What does softail mean on a motorcycle?

But before you hit the open road, it’s important to have an understanding of the different types of bikes available and what makes them different. One type of motorcycle you may have heard of is a Softail, but what is it?

Softail is a term used to describe a type of motorcycle suspension system, particularly popularized by Harley-Davidson. In a traditional hardtail motorcycle, both the front and rear suspension systems are absent, resulting in a rigid frame. However, a Softail motorcycle incorporates a separate mini frame specifically designed for the rear suspension. This innovative design allows for a smoother and more comfortable ride compared to a hardtail.

What is a Softail Motorcycle?

A Softail motorcycle is a classic style of two-wheeled ride with a modern twist. Its defining feature is the rear suspension system, which contrasts with most traditional motorcycles’ rigid hardtail frame style.

The Softail suspension system provides a smoother ride while retaining a traditional motorcycle’s classic look and feel.

Additionally, the Softail offers improved stability and handling, making it a great choice for both novice and experienced riders.

Definition of Softail

So what is a Softail motorcycle? In simplest terms, it is a type of motorcycle that uses rear suspension to provide a smoother ride. This suspension system is comprised of several parts, such as shock absorbers, pivots, and linkages.

The shock absorbers are located behind the seat and work to absorb bumps and other vibrations that occur while riding. The pivots and linkages are located between the swingarm and the frame, allowing for a more flexible ride.

Softail motorcycles are characterized by their sleek, low-slung frames. The rear suspension is hidden under the seat, giving them a classic chopper look.

The overall design is more aerodynamic and gives the rider a more comfortable riding experience. The low profile also gives the rider a better center of gravity, making it easier to maneuver.

The overall design of the Softail makes it a great choice for those looking for a smoother ride with improved handling.

With the suspension hidden, the bike has a much more classic look, and the rider can enjoy a more comfortable ride with better control while cornering. All of these factors make Softail motorcycles an attractive choice for riders of all levels.

Differences from Hardtail

Having established what a Softail motorcycle is, it is worth noting the differences between Softails and Hardtails.

Hardtails, as the name implies, are motorcycles that have a rigid frame, meaning that the rear wheel is connected directly to the frame. This, in turn, gives the bike a rigid feel, so when the road is bumpy, the whole bike will be affected.

Softails, on the other hand, have frames that have suspension components built into them.

This suspension is designed to absorb the shock from bumps and irregularities in the road, creating a much smoother ride for the rider.

The Softail’s suspension components are designed to look like a rigid frame, but they are actually engineered to provide the same level of comfort as a Hardtail.

This makes them ideal for riders who want to experience a smoother ride but don’t want to sacrifice the classic styling of a Hardtail.

Softails usually come with a wide range of adjustable components, allowing riders to customize their bike to best suit their riding style.

Finally, one of the biggest advantages of Softails over Hardtails is their ability to remain stable at high speeds.

This is because the suspension components are designed to remain taut and absorb the shock from bumps and irregularities in the road, allowing the bike to remain stable even at higher speeds. This is especially beneficial for riders who enjoy the thrill of high-speed riding.

Benefits of Softail

One of the most significant benefits of a Softail motorcycle is its ride quality. Thanks to the inclusion of a rear suspension system, riders enjoy a more comfortable ride, even on bumpy roads. The suspension system also allows riders to make sharp turns with more control and less fear of accidents.

In addition, the motorcycle’s suspension system helps to absorb the shock of the road, which means that riders experience a smoother ride with less vibration.

A Softail motorcycle’s rear suspension system also helps reduce drag and increase efficiency. The suspension system can be adjusted according to the rider’s preference, allowing them to customize their experience and optimize their ride. This also helps the rider save fuel, as the motorcycle can travel further with less fuel consumption.

Finally, a Softail motorcycle offers superior traction and stability, even on wet and slippery surfaces. With the added grip of the rear suspension system, riders can enjoy a more controlled ride, even in hazardous conditions.

This improved grip and stability also help to reduce the risk of skidding and losing control, making it a safer ride.

Suspension System

The Suspension System is an integral part of a successful ride. It comprises several components, including the Types of Softail Suspension, Adjustability and Performance, and Installation and Maintenance.

To ensure a smooth, comfortable journey, each component must be considered. Types of Softail Suspension provide stability and comfort, with adjustable components allowing riders to tailor the ride to their preferences.

Performance can be increased by careful adjustment and regular maintenance, while proper installation is essential for long-term reliability.

