Harley-Davidson unveiled its latest Softail model at the Daytona Bike Week
in Florida. It definitely lives up to the brand's storied reputation for character-infused styling and finish.
Crowds flooded Main Street, eagerly awaiting the arrival of this new American beauty. While some fans considered the current Softail lineup too timid to really fire up that devil-may-care attitude, here comes a machine that will immediately bring out the rebel in you. With pure, clean lines and a bold, slammed profile, the 2013 Harley-Davidson Breakout shouts premium custom.
This Softail stands out from every other with a radically cut rear fender, exclusive Gasser wheels (3.5x21 front, 8x18 rear), a massive 240-mm rear tire, a wide fork crown, and a new aluminum oil tank.
Beyond that, the 2013 Harley-Davidson Breakout features all of the Softail staples including a hardtail-looking, tubular steel frame (with concealed shock absorbers), a 1,690cc twin-cylinder engine on rigid mounts, a 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission, and a belt final drive.
Perfectly matched engine
Neither the biggest nor the most powerful in the family, the Twin Cam 103 that powers the 2013 Harley-Davidson Breakout delivers a combination of torque, power, and mechanical feel that perfectly fits the bike's philosophy. A large bore, high compression ratio (9.6:1), as well as advanced cams and engine maps boost output up to 75 hp, while peak torque amounts to 95.5 lb-ft at 3,000 rpm -- most of which is available at just 2,000 rpm. That's enough to yield strong acceleration, even during two-up riding.
The 2013 Harley-Davidson Breakout's nicely calibrated transmission allows you to make the most of the fat torque curve, while also limiting the need to shift gears. You can cruise on boulevards using a single gear, and overtake slower vehicles on country roads without downshifting. When you do have to shift, the transmission is all too happy to oblige in sharp, effortless fashion.
|The Twin Cam 103 that powers the 2013 Harley-Davidson Breakout delivers a combination of torque, power, and mechanical feel that perfectly fits the bike's philosophy. (Photo: France Ouellet)
Styling without much suffering
The surprisingly comfortable riding position of the 2013 Harley-Davidson Breakout reminded me of the old Night Train's, fortunately with the handlebars sitting a bit closer to the rider. Arms and legs are not too extended, and the seat is ergonomically shaped. That just makes this sexy cruiser even more engaging. Well done, Harley!
Furthermore, the rider can always focus on the road, helped by an easier-to-read speedometer positioned atop the bright, burly fork (instead of mounted on the fuel tank). While the 2013 Harley-Davidson Breakout handles gentle riding as admirably as its siblings, cruising to the sweet sound of the Twin Cam 103, it unleashes a dragster's fury when you push the revs up, and makes you want to crush the pavement every time the traffic light turns green.
On twisty roads, the wide rear tire and massive weight (308 kg) don't prevent the 2013 Harley-Davidson Breakout from easily changing directions. Much of the credit goes to the wide handlebars and carefully studied geometry. At the same time, the Breakout is reassuringly stable in corners, as long as the road stays slick. On rougher stretches, the front fork does a good job of soaking up bumps and cracks, but the slammed rear suspension can take its toll. Overall, I quite liked the bike's settings given its sporty cruiser aspirations.
|The surprisingly comfortable riding position of the 2013 Harley-Davidson Breakout reminded me of the old Night Train's, fortunately with the handlebars sitting a bit closer to the rider. (Photo: France Ouellet)
Bless the ABS brakes
While the single front disc fully exposes the beautiful rim on the other side, it doesn't prove powerful enough during emergency braking manoeuvres. As is the case with so many cruisers, you have to apply about two thirds of the braking pressure to the rear brake to get the desired results. Next-generation ABS positively increases safety and confidence, however.
Harley-Davidson is now making a habit of launching custom bikes straight out of the factory. The new 2013 Breakout impresses with stunning styling and terrific thrills, adding a healthy dose of delinquency to the Softail range. Without a doubt, this is the most attractive Harley of the present decade.
|While the single front disc fully exposes the beautiful rim on the other side, it doesn't prove powerful enough during emergency braking manoeuvres. (Photo: France Ouellet)
- Breathtaking looks
- Excellent fit and finish
- Adequate ride and comfort for a chopper
- Lovely engine (character and performance)
- Slammed rear suspension makes it harsh at times