- The Washington Times - Friday, May 31, 2002

There's a Harley-Davidson motorcycle to suit nearly everyone's fancy, providing a model to satisfy virtually every rider's wishes and requirements. For instance, the apple of my eye (keeping in mind that I have yet to ride one) happens to be the Heritage Springer but I happen to be a traditionalist when it comes to visual appeal.

Mechanical issues and ride quality are other factors to be considered, along with affordability and intended use.

The subject of this review is the Heritage Softail Classic with an appealing look that combines Harley-Davidson's rich past with some technological enhancements aimed at improving both performance and riding comfort.

The Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail is powered by a 1450cc Twin Cam 88B (balanced) V-Twin, air-cooled motor (available either carbureted or fuel injected) with the exhaust exiting via staggered shorty duals. The motor is mated to a five-speed manual transmission, with a double-row chain primary and final belt drive.

Up front are hefty fork tubes flanking a giant chrome headlight with twin chrome passing lamps topped off by a detachable windshield. Wheels are chrome laced 16-inchers, shrouded by large metal fenders. There is a large studded solo saddle followed by a cushy passenger seat with a "sissy" bar-mounted backrest and strap handle. Large chrome studded leather saddle bags feature chrome buckled straps with quick-release buckles. The cushioned floorboards are roomier with the rear brake pedal moved forward.

My Heritage Softail Classic test bike was fuel injected, and has a base price of $16,555. It is remarkably well balanced and responds readily to directional input it seems lighter than it really is. The low seat position and raised bars actually put one down into the bike.

The Heritage Softail Classic is reflective of the softail tradition, which first appeared in 1984, along with the EVO motor. It is technologically more advanced as well as both fun and comfortable to ride, drawing approving nods and waves from young and old fans alike.


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