Harley-Davidson Softail Standard (2023)

Published

White Star Rides is your trusted Harley-Davidson companion, offering expert guidance and information to enhance your riding experience.

Harley Davidson Softail Standard (2023)

The Harley-Davidson Softail Standard 2023, a motorcycle that embodies the essence of freedom on two wheels. With a rich history and a legendary reputation, this model holds a special place in the iconic Harley-Davidson lineup. In this article, we will delve into the design, performance, comfort, and technology that make the Softail Standard stand out from the crowd. Prepare to be captivated by its sleek aesthetics, exhilarating performance, and innovative features. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a newcomer to the world of motorcycles, this in-depth review aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of what this remarkable machine has to offer. So, let’s embark on a thrilling journey as we explore the Harley-Davidson Softail Standard 2023 together.

Harley Davidson Softail Standard (2023)

Harley-Davidson Softail Standard (2023) – The best entry-level cruiser in the market

Harley-Davidson introduced the updated Softail Standard in 2023 and it reprised its role as the entry-level Big-Twin Cruiser. The Softail Standard (2023) also counts as one of the 100 new motorcycles Harley-Davidson promised back in 2017. At the time, Harley-Davidson was readying a massive product overhaul that included the most radical machines in its history.

Bill Davidson, the vice president of the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee stated “We’re excited about our future. The firm also had its sights set on new, younger riders, with the target of two million new Harley riders in the US and a growth in international business to 50% of annual sales volume.”

The 2023 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard retains its old-school custom chops that hail all the way back to the 1940s. During this time, rigid ends and juice-fork front ends used to overlap in the years that immediately preceded the advent of the swingarm-and-shock rear end. Judicious blackout treatment is accompanied by polished aluminum and chrome to have a nice contrast that draws the eye.

A powerful, smooth-running Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-Twin engine delivers crisp throttle response and the familiar Harley-Davidson sound.  The frame retains the classic Softail lines but the lightweight design and stiffness translate to a responsive ride. Meanwhile, the easily adjustable mono-shock rear suspension will deliver dynamic cornering while preserving the hardtail look.

2023 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard Review

Most Harley-Davidson bikes are big and brash with chrome piled on with a shovel and a massive dose of ready-made style. However, the Harley-Davidson Softail Standard (2023) is a bit different. This one is simple to the point of being bland but underneath, there is a blank canvas that you can dress up the bike and make something special. It offers the essential Harley-Davidson cruiser experience. It is a lean Bobber profile steeped in attitude with the unrelenting power of the Milwaukee-Eight V-twin and the dynamic performance of the Softail chassis being the highlights. With that said, if you’re in the market for an entry-level cruiser, then you will want to learn more about this bike. In this in-depth review, you will get to learn more about what Harley-Davidson Softail Standard (2023) is all about.

See also  Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight (2022)

Engine and performance

Harley-Davidson has used a new Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-Twin engine to power the Harley-Davidson Softail Standard (2023). The Big Twin runs in the traditional long-stroke layout with a 100 mm bore and 111.1 mm stroke. This will help you get a 1,745cc (107 cubic-inch) displacement and mild, 10-to-1 compression ratio, which takes mid-grade gas just fine.

With a long-stroke V-twin, torque production will be rather generous, even with the smallest-in-its-class Milwaukee engine. At the top, the pushrod-and-rocker arm valvetrain will provide a quartet of poppets in each head, which is, from whence the “Eight” component comes.

The bike produces 87 horsepower and 149 Nm of torque. The maximum torque tends to develop at around 3,000 RPM. However, a significant amount will be available over idle to give the engine a grunty nature.

Pushrods, chrome rocker boxes, and the nosecone join blackout heads and cylinders for a contrast that makes the engine pop in spite of the black paint. It is air-cooled to remove most of the waste head but there is a little oil cooler mounted on the downtubes for extra thermal stability and stamina. This is important for air-cooled mills as it will help you deal with slow traffic or hot weather.

