Best And Worst Year Heritage Softail Classic – Know Before You Buy

Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic might just be the bike for a classic ride with a timeless style. It has been around for decades, being a staple of the Harley-Davidson lineup.

Thus, it has undergone many changes over the years. With that, there have been some good years and some bad.  In this blog, I have discussed the best and worst years for the Heritage Softail Classic. Reading this, you can decide which model year is right in your garage. 

Year Heritage Softail Classic

A Brief Overview Of Heritage Softail Classic

A Brief Overview Of Heritage Softail Classic

Harley Heritage Softail Classic is indeed a retro-style cruiser with a combo of the nostalgic look and feel of a vintage motorcycle. Besides, the integration of modern technology has increased its fame over the years. You will surely love its classic styling, comfortable ride, and incredible amenities. 

This motorbike features a classic-style frame, chrome-plated components, and multiple choices of colors and graphics. In the latest 2023 model, a 1868cc Milwaukee-Eight™ 114 engine provides 94hp power at 5020rpm. Even the suspension is adjustable for a comfortable ride. Also, the brakes are solid and responsive.

Some unique accessories and features are leather saddlebags and windshields to chrome trim and saddlebags. It has a 6-speed transmission, ABS brakes, and a security system. Overall, you will have a complete thrill and feel of riding a perfect cruiser bike with Heritage Softail Classic. 

Best Years For Heritage Softail Classic

Best Years For Heritage Softail Classic

As Harley is always on the move, it is pretty difficult to define the “best” one model of its production. Similarly, choosing suitable years for Heritage Softail Classic is usually challenging. But I have found several (latest) model years that you may pick for the next ride. In this section, I will talk about these model years:

2005 Heritage Softail Classic

The 2005 Harley Heritage Softail Classic underwent a significant update, including a new frame, suspension, and engine. Its new frame provided the rider with a more comfortable ride. On the other hand, the updated suspension and 1449cc engine improved handling and performance. Even, it brings back a more retro look for the redesigned fuel tank and fenders.

2007 Heritage Softail Classic

2007 Heritage Softail Classic.

Probably, most riders after 2000 have talked about the 2007 model years. In fact, it will be in the top choice list for upcoming years. In this model, Harley Davidson introduced the Twin Cam 96 1584cc engine. It provides a significant boost in power and torque. Also, this model year is suggested for introducing a six-speed transmission that provides smoother and more efficient gear shifting.

2010 Heritage Softail Classic

A new seat design, chrome accents, and a new exhaust system are the core adjustments of the 2010 model year. Also, the 4-stroke, 45° V-Twin 1584cc engine is another reason to fall in love with this Heritage Softail Classic. These updates gave the bike a more refined and sophisticated look with a fabulous performance. 

2014 Heritage Softail Classic

2014 Heritage Softail Classic.

Another lovely model year is 2014. The manufacturer introduced the High Output Twin Cam 103 1690cc engine for the Heritage Softail Classic. Consequently, it provides sufficient power and torque to increase the heat of the streets. Many riders consider this model year for the beginning of anti-lock brakes to give consistent stopping power and control.

2018 Heritage Softail Classic

The 2018 model year brought a significant redesign to the bike. It has got a new frame, suspension, and 1868cc engine. Likewise, its new Softail frame provides an even more comfortable ride. Riders have got improved handling and performance with the updated suspension and engine. Additionally, you will love the vintage and elegant loo for its new fuel tank and fenders. 

Besides these model years, there are also a few others that people admire, mainly after the 2000s. But you may still face some unexpected issues over time which you may quickly deal with by yourself or by calling the dealer’s assistance. 

Worst Years For Heritage Softail Classic

Worst Years For Heritage Softail Classic

People from the debut of the bikes of this series loved them for its appearance, comfy ride, and high performance. Still, there have been some years when the Heritage Softail Classic didn’t perform as well as expected. In my research, I have found several worst years for the Heritage Softail Classic after the 1990s. They are:

2009 Heritage Softail Classic

Riders experienced some reliability issues, including problems with the transmission and electrical system. Also, it caused a lousy starting issue, like one rider complained – “sometimes starts OK, then will not start but can hear relay operating when the start button is pressed.” (Source: HDforums) Again, several reports were about fuel system issues that led to unexpected breakdowns.

2011 Heritage Softail Classic

The starting problem appeared again in 2011 model year. Several reports plot this issue. Thus, some electrical problems also cause bike riders to face many redundancies while on the road. “While cruising, my dash lights go out and check engine light comes on. After a while, the dash lights come back on again and check engine light goes off.” – one rider on HDforums criticized his 2011 model in this way. 

2013 Heritage Softail Classic

The 2013 model year was a difficult one for the Heritage Softail Classic. Many riders reported problems like idling, AUX lights burning out, and fuel pump issues. “This morning, idle was so low, that it would not run without giving it gas.

It evened out after warmup and I made it to work.” – that’s how a frustrated owner complained about the 2013 model’s idling problem. Similarly, another user pointed 3 symptoms of having a fuel pump issue in : (1) the starter works, the bike won’t start; (2) the bike starts with accelerant in the air intake; and (3) noise from (possible) fuel pump not engaging/turning on.

2019 Heritage Softail Classic

It’s a recent model year for Heritage Classic with minimal issues like “bike won’t start.” The bike fails to start if the rider rides it for certain miles. Here is a glance at this issue: an owner on HDforums threaded like this, “2019 Heritage Classic 114, 800 miles on bike. I went for a ride yesterday, just under 100 miles, stopped and started the bike about 4 times.” It required him to contact the dealer. 


So, these are all about the best and worst year Heritage Softail Classic of Harley. If you want to buy a used model, try to choose the bike produced after the 2000s. They are updated, reimagined, and introduced to new technology. Also, you will find lots of discussions on the latest models, about their virtues and faults. 

In my view, I would recommend buying a 2007 or 2018 model for their look and performance. Still, the choice is in your hand to pick the Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic model. But always check the reviews before selecting any of them. Thanks for reading the blog. Have a great day!

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