New Harley Engine

August 24, 2016

All Posts, News

New Harley Engine

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.”


39 Responses to “New Harley Engine”

  1. fayettenamhoe Says:

    blah blah, they had a 4 valve twin back in the twenties

  2. Rashomon Says:

    I like the wrist strength comment – I read that was caused by excessive cell phone usage. Like the bike, a sad indightment of life as we know it.

  3. Nihilist Says:

    Nope. Still gonna stick to my rigid Shovel and Evo FXRs.

  4. stlrzfan Says:

    Let’s see now. Water cooled. Four plugs. Yep, my honda shadow from the eighties. Helluva bike, still running to this day. Transmission sucked. I live in Pa., been to the York factory. With all the union busting and tax concessions HD extorted from my state I expected maybe price lowering for the future, not eighties honda tech. Still love my 2011 fatbob tho. I can squeeze the clutch with two fingers but maybe that’s because I’m from a different generation.

  5. popeye Says:

    Price of used twin cams is gonna drop from all the guys who got to have the newest thing rush out to impress their friends .

  6. TX_Biker Says:

    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.”
    everything else about the man bun wearing, vegetarian, sensitive asshats that ironically call themselves men is also weaker…..
    Fuck this shit I’ll stick to my carbureted Harleys….

  7. Mark Smith Says:

    I’ve got the $9.00, can anyone front me the $37,790? I’m good for it.

  8. stroker Says:

    Still got a separate trans, a primary drive, and a crank designed in 1903. I still have Harley Davidson tattooed on my arm….and still own my panhead. I hope HD does well with this latest iteration, but, there are a lot better designed options out there right now. Victory being one of ’em.

  9. Ziocles Says:


    I agree about better motor designs out there but I can’t get behind the looks of the Indian or Victory line ups.

    If I could put a Victory motor in my super glide I would.

  10. Hangaround Says:

    Fucking HD. Instead of putting in gear drive for the twin cams and maintaining the better angle between pushrod and upper valve train we are back to single cam cause of all the twin cam tensioner issues.

    Well guess I’ll go do the 10 minute 15k maint. on my Victory…

  11. Hangaround Says:

    May I also point out that the first half of the in depth engine vid is about the way it looks… hmmm…

  12. Night Tripper Says:

    No thanks. I’ll just stick with my FX Shovelhead for the street and Evo Sportster for the dragstrip.

  13. Catfish Says:

    The grip comment would have had me on the floor if I wasn’t already laughing at the price tag. Medical school is the requirement for a new Harley. WTF, my truck cost 19K and it was like giving a kidney. 02 NightTrain carb is the bike I wanted for years before I scraped the change together for that. What happened?

  14. Slide Says:

    Hey I know that place in the last YOU TUBE FEED “Discover….” Rebel? haha.
    I own a late model 2014 Street Glide Special. My spine is fused, by back is shot and I gotta say; after over 18,000 miles, (I bought it last year 23 big ones)and it was a good investment, for me. A few changes to the exhaust, the breather, flash the drive and it treats me good. I know, Victory, Indian are better. And yes I spent over $2000 for having the services done at Harley’s recommended mileage; and yes it weighs over a 1050 pounds, and I don’t but I give her hell. She gives me piece of mind, most times. Shooting traffic is a little bit tight, but I like it. Got me a black bike, with a black and grey helmet, turn on the flashers and the cagers think I am the POPO. Not kosher I know,but I hate sitting in traffic. ‘
    Soon as I saw Rebel’s post on the 107, that picture got me thinking; hmmm maybe trade her in. But no, I could never do that to my beast. I remember the first time the Evo’s came out. Bearings, Bearings, Bearings. Sell.
    Grass is always greener somewhere. I like mine.
    Oh and “shooting traffic” is like “flippin a bitch.” If you dont know, you just dont know. It is what it is. Room 207 Rebel; many times! Thanks for the post on this.

  15. IronRider Says:

    HD has been riding on their name for the last while when it used to be the bikes they built and the quality that used to be behind them.

    I stated before that HD’s attitude towards their customers before and after the sale has really been shitty, dont get me wrong their are some good folks at some of the HD dealers but there are more bad then good and that attitude filters from HD on down to the line.

