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Wilkins Harley-Davidson Celebrates 40 Years of the Iconic Softail Platform

At Wilkins Harley-Davidson, established in 1947, we're thrilled to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Harley-Davidson’s legendary Softail platform. Since its debut in 1984, the Softail has been a game-changer, blending Harley’s timeless aesthetic with cutting-edge performance. Here in Vermont, the Softail has become a symbol of freedom and adventure, resonating deeply with our riding community.

The original Softail design, spearheaded by Willie G. Davidson, featured a unique hidden rear suspension system that gave the bike the look of a rigid frame without compromising on comfort. This innovation set the stage for subsequent models, which have continued to evolve while maintaining the Softail’s classic charm. Over the years, the Softail family has expanded, incorporating various models that cater to different riding styles and preferences.

In 2018, Harley-Davidson revamped the entire Softail lineup, integrating the new Milwaukee-Eight engine and an improved frame. This overhaul not only enhanced performance but also ensured the bikes retained their classic appeal. The updated models featured a stiffer chassis and better handling, making them more agile and responsive. This balance of tradition and innovation is why the Softail has remained a favorite among Harley enthusiasts.

At Wilkins Harley-Davidson in Vermont, we've had the privilege of sharing these groundbreaking motorcycles with our community. From the historic 1984 FXST Softail to the modern-day Street Bob, each model represents a piece of Harley-Davidson’s rich heritage. Our riders have embraced these bikes, whether cruising through Vermont’s picturesque landscapes or embarking on long-distance adventures.

As we celebrate 40 years of the Softail, we invite you to join us in honoring this iconic platform. Visit us at Wilkins Harley-Davidson to see the latest Softail models and learn more about the history and evolution of these remarkable machines. With our extensive experience and dedication to the Harley-Davidson brand, we are proud to be a part of this enduring legacy.  Some highlights include:

1986 Heritage Softail – The FL front end, full skirted front fender, laced wheels and prominent headlamp reflect styling elements of the 1949 FL Hydra-Glide models. It’s a classic look that says “Harley-Davidson” to riders and non-riders alike.

1988 Springer™ Softail – The resurrection of the visual excitement of a Springer front suspension – discontinued by Harley-Davidson after 1952 in favor of hydraulic forks – was a bold styling move.

1990 Fat Boy® – One of the most iconic models in Harley-Davidson history, distinguished by its solid cast aluminum wheels and massive presence, remains in the Cruiser portfolio today.

1999 Softail Deuce™ – Perhaps the most radical of the Softail factory customs, the Deuce introduced a new “stretched” gas tank, sleek chrome fork sliders, all-new rear fender and the new Twin Cam 88B™ engine.

2008 Cross Bones™ – This exercise in pure vintage bobber styling featured a Springer™ front end framing a wide tire, laced wheels with black rims, a sprung solo seat, half-moon footboards and the introduction of flat Denim paint.


In Vermont, the Softail is more than just a motorcycle; it’s a symbol of freedom, innovation, and the enduring spirit of Harley-Davidson. Here’s to 40 years of the Softail and many more miles of open road ahead.

2024 Models

Softail® Standard model: This is the essential Harley-Davidson® cruiser experience with a lean, lightweight frame, classic chrome and polished finishes at a price that leaves budget headroom for customization.

Street Bob® 114 model: No-nonsense raw bobber attitude from the mini ape handlebar to the chopped rear fender is coupled with modern tech like the digital riser gauge and signature LED forward lighting. The ideal ride for customers that want equal parts style, performance and rideability.

Low Rider® S model: Straight from the factory this bike bundles the big attitude of West Coast style and unrelenting performance previously only attainable with significant investment in accessories.

Low Rider® ST model: Detachable hard saddlebags and an aerodynamic fairing create a weekend escape machine for the rider who digs pure clean-and-lean West Coast style and craves outrageous performance.

Breakout® model: With long and lean chopper styling the Breakout model flexes more muscle than any other bike out there. The unrelenting power of a Milwaukee-Eight® 117 engine is delivered to a fat 240mm rear tire exposed by the arrogant flip of a bobtail fender.

Heritage Classic 114 model: The quintessential American cruiser with show-stopping vintage details and pure rock and roll style drapes the Softail® platform in pure nostalgia inspired by Harley-Davidson® models from the 1950s.

Fat Boy® 114 model: The original fat-custom icon commands the road with a steamroller stance, cast aluminum Lakester wheels and a unique headlamp nacelle.

Fat Bob® 114 model: Built to conquer city streets with power and agility with a full arsenal of high-performance technology – dual front disc brakes, an inverted race-style front fork, and 2-1-2 custom styled exhaust.

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