2012 Harley Softail Slim

I don’t have the longest legs in the world, but with a 31-inch inseam, I quickly assume I’d look like an ape while riding Harley’s new Softail Slim.
The reason? With a 23.8-inch seat height, the bare-boned Softail Slim arrives with the lowest saddle of any production Harley. And as expected, once I saw myself planted on the solo seat with its vintage tuck-and-roll vinylcover in various reflections downtown, I look a bit awkward, a bit overgrown.
But appearance aside, awkward is far from the way this new Softail feels. Besides having manageable comfort – for shorter boulevard cruisingrides, anyway – the Slim has loads of snot due to the powerful 103B (balanced) engine, which is stuffed insidea relatively slim chassis. The weight? A bit slim for a Harley – around 700 lbs. with fluids.
Along with Harley’s newest powerplant that replaced the 96 in all 2012 models except the Dyna Street Bob and Dyna Super Glide Custom, the Slim features typical smooth Softailhandling and reliable ABS as an option.
And not many would complain about the styling, considering the Slim features all the classical elements of a 1950s custom bobber. Think of this bike as Harley’s latest”restomod,” the Motor Company simply pairing stylingof a bygone era with the technology of today, a trend Harley has been following for years.
It all begins with the looks, though. The Slim perfects a chord of classic styling, from the 5.0-gallon Fat Boy gas tank, trimmed front FL fender, skinny rear design, minimal chrome, dual 16-inch rims witha fat 130mm tire up front and 140mm out back, solo seat, and gloss black “cat’s eye” tank console with a retro speedometer face.
This classic styling turns unique, though, with the use of California bars, named due to their wide bend and cross brace, the handlebars originally an accessory for Harley’s offered with a Springer Fork. Further uniqueness arrives from the combined brake, turn and tail lights assembly, and the foldable-if-hit side-mounted license plate, which received about a 50/50 love/hate response from passersby.
Also, knowing many riders love the visual effects of viewing the engine, the designers placed a visual gapbetween the nose of the seat and the gas tank, allowing therider to see what’s creating allthat power. And in Harley’s standard, the Slim has mucho power, the counter-balanced Twin Cam 103B creating 98.7 ft. lbs. of torque at 3000 rpm.
Although the bike features a 9.6:1 compression ration, when thumbing the starter, the 103B’s Automatic Compression Release (ACR) allows the engine to easily awake, the Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection providing optimal fuel mixture.And though close to 100 ft. lbs. of torque would provide much noise, the Softail Slim’s rumble is a bit quiet due to over/under shotgun exhaust with slash-cut mufflers.
Typical of a rigid-mounted V-Twin, vibrations are felt at idle, but they are slight. And once the lightweight clutch engages and the Slim is cruising along, these vibrations subside. Even at highway speeds over 3000 rpm the engine provides smooth response, with minimalvibrations felt at the handlebars and the half-moonfloorboards. And as for the transmission, Harley’s Six Speed Cruise Drive shifts smoothly, although finding neutral can sometimes be a pain. 2012 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim Specs:
*. Engine: Air-cooled, Twin Cam103B
*. Valves: Pushrod-operated, overhead valves with hydraulic, self-adjusting lifters; two valves per cylinder
*. Bore x Stroke: 3.875 in. x 4.38 in. (98.4 mm x 111.1 mm)
*. Displacement: 103 cu. in. (1690 cc)
*. Compression Ratio: 9.6:1
*. Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
*. Lubrication System: Pressurized, dry-sump
*. Transmission: Six-Speed Cruise Drive
*. Frame: Mild steel tubular frame; rectangular section backbone; stamped, cast, and forged junctions; forgedfender supports; MIG welded
*. Swingarm: Mild steel, round tube sections, forged junctions; MIG welded
*. Front Forks: 41.3 mm telescopic, “beer can” covers
*. Rear Shocks: Hidden, horizontal-mounted, coil-over Black
*. Wheel Front: Steel Laced 16 in. x 3 in. (406 mm x 76 mm)
*. Wheel Rear: 16 in. x 3 in. (406 mm x 76 mm)
*. Brakes: 292mm rotor, 4-piston caliper; front; 292mm rotor, 2-piston rear
*. Front Wheel Travel: 5.1 in. (130 mm)
*. Rear Wheel Travel: 4.3 in. (109 mm)
*. Length: 94.3 in. (2395 mm)
*. Overall Width: 39.0 in. (990 mm)
*. Overall Height: 43.3 in. (1100mm)
*. Seat Height: 23.8 in. (605 mm)
*. Ground Clearance: 4.5 in. (114 mm)
*. Rake (Steering Head) 31°
*. Fork Angle: 31°
*. Trail: 5.8 in. (147 mm)
*. Wheelbase: 64.4 in. (1636 mm)
*. Weight: 671 lbs. Dry; 700 lbs. Wet
*. Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
2012 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim Color Options/MSRP:
*. Vivid Black / $15,499
*. Black Denim / $15,884
*. Ember Red Sunglo / $15,884
Riding Style:
*. Helmet: Bell Custom 500
*. Jacket: Roland Sands DesignRonin
*. Gloves: Weise Daytona
*. Boots: Icon Super Duty 4 Boot2012 harley