Dripping in vintage style with bright, polished stainless and chrome accents, the new-for-2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe lends the newly revamped Softail family an up-to-date take on the classic American cruiser theme.

Thanks to its full-skirted steel fenders, white-wall tires, chrome laced wheels, pull-back handlebar and unique retro-modern LED lighting array, the traditionally styled Deluxe is a nostalgic attention-grabber on the outside with a refined modern powertrain and chassis beneath the surface.

2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe
2018 Harley-Davidson DeluxeHarley-Davidson

At its core beats the Softail-specific version of the Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-twin that’s equipped with dual counterbalancers for sublime smoothness, allowing, as in Softails of the past, rigid engine mounting. Harley-Davidson claims increased output of the from the Milwaukee-Eight 107 that helps the Softail Deluxe run from 0-60 mph 10 percent faster than models powered by the High Output Twin Cam 103.

The mild-steel tubular frame has also been redesigned and is 65 percent stiffer than the outgoing Softail frame. This new frame also 50 percent fewer component parts, 22 percent fewer welds and, with the solid-mount engine, makes for an overall 34 percent more rigid chassis. These and other changes help reduce the weight of the Softail Deluxe by 33 pounds for 2018. Increased lean angle and more precise steering are also benefits of the new chassis.

2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe
2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe Headlight (Left); Taillight (Right)Harley-Davidson

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

At the rear, a single under-seat coil-over shock replaces the dual under-engine shocks used on previous Softails. In this new design, shock action is conventional--that is the rear wheel hits a bump and compresses the shock--whereas the old Softail design extended the shocks when the wheel hit a bump. Performance is improved by offering increased wheel travel, more controlled 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 Deluxe
2018 Harley-Davidson DeluxeHarley-Davidson

As with all the new 2018 Softail models, the Deluxe is now equipped with a Daymaker Signature LED headlamp and “winged” LED turn signals.

The 2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe starts at $17,999 in vivid black, $18,399 for color option and $18,749 for two-tone paint schemes. Keyless ignition, H-D Factory Security System and ABS are standard.

2018 Harley-Davidson Deluxe
Engine: New Milwaukee-Eight 107
Displacement: 107 cu. in./1746cc
Transmission: 6-Speed Cruise Drive
Torque: 109 lb.-ft. @ 3000 RPM
Fuel Economy: 47 mpg
Overall Length: 95.1 in.
Overall Width: 37.6 in.
Seat Height: 25.9 in.
Ground Clearance: 4.5 in.
Lean Angle (left/right): 28/28 deg.
Wheelbase: 64.2 in.
Wheel Size Front: 16 in.
Wheel Size Rear: 16 in.
Fuel Capacity: 5.0 gal.
Running Weight: 697 lb.
GVWR: 1160 lb.