We keep on witnessing the apparel of new, modern and very attractive motorcycles in HD’s lineup so it’s a must to be said that the American Company doesn’t drift away from the original bikes that people now simply take for granted and the 2009 FLSTC Heritage Softail Classic is one good example in that concern. The bike is not only carried on, but features a new retro look for an even more powerful impact.
There’s nothing classier than the 1,584 cc V-twin motor powering the Heritage Classic and that’s a good thing to start with both in order to remark the good engine performance and quality build of this bike’s centerpiece. This thing works with 87.90 ft. lbs. of torque from as low as 2,750 rpm and it is black powder-coated as well as fitted with chrome covers so it shines brightly from all points of view.
A serious piece of machinery, this Harley weighs 765 lbs. wet so the motor works together with a six-speed Cruise Drive transmission just so that highway cruising would be smooth, economic and relaxing. Which reminds us of how this touring motorcycle features one of the lowest positioned seats out there (only 25.5 inches from the ground) while the floorboards don’t miss and the handlebars are taller on the 2009 model year. This changes the rider’s profile with comfort being a priority and, still, wind protection is ensured by a tall windscreen. A passenger backrest and saddlebags don’t miss either so the long haul is where this bike is craving to go.
Boulevard cruising shouldn’t be a problem as the touring goodies can be removed from the bike, transforming it into a veritable classic cruiser. Still, fully equipped or stripped down, the Heritage Softail Classic looks like an incursion into the past so let’s see exactly how deep its roots are buried into Harley’s past.
The first Harley-Davidson FLST 1340 Heritage Softail was introduced in 1987 and, taking a closer look at it, we can’t help noticing how it looks pretty much like this year’s model. That’s the case of all classic Harley motorcycles. Time has no effect over the way that they look, but that’s not the case of the engine. The first model year came with a carbureted 1,337 cc (81.58 cubic inches), air-cooled, V-twin, OHV engine and a five-speed tranny so the upgrade to the fuel-injected 1,584 cc Twin Cam 96B engine and six-speed gearbox is more than obvious. But it was all done in small steps. The engine on the first generation model developed 86.30 Nm at 2,400 rpm, but that was to change together with the new 1,449 cc (88.42 cubic inches) engine powering the 2000 model year. This put down 106.00 Nm at 3,200 rpm while still working with the five-speed gearbox.
In 2001, the bike was presented as Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic Injection so the upgrade to fuel injection made it stand out although performance wasn’t dramatically increased.
The last biggest revamp bringing the 1,584 cc, air-cooled, V-twin, DOHC engine and the much needed six-speed gearbox took place on the 2007 model year and the previously developed Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) was adapted to the larger displacement engine to perform just as the 2009 is claimed to.
Harley-Davidson is reunited with an old “friend” in 2009 – Indian – and the corresponsive model for the Heritage Softail Classic is the Chief Vintage . We’ve wrote about their entire lineup so check it out here. It’s impossible not to notice how the Indian is fairly bigger from most points of view, engine included, so it’s a tough battle.
Japanese manufacturers are also quite offering so it’s worth mentioning the Honda VTX1800T , the Road Star Silverado as well as the Suzuki Boulevard C90T (a fairly smaller and cheaper alternative) and the Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Classic LT just so that everybody would feel included although Harley-Davidson shouldn’t be compared with manufacturers that aren’t dedicated to building cruisers and cruisers only.
The engine might not be different than that of the previous two model years, but the Heritage Softail Classic receives a number of other, more-subtle styling changes and new components that shift this popular model in a new, retro direction for 2009. The beefy FL front end features a front fender and chrome nacelle with clean new styling cues, while taller handlebars change the rider’s profile. The fuel tank has new glass-filled, 3-D badges and is topped with a classic “Cat Eye” console and matching retro speedometer face. Half-moon rider footboards and a large, oval foot brake pad also nod to the past. The passenger seat and backrest have been revised for more comfort, while the sissy bar has new trim that matches the new two-tone leather console panel. Both the revised saddle bag and seat trim have been restyled. The King-Size windshield can be quickly detached for more streamlined cruising.
Most colors are new and some of them are even limited: Vivid Black; Pewter Pearl; Dark Blue Pearl; Red Hot Sunglo (New); Two-Tone White Gold Pearl/Pewter Pearl; Two-Tone Deep Turquoise/Antique White (New); Two-Tone Flame Blue Pearl/Pewter Pearl (New); Two-Tone Red Hot Sunglo/Smokey Gold; Two-Tone Black Ice/Blue Ice (Custom Color Available October through December 2008); Two-Tone Light Candy Root Beer/Dark Candy Root Beer (Custom Color Available January through March 2009); Two-Tone Big Purple Flake/Brilliant Silver (Custom Color Available April through May 2009).
The bad, but expected news is that the color choice has a significant influence over the MSRP which starts at $ 17,999 if Black is the color of choice, $ 18,344 in the case of any of the other simple colors, $ 18,654 for the two-tone and $ 18,824 for the custom painted Harley.
Harley-Davidson definitely got the recipe right with the Heritage Softail Classic ever since the late 1980s when the bike was introduced so all the upgrades spread during two decades and the 2009 refinements do nothing else but keeping it up to date in what concerns details. We believe that owners would have taken care of that anyways as no Harley is kept in stock condition for long.
Engine and Transmission
Displacement: 96.00 cu. in.
Engine: Air-cooled, Twin Cam 96B
Bore x Stroke: 3.75 in. / 4.38 in.
Engine Torque: 87.90 ft lbs @ 2750 rpm
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Compression Ratio: 9.2:1
Miles per Gallon: 54 hwy / 35 city
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio
Gear Ratio (overall):
Chassis and Dimensions
Brakes: 4-piston front and 2-piston rear
Parking Brake: N/A
Lean Angle (per SAEJ1168): 26° / 29°
Exhaust System: Chrome, staggered shorty exhaust w/ dual mufflers
Front Wheels: Chrome, Laced Steel
Rear Wheels: Chrome, Laced Steel
Wheel Option: Chrome, Profile Laced Aluminum
Front Tire: MT90B16 72H
Rear Tire: 150/80B16 71H
Length: 94.5 in.
Seat Height: 25.5 in.(laden) / 27.1 in. (unladen)
Ground Clearance: 5.10 in.
Rake Steering Head/Trail: 31° / 5.80 in.
Wheelbase: 64.5 in.
Track Width: N/A
Fuel Capacity: 5.0 gal.
Oil Capacity: 3.5 qt.
Dry Weight: 718.0 lbs.
Running Order: 765.0 lbs.
Instruments: Tank-mounted electronic speedometer with odometer, time-of-day clock on odometer, dual tripmeter, fuel gauge with low fuel warning light and countdown feature, low oil pressure indicator light, engine diagnostics readout, LED indicator lights, 6-speed indicator light
Indicator Lamps: High beam, front fender running lights, neutral, low oil pressure, turn signals, engine diagnostics, security system6 (optional), 6-speed, low fuel warnings