Change comes slowly when you are already loved for who you are. Harley Davidson has a loyal fan base that loves the charm of their simple air-cooled engines. But, to tackle the more advanced competition and tightening emission norms HD has built a new engine, the Milwaukee Eight. The Eight refers to the number of valves this engine uses, and is a big departure for Harley Davidson’s big air-cooled line-up.
The new engine in many ways is true to HD genetics. It is a V-Twin and still primarily air-cooled. The ’Eight also moves back towards a single cam for valve actuation.The base variant of the engine dubbed the Milwaukee-Eight 107 uses precision oil-cooling for the cylinder heads. This 1,750cc engine produces 150Nm of torque which 10Nm lower than the older 110 engine. However, peak torque is now generated 500rpm earlier at 3,250rpm. The second version uses ‘twin-cooling’, or liquid cooling, for the cylinder heads. This version generates a peak torque of 155Nm at 3,250rpm.
The top-of-the-line version is the Milwaukee-Eight 114, by displacing 1,870cc it outclasses the older 110 motor be a reasonable margin. On paper, the new 114 engine trumps the older motor on paper by delivering a higher 165Nm of torque at a lower 3,250rpm. Like the 107 Twin-Cooled engine, the 114 also uses liquid-cooling for the cylinder heads, however it uses a higher compression ratio. This engine will be available on the CVO vehicles.
Harley says the engines have been designed ground-up. In the process, they have improved outright performance, roll-on acceleration and the feel of the engines too. Refinement at idle, a bugbear of these big motors, has been controlled by a single counter-balancer. The engine is said to be more refined, but continues to offer the rich exhaust note expected of Harleys.Lighter clutch action and better gearshifts are also expected. The slimmer design for the engine and the air filter housing has also improved ergonomics.
While the Milwaukee-Eight has debuted on the Touring family for 2017, you can be sure newer iterations of it will work their way down to the Harley Davidson tree in the years to come. We can’t wait to sample the new metal from Milwaukee and see if it can give Springfield’s finest a few sleepless nights.