Harley-Davidson kills the Dyna, updates Softail line


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Harley-Davidson has killed the Dyna line and updated the Softail line with a new oil-cooled engine and new chassis.

For now, the liquid cooled version of the Milwaukee Eight remains only in Harley-Davidson’s touring lineup.

The move is not a complete surprise; once the Milwaukee Eight engine made it to Harley-Davidson’s touring lineup, it was just a matter of time until it powered the company’s other Big Twins. However, the death of the Dyna lineup was unexpected.

The idea behind the move is to move towards models that combine the streamlined look of the Softail’s rear section with the stiffer chassis and improved handling of the Dynas. Now, the Softail lineup includes the Fat Boy, Fat Bob, Low Rider, Street Bob, Breakout, Heritage Classic, Deluxe and Softail Slim models.

What’s changed?

There are two versions of the new chassis. They’re both basically the same, one with a wide swingarm for fat tires *13 pounds lighter than the old frame), and one with a more narrow swingarm that presumably facilitates better handling at the expense of drag strip heroics (18 pound slighter than the old frame). Lean angles are supposed to have improved on all the bikes.

The Softail frame had to be updated to handle the Milwaukee Eight liquid-cooled engine (which powers all these bikes, some in a 107 ci version, others also have 114 ci available). The engines are hard-mounted to the frames; no rubber mounts here. Internal counterbalancers reduce vibration to compensate.


Some machines see upgrades to Showa dual-bending valve forks; others see upgraded USD forks.

The new frame has a monoshock arrangement, forgoing the dual-shock setup seen on the previous Softail frame. While they were tweaking the chassis, the designers also paid attention to suspension adjustability; many of these bikes will be easier to quickly fine-tune for suspension changes on the road.

Speaking of suspension: Some bikes now have Showa’s dual-bending forks up front and a new Showa shock in back as well. This should provide a significant upgrade in both handling and comfort. Other machines, like the Fat Bob, see updated USD forks up front.

Along with the trimmed-down frames, all the models lost weight in other places as well. None of these bikes could be considered svelte, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Harley-Davidson has also included LED lighting and a USB charging port on all the bikes. There are no modern electronic safety systems like leaning ABS or launch control, but at least this is a step in the right direction (standard ABS is optional). Other changes to the electronics systems include keyless ignition and security systems as standard.

For more details, specs, pricing and photos, check out Harley-Davidson’s Canadian website.


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3 thoughts on “Harley-Davidson kills the Dyna, updates Softail line”

  1. First they kill the V-Rod family… then they kill the Dynas… meanwhile the Street was made from a bucket of cheap parts… Yikes :\

  2. Wait a minute, this is what that silly #freedommachine hashtag was all about yesterday?

    Basically giving the softtail lineup suspension that the rest of the manufacturers developed in the 80s??

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