will produce a unique sound similar to a jet fighter.
2018 Harley-Davidson news and updates
Harley introduced a ninth member of the new Softail family, the Sport Glide, in early November 2017. The Sport Glide is based on the new Softail frame and uses the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine. Quick release hard saddlebags and small fairing-based windshield equip the Sport Glide for city cruising and over-the-road touring.
The 2018 Harley-Davidson motorcycle model lineup drops eight models 2017, including the Superlow 1200T, Low Rider S, Wide Glide, Softail Slim S, Fat Boy S, V-Rod Muscle, Night Rod Special, and CVO Pro Street Breakout. Two models carried over with name changes, 2017’s Heritage Softail Classic is 2018’s Heritage Classic, and 2017’s Softail Deluxe, is the 2018 Deluxe. The one brand new model name for 2018 is the CVO Road Glide.
The biggest change for 2018, one that has some Harley purists unhappy, is the abandonment of the Dyna line in favor of a completely reworked Softail family. The new Softails merge model names previously associated with Softail and Dyna families. The eight Softail models look familiar at first glance, but from the tires to the suspensions, lights, and frames, the changes are significant.
Other than the Softails, the remaining Harley groups are largely unchanged in 2018 except for colors, but we’ll hit the highlights of each family and model below.
2018 Harley-Davidson Street Motorcycles
The three Harley Street models didn’t change from 2017. Equipped with different sizes and tunings of the liquid-cooled Revolution X engine, the entry-level bikes encourage motorcycle newbies with low seat height and wide handlebars for easier maneuverability. Harley built this bike line for scooting around narrow, congested city street. They share all-back exhaust systems, black front fork gaiter, and cafe-style speed screens or nacelles. Starting prices for this family range from $6,900 to $8,700.
Street 500 ($6,900+)
The Street 500 has a 494-cc motor and starts at $6,900, a $50 price increase from 2017.
Street 750 ($7,600+)
The 2018 Street 750 also had a $50 starting price bump to $7,600. The 750’s 749cc engine is the only difference between it and the Street 500. Otherwise, both bikes weigh the same and share identical components including 17-inch front and 15-inch rear wheels.