    Who doesnt like a engine with more power, most do. The problem I see with this engine is what you are seeing on some of the bikes and parts for those bikes in terms of quality and reliability that HD sells, in the fact that quality and the reliability factor seem to have taken a back seat to profit.

    Dont get me wrong every company has a right to make a profit, but HSD does have a name behind it and they used to back it up with their bikes and parts and service to the customer and the potential customer. Nowadays it seems like the cut corners to save cash but yet ask even more $$$ has led the way in HD’s thinking and customer service and reliability are no longer a priority.

    I know guys who are not moving up to new rides because they just dont have faith that what HD is producing know is worth the money or the constant trip to the dealers with issues that have been plaguing a lot of the newer bikes the last few years.

    I look at this engine and while it seems nice there seems to be not a whole lot of innovation in it’s design and functionality when you look at some of the other makers out there in the Motorcycle world and look at what they have done with their engines design and innovation wise and at a better price point.

    People are not afraid to spend money on a good ride when it comes to reliability and a good product backed up by parts and service, when you stop those or decide that the customers concerns mean shit to you and your only concerned with making the sale so you can get the bucks, it doesnt exactly inspire confidence in the product the company is selling.

    HD is slowly killing it’s own reputation by foregoing what it used to stand for and decided profit at any expense is worth the risk of alienating a long and loyal customer base with inferior manufactured parts, shitty service and catering to the yuppies that want a bike parked in eh garage to look cool or that only ride 10 miles a season or thought it be neat after watching SOA on fox.

    HD could still reverse it’s present course and maintain it’s loyal customer if it chose to fix it’s issues from HD head office down to the dealers, but it seems the priority is selling t-shirts and coffee mugs, cheap overseas parts and bikes that spend more time on a lift than on pavement.

  16. Shovelhead Says:

    I’m with you, I’ll stick with my Shovel.

  17. Sieg Says:

    Pretty sure the title for this posting should have been, again, “Harley is Still Toast”.

    Not trading my 70 E-Glide in any time soon.


  18. AVAGOVFFV Says:

    Once again Harley has forgotten where their loyalties should lay. They have been putting share holders above the employees and the customer for years. So my thought process is I give what I get, fuck HD.

    I own two HD’s one Softail and FXDWG when you go to the dealer they have to order parts from what they call their “vintage” parts book and you wait two weeks for your shit, amazing. These bikes are late 90’s and a 100th year model it’s pathetic that they don’t have basic repair parts available.

    Love the vintage products loath the company.

    Viva Los Vagos

  19. Shovelhead Says:

    HD dealerships won’t work on anything older than about 10 years where I live. Bunch of assholes who only want to cater to yuppies with there orange and black HD jackets who ride brand new bikes.

    In the late 80’s I could still bring my Panhead to the local Dealership and get it worked on if I was to lazy to do it myself. Now, they don’t even want to work on an Evo let a lone a Pan or Shovel. Thank god I can wrench the old bikes myself. Sometimes I’m glad technology is passing me by.

    I agree AVAGOVFFV…Love the bikes but fuck the company, bunch of greedy bastards!


  20. Sticker Says:

    Quieter engine? no thanks

  21. Big Ang Diamondback Says:

    I agree with most of the replies here. One of the things that I really don’t appreciate the last 5 to 10 years or so , is just general maintenance stuff. you can’t even go into an HD retail store anymore and buy some oil , plugs, filters, etc etc . The price is so gouged these days it’s crazy. Double to triple what the products are worth . Back in the day I would enjoy to take a ride out a couple times per year to HD, pick up some maintenance materials, chat with the Techs a little while , check out the new bikes on the lot. These days I just ride to my buddies auto body around the block and order everything from him.

  22. Smitty1961 Says:

    I spent $12.5K on a 2015 Victory last year after my HD got rear ended. It might not have the fairing with the music and other shit, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun to ride and that’s what really matters. Still sounds like a sewing machine but I’m saving up to get some decent pipes for it.

