Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic Review
- Published On: 11 October 2017
- 6 min read
The Heritage Classic from Harley offers a modern riding experience with timeless styling.
The Heritage Classic is the American motorcycle maker’s offering that bridges the Softail range and Touring line. The Heritage Classic is also one of the company’s most popular models, internationally. Since the Heritage Classic is part of the Softail line-up it gets big updates. Harley has left some of the more classic features on the motorcycle that it has been known for.
On the outside
The updated Heritage features an amazing ‘Dresser’ look, with its blacked-out engine and forks. When compared to the outgoing model, there’s significantly less use of chrome. It features a lot of blacked out bits that keep its elegance while adding some modernity. Speaking of modernity, the motorcycle features a full-LED three pod headlight layout as well as LED DRLs. Along with the addition of useful features like ABS and cruise control, which comes as standard, the Heritage Classic also comes with a detachable windshield. The leather saddlebags on the outgoing model have been replaced with up-to-date rigid, leather wrapped ones. The best part about these saddlebags is that they are now lockable and water resistant, which means riding in bad weather shouldn’t prove to be a problem.
Being a part of the 2018 Softail range, the Heritage Classic uses the all-new chassis and engine. The details were discussed thoroughly in the Harley-Davidson Fat Bob review, but here’s a description of it. The all-new frame is 65 percent more rigid than the current frame. The new frame has half the component parts, lesser welds and the motor is now solid mounted to it. All of this has helped the Heritage Classic lose 17kg. The weight loss and additional stiffness has further aided its handling capabilities. In terms of suspension, at the front the motorcycle uses Showa dual-bending valve forks mounted at a 30-degree rake while at the back, there’s a new monoshock hidden under the seat that connects to a swing-cage-type swingarm. This enabled Harley-Davidson to give the motorcycle a clean, hard-tail-type look, but thanks to longer, more controlled suspension, it has greater passenger and payload capacity.
The engine is a Milwaukee-Eight 107 that will be seen on other Softails coming to India. The big V-twin engine makes a claimed 144Nm and Harley says that is enough for this new Heritage to make the 0-100kph run 10 percent faster than the outgoing bike powered by the High Output Twin Cam 103B engine. Furthermore, the new engine features what Harley call ‘precision oil cooling’. It is the process of oil cooling of the exhaust valves as well as cooling the engine oil itself, with a compact oil-cooler tucked away under the motorcycle. This tech has helped Harley maintain lower temperatures, which meant the engineers could increase the compression which in turn increased the power figures.
The motorcycle’s ride is as great as its aesthetics; it’s so good that it is mind blowing. For a motorcycle that looks the way it does – an old-school highway cruise – it turns alarmingly quick. Not only is the handling deceptive because of the way it looks but also because its 330kg weight. When compared to the outgoing Heritage, there’s more clearance on both sides, however, brilliant handling will see one scraping the footboards before they know it. The motorcycle never feels unsettled doing so and it has a precision to the way it takes on corners, not something Harleys are typically known for. To add to it, the engine has a lot of grunt and will make you exit corners at high speeds. If one is not using the throttle with minimal inputs and gives it a bit more it’s possible to lose traction at the rear wheel.
The classic looks and the modern handling will always leave the rider grinning after chucking it around a twisty road section. Coming to the bit the motorcycle was known for, highway cruising. It handles highway duties perfectly well, the big, comfortable seat and relaxed riding position are well in favour. The new engine cruises at 100kph in sixth gear at a low 2,250rpm. The new assist-clutch is lighter than before, but still feels a bit firm. It shouldn’t be too much of an issue considering the vast torque spread of this motor means, you don’t need to shift gears as much.
Should I buy one?
The all-new Heritage Classic is a stunning motorcycle that will make for a great partner on long highway routes. The old-school-looking Harley-Davidson has the road manners of a modern motorcycle. The motorcycle will appeal to old-school Harley enthusiast and will attract new customers who haven’t considered these traditional American motorcycles before. The Heritage can be expected to hit the Indian market sometime in October with an expected price between ₹17-17.5 lakh (ex-showroom).