Hardtail vs. Softail Motorcycle | Timber Town Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson Hardtail vs. Softail Motorcycles

What’s the difference between a Hardtail vs. a Softail motorcycle? A Hardtail motorcycle has a single-piece rigid frame, while a Softail motorcycle delivers a smoother ride thanks to a rear suspension system and shock absorbers. However, don’t expect to see new Hardtail models for sale at Portland dealers anytime soon. Although Hardtails ruled the roads up until just a few decades ago, their popularity declined rapidly with the advent of Softail motorcycles. It’s easy to see why this new type of Harley dominated: with their enhanced ride quality, Softails could be ridden comfortably all day long.

You may not be surprised to learn that Harley-Davidson played a major role in the evolution of Softail motorcycles! As a result, many H-D models have “Softail” in their name. Dive into Harley history and compare Hardtail vs. Softail models below with the team at Timber Town Harley-Davidson.

Hardtail vs. Softail Motorcycle Design Differences

The Softail motorcycle was developed because riders wanted bikes that could be taken on long-distance rides. That evolution arrived with a rear suspension system and a two-piece frame, but these structural differences didn’t change the overall aesthetic. Comparing Hardtail vs. Softail motorcycles visually, you’ll find that they’re very similar. In fact, Softail motorcycles were designed to look as much like Hardtails as possible, with the shock absorbers hidden behind the transmission.

Harley-Davidson Softail® Motorcycle Models

Harley-Davidson Softail® motorcycle models are far and away the most popular in the lineup. These models tend to be great all-purpose bikes, comfortable enough for long rides and sporty enough to handle downtown Albany traffic. Thanks to their popularity, Harley Softail motorcycles are also highly customizable. Every Harley-Davidson Softail® motorcycle has an eight-valve Milwaukee-Eight Big Twin engine and a classic lightweight Softail® frame.

Test Ride a Harley-Davidson Softail Motorcycle at Timber Town Harley-Davidson

Get a closer look at a new Harley Softail motorcycle at our Salem dealership today! Our team is happy to help you customize your new ride, get ready for winter in Lebanon, ride in the rain, and more.

Harley-Davidson Test Ride Days

Join us for H-D® Test Ride Days Friday, May 10 through Saturday, May 18. Don’t miss your chance to experience the entire 2024 lineup, including the all-new reimagined Road Glide® and Street Glide®.

  • Take a test ride on any new Harley-Davidson® motorcycle, get an exclusive t-shirt and gift*
  • Try on new apparel and riding gear for all your on and off road adventures
  • Check out the latest parts and accessories to customize your motorcycle, including seats, color-matched Tour-Pak® luggage carriers, windshields, Harley-Davidson® Audio Powered by Rockford Fosgate®, lighting, accessory collections and so much more

While supplies last. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY, void where prohibited. U.S. and Canada residents only; 18+. Eligible participant must visit a participating Harley-Davidson® dealer and test ride a new Harley-Davidson® motorcycle between May 10, 2024 and May 19, 2024 to obtain a special edition t-shirt and gift. Offer ends on May 19, 2024 or when supply of 10,000 t-shirts and 10,000 gifts expires, whichever occurs first. T-shirts will be mailed to the H-D® dealer of test ride record four to six weeks after the promotional period. Offer is non-transferable and cannot be redeemed for cash or cash equivalent. Offer is subject to change without notice. See participating Harley-Davidson® dealers for full terms and conditions, including test ride requirements. Sponsor: Harley-Davidson Motor Co., 3700 W. Juneau Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53208.


Harley-Davidson® 2024 Street Glide®

Register For Your Chance To Win An All-New 2024 Street Glide®**

Riders and non-riders can participate, a test ride is not required to enter. Ask us how to earn additional and daily entries.

**Sweepstakes entry period May 10, 2024, 9am EST through May 19, 2024, 11:59pm EST. No purchase necessary. Purchase does not increase odds of winning. Open only to legal residents of the continental United States, including D.C. and Alaska and excluding Hawaii who are 21 years or older, and legal residents of Canada, who have reached the age of majority in their state, province, or territory of residence at time of entry. Void where prohibited. Need not be present to win. See official rules at TestRideDays.com.