The FXDR 114 looks more like a modern racer than a traditional Harley. Is beauty only skin deep?

Earlier this year Harley-Davidson introduced its latest power cruiser, the FXDR 114. Named for its big Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine, the FXDR much more modern, sporty styling than a traditional Harley. This type of styling is more appealing to younger riders than Harley's classic looks and typical miles of chrome doo-dads. What lies under the skin of this more modern looking Harley?

"We touched almost everything you can see, touch or feel," says Harley. That's true since the FXDR 114 bears virtually no resemblance to other bikes sharing its Softail platform. The bodywork is fresh, with small windscreen, a short tail section with a removable cowl, and unique side covers, front fender, and a chin spoiler. The aluminum wheels are unique to the FXDR, with a 19-inch “Ace” front wheel with 5 pairs of thin spokes and a lightweight 18-by-8 solid disk in the rear. It features LED lighting, with a unique taillight attached to the aluminum swingarm with its own single aluminum mount. This Harley uses clip-on handlebars and a digital gauge cluster.

The Milwaukee-Eight engine features a forward facing intake inspired by drag bikes with an oil-free exposed filter. The exhaust is a unique two-into-one system with a modern look that integrates the catalytic converter. Together, this generates 119 pound-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm in its configuration for the U.S. and Canada. Harley doesn't list a horsepower rating, which seems a bit of an omission for a power cruiser, but the Fat Bob's 114 makes 82.3 horsepower, so the FXDR is probably similar.

Harley has also tweaked the suspension geometry a bit. The new cast aluminum swingarm adds a half-inch offset in rear shock mounting point to provide the superior handling of a long shock in a small package that fits under the FXDR's skin. The front suspension features inverted forks with single-cartridge damping and triple-rate spring. Harley has set the frame in a slightly higher plane to enable steeper lean angles of 32.6 and 32.8 degrees, the most of any Softail-based bike.

Look a bit deeper, though, and it becomes clear that despite some unique parts, the FXDR is still very much a parts-bin special. The inverted forks are modified from the forks on the FXFB and FLSB. The headlight comes from the Breakout, and the turn signals from the Deluxe. The digital gauge cluster is also from the Breakout, as well as the Street Bob. The Milwaukee-Twin 114 engine has no internal changes for the FXDR, so like other Harleys, it favors low-end torque over high-end horsepower. Also, let's face it, you know that Harlistas will ditch that fancy-pants exhaust and header in favor of louder aftermarket exhausts as soon as they can.

Is being a parts-bin special such a bad thing? Eh, not really, especially since this bike is more than just a Breakout with different bodywork. Sure, it uses a bunch of parts from other bikes, but the combination of parts is unique to the FXDR 114 and gives it a distinctive look. There are also enough design and minor geometry changes, as well as weight reduction, to properly call the FXDR 114 a unique model. Will it attract the much-vaunted Youths? That remains to be seen, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

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  • Performance
    • The FXDR utilizes the 114 cubic inch Milwaukee Eight V-Twin that puts down 119 ft-lb of torque.
    • The drag racing inspired intake features a heavy breather style with length and flow path tuned for the Milwaukee Eight 114 CI motor utilizing analytical techniques and dynamometer evaluation to enhance airflow to the engine.
    • The intake utilizes a new synthetic media that does not require oiling.
    • The exhaust utilizes a forward swept 2 into 1 system, with catalyst packaged within the welded header
    • The muffler takes an aggressive modern shape, formed to clear lean angle planes, tuned for acceleration, thermal performance, and Harley-Davidson sound, while meeting regulatory noise performance requirements.
  • Weight Reduction
    • Swingarm: Optimized aluminum casting, utilizing analytical techniques for both the design and processing to put the strength where we need it and otherwise save weight. 
    • Subframe: Welded aluminum truss structure subframe for the seat and rear tail section. This is visible when removing the rear cowl to reveal a small storage area.
    • Triple Clamps: Forged aluminum triple clamps are optimized to balance the many functions of the triple clamp including, but not limited to, holding the forks.
    • Handlebars: Handlebar risers are forged aluminum, enabling the primary function of steering and also integrating packaging and routing of hand controls and brake packaging.
    • Headlight Bracket is cast aluminum and is built off the success of the Breakout headlight bracket.
    • Single-Sided Rear Lighting Arm, similar to the swingarm, is cast aluminum with optimization to withstand the high dynamic loads of being cantilevered off the swingarm.   
    • Molded composite components used where appropriate to save weight over stamped steel, and enable the target forms and shapes. Integrating the tail section into a single piece was a notable challenge.
  • Dynamic Capability
    • Added an offset of 13 mm in the mounting location of the rear shock at the interface with our new cast swingarm.  This was done to enable the lean angle performance of a tall shock bike while maintaining the tight and low look of the tail section while utilizing a short-travel shock.
    • The integration and iteration of the details enabled by setting the frame in a slightly higher plane enabled the resulting soft contact lean angles of 32.6 & 32.8 degrees, the best in the Softail lineup.
    • Addition of a .75 degree split rake to precisely dial in trail to 120 mm (this is 25mm less than Breakout and 12 mm less than Fat Bob), tire selection, application specific tuning for rear shock with internal free piston, front forks with single cartridge damping and triple rate spring brought the dynamic performance together.