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Harley-Davidson launches Milwaukee Eight

Harley-Davidson is increasing the size of its engines to 107 cubes (1745cc) and 114 cubes (1870cc) with four valves per cylinder.

It’s called the Milwaukee-Eight (referring to where it’s made and the number of valves) and is the ninth in the lineage of the company’s iconic Big Twin engines.

The 107 will be introduced in the Touring range in air-cooled and water-cooled variants with the latter in bikes with lower fairings to hide the discrete twin radiators.

The Touring range will be officially launched next week in Seattle, USA, with all-new front and rear suspension and an assist and slip hydraulic clutch.

2017 Harley-Davidson Touring models get the 107 Milwaukee Eight engine
2017 Harley-Davidson Touring models get the 107 Milwaukee Eight engine

The new emulsion-technology rear shock absorbers offer 15 to 30% more pre-load adjustment, with a single knob to hydraulically adjust pre-load.

Harley product guru Paul James says that, once set, the pre-load “will not leak down or require further adjustment”.

The front suspension features new Showa SDBV suspension technology that delivers the “damping performance of a racing-style cartridge fork with linear damping characteristics and reduced weight”.

2017 Harley-Davidson Touring models get the 107 Milwaukee Eight engine
2017 Harley-Davidson Touring models get the 107 Milwaukee Eight engine

Motorbike Writer will be there to test the new bikes and reveal the Australian and New Zealand prices.

Harley-Davidson Australia has also announced the 2017 model Street 500 learner-approved motorcycle will get ABS and an optional immobiliser smart key and two-tone paint, all 2017 Softails will come with the High Output Twin Cam 103 engine and the S Series cruisers will retain the Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 engine. There appear no other changes to the 2017 Dyna, V-Rod and Sportster families, except maybe some new colours.

2017 Harley-Davidson Street 500
2017 Harley-Davidson Street 500

The new line-up of CVO models come with the 114-cube Milwaukee Eight water-cooled engine and consists of the Limited and Street Glide, while the CVO Pro Street Breakout retains the 110 Screamin’ Eagle air-cooled engine.

It appears there will be no air-cooled Milwaukee Eight engines.

The Limited and Street Glide get the new Touring suspension, while the Street Glide also gets a four-speaker, 600-watt Boom! Audio system, power locks for the saddlebags and fork controlled by a single security and locking key fob, and a re-styled seat cover.

The 2017 CVO Pro Street Breakout comes in three finish choices including a new Starfire Black/Scorched Apple combination.

Harley-Davidson Australia and New Zealand spokesman David Turney says pricing will be released in the first week of September and the bikes will start arriving in Australian dealerships in late September and early October.

“We’re working hard to maintain the pricing at the levels we are at, despite the upgrades,” he says.

Harley claims the Milwaukee Eight engine will have increased power, but retain the “iconic look, sound and feel of its predecessors”. They also claim it will be cooler, faster slimmer and more refined.

Although Harley doesn’t provide power figures, US Environmental Protection Agency data shows the 1746cc engine produces 92.5hp (69kW) at 5000rpm, compared with the previous 1688cc Twin Cam’s EPA-rated 80.5hp (60kW) at 4000 rpm. The CVO 114-cube 1868cc engine is EPA-rated at 100.6hp (75kW) at 5000rpm compared with the current 1802cc engine’s 87.2hp (65kW) at 4000rpm.

It is expected that the new engines will meet the tougher Euro IV emissions standards in the European Union, which comes into effect for existing models on January 1, 2017.

Here is the official Harley Milwaukee Eight press release:

2017 Harley-Davidson 107 Milwaukee Eight engine in a Road King Classic
2017 Harley-Davidson 107 Milwaukee Eight engine in a Road King Classic

An all-new design, the Milwaukee-Eight engine offers quicker throttle response, more passing power, purer sound, a smoother ride and more of the feeling riders want from a Harley-Davidson Touring motorcycle engine.

“The guiding principle behind the Milwaukee-Eight engine was our voice of customer research from every region of the world,” said Scott Miller, Harley-Davidson Vice-President of Styling and Product Development Strategy. “Riders asked us to create a new engine designed to enhance their motorcycle touring experience in every way. Those same voices also demanded that we stay true to our legacy and respect the defining elements of a Harley-Davidson V-Twin. It was a big challenge, but one we’ve met. With the Milwaukee-Eight, a new era of Harley-Davidson power, performance and innovation has been forged.”

“We’ve listened to the needs of Australian Touring riders and what it takes to provide the ultimate touring experience. The launch of the Milwaukee-Eight and the increased power this engine delivers will redefine the Harley-Davidson Touring experience for our riders,” said Adam Wright, Director Marketing, Australia and New Zealand.

