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Different Harley-Davidson Frame Types Explained

The Softail is perhaps the most distinct frame among Harley-Davidson’s cruiser lineup, and what makes it so unique is that at first glance, it looks more like a hardtail. However, it features a concealed rear wheel suspension that’s held in place by a swingarm. What this means for you as a rider is that you get to enjoy the retro aesthetic that Harley-Davidson motorcycles are famous for, all while enjoying the comfortable ride quality that rear-wheel suspension bikes are known for.
The frame, which was designed by Bill Davis, was launched by Harley-Davidson for the model year 1984 as the FXST Softail. Since then, the Softail has evolved pretty significantly, with the company incorporating new technologies and features into the bike. For instance, the first few Softail models didn’t have rubber-mounted engines, and this meant more vibration during rides. However, to enhance rider comfort, Harley-Davidson eventually introduced a rubber-mounted Twin Cam engine for the Softail in later models.
That said, despite all the innovations and changes, the Softail continues to maintain its iconic look with clean lines and a low seat height. Over the years, the Softail has maintained its popularity, and the frame has been used for many different Harley-Davidson models, including the Breakout and Fat Boy. In fact, the frame design has even been adopted and used by other major motorcycle brands, including Honda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki.

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