It’s a blank canvas for you to make it your own

Harley-Davidson makes some progress on its “100 new bikes” promise with the mid-year release of the new Softail Standard. The Standard presents a combination of old-school and custom features over a rather minimalist design, and that has the effect of keeping the price down to make this the least expensive Big Twin the MoCo has to offer. It also makes for a great starting point for you would-be bike customizers out there who are looking for a suitable platform.

  • 2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Milwaukee-Eight 107
  • Displacement:
    1746 cc
  • Top Speed:
    110 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    13599
  • Price:

2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard Design

  • LED lighting
  • LCD display
  • No-frills design
  • Solo saddle
2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
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2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
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Crisp, clean, and monochromatic, the Softail Standard relies on the contrast between blackout and bright for its overall look. It starts out with laced chrome wheels for a bit of bling right out of the gate. The headlight bezel, bullet-style turn-signal housings, mirrors, and mini-apes are all chromed to go with the polished and clear-coated fork sliders to make the front end very bright indeed.

A cut-down front fender and headlight can come shot in black to temper the bling a bit and set the stage for the contrast yet to come. The rocker boxes, pushrod tubes, nosecone, shotgun exhaust, and transmission door join the polished primary-drive cover to complete the brightwork over the blackout frame, jugs, cases, and rear fender struts.

Since all of the instrumentation is bundled into the digital display in the upper handlebar clamp, the control area is clean as a whistle with nothing to detract from the graceful rise in the mini-apehanger bar. The fuel tank is downsized to 3.5 U.S. gallons, to leave more of the frame visible to tie into the custom culture, and it defines the flyline ahead of the __26.8-inch (unladen) solo saddle. That’s right; if you like to share the fun with a friend, you’ll have to do some work first as the Standard rolls sans any sort of passenger gear, but this gives the look a finish that is as clean as its start.

A heavily bobbed rear fender rides between chrome bullet housings for the rear blinkers and mounts the tag low in the center to extend the coverage a tad more. The MoCo takes a page from some of its competition and offers the Softail Standard in a quartet of pre-bundled accessory packages to give you a jump start on your customization project.

2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard Chassis

  • Lightweight frame
  • Showa Dual Bending Valve forks
  • Inconvenient-access adjustable preload
  • Comfortable and responsive ride
2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
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2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
- image 888260
2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
- image 888262

Harley-Davidson re-imagined its aging Softail frame that launched way back in 1984, and the new skeleton atones for some of the sins of the past. The mild-steel tubing in the downtube/cradle area and squared-off backbone remain, but about 50-percent of the overall framing was removed to reduce weight. Not only is it lighter, but it’s stiffer, more maneuverable, and much more comfortable on long rides than the old frame.

The tripletree runs with no offset, so the 30-degree steering head angle carries directly over into the rake and couples with the 6.2-inch trail and 64.2-inch wheelbase to give the Standard some extra stability in crosswinds without sacrificing much cornering ability. Showa’s Dual Bending Valve forks are non-adjustable but deliver a ride that is superior to vanilla stems through the even-based damping the DBV feature provides.

Out back, there’s a shock tucked up under the seat to control the special triangular Softail swingarm, and while it is adjustable for preload, you have to remove the seat to do so. That’s kind of a bummer since I know H-D has a remote handwheel for adjustments on its FL models. A single, 300 mm disc and four-pot caliper slows the front wheel opposite a 292 mm disc and twin-piston anchor. The brakes are pure-D vanilla, but if you want ABS protection you can have it for a smooth 8 Benjamins.

Frame: Mild steel, tubular frame; rectangular section backbone; stamped, cast, and forged junctions; MIG welded; aluminum forged fender supports
Swingarm: Mild steel, tubular sections, stamped x-member, forged axle junctions; MIG welded; removable belt spacer
Front Forks: Dual Bending Valve 49 mm telescopic with aluminum fork triple clamps; dual rate spring
Rear Shocks: Hidden, free piston, coil-over monoshock; 43 mm stroke; toolless hydraulic preload adjustment
Suspension Travel, Front/Rear: 5.1 in. (130 mm)/3.4 in. (86 mm)
Rake (steering head): 30°
Fork Angle: 30°
Trail: 6.2 in. (157 mm)
Lean Angle (per J1168) Right/Left: 28.5°/28.5°
Wheels: Chrome Steel Laced
Wheel, Front: 19 in. x 2.5 in. (483 mm x 64 mm)
Wheel, Rear: 16 in. x 3 in. (406 mm x 76 mm)
Tires: Dunlop® Harley-Davidson® Series, bias blackwall
Tire, Front: D401F 100/90B19,57H,BW
Tire, Rear: D401T 150/80B16,77H,BW
Brakes, Front: 300 mm Solid, uniform expansion rotor, 4-piston fixed caliper
Brakes, Rear: 292 mm Solid, uniform expansion rotor, 2-piston floating caliper
Anti-Lock Braking System: Optional

2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard Drivetrain

  • Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine
  • 110 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
  • No electronic enhancements
  • Slip-and-assist clutch
2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
- image 888280
2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
- image 888263
2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
- image 888266

To power the new model the MoCo tapped its Milwaukee-Eight 107. A 100 mm stroke and 111.1 mm bore gives it a 107 cubic-inch (1,746 cc) overall displacement with a 10-to-1 compression ratio. The figures are as grunty as you’d expect with 110 pound-feet of torque at 3,000 rpm.

