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38th Edition 2017 

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Wednesday, 06 September 2017 14:15

The Monkey Report - Sept 7th, 2017 Featured

columnist bad uncle monkey“Where's Dyna?" The words have been echoing across the land since Harley Davidson announced their 2018 line up.

The Dyna is gone. Its more popular nameplates are finding their way onto Softail models. The Dyna’s rubber mounted drive train in a light weight frame offered a smooth ride in a nimble frame helped it gain a cult like following as the performance Harley and drew a the attention of American motorcycle clubs as a very quick and agile bike that could get you out of trouble just as effortlessly as it could roll on the hundreds of miles between runs.  Introduced to the public in 1991 the Dyna was a follow up to the hugely popular FXR that itself was introduced in the 1982 model line up. With iconic nameplates like the Lowrider and Wide Glide the Dyna was a nod to Harley Davidson’s history of swing arm frames with dual coil shocks on the back.

The disappearance raises a few questions. The biggest question is if the Dyna line was to completely disappear why isn't the new Softail rubber mount? That means that there has to be a rubber mounted cruiser in the near future. I wouldn't be surprised to see the return of the FXR nameplate in the very near future. The departure of the V-rod this year - yeah no one really noticed either - leaves a gaping hole for a performance line of bikes in the line up. I expect the new FXR to be a real tire burner. 

If there is a return of the FXR why did they transfer the Dyna nameplates to the Softail line? It will create an ugly asterisks in the history books of the Fat Bob being a rubber mounted, twin coil shock swing arm bike except 2018-20XX when it was a rigid mount softail.

But really why isn't the softail rubber mounted? In a time when Harley Davidson has to tighten their belt regarding production it seems counterproductive to commit the time, resources and factory floor space to build a counter balanced Gator motor (still nothing huh?) Harley spent decades running solid mounted Knuckles, Pans, and Shovels as the sole motor across all of the big twin lines. Would it have been that big of a stretch to have all the 2018 big twins rubber mount? The twin shock setup of the old softail frame hindered that but the all new (cough, metric, cough, cough) style frame moved to a mono shock located under the seat would have allowed the swing arm and drive train move as unit without binding. 

As I wrote this spring Harley is planning on launching 100 new motorcycles in the next ten years - 6 new model Sportster, M8ing the Softail and Dynas for 12 more, CVO's counting as 30 models left us with 50 unknown models that Harley is planning. The disappearance of Dyna line with the absorption of popular name plates to the Softail line really fiddles with those numbers. The likelihood of a scrambler or sport bike seems that much closer. In the mean time we are left scratching our heads wonder what Harley is doing.

-bad Uncle Monkey

Last modified on Thursday, 07 September 2017 02:37
Wayne Wuschke

Wayne Wuschke a.k.a. Uncle Monkey is a motor journalist born in the sticks of rural Saskatchewan now living in Moose Jaw.

He has been actively building motorcycles and cars for over thirty years. In his past he attended the University of Regina taking Engineering and was a founding member of the Regina Chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers better known as SAE International.

Wayne is a proud member of the Southern Independent Riders. His weekly column shines a spotlight on life from the two wheels on the open road.

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