Updating expression engine
“The way they rode their bikes was a little bit different from the average Softail customer,” noted James, meaning they valued better handling and more lean angle – you know, the dynamic capability that was one of the stated goals of the Softail project.Of the two platforms, the Softail was always the prettier one.
We really wanted to make sure we had a tight composition between frame, motor, and componentry.Assisting in keeping the lines around the engine clean, the hoses feeding the cooler are routed so that they are virtually invisible from a distance.Perhaps the biggest change to the Milwaukee-Eight is the switch to a wet-sump design which negates the need for an oil tank under the seat. First, it moves a heat source and potential cause for rider discomfort down to the bottom of the engine.Locating all of the oil under the engine also lowers the bike’s center-of-gravity and helps with the handling goals.Finally, since much of the suspension is now under the seat, room was needed to house the battery and electronic components in the smaller space.Motorcyclists are well acquainted with how a solid-mounted engine helps increase a frame’s stiffness, but riders may be surprised to learn that it can also help with other tolerances, too.
For example, a rubber-mounted engine will move around inside the frame it is mounted in, requiring more space to swing its elbows without bumping into things. “The way the motor is framed within the frame is really important,” Richards explained.
This time, Harley chose the harder, riskier path, deciding to undertake the largest product-development project in the motor company’s history.
Once the project was complete, eight new models plus four larger-displacement variants would be ready for the riding public.
So, the rigid-mount helped us do that.” While the style of the chassis/engine combination was important, the primary factors affecting the new frame’s design were performance related.
The redesigned Softail frame is 65% stiffer than the previous one, and if the stiffness is calculated from contact patch to contact patch, the resulting improvement is 35% – that’s after passing the forces through the steering head and the swingarm pivot.
When Harley-Davidson released its updated 2017 touring line with the new Milwaukee-Eight engine, it didn’t take any insider information to figure out that the new powerplant would eventually propel all of Harley’s Big Twins.