Simon has spent a month on-board the Harley-Davidson Softail Standard. Is he a Harley man just yet? Check out what he's been up to on the simple cruiser... Photos: Heather, Simon.

A possible conspiracy has led to me being selected as the rider for a short long-term loan of a 2022 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard, primarily to see how I could handle life with a hog for an extended period. The first month down and it’s been smooth sailing so-far!

Simon has been out, living up the cruiser life on the 2022 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard...

Simon has been out, living up the cruiser life on the 2022 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard… One of our favourite H-Ds.


Read Jeff’s thoughts review of the 2021 Softail Standard here…


I have little real experience with H-D “big twins”, so it has been interesting getting to know the thumping 1753cc under-square motor. The very idea of an “eighteen-hundred” V-twin sounds over the top, but this is still not H-D’s biggest engine. Nor is it, say, H-D’s most technologically advanced machine – this is old school H-D tradition, where long, loud and muscular are orders for the day.

A cruiser is not Simon's first choice, so he's taking the Softail as a bit of a challenge to see if he'll end up loving it.

A cruiser is not Simon’s first choice, so he’s taking the Softail as a bit of a challenge to see if he’ll end up loving it.

To be brutally honest, I have not held long green-eyed stares of jealousy for Harleys in general and, I feel, there is a challenge in this. The challenge being to see if the allure of a big, loping Softail will be a convincing argument for taking the plunge into this unfamiliar territory.



My first forays on the bike so far have been largely commuting, with a few free rides in between. What I can say is that a forward control bike takes a little getting used to as it’s a very alien position to your typical motorcycle ergonomics. Still, there is a certain attitude you feel when sitting in the nicely padded and contoured seat with your legs being propped up in front of you that feels distinctly anti-establishment. Perhaps this is what the Editor wants me to feel? It is fun…

The idea behind the Softail Standard is a bike that only comes with the necessary equipment, allowing riders to modify it to their liking.

The idea behind the Softail Standard is a bike that only comes with the necessary equipment, allowing riders to modify it to their liking. Sadly it is being discontinued in current form by Harley… We liked the spoked wheels it used to have, also.

In line with long-held Softail genetics, everything about the bike is built large and tough and it demands a bit of man-handling. It is a heavy machine, thank God for the ultra-low seat and easy manoeuvring.



The engine tune falls right into place with the idea of heavy hitting too, however, without rush or urgency. The engine tops out somewhere around 5000rpm, but there is really no need to go there – all the punch you need lives down in the bottom end and there is acres of thrust right off idle. It’s surprising how fast you build up a bit of speed without actually realising it.

"It's surprising how fast you build up a bit of speed without actually realising it."

“It’s surprising how fast you build up a bit of speed without actually realising it.” Simon has been enjoying his new ride.

The keyless fob is begging to be lost and I simply don’t get why it could possibly be advantageous. Anyhow, this is part of silly tech that we must endure these days and, for the Softail Standard, the soul of the machine thankfully remains more steeped in tradition.



There are one or two things to learn about the miniscule handlebar mounted digital display, but the rest of the bike is pretty much start, clunk into gear and go. It’s a bit strange that when riding or loafing about on the big twin, it has a tendency to lull you a bit.

"In line with long-held Softail genetics, everything about the bike is built large and tough and it demands a bit of man-handling. It is a heavy machine, thank God for the ultra-low seat and easy manoeuvring."

“In line with long-held Softail genetics, everything about the bike is built large and tough and it demands a bit of man-handling. It is a heavy machine, thank God for the ultra-low seat and easy manoeuvring.”

It’s a different vibe to a sportsbike, that’s for sure, and I can feel that the pleasure is perhaps not so incessantly attached to trying to go fast, but rather a feeling of possessing clout that you can wield at will. It is perhaps more relaxing to ride than one might imagine – soft and hard at the same time.

Over the next month and a half, I’ll be putting some more hours into the bike, mainly commuting so I only expect to do about 1000km, but that 1000km will be many hours in the seat to get to know the Softail Standard. I’m not sure if Jeff can convert me yet, we shall see, but I’m getting slightly attached!
Stop by next month to find out more about the journey…

TECH TALK, Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
Retaining the classic 45-degree V-Twin cylinder angle, the Milwaukee-Eight engine produces 10 percent more torque (varies per model) than previous model and features four-valve cylinder heads that offer 50 percent more intake and exhaust flow capacity. The Milwaukee-Eight engine is counter-balanced to cancel 75 percent of primary vibration at idle, retaining the classic feel of a Harley V-Twin while being very smooth at highway speeds.

