Motorcycle: Overhead Valve Twins - Softails-FLSTN Heritage Softail Nostalgia, 19
Date: Sunday, October 31 @ 14:59:48 UTC
Topic: Motorcycle, Motorcycles, Motor Cycle
FLSTN Heritage Softail Nostalgia, 1993
Dubbed the "CowGlide" on its release for the 1993 model year, the limited-edition Heritage Nostalgia was the fanciest incarnation of Milwaukee's fanciest line. The nickname came from its hairy, black-and-white natural cowhide seat and saddlebag inserts, but there were plenty more cosmetic tricks where they came from. Little wonder its creators described it as: "Without doubt, the most distinctive-looking motorcycle in Harley's 1993 line ... nostalgic-looking ... but thoroughly modern." It had already proved a winning formula.
Modern, of course, means something else in Harley-Davidson's wondrous time-warp world - like whitewall tyres and forks straight out of the 1940s. Ever since beginning life in 1986, the Heritage Softail package attempted to re-enact the look of the 1949 HydraGlide, with its "hardtail" rear and gleaming metal fork shrouds.
Fine detail isn't something you'd normally expect from a device scaling almost one third of a ton, but this is a Harley, so the tank badge is a specially fired enamel named "jewelled cloisonne." Yet at heart, it's essentially an even more customized variant on the Heritage Softail Classic, available only in Birch White and Black two-tone, with black and chrome engine trim. Power comes from an identical 80-inch Evo engine booming out the same 69bhp at a mere 5,000rpm and a mammoth 70-or- so pound-feet (95Nm) of torque at an even lowlier 3,500rpm. Like the rest of the 1993 range, the Nostalgia benefited from a taller final drive (61-tooth rear pulley) for lower revs at cruising speeds. Improved brake and clutch levers, master cylinder sight glasses and a new, neater engine-breather system also arrived for the same model year.
To ride, it's inevitably much like any other Softail, particularly the Classic or Fat Boy (with which it shares wheel sizes), steering geometry (32-degrees rake, 5.8in/147mm trail), forks, footboards, handlebars and almost every other relevant dimension. The only significant differences are a fuel tank almost 1/4 gallon (1 litre) larger and the addition of a hefty 93 lbs (42kg) of mass compared to the basic Softail model.
With suspension springing as soft as the CowGlide's considerable weight will allow, handling falls somewhere between sedate and ponderous. Over bumps, the steering is vague and accompanied by a slow weave whenever the road turns lumpy. As with the brakes, it's adequate if it is ridden with prudence.
Since Softail engines are not rubber-mounted, the vibrations intrude towards the top of tlie rev range even with its higher overall gearing - or as its makers prefer, the bike "rumbles with the echoes of Harleys past."
At a first glance, most onlookers took the Nostalgia - which was fresh from the factory floor - to be either the real 1949 McCoy or a bespoke special that had been put together at huge expense by one of Hollywood's celebrity custom farms. Harley-Davidson's retro illusion was that good, yet only 2,700 examples of the limited-edition Nostalgia were ever built. Even at $13,000 - just $3,100 less than the most lavish Glide - demand for these highly-desirable models far exceeded supply.
Second-hand "CowGlide" Nostalgias were soon changing hands at far more than list price. Mark up another masterpiece for Willie G. Davidson and his men.
Engine: air-cooled ohv V-twin
Capacity: 81.6cu in (1,340cc)
Weight 710 lbs (322 kg)
Wheelbase: 64.2m (1,630mm)
Top speed 100 mph (161kph)
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