Harley Dyna Vs. Softail Comparison – Details Overview

Harley Davidson Dyna (HD), or Harley, is one industry-leading motorcycle brand. They have faced and beat the consistent ups and downs since they started a business.

Over the years, they have produced user-friendly, attractive, and efficient two-wheelers in different models. Consequently, Dyna and Softail are great examples of these models. Both models have got their fame and love from the riders. Also, due to their popularity, people often engage in the debate for Harley Dyna vs. Softail comparison.

These bikes aren’t the same model. So, there are considerable differences between these two Harley models. Both styles of bike offer a different riding experience. Also, there are some critical differences in their engine power, performance, look, and comfort. It’s essential to decide what you’re looking for in a motorcycle before planning. Thus, we will include the key comparative points of Harley Softail and Harley Dyna before you finalize your buying decision.

Harley Dyna Vs. Softail

Harley Dyna Vs. Softail Comparison: A Comparative Analysis

Harley Dyna Vs. Softail Comparison 

Regarding choosing between a Harley Dyna and a Softail, there are several factors to consider. Both models have their unique features and characteristics that make them appealing to different riders. The Dyna is known for its sleek design and agile handling, making it a popular choice for riders who prefer a more sporty and responsive ride.

On the other hand, the Softail offers smoother and more comfortable rides thanks to its hidden rear suspension system. It also has a classic look that appeals to riders who prefer a more traditional style. Here are some details on Harley Dyna vs. Softail Comparison. Dyna and Softail from Harley Davidon belong to the heavyweight cruisers category of motorbikes. Here is a quick comparison table that shows the primary concept of these two models.

A Short Comparison Specifications

Regarding choosing between a Harley Dyna and a Softail, there are a few key differences to consider. The Dyna models are known for their classic, aggressive styling and responsive handling, making them a popular choice for heavyweight riders who enjoy a more sporty ride.

On the other hand, the Softail models offer a smoother, more comfortable ride thanks to their hidden rear suspension system. They also tend to have a more retro look, with their wide glide rear fenders and iconic Softail frame.


4V air-cooled, V-Twin

4-stroke, 45° V-Twin, Twin Cam 96 vibration isolation





1580 cc

1584 cc


295 kg

312 kg

Fuel Capacity

4.67 gal.

3.48 gal.


92.8” x 36.7” x 48.5” (L x W x H)

94.5” x 36.5” x 51.7” (L x W x H)

Max Speed

115 mph

110 mph

Fuel Consumption

44 mph avg.

44 mpg avg.

Best for

Riding 2 persons

Only one rider


Affordable than Softail

A bit costly

Comparison Features And Technology

Comparison Features And Technology

When comparing the Harley Dyna and Softail models, there are several key features and technologies to consider. The choice between the Harley Dyna and Softail models will depend on your preferences regarding style, performance, and riding experience. Visiting a Harley Davidson motorcycle dealership is recommended to test-ride both models and see which suits you best.

  • Frame: The Dyna models typically feature a steel twin-cradle frame, while the Softail models utilize a hidden rear suspension system that gives the appearance of a rigid frame.
  • Suspension: The Dyna models often have conventional front forks and dual rear shock absorbers in the rear, providing a more classic feel. On the other hand, the Softail models have a hidden rear suspension system that offers a smoother ride and improved handling.
  • Engine: Both the Dyna and Softail models offer a range of engine options, including the powerful Milwaukee-Eight engines. However, the Dyna models may have more customization options available for engine upgrades.
  • Style: The Dyna models often feature a more stripped-down and minimalistic design, while the Softail models tend to have a more traditional cruiser look with flowing lines and larger fenders.
  • Technology: Both the Dyna and Softail models come equipped with modern technology features such as LED lighting, advanced braking systems, and touchscreen infotainment systems on select models.

Physical Dimensions Comparison

When comparing the Harley Dyna and Softail models, it is important to consider their physical dimensions. The Dyna models typically have a longer wheelbase, which can contribute to a more stable ride, especially at higher speeds. On the other hand, the Softail models tend to have a shorter rider’s wheelbase, making them more maneuverable and agile in tight spaces.

Additionally, each model’s overall length and height may vary, affecting factors such as seating position and ground clearance. It is essential to assess these physical dimensions and consider how they align with your riding preferences and needs before deciding between the Harley Dyna and Softail models.