  23. Spot Says:

    I have a 49 Pan chopper, a couple of shovelheads, and a two year old Supper Glide. I never owned a Evo bike but my half brother’s dad bought a a 85 Soft Tail and rode the hell out of it for many years up till his death and loved it. I joked about owning anything computer controlled till I bought one and then loved the fact I could go coast to coast and back just changing oil and tires.

    I’ll check this new bike out, maybe wait a couple of years till they move from 107 to the next jump and buy one. The price allways blows me away but a trip to the grocery store is $200+ now and a pick up truck is $60k and decent paying blue collar jobs have just about disappeared unless you are the guy who fired his American workers and replaced them with illegals.

    Oh well, what the fuck you going to do? Can’t make the motor company produce old bikes again and the share holders want larger dividens and share prices and they are the real customers. The bikes are just a means to the end. I only hope the bikes are rock solid and last as long as a Goldwing.

  24. MOTOSMAN1 Says:

    As a dealership Master tech for 25 years, I’ve watched HD do the same thing for many years. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If it IS broke, just patch it up and wait for the customer to forget about it”. I LOVE Twin Cams! They provide a nice paycheck. My personal bike is EVO. I love the new Touring bikes, regarding handling, braking, style and creature comforts. I’m sure I’ll never pay the price to own one, at least not with the OEM drivetrain. I prefer to build my own EVO or Shovel. Nope, I’m not some antiquated “grease monkey” afraid of EFI and BCM’s. I have embraced the technology for years and have always wished that HD would not continue to lag 10-20 years behind the automotive industry. Again, concerning my paycheck. I believe that HD is afraid of upsetting the applecart. They will continue to sell bikes, financing, insurance, motorclothes, extended warranties and service as long as they don’t make drastic changes. If it looks like a hog, smells like a hog and sounds like a hog…then it must be a hog! Sadly, the best motor coming from The MoCo is way too far a departure from the Panhead styling for it to ever take off. In 25 years, I have never split cases on a V-Rod motor. Horsepower-per-cubic inch ratio can’t be beat. BUT, it doesn’t look, smell or sound like a hog. I think HD is going to “dance with who brung ya” until the dance is over. With more evolution of computers, both in CAD and vehicle management, HD will continue to “milk” the current pushrod V-Twin with minor changes like “supplemental cooling” (Twin Cooled), valve actuation (single vs. twin cams) and valve arrangement (anybody ever heard of Feuling 4-valve heads for EVO’s circa 1990’s) until the lights are turned out in the dancehall. People living vicariously through the “mystique” of HD will continue to buy. As the competition continues to refine their style “identity”, smarter riders whom ride for the feeling of the machine will inevitably choose (more and more) the more technologically advanced bikes. Especially as long as “bang for the buck” is in their favor. Just my 2 cents worth.

  25. Nihilist Says:

    I remember those Rivera 4-valve heads from the early 90s. It doesn’t seem like they ever took off, in spite of the reputed performance. Was it the price or the revulsion at deviating from the long-accepted 2-valve design? Thankfully the aftermarket (and ebay) are still chock full of parts for my Shovel and EVOs. Anybody check out the dyno charts for the new engines, especially the Screamin’ Eagle Stage kits? Not very impressive, given the cc’s and the cost…

  26. von Zipper Says:

    Funny how most of the die hard patches I rode with bad mouthed evos in 85. 2 years later a lot of pans were traded up. I loved my 78 FXE (after reworking from the ground up several times) but wasn’t a fan of the fat bobs splitting on me and dousing me with gas in the middle of a hot desert with just the point gasket keeping me from going up in flames. Wait for the SOA idiots to get over the lack of air conditioning on bikes and these new mills will probably be at least half off. I’ll keep the cool mills for in town and take the new ones for a seriously long putt.

  27. Magoo Says:

    Nope. Not interested. I’ve got a 103 (1688cc) with 101HP to the tire. Pipes, air and cams… and maybe some tuning. (And the EPA can bite me) The Kawasaki H2 is 1000cc and delivers (reportedly) 200 HP. I understand it’s a different engine but it’s clear that the problem is not the size of the engine. It’s the design (and the powertrain). If I ran Harley, I would keep the 103.. or probably even go back to the 88… and redesign it. Do I personally have that skillset? No. But HD has been doing engines for over 110 years. Hell, call in a couple Porsche engineers. But rather than just make a bigger pig, make a more efficient… uh.. pig. Smaller engine’s gonna run cooler and cheaper. Add water cooling. Retool what you gotta retool. But you’re gonna have to actually innovate to make it happen.

