Custom choppers are basically the street rods of the motorcycle world. They’re great to look at and fun for short cruises, but their usefulness as proper vehicles fades as the odometer rises. In short: if you plan to take long trips, you’ll need a more refined piece – one capable of providing a comfortable ride and good ergonomics over any distance. That’s why, despite the plethora of custom builders that appeared and disappeared over the last decade, bikes like this 2003 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic Cruiser continue to sell like hotcakes. Wrapping modern touring technology in vintage, all-American looks, this Harley doesn’t skimp on visual cues or the ability to fulfill your road trip dreams. And after just 9,426 original miles, it’s not only a great travel companion but also the perfect canvas for adding unique personal touches. Whether you’re looking to join the Harley Owners Group, want a great addition for your existing collection, or just want to pick up a new favorite pastime, this awesome Softail is an opportunity you can’t afford to miss!
The original Softail was introduced in 1983, but its heritage dates back to the mid-70s. Bill Davis, an avid Harley rider and St. Louis engineer, invented a motorcycle frame that featured a cantilever swingarm which pivoted at its base, sprung at its top and hid under the rider’s seat. Davis eventually built a prototype, based on his own 1972 Super Glide, patented the design and contacted Willie G. Davidson in August of 1976. Davidson was certainly impressed, but replied six months later that, while his company was interested in Davis’ work, it would not be able to use his design. Undaunted, Davis continued development and attempted to produce his new invention as the Road Worx Sub-Shock. But, after a bit of time and a failed business venture, he eventually re-established contact with Harley-Davidson and began negotiations to sell. The Softail’s patents, prototype and tooling were officially sold to Harley-Davidson in January of 1982. And, after further testing and development, the 1984 Harley-Davidson FXST Softail stormed the market.
Since Davis’ design was based on an existing Harley-Davidson architecture, it automatically translated to timeless good looks. At the front of this Hydra-Glide-esque Cruiser, a vintage ‘full fender’ leads the eye past a detachable windshield to a sculpted fuel tank and large, studded console. Classically shaped and hand-finished, that attractive tank casually flows into a second ‘full fender’ that’s detailed with old school tail lamps. That tank and those fenders shine perfectly under impressive Anniversary Paint and a slew of holographic Harley-Davidson emblems. And overall, this bike features a detailed and substantial appearance that’s sure to age just as well as its high quality components.
Designed and built to mix timeless aesthetics with today’s best modern technology, there are plenty of rider-friendly features that make owning this Softail a very pleasant experience. Up front, husky chrome forks ride between a bowling ball-size headlight, detailed passing lamps and stylish Carlini Design handlebars. Below those forks, a drilled, 2-disc brake system, which features the same design as the bike’s wheels, achieves confidence-inducing stops via braided lines and Harley-Davidson-branded calipers. Between those brakes, a wide Le Pera seat offers the right mixture of comfort and support while providing a great view of simple, orange-lit telemetry. Beneath that seat, a polished stash tube and custom horn cover perfectly complement a polished kick plate and small Harley-Davidson oil gauge. And at the sides of that chrome, rubber-lined foot pegs increase comfort, isolate vibrations and promote proper heel-toe shifting techniques.
Underneath this bike’s attractive body, Harley-Davidson engineers took their time crafting a rigid frame that’s capable of handling the rigors of extended cruising. All of the chassis’ electrical components are artfully hidden to ensure excellent fit and great finish. Part of the Softail’s appeal is its classic hard tail appearance; and Harley has become downright masterful at hiding horizontal shocks that ensure hours of pleasant traveling. That ride comes courtesy of a lowered Profile suspension and polished wheels, which wear specially developed Dunlop tires. And naturally, the bike’s steering and maneuverability is specifically tuned to create a unique riding experience for each individual.
Drivetrains are always the focal point of world class road bikes, and this awesome Cruiser boasts an 88 cubic inch (1480cc) 88B twin cam that sits in Harley’s traditional V-shaped configuration. Introduced for the 2000 model year, that proven V-twin utilizes 9.0 to 1 compression, twin balance shafts and electronic sequential port fuel injection to make this 739lb. cruiser both engaging and inspiring. That fuel system rides between a small inspection plate, chrome rocker boxes and killer Vance & Hines pipes. Behind the top notch motor, a smooth, 5-speed transmission utilizes a constant mesh primary, double row chain and poly chain belt to provide years of solid and reliable shifts. And the addition of a multi-plate clutch reduces shifting effort, making transitions faster and smoother.
With barely 9,400 original miles, and all the right hardware to make cruising a real pleasure, this pristine Harley is the perfect bike for anyone looking to hit the road in comfort and style. If you’re ready for some liberating, 2-wheel adventure, don’t miss the chance to own this awesome Heritage Softail!