Here, you will learn the difference in physical attributes of Harley Softail and Dyna models. It will help you know the bike’s weight, ground clearance, and oil capacity. So you can make a better decision about purchasing your motorcycle.

Total length

92.72 inches

91.3 inches

Seat height

26.5 inches

25.8 inches


5.7 inches

6.2 inches

Fuel Capacity

4.67 gal.

3.48 gal.

Oil Capacity

5 quarts

5 quarts

Front Tire

110/90B19, 62H, BW

100/90B19, 57H, BW

Rear Tire

180/70B16, 77H, BW

150/80B16, 77H, BW

Weight (when shipped)

650 pounds

630 pounds

Weight (when in order)

679 pounds

655 pounds

Base of Wheel

63.6 inches

64.2 inches

Clearance of Ground

4.7 inches

4.9 inches

Engine Comparison

Engine Comparison

When comparing the Harley Dyna and Softail models, one important aspect to consider is the specifications of their engines. The Dyna models typically come with a Twin Cam 103 engine, which offers a powerful and responsive performance on the road. On the other hand, the Softail models often feature the Milwaukee-Eight engine, which provides improved power and efficiency compared to previous models.

The Milwaukee Eight 107 V-twin engine is reliable and features an efficient air cleaner cooling system for optimal engine performance. The rubber mount engine ensures smooth vibrations, while the engine displacement size determines the power output. Engine speed affects the overall performance, and engine oil is crucial in maintaining optimal lubrication.

Both Harley Dyna and Softail have a V-twin engine. This type of engine provides more power than a conventional single-cylinder engine. Here is the comparison table of Dyna and Softail engines:

Engine Type

Pushrod V-twin; High-Output Twin Cam 103

Milwaukee Eight 107 V-twin


103 cubic inches

107 cubic inches

Ratio of Compression



Bore Stroke

3.87” x 4.37”

3.94” x 4.37”

Maximum Torque

99.5 ft/lbs., 3750 rpm

110 ft/lbs., 3000 rpm





Dry sump



Air, oil

Primary ride



Final Ride



Fuel System

Electronic sequential port fuel injection



Web multi-plate






Chassis Comparison

Chassis Comparison

One important aspect to consider when comparing the Harley Dyna and Softail models is their chassis specifications. The Dyna models typically feature a steel cradle frame, which provides a strong and sturdy foundation for the bike.

This frame design offers excellent stability and handling, making it well-suited for riders who enjoy a more aggressive riding style. On the other hand, the Softail models are known for their unique hidden rear suspension system.

Frame Structure

Mild tubular steel

Carbon steel tubular

Front Suspension

Non-adjustable 49mm forks/5″ of travel

5.1 inches unadjusted Dual Bending Valve fork

Rear Suspension

Non-adjustable shocks/3.1 inches of travel

Travel: Spring-preload flexible shock, 3.4 inches

Front Wheel

21” x 2.15”; Steel laced rim

21” x 2.15”; Steel laced rim

Rear Wheel

17” x 4.5”; Steel laced rim

17” x 4.5”; Steel laced rim

First Tire

80/90 x 21

100/90 x 19

Rear Tire

180/60 x 17

150/ 80 x 16

Front Brake

300mm floating disc w/ 2-piston caliper

300mm disc/ fixed 4-piston caliper

Rear Brake

292mm disc w/ 2-piston caliper

292mm disk w/ floating 2-piston caliper


Performance Comparison

When comparing the Harley Dyna and Softail models, performance is an important factor. Both models offer powerful engines and smooth rides, but there are some differences in their performance capabilities.

The Dyna is popular for its agile handling and agility, making it a great choice for riders who enjoy a sportier ride. On the other hand, the Softail offers a more comfortable and relaxed ride, with its suspension system providing a smoother experience on rough roads.

Torque testing method



Torque volume

119 ft/lbs.

110 ft/lbs.


3000 rpm


Lean angle, right (DEG.)



Lean angle, left (DEG.)



Method of fuel economy testing

Estimated city or highway

Estimated city or highway

Economy of fuel

47 mpg

47 mpg


Comparison Of Design And Comfort

Dyna from Harley looks more like a sporty, adventurous motorbike. It is an excellent alternative to the Sportster, a smaller type of HD bike. Additionally, Dyna also has an energetic look like the Sportster. But it is much more extensive compared to Dyna. Even the maximum high-performing bike series from Harley comes with following the structure of Dyna.

