Most Malaysian motorcycle riders are aware that Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya, located in The Gasket Alley, will be officially opening on March 10. With the Harley-Davidson (H-D) distributorship for Malaysia now under new management, paid a pre-launch visit to observe the setup and take a look at the new 2018 Harley-Davidson Milwaukee 8s.

After terminating a 22-year relationship with the previous distributor, H-D is looking to achieve several goals with the new establishment, first amongst which is addressing the issue of spares and service. Located in the same premises, there is a six-bay service centre for H-D bikes, manned by H-D trained technicians.

With a showroom containing a full range of H-D branded clothing and official accessories, H-D of Petaling Jaya aims to provide a one-stop location for anything and everything a H-D owner needs or desires. But what we came to look at was the range of 2018 bike brought in, carrying the new Milwaukee 8 V-twin with the four-valve head.

We had earlier taken the 2018 H-D Street Bob out on a ride, and were quite impressed with the improvements made to both the engine and chassis behaviour. While the styling of H-D’s range of bikes have not changed, its promise of making its cruisers better and easier to ride seem to have borne fruit.

The new Milwaukee 8 equipped machines come in three engine sizes, depending on model, a 107, which equals 1,750 cc, a 114, displacing 1,870 cc for those of us who think in metric and a 117, coming in at 1,919 cc. The four-valve cylinder heads are oil-cooled and can be found in the Street and Road Glides, as well as the Electra Ultra Glide Classic.

For the 114 and 117 Milwaukee 8, the heads will feature liquid- and oil-cooling, and all engines come with a twin-spark arrangement. The twin-cooled head will also be found in CVO Limited and Street Glide machines, and the V-twin comes with with hydraulic tappets to minimise noise and valve lash, producing a 10% improvement in acceleration, according to H-D.

While cooling arrangements on this year’s Harleys have been improved, other changes have been made, including raising the compression ratio and an improved gear-driven counter-balancer shaft, to deliver more of that famed Harley torque. We noticed this in the Street Bob we rode, where the vibration so beloved of Harley owners as the bike’s “character” was present, but muted.

While there were several 2018 Harleys in the showroom, we grabbed a selection of bikes for a short photo-shoot. First up is the 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy, with 107 Milwaukee 8 V-twin.

New is the LED headlight with DRL, coming in a brushed satin chrome housing that also covers the upper fork legs in the Fat Boy style. A twin-cap Fat Bob fuel tank carries the speedometer in a binnacle, and the gauge itself contains an LCD panel displaying other information the rider needs, including a tachometer.

Wheels on the Fat Boy are solid cast aluminium units with machined highlights, both being 18-inch units, shod with 160 width rubber in front, and a huge 240 unit in the back. Two-channel ABS is standard on the Fat Boy, as is keyless start and the whole package weighs 317 kg, ready to go.

Carrying rather sportier styling than the Fat Boy is the 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob, with its distinctive bar LED headlight. The 107 Milwaukee 8 V-twin in the Fat Bob is blacked out, and the pipes are covered in bronze-coloured heat cladding.

Coming with ABS-equipped twin disc brakes in front, grabbed by twin-piston callipers, the 2018 Fat Bob is one of H-D’s “modern” offerings, designed to appeal to the non-traditional Harley demo graphic. Styling is much in the vein of the now discontinued V-Rod, with deep stepped seat and flat handlebars.

Looking long, low and sleek is the 2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout, a boulevard cruiser carrying the 114 Milwaukee V-twin. The engine is decked out in traditional Harley chrome, and the very minimalist LCD instrument display is attached above the handlebars.

Weighing in at 304 kg, the Breakout rolls on a 21-inch wheel in front, and an 18-incher in the rear, shod in 160 and 240 size tyres, respectively. A single disc in front is grabbed by a four-piston calliper while the rear disc comes with a two-piston unit and ABS is standard.

Also on display in the Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya showroom is the 2018 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight 115 Anniversary Special, with its 1,202 cc air-cooled Evolution engine. Coming in a limited edition production run of 2,400 units worldwide, the Forty-Eight Anniversary Special has a distinctive metallic blue tank adorned with the Harley eagle and bar-and-shield logo.

No prices were provided for the H-D motorcycles in the showroom, and all will be revealed during the official launch. There are currently 15 bikes on display, of which five have been spoken for, and there have been strong expressions of interest in the others.

GALLERY: 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 107
GALLERY: 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob 107
GALLERY: 2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout 114
GALLERY: 2018 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight 115 Anniversary Special