Harley-Davidson recently launched three motorcycles in India expanding their line to the biggest its been since they opened shop here. They added the Street Glide Special and this, the Harley-Davidson Breakout which joins the expanding galaxy of locally assembled Harleys in India. There used to be a rather nice looking Harley-Davidson motorcycle that hailed from their Softail family called the Rocker. And then, it disappeared. In its place came the CVO Breakout last year, perhaps the first time that Harley-Davidson have had a model in the CVO line that wasn’t based on a regular production model first.
Set your eyes on the Harley-Davidson Breakout for the first time, and you see a low, muscular and an almost menacing profile. With a seat height of 660mm, this is one of the lowest slung among all the Harleys currently on offer in India. The overall Breakout design has been inspired by Gasser drag bikes. The front mudguard is quite short, and the handlebar is straight, but slightly pulled back towards the rider. The handlebar incorporates notification lights, and on the centre sits a chrome-coated single dial speedometer, which houses a small multi-function LCD display.
The switchgear on the handlebar has a glossy-matte finish to it and the mirrors mounted on either sides are small, with chrome treatment. There’s chrome all over the Breakout as well, something that's pretty usual to motorcycles from the Milwaukee based manufacturer. Front forks, headlamp housing, engine block, stock air intake housing, gear and brake levers, and the Breakout exhaust pipe everything has a mirror-like finish. The fit-and-finish on the Breakout is brilliant, but that is something that's expected from a Harley bike visually, there’s barely anything that seems out of place, and unlike the last Harley, the Street 750, there are no visible cables that spoil the look of the motorcycle.
The Breakout gets the same 1,690cc, four-stroke, V-Twin, air-cooled engine as the Heritage Softail Classic. Crank it, and you’re rewarded with a soft, yet throaty grunt from the exhaust. Mechanically, the engine is quite silent, and while riding, the only sound you’ll actually hear is the all-business speaking exhaust note. Mated to the big powerplant is a six-speed gearbox, which is a disappointment as it lacks refinement. However, the gears shift with a mechanical feel and sound. The Breakout’s engine makes a massive 13.2kgm of torque at 3,000rpm, and despite it being a cruiser at heart, the big bike surges forward with urgency when the throttle is wrung to the top.
The first and second gears feel rather short, but then again, higher gears are reached rather quickly and you can cruise at relaxed engine speeds. The big Harley cruiser feels most comfortable between 1,500-3,100rpm. Cross that, and vibrations creep in through the handlebar and mirrors. This gets annoying in the long run. However, upshift early, crack open the throttle and you are rewarded with a pleasant, well spaced out thumping melody. Fueling is a touch snatch though, and can improve. Ride quality similarly, isn’t the best. Low formats reduce the ability of the suspension to damp out bumps and so while the Breakout is perfectly happy on good roads, ride comfort fades rapidly as the road worsens. Again, at walking speeds, the rear tyre causes the bike to react to bumps sharply and that’s another thing that you’ll have to get used to.
The Breakout is air-cooled, which becomes an issue when negotiating the congested city roads. Heat coming up from the engine becomes quite difficult to bear, and if your leg touches the exhaust pipe by mistake, expect a nasty singe. The brakes on the Breakout feel quite progressive, and offer decent feedback at the control levers. They do lack an initial bite, but they never claimed this to be a sportsbike, and that’s not too bad because you can make them work harder with confidence. The Breakout is equipped with an Anti-lock Braking System, which is an impressive feature.
Overall, the Breakout is not made for the city. The right place for this big, low set Harley bike is on the open highways, to ride into the far horizon. At ₹16.98 Lakhs, the Breakout fits the bill for those looking for a simplistic, yet attention grabbing motorcycle to take out on weekends, and on long road-trips.
The Breakout is a stylish urban Harley. It’s meant to profile down main street at a pace where everybody will turn to look at the stunning paint work and the wonderful lines.
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