Now with new engines, new chassis, and a whole new attitude

LISTEN 10:01

Once again, Harley-Davidson takes what’s old and makes it new again with its revamped-in-2018 Softail lineup. The drag-tastic “Breakout” is one of the models that made the jump and carried into 2020. Harley offered this bobber-burner with the 109 pound-foot, Milwaukee-Eight 107 and the Mil-8 114 that boasts a total of 119 pounds o’ twist last year, but sticks to the 114 for 2020. The ground-up Softail-family rebuild contains myriad changes from the remarkable to the mundane that go way beyond a handful of re-arranged trim packages. This is a re-invention of the whole range with capabilities meant to offset the loss of the Dyna family, and technology more in line with the current industry standards. We’re talking a renewed focus on the Softails as H-D’s sole (or should it be soul?) cruisers.

  • 2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Breakout
  • Year:
    2018- 2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
    Breakout
  • Engine:
    V-Twin
  • Displacement:
    114 cubic inches
  • Price:
    19049
  • Price:

Harley-Davidson Breakout Design

  • Muscular chopper styling
  • Relaxed windsock rider triangle
  • Low-profile, riser-mounted digital instrumentation
  • LED lighting
2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Breakout
- image 729142
2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Breakout
- image 970466
2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Breakout
- image 970465

So, I was looking at the base-model Breakout and yeah, it had the whole raked-out, hard-tail chopper thing going for it, but something was throwing me off. Something was wrong with the profile. The flyline was off. I was looking at a Softail that looked more like a Dyna around the fuel tank area. Then it struck me; the tank-mount panel that also encompasses the speedometer on the rest of the range and covers the gap between the old split tanks was gone. A clean, one-piece tank replaced it, and the instrumentation was digitized and integrated with the handlebar-riser cap. Not only is this about as clean as it gets, but it removes a great big hunk of chrome off the tank that seems to have been put there as a sort of torture device that bounces the sun up under your shades to lance into your eyes. Can you tell I wasn’t a fan? You can definitely pencil me in as liking the one-piece tank, though.

True to its bobber/gasser roots, the Breakout line has its fenders pared back to the minimum. The bobbed front fender is barely big enough to protect the rider from wheel spray, and the rear fender comes cut back to the struts. Short handlebars, forward controls, and the typical, deep-scoop Softail seat form an aggressive windsock riding position that pulls both hands and feet forward. Some folks really like that, but I am finding myself hating my forward controls more and more every time I ride, so be sure to test ride it before you commit. Unladen seat height measures out at a low, 26.2-inches tall, and if you weigh at least 180-pounds, you can expect to push that on down to 25.6-inches off the ground.

From there the minimal pillion pad covers the chopped-down fender with a tucked-under LED taillight and short standoff turn signals to finish out the rear. Plenty of that classic Softail (hardtail?) look, and aside from the new tank and instrumentation, this ride would look familiar to fans of the genre going all the way back to ’84.

Harley-Davidson Breakout Chassis

  • More lean angle and agility
  • 35 pounds less weight than previous gen
  • Responsive handling
  • Standard ABS
2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Breakout
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2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Breakout
- image 970467
2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Breakout
- image 970464

Weight-loss was a big consideration during the redesign, and the frame construction plays a big role in the 35-pound overall weight reduction. The factory reduced the number of components in the frame by 50-percent and hard-mounted the engine as a stiffening member. What about the vibration you ask? The Mil-8 runs counterbalancers to tame the shake, so even though there are no rubber mounts or adjustable links, you feel less vibration than from the previous gen. The new frame layout allows for greater lean-clearance in the corners and more agile handling though the 34-degree rake and 5.7-inch trail makes a much better dragbike and straight-line cruiser than any sort of a canyon carver, to be sure.