A slipper clutch will deliver a light lever pull and wide friction zone alongside its primary feature, the back torque-mitigation factor that prevents the rear wheel from breaking loose on hard downshifts and decisive engine braking. Meanwhile, a belt-and-pulley final drive will deliver quiet power to the rear wheel with a Softail Standard top speed of around 125 MPH mark.

Model NameSoftail® Standard
Year2023
Engine Size1745 cc (107 ci)
Engine TypeMilwaukee-Eight™ 107 V Twin
HorsepowerNot provided
Torque149 Nm @ 3000 RPM
Dry Weight642 lbs (291 kg)
Wet Weight655 lbs (297 kg)
Length91.3 in (2320 mm)
Wheelbase64.2 in (1630 mm)
Ground Clearance4.9 in (125 mm)
Fuel Capacity3.5 gallons (13.2 liters)
Fuel Efficiency47 US MPG (5 L/100km)
Seat Height26.8 in (680 mm)
PriceMSRP: $14,399
CoolingOil
Valve ConfigurationOHV – Pushrod
Compression Ratio10:1
StarterElectric
Fuel TypeGas
Fuel RequirementsPremium
Fuel InjectorYes
Transmission TypeManual
Number Of Speeds6
Primary Drive (Rear Wheel)Belt
Front Suspension TypeTelescopic Fork
Rear Suspension TypeTwin Sided Swing Arm
Front Brake TypeHydraulic Disc
Rear Brake TypeHydraulic Disc
Anti-Lock BrakesOptional
Seat TypeOne-Piece
Number Of Seats1

Design

The Harley-Davidson designers have put the Softail Standard (2023) together to look like a custom Big-Twin cruiser model right out of the 1940s when the rear ends were rigid but the front ends were telescoping and hydraulically-dampened forks. This combination dates the bike’s look to a short range of years but the factory did not stop there.

The fenders at both ends come pared down like with custom bobbers and the solo seat combines with the mini-ape handlebar to deliver the lone-wolf life. The bar puts the average rider’s hands below shoulder height whereas the foot pegs ride in a middling position, which is more comfortable than full-forward controls over the long run.

See also  Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 (2023)

A round Cyclops headlight toes the design but the bike still rocks modern LED emitters for both the headlight and the DRL feature. The rest of the lighting is incandescent, so you will need to replace the bulbs more often but they are less expensive. The instrumentation is handled by a tiny 2.14-inch LCD screen integrated with the top half of the handlebar clamp, which makes it supremely low-profile and leaves the cockpit looking uncommonly clean.

A teardrop profile provides the fuel tank with an old-school look that fits into the mold with a 3.5-gallon capacity. The solo saddle joins it with a faux tuck-and-roll finish that looks right out of an accessories catalog. The rear turn signal will multitask as the taillight and brake light on top of the usual blinker duties.

Chassis

The frame of the Softail Standard 2023 is what makes the real magic happen. A tall downtube section hints at a potential stretch while the 30-degree rake angle approaches proper chopper country. The fall in the backbone will mimic the lines of the old hardtail frames, up to and including the triangular swing cage that sells the illusion.

Mid-steel members make up the structure thanks to its rectangular cross-section backbone that buttresses the structure. The engine is supported by the cradle section instead of using the lump as a stressed member.

A set of 49mm Showa forks floats the front end on 5.1 inches of travel with the Dual Bending Valve technology delivers a superior pride to vanilla forks but has no rider-controlled adjustments. The hidden rear shock rocks 3.4 inches of travel, which is common with faux rigid frame types.

Harley-Davidson missed out on the opportunity to look old school when it chose to drop the laced wheels for 2022 and run cast wheels. The front wheel can have a 21-inches too, but instead, the Softail Standard features a 19-inch Annihilator rim ahead of a 16-inch rim, both of which are shod with Dunlop hoops, which are amazing on paved surfaces and capable of handling the Softail Standard’s top speed. For a 655 lbs machine, this one only carries a single front brake instead of a double. Meanwhile, ABS is optional and not a part of the stock equipment package.

