Harley-Davidson's Heritage Softail Classic gets some updates. Arun Mohan Nadar took it for a spin
We thought we'd have to be apologetic about breaking the calmness of a typical Delhi morning with the rumble of an American V-Twin.
While I rolled past the residences of India's political bigwigs, lapping up every metre of the neatly paved road, fitness freaks of every age and children sticking their necks out of school bus windows gave us nothing but smiles and waves of approval.
Well, that's the aura of the Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic.
Large proportions, dollops of chrome around the engine, the leather saddle and saddle bags, give it the timeless look of an old-school cruiser. Throw in the tyre whitewall, a traditional low-slung stance and you've got yourself something quintessentially classic!
The updated 2016 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail gets subtle additions like cruise control, a new air cleaner cover, redesigned saddlebags, a removable pillion seat and a detachable windshield.
Power still comes from the same 1,690cc, twin-pot mill that delivers a peak torque of 130Nm at 3,000rpm and it receives no mechanical changes.
Fire the engine up and it comes to life with a rumble before settling down to a quieter idle. A little modernisation comes from a ride-by-wire throttle, which does need little while to get used to.
Power delivery is linear, but as you'd expect, it's the torque that really swoops this machine ahead. The end result is some serious low-end grunt with the bike managing 50kmph in sixth gear with no signs of knocking.
A little throttle will send you into triple digit speeds and you can crunch down mile after mile with ease.
The 'big rear-friendly' seat can give many lounge chairs a complex while the curved back handlebars and forward-set footboards result in a relaxed riding posture.
With a kerb weight of 347kg, it's no lightweight, but the bike still feels nimble on its feet in traffic, though U-turns are tricky. What you will notice most though, is the air-cooled engine's heat in city traffic, which is good if you need some bread toasted.
On the open highway, though, the heat dissipation will be managed a lot better.
Harley-Davidson locally assembles the Heritage Softail, which helps achieve its sticker price of Rs 16.89 lakh, ex-showroom.
The only competition that it has in India is Triumph's Thunderbird LT which costs about the same, but if you need something with serious classic credential and a hunger for bigger odometer numbers, the Heritage Softail Classic makes a strong case to consider.