I Wanted to Hate the Milwaukee Eight

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I Wanted to Hate the Milwaukee Eight


The internet is exploding with posts and and comments about the release of Harley Davidson’s new Milwaukee Eight 107″ V-Twin engine. Most people are forming their opinions on specs and media content. I’m not one to judge on appearance, so I decided to find out for myself if it lives up to the hype.

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Today I had the chance to test ride the 2017 Street Glide with the all new Milwaukee Eight engine. Let me begin by saying that I went in expecting to be unimpressed. Just like the old guys were when the Evolution engine came out, I was unimpressed when I read about the new offering from HD. It sounded like older Japanese technology coupled with the four valve conversion that Feuling manufactured for the EVO back in the 80’s. I thought all this effort in redesign to only bump up four cubic inches seemed weak compared to previous displacement increases.

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That being said, HOLY S#*T, this thing is great. At first start up, I noticed an almost silent valve train. People have knocked the fact that HD went with a cam chain, but it works along with the other changes to keep engine noise down. This in turn allows the manufacturer to let the bikes leave the assembly line with a bit more exhaust growl, all while keeping the feds happy. The engine was amazingly quiet, which made the fact that the exhaust was a little more aggressive than the ’16 model, show even more. I pulled out on the road and noticed that the bike was way more fluid than any other Harley I had ever ridden. The clutch and transmission felt great; both were super smooth. But, that’s not what you want to hear about.

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I’m sure you want to know how the 107” performed. Well, it rocks. I didn’t thrash it like it was mine, because it’s not. This wasn’t corporate giving me a bike to beat down. This was a dealership letting me test ride one of their bikes, so I didn’t want to abuse it with only 11 miles on the clock. I was easy on it, but the power delivery felt great. The bike pulled hard and didn’t make me feel like I would instantly have to do engine upgrades to be happy. It pretty much felt like a 103” with cams, exhaust, high flow air cleaner, and a tune, but it was stone cold stock. I did run it once through the gears at a healthy rate and was impressed. Performance is great, but most people’s biggest complaint from the past few years has been excessive heat. Well, I think they did their homework on this and figured it out. It was 93 degrees with heat index making it feel 100, and I wasn’t hot sitting on the bike in traffic. I rode around town noticing that my legs actually felt cool. The new style catalytic converter appears to sit a few inches further back, and whatever the redesign of it entailed, it worked. I moved my feet to different positions and never felt hot spots. It seems that changes were made to rectify the problem everywhere the 2016 failed. I guess I’m getting old, because I really was against this new engine, but after this ride, I’m sold.

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Only time will tell how well it holds up, or what issue will be the weakness of the Milwaukee Eight, but my out of the box impression is positive. The last time a guy was writing about the all new Harley engine was around this time in 1998, so it feels good to be the guy writing on this one. I’ve lived through Shovelhead, EVO, and Twin Cam years; I wonder if I will make it to see the next big thing???

Until next time, ride safe, but enjoy it all,


By |2016-09-06T17:28:47+00:00August 26th, 2016|Categories: Reviews, Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , |16 Comments

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  1. Bill Cunningham December 1, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    I have a 2017 Milwaukee 8 have Ben in the dealer to two months for belt one time and the trans two time 3gear has went out .they won’t warranty it has 1039 miles they’re trying to say I beat on my bike I just traded a 2016 Ultra Classic Limited with 8000 Miles didn’t have one problem that beautiful bike the salesman talked me into getting the new Milwaukee eight very dissatisfied with Harley Davidson all they’re doing is giving me the runaround the motor is a great design I love it but the transmission sucks and they’re giving me a run-around what can I do about it everybody has a suggestion let me know I’m so dissatisfied with Harley Davidson I want to sell my other bikes and buy Indian pretty bad oh by the way brand new Harley tires 9/32 my rear tire is 8/32 so how bad did I really be on the bike not at all

    • Craig December 14, 2016 at 11:19 am

      I really don’t believe a word you wrote.

  2. James Seale November 25, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    I bought a Harley because of the cool sound the engine makes and because it is an American iron horse. The 2017 road King Milwaukee 8 sounds like a Honda. I am very dissatisfied with the sound of the engine. Every thing about the bike is great except for the sound of the engine. That is a big deal to me and at one time it was a big deal to Harley. Remember when they tried to sue Honda because of the shadow sounding like a Harley. I am not sure if I am going to keep my new 2017 road King because of this ???

  3. Max Butcher November 12, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    My last bike was s 2015 RG. I did the Stage 1 and V&H FP3. I now have 1600 miles on a 2017 RK. The RK would walk away from the RG, no doubt about it. I even rode a zero mile 2017 SG with full Stage 2 and honestly felt that my RK was faster. The engine has a stronger deeper growl at low rpm with the stock pipes. It just pulls and pulls in any gear. I can’t see any reason with this bike to upgrade for power. Harley knocked it out of the park – Slam Dunk. Absolutely love it.

  4. Ken October 3, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    I test rode the new 2017 107cubic inch Street Glide.

    I wanted to hate it too.

    Having just traded a 2015 Heritage Softail that I ran up 15,000 miles on in less than 15 months and took on my Sturgis trip in 2015. I traded for a 2015 left over Fat Bob. What a mistake. Should have just gave my Heritage away as used Harley’s are not selling and there is a huge glut of used bikes out there thus resale values are in the tank.
    Maybe next year things will recover after the new president takes over and he isn’t a woman.

