Deuces are wild!

Harley-Davidson serve another ace with the launch of the new Softail Deuce. Jack G. Beasley watches in awe.

Photos courtesy of Harley-Davidson Japan

Back in 1903 the first Harley-Davidson factory was built in the backyard of William C. Davidson's home in Milwaukee. Ten years later the first Harley arrived in Japan. Today, Japan is the second largest market for "The Motor Company." All the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers have tried to copy the Harley look but all have fallen short of the mark. Meanwhile, the Harleys just keep on rolling.

The new Deuce uses new technology to bring the classic design into the 21st century. The big challenge was to incorporate the newly developed 1400cc, 88b cubic inch power plant into a Softail frame, preserve the classic look and reduce vibration. The Deuce design team approached the problem from scratch, with a totally blank sheet of paper. When they were done, they had completely revised the model platform and reduced the number of parts, including a 50% reduction in frame parts alone. Addressing the vibration problem, the team utilized twin counter rotating balancers, harmonizing the relationship between frame and engine.

Other improvements on the Deuce include a new, one-piece, five-gallon fuel tank with integrated fuel gauge, a larger oil tank with an easier-to-read dipstick, sealed wheel bearings that eliminate greasing, a maintenance-free sealed battery, a new transmission which allows for smoother gear shifting and improved brakes that utilize a new rotor design and four-piston caliper, so less effort is required to stop. It's about time - in the past, Harley brakes have been known to be real dogs. The side stand has been relocated for easier use - if you ever actually want to park the thing!

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The Deuce combines the classic Harley look with new technology

Emotional ride
Willie G. Davidson, Vice President of styling, has a theory about motorcycle design: "Form follows function, but both report to emotion." And that's what you have in the new Deuce: A functional, well formed, yet emotional motorcycle.

Of course, this is a Harley-Davidson, and it's the little details that will impress you the most. I know from experience that when cleaning your beloved ride, you'll find many things you like or dislike about the way it's put together. For example, where the oil drains are on the Deuce, you'll find out how easy it is to remove the seat to check the battery or fuses and how easy it is to see the indicator lights in the sunlight.

Custom features on the new Deuce include a full length chrome tank panel, chromed front forks and stock bullet signals. Hidden front fender mountings, a new flush tail-light, stacked shotgun and exhaust and a new rear fender with hidden support hardware all make a style statement on the FX STD Deuce. And don't forget the 160/70 rear tire on a 17-inch rear wheel, giving this Softail model that final crowning touch.

The Deuce comes in nine color schemes, although not all will be imported to Japan. A new touch by Harley this year is the Color Shop custom paint program, where you can order your new Deuce, as well as other Harleys, with flames, a retro look or extreme colors - of course at an extra charge, however, much less than a custom paint job.

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It's the little details on the Deuce that will impress you the most

Harley-Davidson's Softail Deuce will be on sale in January with a base price of JY2,228,000. If you become a lucky owner, ride carefully, keep both wheels on the ground and don't forget to LOCK IT UP - someone else wants your Deuce too.

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