Types of Softail Suspension

Continuing from the discussion of what is a Softail Motorcycle, it is important to understand the different types of suspensions available for Softail models. Softail motorcycles are equipped with either a single or a dual suspension system. The single system employs a single shock absorber at the rear of the bike, while the dual system has two shocks, one at the rear and one at the front.

The type of suspension chosen for a Softail depends on the rider’s preference and desired performance.

The single-shock Softail suspension system provides a smoother ride compared to the dual system; however, the dual-shock system is more adjustable and allows riders to fine-tune their ride for various terrain.

The single-shock system is also more reliable and requires less maintenance. Dual-shock systems can be adjusted for rebound, preload, and compression, allowing riders to customize their ride according to their preferences and the terrain they are riding in.

Softail suspensions are designed to offer a comfortable and responsive ride. They provide excellent dampening and shock absorption, allowing riders to easily navigate bumps and other difficult terrain.

Softail suspensions are also adjustable, allowing riders to modify the ride to their liking. This means the ride can be tailored to the rider’s needs, providing a more enjoyable and comfortable experience.

Adjustability and Performance

The Softail is incredibly versatile, and its suspension system allows for remarkable adjustability and performance.

With its adjustable preload settings, riders can quickly and easily adapt the suspension for better handling and a more comfortable ride. This means even novice riders can enjoy the confidence of a well-tuned suspension system.

The Softail’s adjustable preload settings allow riders to fine-tune the ride for any terrain and style of riding.

Whether carving corners on a sunny day or taking on dirt roads, the Softail’s adjustable preload settings make it easy to adjust the suspension for optimal performance.

The preload settings can also accommodate heavier loads, adding stability and a smooth ride.

The Softail’s adjustable preload settings also allow riders to customize the ride for their riding style.

Whether you’re a leisurely cruiser or an aggressive off-roader, the Softail’s adjustable preload settings can make a huge difference in how your machine handles.

With its adjustable preload settings, the Softail can provide a customized ride for every rider.

Installation and Maintenance

Installing and caring for a Softail suspension system can be simple. However, following the manufacturer’s instructions is important, as they will provide the best advice for achieving optimal performance and a long-lasting suspension.

First, the suspension system must be properly mounted and secured. Bolts, washers, and nuts should be tightened to the specified torque values as per the manufacturer’s instructions. If the suspension is adjustable, the settings should be adjusted according to the rider’s weight and riding style.

Regular maintenance is recommended once the suspension is installed and adjusted to ensure optimal performance and longevity. This includes cleaning and lubricating all moving parts, such as linkages, bushings, and seals.

It is also important to check the air chamber’s pressure and adjust it as necessary. Furthermore, any worn or damaged parts should be replaced promptly.

By following the manufacturer’s recommendations for installing and maintaining a Softail suspension system, riders can enjoy enhanced performance and a longer lifespan for their suspension system.

Riding Comfort

The ride is made smoother and more comfortable with improved comfort on rough terrain, allowing riders to traverse obstacles with ease.

Enhanced stability and handling provide cyclists a secure and confident ride, allowing them to focus on the journey instead of worrying about their safety.

Finally, reduced stress on the body results in a far more enjoyable ride, letting riders move faster and further with less fatigue.

Improved Comfort on Rough Terrain

The suspension system can provide a pleasant surprise as the roads grow more uneven. Improved comfort on rough terrain is one of the many benefits of having a well-designed suspension system.

This can provide a smoother ride, even when traversing rough terrain, and can be a boon for those who drive over unpaved roads.

The suspension can absorb the bumps and jolts of driving on a rough surface. This can provide a smoother ride and reduce the stress on the body from bouncing around in the car.

The suspension system can also help to reduce the fatigue that can come from riding in a car on a rough surface.

The suspension can also improve the handling of the vehicle on rough terrain. It can help keep the car level and steadily improve your bike’s overall handling and stability in such conditions.

This can help reduce the risk of losing control of the vehicle, making it easier to navigate obstacles and stay on track.

With improved comfort on rough terrain, the suspension system can offer a more pleasant experience when traversing difficult roads.

It can help to reduce the stress on the body and enhance your bike’s overall handling, making the journey easier and more enjoyable.

Enhanced Stability and Handling

Considering how improved suspension contributes to enhanced stability and handling while riding is important.

This improved handling is especially noticeable on rough terrain, as the suspension system helps to absorb the shocks and jolts that the rider would otherwise feel.

