2016 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim S Review

Harley's 2016 Slim S Gets Some Major Power Upgrades

I have been riding the new 2016 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim S for about a week now and I'm having a blast riding Harley's new Softail muscle cruiser. First things first, it has a great look to it. It is already all blacked out and I love the cleanliness of it: Everything you need and nothing you don't. Just a solo seat, nice clean chopped fender and the fact that features H-D's throttle-by-wire setup and a hydraulic clutch to keep the bars looking nice and sanitary, the Softail Slim S comes standard with cruise control, which is great for highway cruising.

What is there to say about the motor.... It is fast! The Slim S is the lightest bike that Harley has put the 110ci Twin Cam motor in. It is also the first, along with the Fat Boy S, to get the 110 motor without being a CVO. The Slim S comes in at 712 pounds. Pair that with the 109 lb-ft torque and you have a little rocket ship on your hands–for a Harley cruiser at least. The 110 motor slamming those big pistons up and down is bound to increase vibration, but the Softail lineup is equipped with Harley-Davidson's Twin Cam B motor (counterbalanced). The 110 Twin Cam B engine does a great job of removing vibration just as its smaller motor siblings do.

Like everything though, there's no such thing as a perfect motorcycle. We understand for styling purposes Harley wants the bike to sit lower, 28.2" seat height to be exact, but it is so low that on damn near every somewhat-aggressive turn we end up scraping the floorboards. And with these floorboards, when you make contact with the pavement, you're compromising the floorboard itself, not just the cheap replaceable peg scrapers found on some of Harley's other models. That can get costly to the owner replacing ground down floorboards all the time. That said, if you're planning on tearing up the tarmac in the canyons, prepare for some serious sparks in the turns.

Also, If you get caught in the city in stop-and-go traffic, be prepared for a warm-in-the-saddle ride. Being a large air-cooled motor, it is expected, but at idle your nether regions will be cooking for sure. Keep the shorts in the drawer when taking this one out for a downtown breakfast cruise.

I'm also feeling a little lukewarm about the stock handlebars with a 6.87" rise and 6.63" pullback. I am at my most comfortable with at least a 12-inch handlebar. It's been said that taller bars cause you to lose feeling in your hands and have discomfort in shoulders, etc., but for me I have discomfort in my elbows with just about all stock bars. The Softail Slim S stock bars aren't hurting my elbows yet, but my personal preference would be to run a taller bar... hint-hint!

It is already all blacked out and I love the cleanliness of it: Everything you need and nothing you don't.

The position of the bike is comfortable. At 6-feet tall I'm a big fan of floorboards with heel-toe shifters. I know for some folks the heel-toe shifters are distracting and hard to get used to, but I've been riding Harleys for a while and I've grown very fond of the heel-toe shifters, especially since I am not a fan of forward controls except in floorboard form.

Speaking of making some changes based on personal preference, I thumbed through Harley-Davidson's gargantuan parts bible of accessories, the Harley-Davidson Genuine Accessories Catalog, and ordered a long list of parts that I think will make the already-cool Harley-Davidson Softail Slim S that much cooler. Stay tuned for more!

Softail Slim S Starting at $18,499
Length 92.3 in. (2390 mm)
Seat Height 28.2 in. (665 mm)
Fuel Capacity 5 gal. (18.9 L)
Dry Weight 682 lbs. (309 kg)
Engine Air-cooled, Twin Cam 110B
Displacement 110 cu. in. (1802 cc)
Engine Torque 109 ft. lbs. @ 3500 RPM (136 Nm @ 3000 RPM)
Transmission 6-Speed Cruise Drive
Wheels Black Steel Laced
Front D402F MT90B16 72H
Rear D402 MU85B16 77H
Color Options
Solids Vivid Black, NEW Olive Gold Denim

For more information on the 2016 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim S, visit harley-davidson.com.