The Harley-Davidson Motor Company premiered its new engine yesterday. It is called the “Milwaukee-Eight.” Harley trademarked the name “Milwaukee-Eight” in March 2015 so the engine has been in development since at least then. It is the biggest stock engine the company has ever sold and according to Harley promotional materials it is also the prettiest.
Ignoring V-Rods and Buells, Harley counts this as their ninth, new, V-Twin engine. The pre-World War One F-Head eventually grew to a maximum engine displacement of 74 cubic inches. The Flathead was eventually 79 inches. The Knucklehead and Panhead were 74 inches. The Ironhead Sportster had a displacement of 1000 CCs or 61 inches. The Shovelhead and the Evolution, or Blockhead, were 80 inch engines. The Twin Cam started at 88 inches and grew from there, all the way up to 110 inches. The new Milwaukee-Eight is available as a 107 inch or 114 inch engine.
Much More Swell
The Milwaukee-Eight will be standard an all 2017 Touring and Tricycle models. There will be two versions of the 107 inch engine. One will have oil cooled cylinder heads and the other will have liquid cooled heads. The 114 inch engine will have liquid cooled heads. The new engine is not backward compatible with older Harleys.
The motor company claims the new engine will have more power and less vibration, run cooler, get better gas mileage and sound nicer than any of the last century’s previous Harleys. Harley will also offer buyers an additional “street legal” performance package that will make the new engines even more powerful. At the same time, the company announced it will spend 65 percent money for marketing this year than last year.
The new engine appears to be a little more complicated to take apart and put back together than previous V-Twins. The company has gone back to a single cam shaft but the cylinder heads now have four valves, two intake and two exhaust, instead of two and two spark plugs per cylinder instead of one. The new engine also features an internal counter balancer. And, the new clutch lever will be easier to use for people who had trouble squeezing the old clutch lever which may be more important than it appears at first glance. On August 15, The Washington Post reported that “grip strength and pinch strength” among men ages 20 to 34 is “significantly weaker…than men (of) the same age…30 years ago.”
The company has repositioned the catalytic converter on this new piece of work to improve “heat management” and provide “a more enjoyable riding experience for the rider and passenger.”
A new Road Glide “starts at” $23,999 plus tax, license and registration. An Electra Glide Ultra Classic starts at $24,149. A CVO Street Glide starts at $37,799. Harley defines “CVO” as “Custom Vehicle Operations motorcycles – hand-crafted originals that push every boundary of style, luxury and performance.”