Harley Davidson have unveiled their next generation air cooled V-twin motor, the Milwaukee-Eight as a 107 cubic inch power plant. Does the Milwaukee-Eight deliver? Will it be what the twin-cam was to the Evo promising improvement in performance whilst delivering that distinctive Harley feel?
I was given a test ride on a stock standard Street Glide by Paul from Morgan and Wacker, Newstead. I was surprised at how responsive the throttle was something you’d expect from a worked bike. Its power delivery was smooth and strong through the rev range but power delivery flattened off over the 3,500-4,000 rpm. In terms of power the Milwaukee-Eight is a step up from the 103 cubic inch. It would be interesting to see what you’d get out of it if it was worked.
The engine is definitely smoother with reduced vibration due to a new internal single counter balance and has a different engine note. It has it’s own unique feel and character. It is something you’d have to judge for yourself whether you like it or not.
The power delivery is achieved through having four valves per head, twin spark plugs and higher compression ratio. This is coupled with a 55 mm throttle body. The only thought with the spark plugs is that you have to remove the fuel tank to change spark plugs as the second plug is directly behind the other.
Other benefits reported by Harley-Davidson include reduce heat absorption producing cooler running, and 50% improved charging to meet touring needs.
At present the Milwaukee-Eight is only available in four models all baggers; Road King, Ultra-Limited, Street Glide Special and the Road Glide Special.
Overall, I’m undecided. I wouldn’t be trading in my worked 103” for the Milwaulkee-Eight at this stage, but I respect that the new engine does deliver on it’s promise to deliver improvements over past engine models.