Harley-Davidson says it focused on power and presence when it came time to overhaul the Breakout. The Motor Company wanted to keep the drag-bike attitude but make it feel more current, which is why, for example, it added a finishing touch like the headlight from the Livewire electric motorcycle prototype.

As with the rest of the new 2018 Softail model lineup, the Breakout now features a new version of the four-valve-per-cylinder Milwaukee-Eight 107ci V-twin with dual counterbalancers to cancel primary vibration. This allows the engine to be rigid-mounted in the frame, which increases chassis stiffness for improved handling. Harley-Davidson claims the 107ci Milwaukee-Eight makes the new bikes 10 percent faster from 0-60 than the High Output Twin Cam 103 engine used previously.

2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout
2018 Harley-Davidson BreakoutHarley-Davidson

The mild-steel tubular frame has also been redesigned and is 65-percent stiffer than the outgoing Softail frame. This new frame has 50 percent fewer component parts and 22 percent fewer welds and, with the solid-mount engine, makes for an overall 34 percent more rigid chassis. This new frame (along with other changes) help reduce the weight of the Breakout by 35 pounds for 2018.

The Showa Dual Bending Valve (SDBV) cartridge fork Harley-Davidson introduced to much praise on the FL touring line last year is now applied to 2018 Softail motorcycles. The fork reduces weight and provides linear damping characteristics to provide a more comfortable, better controlled ride and improved handling.

At the rear, Harley ditched the under-engine hidden twin shocks in favor of a single under-seat coil-over unit. The changes make shock action conventional--that is the rear wheel hits a bump and compresses the shock--whereas the old design extended the shocks when the wheel hit a bump. The new design improves performance by offering increased wheel travel, improved damping and a larger range of spring preload adjustment, while still maintaining the hardtail look brought about by the “shockless” rear frame triangle.

2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout Gas Tank
2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout Gas TankHarley-Davidson

The 2018 Breakout gets a smattering of other updates in addition to those coming to the entire Softail line. The 5.0-gallon fuel tank has been ditched for a reshaped, smaller 3.5-gallon one, while the analog speedometer has been replaced by a semi-hidden digital one.

The 2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout starts at $18,999 in vivid black, and goes up to $19,399 for other paint schemes. ABS is standard.

2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout
Engine: New Milwaukee-Eight 107
Displacement: 107 cu. in./1746cc
Transmission: 6-Speed Cruise Drive
Torque: 110 lb.-ft. @ 3000 RPM
Fuel Economy: 47 mpg
Overall Length: 93.3 in.
Overall Width: 37.4 in.
Seat Height: 25.6 in.
Ground Clearance: 4.5 in.
Lean Angle (left/right): 26.8/26.8 deg.
Wheelbase: 67 in.
Wheel Size Front: 21 in.
Wheel Size Rear: 18 in.
Fuel Capacity: 3.5 gal.
Running Weight: 672 lb.
GVWR: 1175 lb.