Stock exhaust and vibrations

A lot of motorcycles are ruined by having a too-loud exhaust that makes long-distance riding painful. In the Harley-Davidson world, stock exhausts are apt to be on the quiet side and it will be up to the owner to change that with recourse to the parts catalog.

The Softail Standard (2023) has the unmistakable potato-potato sound but it is nicely muffled. The sound is full of rich bass notes, making it a blast to ride through city streets banked with tall buildings that do not offend anyone unduly. On the open road, you will know that you are riding a Harley-Davidson V-Twin but your ears will not protest.

See also  Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic (2023)

With two large pistons and a long stroke, the Milwaukee-Eight 107 cubic-inch of the Harley-Davidson Softail Standard (2023) vibrates but due to the balancer shafts inside the engine, not uncomfortable.

At low revs, the vibes are rather minimal through the foot pegs and handlebars, enough to let you know that you are riding a Harley. At the mid-point of the available rev range and where you’ll be spending most of your highway cruising, the engine is tremendously smooth but things get more pronounced the higher you’re revving. As the torque curves out long before, you will get to the upper rev limits, there is no reason to spend time up there, so it isn’t an issue.

Ergonomics and handling

Perhaps for the reasons of economy or to maintain the traditional look, the single 300mm disc up front requires a hefty pull on the lever for hauling the hefty 655-pound bike to a halt safely or quickly. Both disc and four-piston caliper are mounted solidly, which doesn’t help, even though the rear 292 mm disc at the back, with a floating two-piston caliper is not powerful enough. The feel is rather wooden and not something that you would expect from an expensive motorcycle. Even ABS doesn’t come as standard, although it is available at an additional price.

Normally, a set of mini ape hanger bars wouldn’t do so much for out-and-out riding comfort but somehow, the riding position of the Harley-Davidson Softail Standard (2023) isn’t too extreme. The footpegs are set forward so taller riders’ knees will not be too bent thanks to the low seat and the bars. Meanwhile, tall riders do not need anything other than an outstretched arm with the hand below shoulder height, which helps reduce fatigue in the hands as blood still gets to them. The seat is quite hard, which makes it better for longer rides and it also offers amazing support whether braking, accelerating, or cornering.

Showa supplies the forks and rear shocks such that they must be up to the job. Even with the old-fashioned, non-inverted forks, the suspension controls the weight of the motorcycle nicely and seems set up to deliver a sportier ride than you may expect. This has been helped by the skinny tires front and back that make it easy to tip the bike into corners without resorting to too much leverage on the wide and tall bars. Moreover, it also makes the bike easy to thread through traffic.

The weight may be on the heavy side but it is still worn low down and distributed equally front to back such that you do not feel it once on the move. Moreover, performing a foot-up u-turn will be easy as well.

Harley Davidson Softail Standard (2023)

Price and availability

The Harley-Davidson Softail Standard (2023) costs around $14,399 for the Vivid Black sheet metal model with a new red tank graphic. ABS will add another $950 to the total whereas California models have special emissions equipment for an additional $200.

If you want a stripped-down cruiser, with no frills and nice styling touches that are subtle, you can do a lot worse than the Softail Standard. It is right from the old school: two wheels, a seat, an engine, and a pair of handlebars and it is all the better for it.

The quality is up there, although this is what you would expect from a bike that costs $14,399. You can start poking into the parts catalog, which a blank canvas encourages, and you can find yourself adding 50 percent of the purchase price. In the immortal words of Henry Ford, you could have it in any color, as long as it is black.

Photo of author
Author
White Star Rides is your go-to Harley-Davidson expert. We live and breathe these bikes. Our team has years of experience in fixing, riding, and loving Harleys. We know every part of these bikes and love sharing what we know with you. Whether it's about fixing a problem or just enjoying the ride, we're here to help. Trust us to make your Harley journey better and easier.

Leave a Comment