Harley-Davidson Slim S Review, Bold Sensation !

Arms are spread to a wide, curved, drooping handlebar, framing the old-style tank-mounted speedo. Ahead there’s a simply enormous round headlight casing, and a broad teardrop tank with olive paint and white star splays knees. The soundtrack is a deep, off-beat V-twin rumble, but suitably rousing title music from a second world war movie would be more fitting – with this view and all these sensations I could easily be blundering across unsealed roads just a few miles from the front.

Harley-Davidson Slim S Review

The bike responsible for this silly daydreaming is Harley-Davidson’s new Slim S. It’s predictably based on the existing Slim, which is a long ‘n’ low single seat cruiser with traditional ‘bobber’ styling, a 103ci (1690cc) V-twin with some 98 lb.ft of torque and the lowest perch in Harley’s range, and one of the Softail range (rigid-mounted engines with balance shafts, twin hidden rear shocks). For this limited edition S version Harely have larruped all the shiny metal with black paint, given it a military-inspired makeover in what they’ve decided to call ‘Olive Gold Denim’ and then pinched the 110ci (1801cc) Screamin’ Eagle motor from their glitzy CVO range-toppers.

With a walloping 107 lb.ft, Harley-Davidson Slim S is the most bulging engine in any naked Harley. This is big grunt. Out with the chunky clutch lever, belch casually through three gears, glance down and you’re doing 90mph. Pipes develop an addictive hard the standard-fit Stage 1 highflow air filter sounds like it’ll suck your trousers off. It’s more than the fat 16-inch rear tyre can deal with – pulling out briskly onto a large roundabout the Harley-Davidson Slim S slews out sideways as I clunk into second gear with the large heel-and-toe lever, despite warm tyres and a clean, dry surface.

Harley-Davidson Slim S Review

It’s not all whoop-out-loud silliness. Like all Softails, the Harley-Davidson Slim S has fewer vibes than Dyna-model stable-mates with rubber-mounted engines, and 60mph is just 2.150 RPM in sixth gear (the small digi panel in the speedo displays either odometer, trip, time, or gear position and numerical revs). The S gets cruise control as standard too, activated from thud beyond half throttle, and the left switchgear. Speaking of the switches, you get the robust controls and high level of finish we now take for granted on modern Harleys (usual rusty tailpipes aside), plus keyless ignition and self-cancelling indicators. It stops well too – all 2016 Softail models need 40% less lever effort for maximum braking pressure at the four-pot caliper, with ABS as standard.

The rest of the experience is usual cruiser. So it weighs a third of a tonne, drags the foot boards at every opportunity and has ride quality that we’ll call ‘engaging’. Models from Haley-Davidson’s Sportster line-up are more practical and easier to ride. But then user-friendliness isn’t what the Harley-Davidson Slim S is about. It’s for delivering bold sensations and distinct feel, with an unmistakable image and the authenticity you still only get from a Harley. And it does this brilliantly. All they need to do now is add a rifle holder to the already-excessive accessory list. Oh, and maybe a tank-mounted gearshift...

Harley-Davidson Slim S Verdict

Basic ride, limited handling, heavy controls, thudding motor – yep, it’s all as Harley-Davidson Slim S should be. If your riding is all about vivid sensations and image, there’s not much better.

Harley-Davidson Slim S Specs

Engine : Four stroke, "Screamin' Eagle" V-Twin, DOHC 8-Valve, Air-Cooled
Capacity : 1.081 cc
Bore x Stroke : 101,6 x 111 mm
Compression Ratio : 9,5 : 1
Induction : Fuel Injection
Max Power : 75 HP
Max Torque : 147 N.m @ 3.500 RPM

Front Brakes : 2 x Disc, 4-Pot Calipers, ABS (Optional)
Rear Brakes : Single Disc, 2-Pot Caliper
Front Tyre : MT90B16 72H
Rear Tyre : MU85B16 77H

Wheelbase : 1.635 mm
Seat Height : 660 mm
Weight : 321 Kg
Fuel Capacity : 18.9 Litres

Price : £17,495 (Black : £17,195)