As usual, it’s air cooled, though the unpolished cooling-fin edges are rather inconspicuous under the blackout finish. Between the downtubes, a blackout oil cooler rides where it can breathe and protect the engine’s lifeblood from excessive waste heat.

A chain-style primary-drive system couples engine power to the six-speed transmission through a slip-and-assist clutch that delivers a light lever pull and drag-torque mitigation for safe, aggressive downshifts. Since the new engine uses a single camshaft for all four valve pushrods, the geometry returns to its pre-Twin Cam configuration along with a concurrent reduction in the size of the nosecone. Each head rocks a quartet of poppets to aid in thorough aspiration and ventilation, and induction control is managed by a single electronic-injection throttle body in a common intake manifold to feed both jugs.

That’s it for the electronics. The Standard doesn’t carry any of the newest ride-quality and safety equipment, neither is said equipment available as an option save the ABS. The final drive is a carbon-reinforced belt, and the overall drive ratio turn in a top speed around 110 mph.

Engine: Milwaukee-Eight® 107, Pushrod-operated, overhead valves with hydraulic, self-adjusting lifters; four valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 3.937 in. x 4.374 in. (100 mm x 111.1 mm)
Displacement: 107 cu. in. (1,746 cc)
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1
Engine Torque (per J1349) (North America): 110 lb-ft (149 Nm) @ 3,000 rpm
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Exhaust: 2-into-2 offset shotgun; catalyst in muffler
Lubrication System: Pressurized, dry-sump with oil cooler
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio
Final Drive: Belt, 32/66 ratio
Clutch: Mechanical, 10 plate wet, assist & conventional
Transmission: 6-Speed Cruise Drive®
Gear Ratios (overall)(U.S.): 1st: 9.311, 2nd: 6.454, 3rd: 4.793, 4th: 3.882, 5th: 3.307, 6th: 2.79

2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard Pricing

The inaugural paint scheme rolls with Vivid Black sheet metal and understated tank graphics for $13,599 MSRP. As for the accessory package, it is as follows:

2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
- image 888270
P&A Day Tripper Package

Day Tripper Package: Adds a pillion-pad, sissy-bar, and footpegs to accommodate a passenger, plus a leather swingarm bag for tools and such for $1,409.95.

2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
- image 888269
P&A Coastal Package

Coastal Custom Package: Brings a touch of the West Coast performance scene to the table with a quarter fairing, tall-rise handlebar, and two-up seating for $1,599.95.

2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
- image 888272
P&A Touring Package

Touring Package: Configures the Standard for long-distance work with two-up seating, plus a 14-inch windscreen, sissy bar, and backrest pad along with saddlebags, all of which are the quick-detachable variety, for an extra $1,699.95.

2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
- image 888271
P&A Performance Package

Performance Package: Screamin’ Eagle Stage II kit and Pro Street Tuner amps up the performance with a low-resistance air cleaner and mufflers to open up the engine so it can breathe. Installed by an authorized H-D service department, the Performance Package adds $1,299.95 to the bill, not including the installation labor.

Warranty: 24 months (unlimited mileage)
Model ID: FXST
Standard Equipped: Security System Option
Color: Vivid Black
Price: $13,599

2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard Competitors

2018 - 2019 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster
- image 736560
2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
- image 888273

H-D’s Softail has been on the scene since 1984, and the faux-rigid frame has since spread among a few other manufacturers, and Triumph looks to capitalize on its own version with its Bonneville Speedmaster.

Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster

2018 - 2019 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster
- image 736566

Like the Softail Standard, the Speedmaster rocks a triangular swingarm for a dated look you just can’t get any other way. It’s a bit more passenger friendly with a stock two-up arrangement complete with a chrome J.C. rail around the back side.

Trumpet draws on its own deep historical roots for little nuggets such as the chrome tank crests and bellow-gaiters on the front forks to lend this bobber an authenticity all its own. Of course, the vertical-twin Bonneville plant adds yet another layer of nostalgia to the look to complete the package.

The Brit’s forks are non-adjustable, but the rear shock comes with variable preload to more-or-less break even though the KYB forks won’t provide quite the same level of comfort as the Showa DBV stems. As for power, Triumph relies on its 1,200 cc, vertical twin Bonneville mill to deliver 78 pound-feet of torque that falls well short of the 110 pounds o’ grunt the Standard brings to the table.

Triumph gets a minor victory in the electronics category with stock ABS protection along with traction control. To increase the pressure on Harley, the Triumph rolls for between $13,150 and $13,400, you just have to decide whether it’s more important to have the power or the electronic protection.

Read our full review of the Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster.

