When the 2018 Harley Davidson Softail hit the market they instantly became the most hated and shit talked two wheeled machine on the planet. When you look at the massive engineering undertaking by HD to convert two platforms into one and the marketing strategy that relaunched the beloved Dyna glide as a softail you have to wonder what the boys in Milwaukee were smoking. At first glance it was a huge mistake as the comments ranged from mild dislike at a clearly more “engineered” aesthetic to death threats at the Bar and Shield management team. We’re in the business of tweaking HD’s to make them better, so much of the hoopla was magic to our ears. But at the same time if these machines didn’t sell well we’d be looking at effort towards engineering and design that we may never get back. This was and is a slippery slope for boys in Milwaukee. No matter the response it was important for RSD to stay in the Vtwin market and produce parts and build bikes based on the Milwaukee 8 line up. And the truth, shrouded in a sometimes slightly akward if not dare we say “Japanese” aesthetic is that the 2018 Softail is a much better bike performance wise than any of its predecessor in stock trim.
Our Milwaukee 8 is a bit of a mash up. Let’s call it a “what’s in the shop now” kind of bike. The time line for the build was two weeks, so even in our position getting wheels in special sizes built on the quick is a challenge. So a spare set of 19 x 3.0 Traction Hooligan wheels along with DUNLOP DTX tires and matching discs were barrowed from another project and fitted. We wanted the bike to appeal to the Dyna crowd so we built a set of one of T bars we barrowed from an FXR project we were working on. Front number plate/wind diffuser was mounted direct to the T bars for a bit of race flair that also works to reduce the neck pains at high speeds. Finished just in time to launch the bike were the Clarity engine covers in black ops. The Milwaukee 8 is all new, so a complete line of covers had to be redesigned from scratch to fit.
Exhaust and intake are handled by a set of prototypes, but soon to be available Carbon Slant SlipOns and a new thinner Clarity Intake.
The seat was developed new for the bike with traction material and sharper aesthetic to match the bikes lines.
RSD hand controls and brake calipers keep the stopping controlled and neat.
RSD fork brace is direct bolt on as well as foot pegs, turn signals and toe pegs.
The suspension on the new bike is actually really good. We used a Progressive shock that had been raised up an inch in the back and RSD preload adjusters.
While the L8er Softail wasn’t built specifically as a dirt tracker it sure does the job. We like to think of it as more of a dual purpose softail. With the seating position of a motocross bike mixed with the style of the OG Dyna and the feet of a dirttracker it’s a mix of all things we like.
Comfortable, fast relative for an aircooled twin, reliable, good brakes and decent suspension all come together for a machine that we would be caught riding, wheeling and sliding away the day. L8er Haters