With the suspension system working to keep the bicycle steady and the rider in complete control, riders can traverse uneven terrain easily and confidently.

The suspension system does more than absorb shock; it also helps to maintain the bike’s balance and handling.

KeepingKeeping the center of gravity lower helps the bike stay more upright and prevents it from tipping over during sharp turns or on rough terrain.

The suspension system also helps reduce the effort required to turn the bike, making it easier to maneuver and control.

Finally, the suspension system helps reduce the amount of stress and fatigue the rider experiences. By absorbing the shocks and vibrations of the terrain, it helps to reduce the strain on the rider’s body, allowing for a more comfortable and enjoyable ride.

The rider can enjoy a longer and more enjoyable ride by keeping the body relaxed.

Reduced Stress on the Body

Having a reliable suspension system is essential for reducing stress on the body while riding. With a suspension system, riders can enjoy greater comfort while traversing uneven terrain and experience a smoother, less jarring ride. Additionally, a suspension system can reduce stress on the body by providing the following benefits.

For starters, the suspension system helps absorb the shocks of uneven surfaces, allowing riders to ride without feeling the bumps.

This helps to reduce fatigue over long rides and keeps the rider feeling fresh and energized after each ride.

Additionally, the suspension system helps to evenly distribute the rider’s weight evenly, reducing the impact of any sudden bumps or holes.

This helps to prevent any aches or pains that may come from riding on uncomfortable surfaces, making the ride more enjoyable and stress-free.

Finally, the suspension system also helps to stabilize the bike, allowing the rider to keep a consistent speed while traversing rough terrain.

This helps reduce the effort the rider needs to put into controlling their bike and keeps them from feeling exhausted from constantly having to adjust to the terrain.

All of these benefits together make for a more comfortable and stress-free ride, allowing riders to enjoy the ride without feeling the effects of rough terrain.

Heavy-Duty Design

The heavy-duty design of the bike enables it to withstand the toughest of trails. With a strong frame crafted from rugged alloy, it is sure to offer superior stability and durability.

The bike is designed to handle any terrain, ensuring that you feel safe and secure when riding.

The frame is further reinforced with a sturdy suspension system, which helps absorb shocks and bumps along the way. This provides a smooth, comfortable ride, even over rough terrain. The bike is also equipped with a high-traction tire, which helps you stay in control on any surface.

The bike also features a wide range of adjustable components, allowing you to customize it to your own specifications. You can adjust the seat height, handlebar angle, and stem length for the perfect fit.

With the ability to personalize the bike to your preferences, you can be sure of a ride tailored to you.

Customization Options

Switching gears, let’s move on to the dazzling customization options of the bike. You can create a stunning ride from the frame to the seat that reflects your style and personality.

The frame is available in two different sizes, giving riders the ability to find the size that is perfect for them. The frame can be customized with colorful accents, ranging from bright blues to earthy browns.

The adjustable seat allows riders to find the perfect height for their body type. Furthermore, the seat is available in various colors and designs, making it easy to find a look that fits your style.

For a truly unique look, riders can add their own personal flair to their bike with a customized seat cover. Choose from a variety of colors and patterns to make your bike stand out from the rest.

The handlebars are adjustable as well, allowing riders to find the perfect grip for their hands. For an extra special touch, riders can add their own customized handlebar grips.

Whether you like bright and bold colors or more subtle shades, the customization options are nearly endless.

Different Types of Softail Motorcycles

The Sportster Softail is perfect for those who want a lightweight motorcycle for cruising. It has a low-slung look and is powered by an efficient engine.

The Cruiser Softail is designed for a comfortable ride with adjustable suspension and plush seating.

Meanwhile, the Touring Softail is a great choice for riders who want to cover long distances in style, boasting a powerful engine and robust frame.

Sportster Softail

The Sportster Softail stands out from the crowd, from the safety features of the Softail motorcycle to the different types of Softail motorcycles.

With a low-slung profile, this type of Softail offers a unique look and feel that is sure to turn heads. Its iconic design is unmistakable, and its performance is unmatched.

The Sportster Softail comes with a variety of features that make it the ideal bike for riders of all types. The air-cooled Evolution engine is designed to provide superior power and reliability, while the suspension provides a smooth, comfortable ride.

The chrome accents add a touch of class, while the rubber-mounted handlebars offer comfort and control.

In addition, the Sportster Softail offers a variety of customization options to fit every rider’s style. From custom paint jobs to unique exhaust systems, riders can create the perfect look for their bike.

