Harley-Davidson designed its Softail Slim as a cruiser with a minimalist styling. Young riders have been drawn to this particular model along with custom builders.
The bike, stylistically, gives a nod to the motorcycles of the 1950s for a nostalgic and vintage appeal. It's been one of the more popular choices for these groups.Since its initial release in 2012, some models have stood out from the others as favorites. Here are the 5 best HD Softail Slim models of all time
5. 2015-16 Softail Slim S
The 2016 edition of the Softtail Slim S was a hit with Harley riders, partially because it featured the biggest engine that had ever been mounted on a MoCo production cruiser.
It was an upgrade over the base model of the Softail Slim with new paint options including the Olive Gold Denim style with aesthetically pleasing accents on the frame and engine, black colored brake levers, a blacked out exhaust, and a triple clamp on the front fork.
The engine was a four stroke, air-cooled 1801 cc Twin Cam 100B called the Screamin' Eagle mated with a 6-speed manual transmission peaking torque at 136 Nm. The custom cruiser was a sensation the year of its release.
4. 2012 Softail Slim
The Softail Slim was first released for sale to the general public as a 2012 year model. This bike was designed to portray a vintage appeal to the post-war 1940s era of motorcycles. The eye appeal with a black powder coated engine and polished covers immediately caught the attention of Harley enthusiasts.
It features a Twin cam 103B V-twin engine with electronic sequential port fuel injection and a 6-speed cruise drive transmission as standard fare.
The rigid frame made of steel material and a telescopic fork for the front suspension and dual shocks in the rear suspension combined with 4-piston caliper front disc brakes and 2-piston caliper rear brakes was hard to resist. It was a comfortable cruiser with a seat height of 15.6 inches and a wheelbase of 64.4 inches and ground clearance of 4.5 inches. The overall length of the 2012 Softail Slim was 92.5 inches.
It came equipped with a large fuel tank with a capacity for holding a full 5 gallons of petrol and it had a curb weight of 679 lbs. It was something new that Harley-Davidson riders were ready for and it helped to bring in a new customer base of younger riders.
3. 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim
In 2018, Harley Davidson updated the Softail Slim. They saw fit to crate a brand new chassis and suspension components. This was the first year that they did away with the old Twin engine and replaced it with the Milwaukee-Eight. Every HD bike received the new engine and it created an element of excitement within the ranks of Harley enthusiasts.
This jumped the torque to 110 lb ft at 3000 rpm. Enhanced comfort and performance were to the fore with a smoother ride thanks to the dual counter balancing. This was a year of innovation and improvement in the line. The 2018 Softail Slim retained its bobber styling with an update of chrome added to the triple clamps with a black fork tube cover.
The previously minimal seat was augmented with plush and more comfortable padding, and enhancements to the damping characteristics. The curb weight was reduced to 671 pounds and optional ABS brakes were thrown into the deal. New LED headlights improved your view of he road for nighttime riding.
2. 2019 Softail Slim
Although 2018 was a big year of updates for the Harley-Davidson Softail Slim, HD wasn't through making improvements. The 2019 model year saw yet more improvements and updates.
One of the most notable was the fact that the weight was reduced by an additional 35 pounds. This model continued the evolution of the Softail Slim with the necessary remnants of the Milwaukee-Eight engine in a 114 iteration carried over as the new v-twin of choice for the brand.
New for 2019, was a cast aluminum swing arm rear suspension as an update and the latest Softail frame. This was proof that Harley was committed to continuing the evolution of the bike by adding new components for improving weight, handling, comfort, and performance.
From a visual point of view, it has the same appearance at a glance, but the devil is in the details and the small things combine together to create a noticeable difference when it comes to hitting the open road as well as standing back and admiring the craftsmanship.
1. 2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim
HD carried on the tradition of excellence with the most recent iteration of the Softail Slim, the 2020 model. The minimalist aesthetic is continuing to keep custom builders and younger riders hooked. The nod to the 1940s and '50s era bikes gives it a vintage appeal.
Although it's a stripped down model for the sake of keeping the fat trimmed from the total curb weight, it's still stylish as hell. It's a comfortable bike that is a customizer's dream. The motorcycle is powered by a Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine with all the power and torque one could possibly need or desire in a cruiser.
It's available in a variety of color choices including Vivid Black, Black Denim, Billiard Burgundy, and Barracuda Silver Denim. There have been no significant updates made to the 2020 model because they weren't warranted.
When the updates were installed in 2018, then further embellished in 2019, Harley-Davidson found a sweet spot that didn't need to be altered or enhanced. The new Harley-Davidson Softail Slim is still moving off of the showroom floors and it's as popular as ever among HD's target group of buyers.
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Written by Benjamin Smith
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