Heat management and power were high on the list when Harley took the Milwaukee Eight to the drawing board.

Heat management and power were high on the list when Harley took the Milwaukee Eight to the drawing board.

Using the 107ci version of the Milkwaukee Eight, the Softail Standard makes a thumping 145Nm[107ft-lbs]@3000rpm. Maintaining that Harley-Davidson signature grunt. A new heat management strategy for all Milwaukee-Eight engines also improves rider and passenger comfort.



A high stiffness carbon steel tubular frame forms the core of the Softail Standard and combined with the swingarm significantly increases the rigidity of the chassis. The frame went through a major update in 2021, the design itself is 65 per cent stiffer than the previous Softail Standard, which leads to a 34 per cent increase in overall chassis stiffness. Its design also achieves reduced complexity with a 50 per cent reduction in component parts and 22 per cent reduction in welds.

A high stiffness carbon steel tubular frame forms the core of the Softail Standard and combined with the swingarm significantly increases the rigidity of the chassis.

A high stiffness carbon steel tubular frame forms the core of the Softail Standard and combined with the swingarm significantly increases the rigidity of the chassis.

The dual-bending valve front suspension  delivers damping performance that’s similar to a cartridge fork but with improved, more responsive damping characteristics. Harley say it has been optimised for both comfortable cruising and spirited riding with 130mm of travel. Revised rake and trail also enhance handling ability.



The mono-shock that rear suspension preserves the classic hardtail look while revamped geometry improves ride quality, traction and control. Easily adjustable for spring preload it enables a 217kg range of payload capacity for an updated handling feel that Harley say has been improved

A single four piston caliper with fixed front 300mm disc sorts out the braking at the front, the single disc keeps things simple and clean at the front of the bike! The rear sees a two-piston caliper with a floating 292mm disc…



The Softail standard is the “blank canvas” of the Softail range. Harley-Davidson market the bike to be transformed into something unique, therefore it sits on the low end in terms of pricing! Cast wheels, bar essentials and simple design allow H-D fans to start out with something cheap rather than paying for expensive parts they’re going to pull off anyway!



Harley have kept things relatively simple when it comes to the electronics side of the Softail Standard. They have gone with a 5-inch analog cluster that has been topped off with a digital gear notifier, odometer, fuel level, clock, trip, range and tachometer.  The Softail Standard comes with ABS but that’s about the extent of their assists package.


2022 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard Specifications

www.harley-davidson.com/au/

Price: From $22,995 Ride-Away
Warranty: two-years unlimited km
Colours: Vivid Black
Claimed Power: N/A
Claimed Torque: 145Nm[107ft-lbs]@3000rpm
Wet Weight: 297kg
Fuel capacity: 13.2L
Service: First 1600km every 8000km thereafter


Engine: Milwauke-Eight 107 V-Twin, 1746cc, 100 x 111mm bore x stroke, 10.0:1 compression ratio, ESPFI, 2-into-2 exhaust; catalyst in muffler
Gearbox: Six-speed, Chain Primary 34/46
Fuel Consumption: 5.5L/100km


Chassis: Mild steeltubular frame, rectangular section backbone, stamped – cast and forged junctions, MiG welded, alloy fender supports.
Rake: 30° Trail: 157mm
Suspension: Non-adjustable Showa Dual Bending 49mm Valve fork, 130mm travel, Spring-preload adjustable shock 43mm stroke, 86mm travel.
Brakes: Four-piston fixed front 300mm disc and two-piston floating 292mm rear disc
Wheels & Tyres: Silver, Annihilator cast aluminium, 100/90 – 19, 150/80 – 16


Dimensions:
Wheelbase: 1630mm
Seat height: 680mm
Ground clearance: 125mm
Overall Length: 2320mm
Overall Width: 865mm
Overall Height: 1160mm
Lean angle: 28.5º


Instruments: 2.14in viewable area LCD display with speedometer, gear, odometer, fuel level, clock, trip, range and tachometer indication.


GS Adv
 

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