Featuring the same attractive styling with dark finishes, forward footboards, gloss black “Hollywood” handlebar, and tuck-and-roll-style saddle, the latest Slim is lighter than last year’s model, has more power, increased cornering clearance, and better handling.

As with other new Softail models, the Slim has received Harley-Davidson’s more powerful and cooler running Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine. Unlike the eight-valve twin featured in the current touring models, the Softail variant makes use of dual counterbalancers to completely cancel primary vibration and allow solid mounting of engine to chassis. Zero-60-mph acceleration performance, says Harley-Davidson, is improved by 10 percent over High Output Twin Cam 103-powered models.

2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim
2018 Harley-Davidson Softail SlimHarley-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, 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 Slim by 35 pounds for 2018. Increased lean angle and more precise steering are also benefits of the new chassis.

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 Softail Slim
2018 Harley-Davidson Softail SlimHarley-Davidson

The 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim starts at $15,899 in vivid black and goes to $16,299 for color options. Keyless ignition and the H-D Factory Security System are standard, with an ABS option priced at $795.

2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim
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: 90.0 in.
Overall Width: 38.2 in.
Seat Height: 25.5 in.
Ground Clearance: 4.7 in.
Lean Angle (left/right): 27/27 deg.
Wheelbase: 64.2 in.
Wheel Size Front: 16 in.
Wheel Size Rear: 16 in.
Fuel Capacity: 5.0 gal.
Running Weight: 671 lb.
GVWR: 1160 lb.