    Will they do it? Nope. Cause those guys riding 10 miles/year are still paying the big bucks. And HD doesn’t care whose money it gets, as long as it gets it. It’s a big corporation. They’re not the defenders of the faith and will probably never be again. Once you get past the idea that nothing’s what it used to be, the rest is just is.

    Just my 2c

  28. Becca Says:

    Quieter engine? All my Harley’s set off car alarms. I’ll keep them. And thanks to SB435 in CA I’ll probably never by a new bike ever again. I did like this though, “And, the new clutch lever will be easier to use for people who had trouble squeezing the old clutch.” I got shot in my left hand it it was blown apart. I always need to add an EZ-Clutch so I can squeeze the clutch lever. An easier clutch I like.

    Big Ang Diamondback – No kidding about the price gouging. The 1157 bulb went out on my Street Glide so I stopped into Harley for a replacement. It was $4.95!!! I guess $0.95 was for the bulb and $4.00 was for the Harley logo on the box.

  29. BigV Says:

    Goddamn, this is going to be a fucking shitshow. We go to 4 valves per cylinder and massive reliefs in the pistons, which means we’re going to have practically have a head with combustion chamber which is probably flat with the infinity shaped high swirl.

    Why not have kept the 103 and 110 water cooled, go full twin plug hemi, hire a last of the unicorns hemi guru like Standridge or Matt Hensley’s dad to figure out optimum piston relief for flame travel on twin plug heads, do the valve train geometry properly with the given constraints, and you have an engine which is going to sound like a fucking Harley, it would run cooler and quieter(hey you dickshits in development did you ever think that dog leg in head in and around the exhaust port might have been a bit much on the 96, the 103 and 110 water cooled and that there are other solutions to the heat problem ? Does your engine department even understand scavenging ?)

    I know you greedy fucks want the patent and production rights on everything down to special fasteners, but I am now hoarding my shit for Shovelheads and EVO’s and there is no goddamn way I’m buying a new Harley or new Victory for that matter.

    The only thing I want is a 84-87 FXR and a Kings Mountain Indian monoshock frame and other than hoarding engine and trans parts- fuck you Harley.

  30. Chief Says:

    Curious to see how it runs but I think Indians are producing much better machines.

  31. Whitepride Says:

    Harley puts more money into research and development into their clothing and apparel line than they do their bikes

  32. LoneWoofwoof Says:

    Which of the new HD’s will now come standard with ABS, Traction Control, and Throttle by Wire?

  33. ORDVET Says:

    I had been planning on upgrading from my ’06 Heritage to an Ultra next year, but then I read the news about this new engine and I’m having second thoughts. Not sure that I want to pay $28k to be part of a test case for HD. I found a good deal on a very low mileage ’15 Ultra Limited – I may take another look at that.

    On the other hand, those Indian Roadmasters sure do ride smooth – and the ’17s have all of the same techno-gadgets as the HD….

  34. Shovelhead Says:

    I’m going to keep my old Shovel but those 2016 Indian Springfield’s have caught my attention. I’ll have to wait a few years and buy a used one though.

  35. Viking Trotter Says:

    Anyone watching the “Harley and the Davidsons” on the Discovery channel?

  36. Base Says:

    Viking Trotter,

    Not yet, I am interested in the show, have been putting in some long hours making up lost financial ground. But I intend to catch it.

    What do you think, worth the watch?


  37. Marcos Soria Says:

    Who can afford it. Who can fix it (other than dealership)??

  38. Bone Head Says:

    First year production for this motor? Not me!

    Consider the fresh-faced engineers (most of who can’t change oil in a lawn mower) colleges have produced in the last 10 years or so and the new “Design by committee” fad.

    The weasels will be showing up right off the bat. My pan and evo are staying.

  39. dantheswimmer Says:

    I’ll bet I can break the new Harley faster than the old ones!

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