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2016 Harleys add power and technology

Harley-Davidson Softail Slim S - power
Softail Slim S

For the first time, Harley-Davidson has shoehorned the Twin Cam 110B (1800cc) Screamin’ Eagle engine into “standard” bikes for more power, rather than just their CVO models.

The Softail Slim S and Fat Boy S will get the powerful engine when they arrive at the end of next month.


Other major tech changes are improved Sportster suspension, cruise control on Softails, bigger Street 500 brakes and tyre pressure monitors on the CVOs.

MotorbikeWriter will be heading to Japan in a couple of weeks to test the new 2016 models, but we’ve ridden bikes with the 110B before and they are monsters with huge torque, but also a heady top end.

There is no word on Australian prices until late September, but surely there must be some rise after the massive exchange rate fluctuations of the past year. However, Harley tends to smooth these out over several years so there aren’t major annual price fluctuations.

Here is a quick rundown of the 2016 model line-up.


Harley-Davidson Street gets new paint (750 model pictured)
Harley-Davidson Street gets new paint

This popular model gets a more powerful brake system with 300mm rotors and new pistons that should resolve the spongey feeling of the current 292mm/260mm discs.

For 2016 it comes with two new colours – Superior Blue and Fire Red – which join Vivid Black and Black Denim.

It is expected to be their top seller and possibly Australia’s top-selling bike this year.


Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight
Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight

The key to the 2016 model update for the Sportsters is the premium suspension with cartridge damping up front and an adjustable cartridge emulsion system in back. They include a wrench inside the seat to adjust the rear suspension.

There are also more comfortable rolled-leather seats across the range and some new colours.

However, it doesn’t appear that they have upgraded the frame, engine or transmission which is still five-speed.

The Sportster line-up again includes the SuperLow, Iron 883, 1200 Custom, Forty-Eight, Seventy-Two and SuperLow 1200T.

The 883 Iron also gets new pipes, ribbed air filter and lighter wheels. It comes in Charcoal Denim, Black Denim, Olive Gold with an eagle-and-shield tank logo, or Hard Candy Custom gold flake with a flame detail aired with black fenders.

The Forty-Eight gets fatter 49mm forks, new lightweight mag wheels and ’70s-inspired horizontal-stripe graphics on the tank, mirrored by the seat stitching, slotted exhaust shields, rear sprocket and belt guard.

It comes in Vivid Black, Billet Silver, Velocity Red Sunglo and Olive Gold.

Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight
Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight


No changes to the Dyna range with the same line-up back for 2016: Street Bob, Fat Bob, Switchback, Low Rider and Wideglide.

Those hoping for a return of the Super Glide will again be disappointed.

In the US, the Dyna range gets the High Output Twin Cam with bigger cams and 134Nm of torque.


Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S
Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S

The Softail line-up drops the Standard and includes the Fat Boy, Fat Boy Lo, Deluxe, Heritage, Slim and Breakout.

But it also adds the Slim S and Fat Boy S which now come with the 110B balanced Twin Cam engine for more thump (148Nm of torque, up from 129NM) without any added vibration.

They also get cruise control, ABS and the factory security system as standard.

The Slim features WLA-styled US Army paint that they call Olive Gold Denim. It has a big star on the tank like something Marvel Comics hero Captain America would ride. It also comes in Vivid Black.

Harley-Davidson Softail Slim S
Harley-Davidson Softail Slim S

For the 25th anniversary of the Fat Boy, they have added the S model with the blacked-out 110B engine to match the gloss black lower forks, axle nut covers, handlebar and riser, brake lever and hydraulic clutch assembly, and shotgun exhaust with slash cut mufflers.

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S
Harley-Davidson Fat Boy S

Meanwhile, the rest of the Softail line-up get the 103High Output engine from the Touring range with its high-flow airbox and big cams for improved low-end torque.

The Softails also have electronic throttle control which means that for the first time, Harley can offer cruise control as standard on the Heritage, Deluxe and S models, and as a factory accessory on all other Softails.

Heritage Softail Classic - power
Heritage Softail Classic

The Heritage has had a bit of a modernised facelift with fewer studs and better internal supports so the saddlebags don’t sag. It comes in Vivid Black, Superior Blue, Billet Silver and Olive Gold; two-tone Crushed Ice Pearl/Frosted Teal Pearl and Amber Whiskey/Vivi Black; plus custom Purple Fire/Blackberry Smoke and Cosmic Blue Pearl.


The V-Rod line-up remains the same with the Night Rod Special and Muscle.

Despite Harley re-registering the Street Rod trademark, the short-lived midmount-control bike is not returning to the fold.


Harley-Davidson Road King
Harley-Davidson Road King

The only major changes we can see is the Road King Classic has been dropped, in favour of the Road King with hard bags instead of the soft leather bags and mags instead of wire wheels.

That’s a big plus in our eyes as those hard bags are so easy to use with the new one-finger latch and mags are far easier to clean.

The line-up consists of Road King, Street Glide, Special, Ultra Limited and Road Glide Special.


The CVO line-up usually changes every couple of years.

For 2016, the Street Glide, Road Glide Ultra and Limited return, but the gorgeous chrome-laden Softail Deluxe has been dropped.

The CVO range also gets a tyre pressure monitoring system, a single integrated key fob that also locks the luggage and LED indicators. There are also new tank badges and paint schemes.


  1. I have ridden the Road Glide Special with it’s high output motor and it has enough go in it for what I need. The 2016 Road King looks much better with the hard saddle bags. Its a contender for my next bike. Besides I have been treated well by two of their dealers.. I have looked around at other cruisers and tourers and have got poor customer service form several other dealer brands. Harley Davidson has got the customer service right and thats why they are going from strength to strength.

    And no! I’m not a Harley stooge.

  2. Bit of a military theme going on here!
    But this could get interesting.
    The pricing of these new models with the 110cu motor may ruffle some feathers if the price is only slightly higher than the 103cu versions they are replacing.
    If you were one of the rich few that paid out all the extra big bucks to buy a CVO because of the little bit more power the 110 gave you only to find out that Joe Blow down the road has now got the same bike but saved $15,000 because it hasn’t got CVO on it, would you not be just a little bit p/$$€d off ?????
    I hope HD has put some thought into it, maybe like a half way price ? ?
    I think if I had $40, 000 + to throw away, I still don’t think I could force myself to spend that much on a bike……..especially on one that that can’t blow wind up the rear end of a $19,000 Suzuki C109RT Boulevard…….. sorry Pete (mate of mine, CVO owner) , pretty bike though.
    Stay Safe.

  3. Thanks for the article Mark.

    Some nice evolution to the brand. I like the increasing choices in the engine department but I note in the U.S. all of the Dyna range except the Street Bob will be getting the high-output 103 … however we are sticking with the standard 103 for 2016? Any ideas what is happening with that?


    1. Hi Jimi,
      Apparently, it’s got to do with the need for electronic throttle control on the high output motor which, in turn, causes issues with noise.
      For some reason, they haven’t yet been able to get the Dynas right compliant for market such as Australia, Japan and a few European countries, but they are working on it.
      It was the same issue with the Street Bob staying as a 96 for a while.

  4. Hi Mark, I heard a rumour that denim black is no longer available for the night rod special, do or have you heard anything about this. I work in the industry and they sell like hot cakes so id be surprised if this was he case.


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