Suspension was boosted all around. Up front, we have a pair of rwu, Showa Dual Bending Valve front forks that, while they aren’t manually adjustable, do provide an improved ride than you can typically expect from vanilla stems. To tame the redesigned triangular swingarm that creates the hardtail illusion, the factory used a coil-over monoshock tucked up under the seat rather than below the transmission. Just drop your hand under your right thigh (be careful not to grab the exhaust!) and you can quickly dial in the ride out back to compensate for changing passenger/cargo/whatever weight.

A nice, big 21-inch rim leads the way with a 130/60 hoop, but the Breakout shows its intended use with the wide 240/40-18 rubber putting the power to the pavement. ABS protection comes as part of the standard equipment package, so even though the Breakout only uses a single front brake, you can use that single front- and rear-brake with confidence.

Rake (steering head): 34°
Trail: 5.7 in.
Lean Angle, Right/Left: 26.8°/26.8°
Brakes, Caliper Type: 4-piston fixed front and 2-piston floating rear
Wheels, Front Type: Gloss black, Gasser II cast aluminum
Wheels, Rear Type: Gloss black, Gasser II cast aluminum
Tires, Front Specification: 130/60B21,63H,BW
Tires, Rear Specification: 240/40R18,79V,BW

Harley-Davidson Breakout Drivetrain

  • Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-Twin engine
  • 119 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
  • Remarkable roll-on
2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Breakout
- image 970468
2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Breakout
- image 970462
2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Breakout
- image 729155

The base-model Breakout featured the 107 cubic-inch (1,746 cc) Milwaukee-Eight, but the factory dropped that for 2020 and retained the upgraded 114 cubic-inch (1,868 cc) version. The Mil-8 hit the scene in the touring bracket in 2017, and apparently the experiment was a success. The air-cooled Mil-8 107 has the brand-typical, long-stroke, 45-degree “V” layout with a 100 mm bore and 111.1 mm stroke for the usual, torque-heavy performance and plenty of bottom end. Specifically, the 107 cranks out 109 pound-feet of torque and the 114 predictably overshadows its smaller sibling with 119 pounds o’ grunt, both measured at a low, 3,000 rpm. All this power runs through a standard wet clutch and six-speed transmission. Though it isn’t relevant to performance, I’d point out that the Mil-8 engines have a five-quart oil capacity; the same amount you’d put in the big V-8s back in the day. Glad I won’t be footing the bill for that oil change.

Harley is still behind in the fancy, electronic engine-control fandanglery department, but at least it’s starting to trickle down from the trikes and touring bikes. So far, no traction control or rider modes, just electronic fuel injection to help manage the mill. Relatively simple by modern standards really, but good enough all the same. The Mil-8 has the strongest roll-ons yet, and no matter which size engine you get, you’ll be glad for that deep scoop seat, ’cause it’s the only thing keeping you on the bike when you grab a fistful of throttle and twist it like you mean it.

Model Breakout Breakout 114
Engine: Milwaukee-Eight® 107 Milwaukee-Eight® 114
Bore: 3.937 in. 4.016 in.
Stroke: 4.374 in. 4.5 in.
Displacement: 107 cu in (1,746 cc) 114 cu in (1,868 cc)
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1 10.5:1
Engine Torque: 109 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm 119 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Exhaust: 2-into-2 staggered; catalyst in muffler 2-into-2 staggered; catalyst in muffler
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio Chain, 34/46 ratio
Gear Ratios (overall): (1st) 9.311, (2nd) 6.454, (3rd) 4.793, (4th) 3.882, (5th) 3.307, (6th) 2.79 (1st) 9.311, (2nd) 6.454, (3rd) 4.793, (4th) 3.882, (5th) 3.307, (6th) 2.79

Harley-Davidson Breakout Price

2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Breakout
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2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Breakout
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2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Breakout
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Get the 2020 Breakout 114 in Vivid Black for $20,499 or one of the optional color packages for a few bills more. For 2020, the Breakout comes in a nice range of colors: Midnight Blue, Barracuda Silver, River Rock Gray Denim, Performance Orange, Stiletto Red, and a stunning two-tone Zephyr Blue and Black Sunglo.

