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What’s The Best Year Heritage Softail Classic? (Surprising)

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‍Harley Davidson’s Heritage Softail Classic has been a staple in the company’s motorcycle lineup for decades. Over the years, the model has gone through numerous transformations, making it a daunting task to pinpoint the “best” year for this classic machine. Nonetheless, based on popular opinion, mechanical advancements, and overall riding experience, some years stand out more than others.

Criteria for Defining The “Best” Heritage Softail Classic

London, Ontario, Canada - March 21 2021: Afternoon shot of a 1996 Harley-Davidson Springer motorcycle in broad daylight with grass and spruce trees in the background. Driver's view.

When it comes to defining the “best” Heritage Softail Classic, several factors come into play:

  1. Engine Performance: The engine’s power, torque, and overall performance are crucial factors. The evolution of Harley’s engines over the years has significantly influenced the riding experience.
  2. Suspension and Handling: The bike’s suspension system and how it handles on the road is another vital factor. The smoother and more responsive the ride, the better the model year.
  3. Design and Aesthetic: The look and feel of the bike often play a significant role in determining its popularity. Classic Harley aesthetics paired with modern technology tend to be crowd-pleasers.
  4. Reliability: The model year’s known mechanical issues or recalls can greatly affect its reputation and desirability.
  5. Innovation: The introduction of new features or significant updates also factor into what makes a particular year “the best.”

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So, What’s The Best Year Heritage Softail Classic? Why?

Among the numerous model years, the 2007 and 2018 Heritage Softail Classics have been frequently highlighted as the best.

2007 Heritage Softail Classic

The 2007 model year marked a significant turning point for the Heritage Softail Classic. This year introduced the Twin Cam 96 1584cc engine, providing a substantial boost in power and torque. The six-speed transmission also made its debut, offering smoother and more efficient gear shifting. The combination of power and smooth operation made this year a favorite among Harley enthusiasts.

2018 Heritage Softail Classic

The 2018 model year brought a major redesign to the Heritage Softail Classic. This model year introduced a new frame, suspension, and a powerful 1868cc engine. The updated frame offered an even more comfortable ride, while the improved suspension and engine resulted in better handling and performance. This model’s aesthetic also received a significant update, boasting a vintage and elegant look that was well-received by fans.

How Does These Model Years Compare To Other Years?

While the 2007 and 2018 model years are often touted as the best, other model years also have their merits. For instance, the 2005 Heritage Softail Classic saw a significant update with a new frame, suspension, and 1449cc engine. This update provided a more comfortable ride and improved handling and performance.

On the other hand, the 2010 model year introduced a new seat design, chrome accents, and a new exhaust system. The updates gave the bike a more refined and sophisticated look without compromising performance.

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What Did Harley Do Differently?

Each year, Harley Davidson strives to improve their motorcycles by integrating modern technology while preserving the classic Harley feel. The company’s dedication to innovation while respecting tradition is evident in the evolution of the Heritage Softail Classic.

For example, in the 2007 model, Harley Davidson introduced a new engine and six-speed transmission, significantly enhancing the bike’s power and performance. In 2018, they went a step further with a complete redesign that included a new frame, suspension, and a larger engine.

harley davidson softail classic posed against a white background

Are Other Years Still Good Motorcycles?

Absolutely! Each year of the Heritage Softail Classic has its unique features and charm. While the 2007 and 2018 model years are often highlighted as the best, other model years like 2005, 2010, and 2014 also have a lot to offer. From engine upgrades to design tweaks, each year provides a distinct riding experience.

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Common Problems Seen In Other Softail Classic Years

Despite their popularity, some Heritage Softail Classics model years have been known to have certain issues. For instance, the 2009 model year had reported reliability issues, including transmission and electrical system problems. Similarly, the 2011 model year was reported to have starting problems. Awareness of such issues can be beneficial when considering a used Heritage Softail Classic.

How Has The Softail Classic Changed Over The Years?

Over the years, the Heritage Softail Classic has seen numerous changes, from engine upgrades to aesthetic tweaks. The evolution has been driven by Harley Davidson’s commitment to improving performance and rider comfort while maintaining the bike’s classic appeal.

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FAQs

What is the Heritage Softail Classic?

The Heritage Softail Classic is a model of Harley Davidson motorcycles known for its classic styling, comfortable ride, and incredible amenities. It features a classic-style frame, chrome-plated components, and multiple color and graphic choices.

What makes the 2007 and 2018 Heritage Softail Classic special?

The 2007 model introduced a new engine and six-speed transmission, significantly enhancing the bike’s power and performance. The 2018 model underwent a complete redesign, featuring a new frame, suspension, and a larger engine.

Are other model years of the Heritage Softail Classic good to buy?

Absolutely! Each model year of the Heritage Softail Classic has its unique features and charm. While the 2007 and 2018 models are often highlighted as the best, other model years also have a lot to offer.


In conclusion, the Heritage Softail Classic is a testament to Harley Davidson’s commitment to quality, performance, and timeless design. Whether you choose the highly-praised 2007 and 2018 models or opt for a different year, you’re sure to enjoy the unique charm and impressive performance that comes with this classic motorcycle.