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Review: Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic

Driven July 2013

Review: Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic

The Heritage Softail Classic has presence to rival that of a palace. It looks like a period-themed carnival on two wheels, what with all the leather festoons, chrome aplenty and accents that are more ramparts than motorcycle.

UNESCO just might declare it a world heritage monument. The moment you look at it, you immediately want to ride it to Rajasthan, where it’d look right at home. Clearly, the idea is to evoke nostalgia and the Heritage manages to do that quite brilliantly.

Ride down a dark highway with all those lights on, and you’ll leave in your wake a trail of befuddled roosters, wondering where the daylight went. Handling is great, but cornering clearance, as on the Fat Boy, isn’t all that great, and the road’s not going to get anywhere close to those whitewalls. Ride quality and comfort are exemplary and regal.

The engine is the same Twin Cam 103B as on the other bike here, but without the performance mods. That’s no bad thing, really, because the Heritage is a serene bike, at one with everything. Its top gear/1500rpm/70kph gait is a meditative experience, a landmark in motorcycling, for sure.

The Heritage is the best Harley we’ve ridden so far. Feels a bit incomplete without the giant windshield, though!

The numbers
V-twin, 1690cc, 130Nm, 6M, 341kg, Rs 16.25 lakh (ex-showroom)

The verdict
Impossibly calm and easily manageable, the Heritage Softail Classic is a true-blue Harley. Again, it’s the best Harley we’ve ridden so far.

Kartik Ware

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