Revamped 2018 Softail Breakout FXBR is All Attitude
Daily Slideshow: Old is new again for the 'drag-tastic' 2018 Breakout.
Old is New
For those not in the know, the FXSB is now the FXBR. For those with the flashcard version, the Softail Breakout got a complete redesign for 2018. While the letter designation may have changed, the Breakout's punchy, drag-race-inspired attitude hits harder than ever before.
Back in 2013, Styling Manager Kirk Rasmussen and Designer Ben McGinley set out to build a 'muscular' Softail. The result was a 'slammed' machine directly pulled from Rasmussen's psyche, influenced by trips to the Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway while growing up in his hometown of Magna, Utah.
In a first for the Motor Company, the Breakout was initially released as a CVO version in August 2012, before it went into regular production in 2013. That 'chupacabra' from Rasmussen's past, defined by its mega-wide 240mm cross-section rear tire, has now matured into the potent FXBR — something that the media is daring to call “refined and sophisticated.”
Cosmetic makeover aside, the Breakout gets the new Milwaukee-Eight engine stuffed into the redesigned Softail chassis. Available in either 107 or 114 cubic inches, the smooth running, counter-balanced Mil-8 treats riders to over one-hundred foot-pounds of seat-pinning torque. Introduced in 2017, the Mil-8 returns to the simpler single cam setup historically used on most other Big Twins.
The Milwaukee-Eight engine might be the center of attention, but the new Softail chassis is the real star. The previous Softail frame featured two horizontally-mounted shocks that expanded rather than compressed. The new, stiffer Softail frame has a single adjustable coil-over monoshock mounted below the seat that uses conventional rebound suspension. An improvement over the old setup, the new Softail frame still retains its classic 'hardtail' appearance.
With a long and low stance paired with Bobber styling, the Breakout has been a top-seller for Harley-Davidson since its release in 2013. Improving on the sleek look, the 2018 Breakout gets even more minimal, along with a few updated components. Immediately noticeable is the lack of a round analog speedometer, and the smaller, reshaped 3.5-gallon tank. The characteristic Gasser-style wheels have been retained, but now have double cast spokes.
The Breakout's instrumentation is now digital. Keeping the handlebars tidy, the gauge is a neat all-in-one information package integrated with the handlebar-riser cap. The digitized gauge displays speed, gear, and fuel level all at a glance, with odometer, trip, and time, toggled through the handlebar controls. A fly-out screen below the gauge displays the usual turn signal, neutral, ABS, and engine oil warning indicators.
The updated Breakout is a rider-focused machine. Despite the wide rear tire, lean angle has been bumped up, and the stiffer frame translates to quicker side-to-side transitions. Sporting the Livewire headlight out front, the Breakout might be an indicator of things to come, but for now it shows Harley-Davidson is paying attention to their brutish bestseller by matching attitude with performance.
Photo courtesy of American Iron Magazine.
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