He Said

“I’ve always been a fan of the Softail family, and it looks like this is to be H-D’s newest entry-level Big Twin since the demise of the Dyna range. It’s basic transportation that shuns the superfluous in favor of a clean look and relatively reasonable price tag, and should be a good first H-D for someone, or even a good upgrade for riders looking to move up from a Sportster model.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “When I first looked at the new Standard, it struck me right away that it is the modern equivalent of Harley’s forty-nine ninety-five Sportster from back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Not in looks, but in intent. Available only in Vivid Black and with a solo seat, the Sportster was a no-frills, basic transportation bike for $4,995. I don’t see the new Standard getting the nickname of thirteen-five ninety-nine Softail, but we see that same no-frills, basic transportation idea. Harley-Davidson is saying, ’Here is a bike for you to make it your own.’ The accessory packages are just the beginning.”

2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Milwaukee-Eight® 107, Pushrod-operated, overhead valves with hydraulic, self-adjusting lifters; four valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 3.937 in. x 4.374 in. (100 mm x 111.1 mm)
Displacement: 107 cu. in. (1,746 cc)
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1
Engine Torque (per J1349) (North America): 110 lb-ft (149 Nm) @ 3,000 rpm
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Exhaust: 2-into-2 offset shotgun; catalyst in muffler
Lubrication System: Pressurized, dry-sump with oil cooler
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio
Final Drive: Belt, 32/66 ratio
Clutch: Mechanical, 10 plate wet, assist & conventional
Transmission: 6-Speed Cruise Drive®
Gear Ratios (overall)(U.S.): 1st: 9.311, 2nd: 6.454, 3rd: 4.793, 4th: 3.882, 5th: 3.307, 6th: 2.79
Chassis:
Frame: Mild steel, tubular frame; rectangular section backbone; stamped, cast, and forged junctions; MIG welded; aluminum forged fender supports
Swingarm: Mild steel, tubular sections, stamped x-member, forged axle junctions; MIG welded; removable belt spacer
Front Forks: Dual Bending Valve 49 mm telescopic with aluminum fork triple clamps; dual rate spring
Rear Shocks: Hidden, free piston, coil-over monoshock; 43 mm stroke; toolless hydraulic preload adjustment
Suspension Travel, Front/Rear: 5.1 in. (130 mm)/3.4 in. (86 mm)
Rake (steering head): 30°
Fork Angle: 30°
Trail: 6.2 in. (157 mm)
Lean Angle (per J1168) Right/Left: 28.5°/28.5°
Wheels: Chrome Steel Laced
Wheel, Front: 19 in. x 2.5 in. (483 mm x 64 mm)
Wheel, Rear: 16 in. x 3 in. (406 mm x 76 mm)
Tires: Dunlop® Harley-Davidson® Series, bias blackwall
Tire, Front: D401F 100/90B19,57H,BW
Tire, Rear: D401T 150/80B16,77H,BW
Brakes, Front: 300 mm Solid, uniform expansion rotor, 4-piston fixed caliper
Brakes, Rear: 292 mm Solid, uniform expansion rotor, 2-piston floating caliper
Anti-Lock Braking System: Optional
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length: 91.3 in. (2,320 mm)
Overall Width: 34.1 in. (865 mm)
Overall Height: 45.7 in. (1,160 mm)
Seat Height: Laden: 25.8 in. (655 mm), Unladen: 26.8 in. (680 mm)
Ground Clearance: 4.9 in. (125 mm)
Wheelbase: 64.2 in (1,630 mm)
Fuel Capacity: 3.5 gal. (13.29 l) (warning light at approximately 1 gal.)
Fuel Economy (Estimated City/Hwy): 47 mpg (5 l/100 km)
Oil Capacity (w/filter): 5 qt. (4.7 l)
Transmission Capacity: 1 qt. (.95 l)
Primary Chain Case Capacity: 1.25 qt. (1.18 l)
Weight As Shipped: 642 lb. (291 kg)
Weight In Running Order: 655 lb. (297 kg)
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating: 1,160 lb. (526 kg)
Gross Axle Weight Rating: Front: 450 lb. (204 kg). Rear: 730 lb. (331 kg)
Electricals:
Battery (per Battery Council International Rating): Sealed, Maintenance-Free, Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) Battery, 12v, 17.5ah, 310 cca At 0°F
Charging: Three-phase, 42 amp system (390W @ 13V, 1,000 rpm, 546W max power @ 13V, 2,000 rpm)
Starting: 1.6 kW electric with solenoid shift starter motor engagement
Lights (as per country regulation):
• Headlamp: All LED, low beam, high beam and signature position lamp
• Tail/Stop Lights: Incandescent bullets
• Front Signal Lights: Incandescent bullets
• Indicator Lamps: High beam, turn signals, neutral, low oil pressure, engine diagnostics, ABS, security system, low battery voltage, low fuel
• Lights, Rear Turn Signals: Incandescent bullets
Gauges: 2.14-inch viewable area LCD display with speedometer, gear, odometer, fuel level, clock, trip, range and tachometer indication
Electric Power Outlet: N/A
Details:
Warranty: 24 months (unlimited mileage)
Model ID: FXST
Standard Equipped: Security System Option
Color: Vivid Black
Price: $13,599

Further Reading

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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 More
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, triumphmotorcycles.com

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