For Model Year 2023, Harley-Davidson is returning the Softail Standard as its entry-level Big Twin cruiser. You may mark this one off the list of the promised “100 new bikes” as well. The 2023 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard Cruiser is still built using the same traditional bespoke skills as in the 1940s when rigid rear ends and juice-fork front ends coexisted for a few years. A well-executed blackout coating complements the shiny aluminum and chrome. The combination of a dead-low seat and an ergonomically sound driving posture instills confidence at stoplights and when padding about the parking lot. Compared to last year’s model, this year’s updates are minimal, consisting primarily of updated visual aspects. It’s a little unfortunate that the King of Paint only provides one color option for the MoCo.
2023 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard Cruiser – Features and Specs
Performance and Capability
The 2023 Softail Standard is propelled by Harley-Davidson’s relatively new Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine. Thanks to a bore of 100mm and a stroke of 111.1 mm, the Mil-8 Big Twin follows the tried-and-true long-stroke architecture. With a displacement of 1,746 cc (107 cubic inches) and a moderate compression ratio of 10 to 1, it should run smoothly on regular petrol.
Even though this Milwaukee engine is the smallest, its torque is typical of long-stroke V-Twins. The “Eight” stems from each head having four poppets timed by a pushrod and rocker arm valvetrain.
The 87 hp and 110 lb.-ft of torque the 2023 Harley-Davidson generates are impressive. The sweet spot for torque is about 3,000 rpm. This engine has a particularly grunt character because of the enormous amount of power accessible just above idle.
Blackout heads and cylinders are contrasted with chrome rocker boxes, pushrods, and the nosecone, making the engine stand out. Most of the excess heat is dissipated via air cooling, but for further thermal steadiness and durability, a little oil cooler is installed on the downtube. When dealing with hot weather and sluggish traffic, this is especially useful for air-cooled mills.
A slipper clutch’s principal function is to prevent the rear wheel from coming free during forceful downshifts and decisive engine braking events; other benefits include a low lever pull and a large friction zone. The Softail Standard’s peak speed of roughly 125 mph is more than plenty for any location in the United States, and the bike’s belt-and-pulley final drive keeps things quiet while sending power to the rear tire.
H-D assembled the Softail Standard to resemble a bespoke Big-Twin cruiser type from the early 1940s when the rear ends were still stiff, but the front ends were telescopic, hydraulically-damped forks. This mix narrows the look’s possible time frame, yet the production line continued.
The front and rear fenders are cut down as on a bobber, and the mini-ape handlebar and single seat emphasize the freedom of the open road. The typical rider’s hands will be slightly below shoulder level on the bar, and their feet will be at a comfortable middle position relative to full forward controls.
The headlight and daytime running lights (DRL) are both spherical cyclops shapes in keeping with the design, although they use cutting-edge LED emitters. The remainder of the bulbs are incandescent, which uses more energy but costs less to replace. A small 2.14-inch LCD screen built into the upper part of the handlebar clamp takes care of all the instrumentation, keeping the cockpit unusually uncluttered.
The teardrop shape of the 3.5-gallon gasoline tank suits the classic aesthetic of the vehicle. The lone saddle that meets it has a false tuck-and-roll finish, making the whole thing appear like it came from a home decor magazine. In addition to turning signals, the rear turn signals serve as the taillight and brake light.
The Softail Standard’s frame is where all the action is. With a rake angle of 30 degrees, you’re already on your way to chopper territory, and the large downtube portion hints at a potential stretch. The backbone’s swooping shape is reminiscent of classic hardtail bikes, right down to the triangular swing cage that seals the deal.
A backbone of mild steel components with a rectangular cross-section supports the structure. The cradle portion is a stressed part to sustain the engine’s weight alone.
Showa 49 mm forks with Dual Bending Valve technology and 5.1 inches of travel provide a better ride than standard forks, but they aren’t adjustable by the user. The 3.4-inch journey of the disguised rear shock is typical of short, fake stiff frame designs.
Harley’s decision to cast wheels in 2022 rather than laced wheels was a wasted chance for an authentic vintage aesthetic. Instead of a 21-inch front wheel, the Softail Standard has a 19-inch “Annihilator” rim in front of a 16-inch girth, both of which are shod with H-D Series Dunlop tires that are fantastic for riding on the street and are capable of handling the bike’s peak speed.
Considering it weighs 655 pounds, it has a single front brake instead of a pair. Since ABS is a luxury item, it is not included in the standard features.
Price and Availability
In 2023, you can expect to pay $14,399 for a Harley-Davidson Softail Standard. This variant remains exclusive to Vivid Black Metal but now has a refreshed red tank decal. California versions feature additional emissions equipment that adds $200, and ABS increases the cost by $950.
2023 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard Cruiser vs. Triumph Bonneville Bobber
The bobbed fenders front and aft and the substantial blackout treatment, more evident in the British version, are only the beginning of the remarkable parallels. Furthermore, the back fender’s supporting strut looks like something out of a museum. Plenty of single seats, so the back will always be neat. Triumph’s offering comes in three distinct color schemes, each represented just by the tank. All of the fenders are still black.
The power comes from a parallel-twin engine that looks classic but only produces 76.9 hp and 78.2 lb.-ft of torque, which is much less than the 87 hp and 110 lb.-ft of the competition. Triumph’s asking price of $13,795 for the Jet Black model and $14,295 for the other two-color packages seems unaffected by this information.
2023 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard Cruiser – Technical Specifications
|Seat Height, Unladen||680 mm|
|Ground Clearance||125 mm|
|Tires, Front Specification||100/90B19,57H,BW|
|Tires, Rear Specification||150/80B16,77H,BW|
|Tire, Type||Dunlop Harley-Davidson Series, bias blackwall front & rear|
|Fuel Capacity||13.2 l|
|Oil Capacity (W/Filter)||4.7 l|
|Weight, As Shipped||291 kg|
|Weight, In Running Order||297 kg|
|Fuel system||Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)|
|Exhaust||2-into-2 shotgun; catalyst in muffler|
|Engine Torque Testing Method||J1349|
|Engine Torque||149 Nm|
|Engine Torque (RPM)||3000|
|Horsepower||87 HP / 65 kW @ 5020 rpm|
|Lean Angle, Right (DEG.)||28.5|
|Lean Angle, Left (DEG.)||28.5|
|Fuel Economy Testing Method||Estimated City/Hwy|
|Fuel Economy||5 l/100 km|
|Primary drive||Chain, 34/46 ratio|
|Front fork||Dual-bending valve 49 mm of telescopic including aluminum fork triple clamps; dual-rate spring|
|Rear Shocks||Hidden, free piston, coil-over mono-shock; 43mm stroke; cam-style preload adjustment|
|Wheels, Front Type||Silver, Annihilator cast aluminum|
|Wheels, Rear Type||Silver, Annihilator released aluminum|
|Brakes, Type||Solid, uniform expansion rotors|
|Brakes, Caliper Type||4-piston fixed front and 2-piston floating rear|
|Lights, Headlamp, Tail/stop, Front Signal Lights||All-new LED, Low Beam, High Beam and Signature Position Lamp, Bullet-style, multi-function LED stop/tail/turn signals, Incandescent Bullets|
|Gauges||2.14-inch viewable area LCD with speedometer, gear, fuel level, odometer, clock, trip, range, and tachometer indication|