Model Breakout Breakout 114
Colors:
└ 2018: Vivid Black, Black Tempest, Twisted Cherry, Silver Fortune Vivid Black, Black Tempest, Twisted Cherry, Silver Fortune (115th Anniversary: Legend Blue Denim
└ 2019: Vivid Black, Industrial Gray, Wicked Red, Bonneville Salt Pearl, Rawhide Denim Vivid Black, Industrial Gray, Wicked Red, Bonneville Salt Pearl, Rawhide Denim, Blue Max, Scorched Orange/Black Denim
└ 2020: N/A Vivid Black, Midnight Blue, Barracuda Silver, River Rock Gray Denim, Performance Orange, Stiletto Red, Zephyr Blue/Black Sunglo
Price:
└ 2018: Vivid Black: $18,999, Color: $19,399 Vivid Black: $20,299, Color: $20,699, 115th Anniversary Color: $21,199
└ 2019: Vivid Black: $19,049, Color: $19,449 Vivid Black: $20,449, Color: $20,849, Custom Color: $21,399, Two-Tone Custom Color: $21,599
└ 2020: N/A Vivid Black: $20,499, Color: $20,899, Custom Color: $21,449, Two-Tone Custom Color: $21,649

Harley-Davidson Breakout Competitor

2015 - 2017 Yamaha Raider
- image 729160
2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Breakout
- image 729159

Ya’ know, it’s not like the market is exactly awash with 70s-esque factory choppers. Lucky for me, Yamaha’s Star division figured out what the consumers in the American bobber-cruiser segment wanted to buy, and it put together the drag-tastic Raider to try and capture that slice of the market.

Yamaha Star Raider

2015 - 2017 Yamaha Raider
- image 729160

For about 15-minutes there, the Raider had the largest mass-produced V-Twin in the domestic market at 113 cubic-inches, but the advent of the Milwaukee-Eight 114 (and H.O. Mil-8 117) saw the Raider knocked it off that pedestal. Still, the Raider’s plant ain’t nothing to sneeze at with 1,854 cc and 123 pound-feet of torque on tap. That’s right folks, even more than the Harley lump.

Looks-wise, the Raider doesn’t do a bad job of tying into the old chopper culture. The 39-degree rake and semi-stretched-looking downtubes help out a lot with that, as does the hardtail-esque frame geometry. The swoopy exhaust and angled rear-fender struts give the visage a decidedly modern vibe, as if the factory wanted to make sure you knew that it knew it wasn’t building a replica.

Forward controls and short-pullback bars put the rider in that super-windsock position, and I hate to say it, but riders with short inseam- and sleeve lengths won’t feel secure or comfortable on either bike, in spite of the low seat height across the board.

Yamaha pulls out a win at the checkout — no surprise there — and the margin is about what one might imagine. The Raider rolls for $15,199, but the least expensive Breakout goes for no less than $20,499, and that difference is enough to grab buyers not already steeped in Harleyness.

Read our full review of the Yamaha Star Raider.

He Said

Love it for what it is, but I wonder about two things. 1) why isn’t there a CVO version with the HO Mil-8 117, and 2) wait, that was both things. So what gives, Harley? This is supposed to be your street-drag, stoplight-burnin’ bobber, so why not grace it with your absolute biggest and best? Maybe next year?”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "I don’t really see Harley doing a CVO Softail. The CVO line just lends itself to the luxury touring segment, but hey, who knows, yeah? I like the new lineup. I like the Milwaukee-8 engine, and I like that Harley is making headway into the future by realizing they have to get off their asses and appeal to the new consumer segment because the old consumer segment is no longer propping them up. The Breakout is the best of both old classic styling and new attitude. Now if we can just get some more technology in the mix, it’d be awesome."