New Milwaukee-Eight engines will power every 2017 Harley-Davidson Touring (and in New Zealand only, Trike motorcycle models). Milwaukee-Eight engines will be offered in two displacements and three variations:

  • Milwaukee-Eight 107 (107 CID, 1745cc) featuring precision oil-cooled cylinder heads for the Street Glide Special, Road Glide Special, Road King (and in New Zealand only, Freewheeler);
  • Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 107 (107 CID, 1745cc) featuring liquid-cooled cylinder heads for the Ultra Limited, (and in New Zealand only, Tri Glide Ultra); and
  • Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 114 (114 CID,1870cc) featuring liquid-cooled cylinder heads for the CVO Limited and CVO Street Glide models.

More Power

Each Milwaukee-Eight engine produces 10% more torque than the engine it replaces in Touring models (varies per model). In addition to increased displacement, the Milwaukee-Eight engine features a higher compression ratio and four-valve cylinder heads with 50% more intake and exhaust flow capacity. The valve train requires no adjustment as the design of the rocker arms enables valve lash to be set at the factory for life. Dual spark plugs for each cylinder contribute to more-efficient combustion. A single chain-driven camshaft is lighter, mechanically less complex and creates less friction and noise.

“The Milwaukee-Eight engine retains the classic Harley-Davidson 45-degree V-Twin design,” said Alex Bozmoski, Harley-Davidson Chief Powertrain Engineer, who led the development team. “It also retains the power characteristic that is the real legacy of the Harley-Davidson Big Twin: strong low-end torque with a broad, flat power curve through the mid-range that’s ideal for the Touring motorcycle rider.”2017 Harley-Davidson Touring models get the 107 Milwaukee Eight engine

Quicker Acceleration

  • The Milwaukee-Eight engine weighs the same as the engines it replaces, so all of its extra power contributes directly to improved acceleration performance.
  • The Milwaukee-Eight 107 accelerates 11% quicker 0-100km/h, equal to a two- to three-bike length improvement, compared to the Twin Cam High Output 103.
  • The Milwaukee-Eight 114 accelerates 8% quicker 0-100.

Heat Management

The Milwaukee-Eight engine offers improved rider and passenger thermal comfort due to reduced heat absorption, increased heat rejection and a redesigned exhaust system. Each Milwaukee-Eight engine features a precision cooling strategy based on the specific demands of the motorcycle model, using a targeted flow of either oil or liquid coolant around the hottest areas of the cylinder heads. A new knock sensor for each cylinder enables more-precise timing control. The rear exhaust pipe is re-positioned and the exhaust catalyst is relocated to move heat away from the passenger. Idle speed is lowered from 1000rpm to 850rpm.

Improved Fit

A new, slimmer primary drive cover and the low-profile shape of the air cleaner cover provide improved rider legroom around the engine and an easier reach to the ground for many riders. All Milwaukee-Eight powered models are fitted with an Assist and Slip Clutch with improved hydraulic actuation that reduces clutch lever effort by 7%.

MY17 107 Engine. Milwaukee Eight.
MY17 107 Engine. Milwaukee Eight.

Reduced Vibration

The rubber-mounted Milwaukee-Eight engine features a single internal counter balancer that cancels 75% of primary vibration at idle for a more-refined feel and more-comfortable experience for rider and passengers while retaining the classic character of Harley V-Twin engines.

Richer Exhaust Note

Lighter valves, a single camshaft, optimised cover designs and improved driveline components eliminate mechanical powertrain noise. The engine intake and air cleaner are designed to reduce intake sound while ensuring maximum air flow. As a result, the new Milwaukee-Eight engine is mechanically quieter, enabling a richer exhaust tone, and meets all global noise and emissions standards while allowing the unmistakable rumble of its exhaust note to resonate.

Improved Charging

The Milwaukee-Eight engine charging system delivers 50% more output to the battery at idle to better support the power demands of Touring riders, including accessory lighting, performance audio, and heated gear and other accessories.

New Engine Styling

The Milwaukee-Eight engine features sleek, modern styling that respects the heritage of previous Harley-Davidson Big Twin engines.

“The Milwaukee-Eight engine is styled to project power,” said Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson Director of Styling. “I compare it to the back of a swimmer, lean in the waist but broad and muscular in the shoulders.”

“The rocker covers look like skin stretched taut over muscle, like the rocker arms are about to burst out of the engine,” said Richards. “For the first time since the Knucklehead, the rocker covers reflect the action going on below. And they are massive. When you sit on the bike you can look down and see more of this engine.”

  • Stay tuned next week for our ride report on the new models.