With the right customization and care, the Sportster Softail will be a motorcycle that stands out from the crowd and will last for years to come.

Cruiser Softail

Taking the next step from Softail motorcycles’ safety features, let’s look at the different types available.

One of the most popular types of Softail motorcycles is the Cruiser Softail. These models are designed for riders who crave a classic look with modern performance.

The Cruiser Softail has a low, comfortable seat and a balanced riding position, making it easy to handle.

The wide, stable wheelbase is perfect for cruising down the open road, while the raised handlebars provide great visibility. The long, sleek fuel tank gives the bike a classic look that will draw admiring glances wherever it goes.

The Cruiser Softail is powered by a powerful V-Twin engine, giving it plenty of power for taking off quickly or cruising comfortably at higher speeds. The engine is tucked away beneath the frame to give the bike a low profile while adding to its classic look.

The durable suspension system offers a comfortable ride and improved handling, even on bumpy roads. With its classic styling and modern performance, the Cruiser Softail is a perfect choice for those who want a great-looking ride with plenty of power.

Touring Softail

In addition to the safety features offered by Softail motorcycles, several different types of Softail models are available, with the Touring Softail standing out from the rest.

This particular Softail model is designed for long-distance travel, providing riders with a comfortable ride and the ability to easily cover large distances.

The Touring Softail is equipped with a large fuel tank, allowing riders to go for longer distances without having to refuel.

It also has a plush seat and long-travel suspension, providing riders with maximum comfort while also offering excellent handling capabilities.

Additionally, the bike is equipped with plenty of storage space, allowing riders to pack all the necessary items for a long-distance road trip.

The Touring Softail is powered by a powerful engine that provides enough power for highway cruising. This engine is coupled with a smooth-shifting transmission and a low-maintenance belt drive, making it easy to handle and maintain.

The bike also features a number of accessories, including cruise control and a built-in radio, making it the perfect choice for those looking for a long-distance touring bike.

Common Softail Brands

The three most recognized and iconic Softail brands are Harley-Davidson, Indian Motorcycles, and Victory Motorcycles. Each of these manufacturers offer a wide selection of motorcycles designed to appeal to a variety of riders.

From the classic blacked-out styling of Harley-Davidson to the stylishly modernized Indian Motorcycles to the sleek and powerful Victory Motorcycles, there’s a perfect fit for any rider.


Following the discussion on different types of Softail motorcycles, it is important to become familiar with the common brands of Softail motorcycles.

A popular brand, Harley-Davidson, has been producing Softail motorcycles since 1984. The company has since created a diverse range of models with classic styling and modern features.

Harley-Davidson offers a variety of Softail models ranging from the heritage-inspired Fat Boy to the race-inspired FXDR 114.

Each Softail model also comes with features such as an adjustable mono-shock rear suspension and a rigid-mounted powertrain.

Additionally, riders can customize their Softail bike with a range of options, including different handlebars, exhaust systems, and air intakes.

The company also offers its own performance parts and accessories line for its Softail bikes. These parts and accessories are designed to help riders customize their Softail model, from performance upgrades to styling enhancements.

Harley-Davidson also offers a range of different seating options, including two-up and solo seats for added comfort and convenience.

This array of options allows riders to create a Softail bike that is perfectly tailored to their individual style and preference.

Indian Motorcycles

The world of Softail motorcycles is broad and varied, and the brands that make them are no different. One of the most popular brands that make Softail motorcycles is Indian Motorcycles.

Not only do they make a wide variety of models, but they also offer sleek designs and reliable performance.

Indian Motorcycles has a long history of providing riders with dependable and beautiful motorcycles. Their Softail lineup is no exception, with models ranging from the classic Indian Scout to the retro-inspired Indian Chief.

Each of these bikes comes in a variety of color options, allowing riders to choose the look that best suits them. In addition, Indian Motorcycles offers a variety of powertrains, from the traditional V-Twin engine to a hybrid electric motor.

The Softail models from Indian Motorcycles also offer riders a wide range of features and accessories. From custom paint jobs to high-performance exhausts, there are plenty of ways to customize the bike to your individual style.

The company also offers a variety of safety features, such as ABS and traction control, to keep riders safe on the road.

With all of these features and options, Indian Motorcycles provides riders with plenty of options when it comes to finding the perfect Softail motorcycle.

Victory Motorcycles

Transitioning from the various Softail motorcycle types, it is time to explore the common brands available. One popular brand of Softail motorcycles is Victory Motorcycles.