Harley-Davidson Breakout Specifications

Model Breakout Breakout 114
Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Milwaukee-Eight® 107 Milwaukee-Eight® 114
Bore: 3.937 in. 4.016 in.
Stroke: 4.374 in. 4.5 in.
Displacement: 107 cu in (1,746 cc) 114 cu in (1,868 cc)
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1 10.5:1
Engine Torque: 109 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm 119 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Exhaust: 2-into-2 staggered; catalyst in muffler 2-into-2 staggered; catalyst in muffler
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio Chain, 34/46 ratio
Gear Ratios (overall): (1st) 9.311, (2nd) 6.454, (3rd) 4.793, (4th) 3.882, (5th) 3.307, (6th) 2.79 (1st) 9.311, (2nd) 6.454, (3rd) 4.793, (4th) 3.882, (5th) 3.307, (6th) 2.79
Chassis:
Rake (steering head): 34° 34°
Trail: 5.7 in. 5.7 in.
Lean Angle, Right/Left: 26.8°/26.8° 26.8°/26.8°
Brakes, Caliper Type: 4-piston fixed front and 2-piston floating rear 4-piston fixed front and 2-piston floating rear
Wheels, Front Type: Gloss black, Gasser II cast aluminum Gloss black, Gasser II cast aluminum
Wheels, Rear Type: Gloss black, Gasser II cast aluminum Gloss black, Gasser II cast aluminum
Tires, Front Specification: 130/60B21,63H,BW 130/60B21,63H,BW
Tires, Rear Specification: 240/40R18,79V,BW 240/40R18,79V,BW
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length: 93.3 in. 93.3 in.
Seat Height, Laden: 25.6 in. 25.6 in.
Seat Height, Unladen: 26.2 in. 26.2 in.
Ground Clearance: 4.5 in. 4.5 in.
Wheelbase: 66.7 in. 66.7 in.
Fuel Capacity: 3.5 gal. 3.5 gal.
Fuel Economy: Estimated City/Hwy: 47 mpg 47 mpg
Oil Capacity (w/filter): 5 qt. 5 qt.
Weight, As Shipped: 648 lb. 648 lb.
Weight, In Running Order: 672 lb. 672 lb.
Electricals:
Lights (as per country regulation), Indicator Lamps: High beam, turn signals, neutral, low oil pressure, engine diagnostics, ABS, security, low battery voltage, low fuel High beam, turn signals, neutral, low oil pressure, engine diagnostics, ABS, security, low battery voltage, low fuel
Gauges: 2.14-inch viewable area LCD display with speedometer, gear, odometer, fuel level, clock, trip, range and tachometer indication 2.14-inch viewable area LCD display with speedometer, odometer, gear, tachometer, clock, trip, and fuel level
Details:
Colors:
└ 2018: Vivid Black, Black Tempest, Twisted Cherry, Silver Fortune Vivid Black, Black Tempest, Twisted Cherry, Silver Fortune (115th Anniversary: Legend Blue Denim
└ 2019: Vivid Black, Industrial Gray, Wicked Red, Bonneville Salt Pearl, Rawhide Denim Vivid Black, Industrial Gray, Wicked Red, Bonneville Salt Pearl, Rawhide Denim, Blue Max, Scorched Orange/Black Denim
└ 2020: N/A Vivid Black, Midnight Blue, Barracuda Silver, River Rock Gray Denim, Performance Orange, Stiletto Red, Zephyr Blue/Black Sunglo
Price:
└ 2018: Vivid Black: $18,999, Color: $19,399 Vivid Black: $20,299, Color: $20,699, 115th Anniversary Color: $21,199
└ 2019: Vivid Black: $19,049, Color: $19,449 Vivid Black: $20,449, Color: $20,849, Custom Color: $21,399, Two-Tone Custom Color: $21,599
└ 2020: N/A Vivid Black: $20,499, Color: $20,899, Custom Color: $21,449, Two-Tone Custom Color: $21,649

Further Reading

Harley-Davidson

50 New Harley-Davidson Models In Five Years?
- image 788828

Read more Harley-Davidson news.

TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
About the author

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: harley-davidson.com, yamaha-motor.com

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