The Softail, the most trendy model of Harley Davidson, features a unique design to support the rider for riding a long distance. It looks like a traditional tail cruiser with aesthetic architecture. Consequently, the bike has a hidden monotube suspension placed on the back. Softail has solid engine mounts, whereas Dyna has rubbery elastomer ones.

Performance Comparison

Harley Davidson manufactures the Dyna and Softail to win the race in the motorcycle market. In fact, they are already in the hearts of people who love long, comfy rides.  The Harley Dyna absorbs shocks well for its exposed shock absorber. It prevents the discomfort of riding on hilly terrains. Alternatively, Softail’s engine is rubber-mounted to give the rider vibration-free rides.

Dyna helps to make the corners very quickly. Also, you can steer the bike with perfect precision. If you love to ride with your beloved, you should prefer this HD motorcycle. But being a solo traveler, you should select Softail for flexible rides.

Harley Dyna Vs Softail Models Pros And Cons

Harley Dyna Vs Softail Models Pros And Cons

When comparing the Harley Dyna and Softail models, several pros and cons exist. Here is a breakdown of the main advantages and disadvantages of each:

Harley Dyna Pros

  • Excellent handling and maneuverability, making it ideal for urban riding.
  • More affordable price point compared to Softail models.
  • Wide range of customization options available.


  • Less comfortable suspension compared to Softail models.
  • Smaller fuel tank capacity, leading to more frequent refueling.

Harley Softail Pros

  • Smooth ride quality with advanced suspension technology.
  • Classic, retro design that appeals to many riders.
  • Larger fuel tank capacity for longer rides without refueling.


  • Higher price tag compared to Dyna models.
  • Heavier weight, which can affect manoeuvrability in tight spaces.

Choosing the Harley Dyna and Softail models will ultimately depend on individual preferences and riding style. Both offer unique features and benefits, so it’s important to test ride each model and consider your specific needs before making a decision.

Price Comparison

Price also matters when you want your dream bike. Likewise, there is a difference in price between these Harley bikes’ variations. The current (2022) model year of Softail costs about $13,949. On the other hand, the discontinuation of Dyna has led people to buy used units if anyone wishes to have them.

A used Dyna 2016/2017 model year may cost between $14K-$17K. Earlier, people considered that Dyna was affordable. But the discontinuation has made Softail comparatively cheaper for the new model.


Regarding choosing between the Harley Dyna vs. Softail Comparison, it ultimately boils down to personal preference and riding style. Both models have their unique features and benefits that cater to different riders. The Dyna offers a more traditional and raw riding experience with its exposed shocks and distinctive styling. On the other hand, the Softail provides a smoother ride and a more classic look thanks to its hidden rear suspension and retro design.

Whether you prioritize performance or aesthetics, both options deliver exceptional quality and the unmistakable Harley-Davidson model experience. So, take your time to test-ride both models and see which one speaks to you on an emotional level. No matter which one you choose, you can be confident that you’re getting a top-notch motorcycle from one of the most iconic brands in the world.


Why Is A Harley Called A Softail?

A Harley is called a Softail because it features a unique rear suspension system that gives the appearance of a rigid frame while still providing a smoother and more comfortable ride.

What Makes A Harley Dyna Different?

The Harley Dyna differs from other Harley models due to its unique frame design, which incorporates a twin-shock rear suspension system. This design provides a more comfortable and smoother ride than the traditional hardtail frame.

What Engines Do Dynas Have?

Dynas have various engine options, including V-twin engines from the Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight family. Depending on the Dyna model, these engines come in different displacements, ranging from 107 cubic inches (1753cc) to 114 cubic inches (1868cc).

Are Dynas Fuel Injected?

Yes, Dynas are fuel-injected motorcycles. Fuel injection is a system that delivers Fuel Gauge to the engine in precise amounts and at specific times, resulting in improved fuel efficiency, performance, and emissions control.

When Were Dynas Made?

Dynas were made between 1996 and 2007. The Dyna was a popular line of medium-duty trucks produced by Toyota. People knew these trucks for their reliability, versatility, and durability.

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