Established in 1998, Victory Motorcycles was born from a dream of creating an American-made motorcycle that could compete with the world’s best.

The Victory Motorcycles lineup includes several models of Softail motorcycles, each with its own distinct style and capabilities.

The classic Victory Cross Country is a popular Softail model featuring a sleek, contemporary design and a powerful 106 cubic-inch Freedom V-Twin engine.

The Cross Country is designed to provide comfort and reliability even on long-distance rides. It comes standard with cruise control, a truly one-of-a-kind integrated audio system, and an impressive 6-speed transmission.

Victory also offers the Vegas model, a Softail cruiser that is perfect for riders looking for a stylish and powerful bike.

The Vegas features a muscular engine and a lightweight frame, making it an ideal choice for riders who want to go fast in style.

It also comes with a stylish chrome package and an impressive suspension system that provides a smooth ride over all types of terrain.

The popularity of Victory Motorcycles is a testament to the company’s commitment to creating powerful, reliable, and stylish Softail models that are sure to turn heads wherever they go. With a variety of models and features to choose from, Victory Motorcycles has something for everyone.

Cost and Value

Softail motorcycles come in a variety of price ranges, from the affordable to the extravagant. Spending more can bring about an array of benefits, such as improved performance, increased comfort, and greater longevity.

However, there are also considerations to make when it comes to value, such as the quality and durability of the bike and the availability of spare parts.

Price Range for Softail Motorcycles

Transitioning from the discussion of common Softail brands to the cost and value of these motorcycles, it is important to consider the range of prices for a Softail bike.

Although there is a wide range of prices for Softail bikes from different brands, most of the offerings range from the mid-to high-thousands.

Those who are willing to invest more in their Softail can expect greater performance and more features. Spending more money on a Softail could mean a higher-end engine, better suspension, and additional features such as rider-assist technology. Higher-end bikes also tend to have more upgraded components and are generally more reliable.

The cost of a Softail is largely dependent on the features and quality of parts that come with the motorcycle. When considering the price of a Softail, it is important to assess what type of riding experience is desired and which features are necessary for that particular bike.

While cheaper Softail bikes may not have all the bells and whistles, they may still provide an enjoyable ride if the rider’s expectations are realistic.

Benefits of Spending More

Sumptuous Softails come with a cost, and it’s worth considering how much you should spend when purchasing one of these beloved models.

While the price range for Softail motorcycles can vary widely, there are a number of benefits associated with spending more.

Investing in a higher-end model can provide a level of performance and customization that is unparalleled.

Advanced engine technology, such as electronic fuel injection, can provide a more efficient and reliable ride.

A higher-end model can also come with more advanced suspension systems and specially designed brakes that provide extra stopping power, creating a more comfortable and safe ride.

The level of customization that can be achieved with a higher-end Softail model is unparalleled. Custom paint, exhaust, and accessories can create a one-of-a-kind bike that will make any rider stand out from the crowd.

Furthermore, a Softail that’s been customized to one’s unique style and taste can be an investment that lasts for years. With proper maintenance and care, these bikes can be enjoyed for many years and generations to come.

Considerations for Value

When evaluating the value of a Softail motorcycle, there are many factors to consider. The first is the overall quality of the bike. A bike that is well-made with high-quality parts will last longer and be more reliable than a cheaper model.

A higher-end Softail may also come with features not available on lower-end models, like additional comfort or performance upgrades.

Another important factor to consider is the resale value of the bike. A well-made Softail will generally retain a higher resale value, making it a better financial choice in the long run.

It is important to research the resale value of different Softail models before making a purchase, as some may have a much higher resale value than others.

Finally, it is important to take into consideration the aftermarket support available for Softail motorcycles. Some models may have more aftermarket parts available, making it easier and cheaper to customize the bike to your liking.

Additionally, some aftermarket parts may also increase the bike’s resale value, making them a great investment.

Researching the aftermarket support for different Softail models before purchasing is important, as some may have significantly more support than others.


Softail motorcycles offer riders a combination of comfort and style. With their unique suspension system, riders can enjoy a smooth ride with less vibration.

The design and aesthetics of a softail are a major draw for many riders, while the safety features provide an extra layer of security.

From classic Harley Davidson models to modern takes on the softail, there are a variety of models to choose from.

With a variety of prices, riders can find a bike that fits their budget without sacrificing quality. Softail motorcycles are a great option for those looking for a stylish, comfortable ride.

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