Harley-Davidson Softail Slim S


Although the Harley Slim may be their entry-level Softail, it’s a great blend of Bobber style combined with big power from their 110 cubic inch, twin cam, Screaming Eagle V-Twin motor.


When I first climbed aboard the Slim I couldn’t help noticing how low the bike is, low and wide, which got me thinking - why did they call it Slim? Reminded me of the days I rode with the Hells Angels – there was an “Angel” called Slim, and he was anything but slim, a big brawny bruiser who didn’t take kak from anyone… Sooo, maybe that’s why they called this bruiser the Slim, 'cos although it might look plain and simple, it actually packs quite a punch, loads of lowdown pulling power, yet smooth and comfortable, no frills, but yet enough to provide a confident, purposeful ride.


At the heart of the Slim S is it’s robust Screaming Eagle 1800cc (110) Twin Cam motor, so strong, so willing and so effortless, just pop the bike into gear, drop the clutch and this gentle brute will take you on your journey with the greatest of ease. The air-cooled V-Twin makes 148 Nm/109 ft lb of torque @ just 3500 rpm.


Riding the Slim is effortless, obviously it can’ be banked-over too far in tight corners, but that’s not what this machine is about – what it is about is cruising, all day long. I could easily ride a thousand clicks a day, every day, on the Slim. Brakes are single discs front and rear, are ABS and more than adequate, they also help keep weight down to 309kg dry.


Fuel tank capacity is 18.9 litres, which gave me a range of 300kms at an average speed of around 120kph and there’s a fairly accurate gauge built into the left side fuel cap.


Tyres front and rear are both typical Bobber style 16 inch’s, while the seat height is a mere 650 mm above the pavement. Handlebars and floor-boards are wide, while everything else is indeed slim. A nice, big Fatboy headlight and forks add to the Bobber look and feel, which I must say I quite like.


What I like about the Slim is… well, everything - no seriously, I like the clean, minimalistic look, but still has all the essentials for a good ride, like a big, powerful V-Twin engine, spoke wheels, the hydraulically-operated clutch, cruise-control, excellent lights, comfortable seat (although I would prefer a double seat, so I can take my sexy chick for a spin sometimes), love the short, chunky mudguards, love the big Harley Speedo with built in gear indicator – rev counter, fuel range, trip meter etc  and I love all the blacked out bits.


What I didn’t like was that I battled to find neutral, I didn’t like the muffled sound of the exhausts and the fact that I had to give the bike back after my five days in the saddle, otherwise the Harley-Davidson Softail Slim S is as near as dammit to being the perfect production Bobber.


Words and photos by Kenn Slater


Thanks to Great Than, Pretoria H-D and Harley-Davidson SA for the ride.


The Softail Slim S is NICE… and SEXY!