    My plan is to wait to see who gets elected and then if Trump wins I’ll buy a new Harley-Davidson Milwaukee 8 in a Road Glide set up and I plan on a CVO. If it’s that other person then I’m not buying a single thing unless I just get tired of my new Kawasaki KLR650 but that ain’t happening. Waited too long to buy a KLR.

    As for the new Milwaukee 8, Harley has hit the ball out of the park on this engine and the suspension is amazing.
    This new bike is intoxicating to ride. Get out and try one. Try to ride one that is bone stock and then a stage one. Then you will see how great these new bikes are.

    As I’ve stated I’m pulling my horns in on spending until I see an administration that cares about the United States and our growth and economic strength. I hope it comes because all motorcycle sales are in the tank and HD is seeing this.
    Time for a “Change” but we heard that in 2008 didn’t we?

  5. Brian Stone October 2, 2016 at 4:33 am

    I test rode a 2017 Road King last week.
    Comparison to my 2004 Road Glide which when fresh from factory would not get out of its own way. Of course since thenI have high compression very well built and street able motor, 6 speed transmission, Progressive suspension front and rear with braided steel brake lines and EBC floating rotors. 100 hp 102 ft lbs torque , etc etc. Oh yeh 70K miles plus. Paid 18 K have put way too much in it over the years. So…
    Stock Road King: little bit lighter. Waaay smooth. Great power, especially for stock. No shake at idle. Excellent brakes.
    Liked total power with roll on. Did not like: too smoothed out ( yep I’m crazy, but it did not “hit” like mine)
    Did not like : rear tire too big for my tastes. I felt turn in was sluggish due to width
    Did like: quiet motor. With my TC set up motor noise when hot can be a little annoying at 2K RPMs and moving slow (noise very audible under those circumstances)
    If I had $ to spend, I would get a Street Glide , Stage 3 kit ( bore) with more open exhaust.
    Overall much refined, maybe too much so for this Old Guy. Used to that older Harley Vibe.
    Just my 2 cents
    Thanks for reading.

  6. mark malone September 30, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    not to be pessimistic, but I wonder what issues it will have considering a new engine? we all know when something new comes out, there are usually issues for first couple years till they get the kinks worked out. I sincerely hope there aren’t any, I own a 2013 street glide and luv it. a very satisfied Harley owner.

  7. Doug Purnell September 29, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    I test rode a Street Glide at the Clermont Harley dealership. As I said I rode a 2017 Street Glide with a 107 Milwaukee 8 engine. The engine was soooooooo great! Besides having much more torque…is has 20% fewer parts in the engine makeup which equals a lighter bike. The Street Glide had a fairing which mu Fatboy does not….and it was still 200# lighter than my Fatboy. There is plenty of gittyup in the Milwaukee 8 too. Very responsive too!

  8. James Miller September 29, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    I’ve been ridding for 50 years. Cut my teeth on Pans, Shovels and Evo’s. In my opinion the Evolution engine is the best ever made by Harley Davidson. After that it seems to me Harley Davidson was forced to make engines for the Government EPA. Here comes computers, fuel injection, fuel pumps in the gas tanks, and an electric throttle. Now a catalytic muffler.
    The repairs instead of being done by the owner of the machine now must be done by a high dollar technician.
    Then any changes must be dyno’d.
    I would not have a twinkie or this new eight if they were giving them away free.
    Now I would love to be able to buy one of those S&S Knuckle Retro’s but of course can’t tag it here because of the EPA…..
    Steve McQueen said it best, “Nothing new any good.”

    • steve November 25, 2016 at 3:25 pm

      I bet you have a cell phone! LOL

  9. Craig September 9, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    I rode the 2017 Road Glide and was very impressed with the engine. I also rode a 2017 CVO Street Glide with the new 114 ci engine. That 114 engine is a hot rod and feels like it will get away from you if you don’t watch it. I’m not even joking around because that 114 is one powerhouse engine. Too bad they didn’t just go to 114 and 120 in the CVO bikes.

  10. Steve Blanford August 27, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Cool can’t wait to ride one

  11. Buster morgan August 27, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Love this company

  12. Buster morgan August 27, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks for your input, I am on my third new Harley, my latest is 2013 road king classic with screaming eagle tuner, this bike rocks, I also have a 2010 Electra glide ultra limited which is by the way my baby, love this girl knocking on 70000 miles stil running strong, I am Harley to the core, have a Harley Davidson edition f250 ford truck, my underwire is even Harley, now my I input if Harley says it a good thing you can take that to the bank, behind them one hundred percent, I will probably be buying one of these in the near future, hard to beat what I have now, but it’s possible.

  13. fred August 27, 2016 at 3:35 am

    Love my Honda f6bagger goldwing

  14. Ron Sindric August 26, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    107 ??? Why is HARLEY playing around in the past? There is absolutely no reason for a motorcycle engine displacement larger than 60 cubic inches ! I bought a brand new XG750 ( 45 cubic inches ) and LOVE the bike! Waaaaay back in the age of the AERMACCHI, HARLEY had a bike with a displacement of 21 cubic inches. Heck they even had a scooter. Then there is LIVEWIRE. HARLEY started in 1903 with an engine that had a displacement of 26.8 cubic inches ( 440 cc ). With improvements in engine design, and modern materials, why doesn’t HARLEY do two things; offer a limited edition replica of their first bike, and start producing bikes with less than 45 cubic inch engines ?

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