Form finally meets function with Harley-Davidson’s 2018 Softail line-up. And the $14,599 FXBB Street Bob is one of its finest examples. It’s also one of the most affordable, too. Mini-ape bars, spoked wheels and a tidy, stripped down, passenger-free stance are what makes it worthy of space in your garage.
Designed for spirited riding, the Street Bob certainly delivers with its peppy 107 cubic-inch V-Twin. Introduced last year, the Milwaukee-Eight engine offers a bigger, smoother stream of muscle, while besting the legendary sound and running character that has made The Motor Company well, The Motor Company.
Near perfect throttle response ensure immediate access to the engine’s claimed 110 lb-ft peak torque that comes online early in the rev range (3000 rpm). The six-speed gearbox meshes between each of its gears with the mechanical precision of a finely calibrated timepiece. Equally as satisfying is the sound the tranny makes as you row up through the gearbox.
Clutch pull is lighter than we remember, yet remains well-weighted. This isn’t a girl’s bike, but it doesn’t require vice-grip like left hand strength either. Response is improved too through the lever throw.
Although chosen primarily for style, the handlebar bend and mid-controls function more aptly then you’d expect. The riding position is a tad more old school feeling— in the vein of the ‘70s inspired Low Rider, but not quite to that extreme. A nifty LCD display is discreetly positioned inside the top bar clamp keeping tabs on the 3.5-gallon fuel tank in addition to speedometer functions. Sure it’s a little small, but you can’t argue with how well-integrated it is, plus it’s legible even in direct sunlight. It’s a nice touch and beats having to fiddle with something aftermarket.
Paired with an all-new chassis boasting vastly improved ground clearance makes for a Harley that actually likes to turn! There’s 28.5 degrees of available lean on either side. Hustling this 653-pound motorcycle (17 pounds lighter than before) isn’t much of a hustle at all and its extra low 26.8-inch seat height ensures that it’s a bike that’s ready to play for height challenged folks, too.
The deep seat pan supports your bottom well and is well-suited to urban riding. Then there’s well-appointed details like the primo seat cover, paint, and hard parts finish that really make this Street Bob stand out—even compared to other new American and Japanese offerings— impressive.
The suspension offers the best of both worlds feeling supportive during a more spirited canyon carving pace, yet still has enough suppleness to mask road imperfections and bumps on surface streets. Dyna purists will probably gripe that the Street Bob now only features one shock instead of two, but proof is in the pudding with the new gas-charged setup offering much improved ride quality plus sport appeal.
Hallelujah, this Hog likes to dance.
A pair of cross-drilled disc brakes are capable and responsive. Standard ABS takes the worry out of exploring outright stopping performance preventing tire skids/wheel lock every step of the way. The Harley-Davidson branded Dunlop cruiser tires provide good stick and complement the chassis well.
Fit-and-finish continues to elevate and we appreciate Harley routing the wiring harness through the inside of the frame. A bold and bright LED head lamp and ultra high-quality components make the Street Bob feel more expensive than its MSRP would lead you to believe. The traditional ignition has been replaced by automotive-style keyless fob. A keyed fork lock remains and has been repositioned on the right side of the frame’s headstock.
Ready and willing to customize, the Street Bob is sure to be a favorite on the dealership floor. Not only does it look the part, it finally has the performance and pedigree worthy of its badging, for only $650 more than the Dyna it replaces.