We first saw the Breakout released back in 2013, and in the ten years that followed, we’ve witnessed quite a few significant changes, although the latest model is without a doubt the best one yet.
Originally it came out in its first model year as a CVO Twin Cam 110B, which then became a mainstream model the following year in 2014. Once again, we saw a CVO model with the Pro Street Breakout in 2016, which was then followed by the standard model receiving an engine upgrade with the new M8 107 and 114 respectively. Well, it’s even better now that it features the 117ci M8 motor at its heart along with a Heavy Breather intake, modifications that most owners get sorted before they even roll it out of the showroom.
Interestingly, it seems the Australian market is one of the most popular for the Breakout, and although it was discontinued for the American market back in 2020, sales remained strong here downunder. And now thanks to the refreshed new 2023 Breakout, it’s even returned to the States.
The Demand In Australia for the 2023 H-D Breakout
As Luke Mansfield, Harley-Davidson’s Vice President of Motorcycle Management stated via an online launch on Zoom, ‘There is such a demand for this bike in Australia that we have really leaned into the Australian customer as our core consumer for this product, and thus we try to make sure they are getting what they want. And on the back of that this product is now crushing it worldwide, more than we expected in Europe and now we are meeting pent up demand in the United States as it comes back into the American line-up with this update to the Breakout.”
2023 H-D Breakout Specifications
Taking our first test ride, obviously that extra grunt produced from the 117ci motor is instantly noticeable, which is churning out an impressive 167Nm of torque at 3500rpm and 102hp (76kW) at 5020rpm. It also now features a larger restyled tank, which holds about 18.9l fuel, not only giving you more time riding, but also plays its part in giving the bike a more muscular stance compared to the slimmer profile on previous models.
And how good to those 26-spoke Roulette cast-aluminium rims look? With a 21-inch at the front and a 240 at the rear, they really set the bike off and look the goods whether you’re roaring down the road or just sitting idle at a set of lights. Another great addition are those new polished stainless-steel bars and ¾-inch taller risers, which reduces the reach to the bars and place your arms and shoulders in a much more comfortable position. And situated in the middle of the bars is the small LCD instrument panel which gives you all the vital information at a simple glance.
When it comes time to haul the Breakout to a stop, the braking system offers great feel and consists of a four-piston fixed front caliper, a two-piston floating rear caliper and split seven-spoke floating rotors front and rear, which will have you pulling up on a ten-cent piece if required. The suspension is comfortable too, with a dual-bending valve 49mm fork and a coil-over along with a piston-free monoshock with 43mm stroke and tool-less preload adjustment, which is easily accessed by a dial just below your left leg. I stiffened it up a little before heading out on a ride up over the Blue Mountains, where it felt planted through all the twisting corners, and when ridden hard along some rough back roads, didn’t bottom out once. And even though it weighs in at 310kg wet, you won’t feel any of that weight once you’re up and cruising.
Ground clearance isn’t too bad either, sure you’ll scrape the pegs when you’re cranking it in hard, but you’ll have to get a fair way over to scrape anything else. Interestingly, the first batch of Breakouts arriving here won’t feature traction control, but we were informed that future models will have it installed, while in the US, it’s an added option. It does now include Cruise Control though, a feature which has also been rolled out across the majority of H-D’s cruiser fleet.
Colour & Chrome
Something else that was great to see was on the new Breakout is the addition of much more chrome, and who doesn’t like chrome? Moving away from the blacked-out finishes from recent models, the latest Breakout which is available in Vivid Black, Black Denim, Baja Orange and Atlas Silver Metallic,
once again oozes style, something that Luke Mansfield was clearly excited about, “We had gone away from the chrome lately, especially in the more custom styles, in favour of blacked out finishes, and so we really wanted to take this back to chrome and bejewel this bike. And then all of the improvements we have made, based on customer feedback, the sum of all those small things, in my opinion, and I speak as someone that has just ordered one of these that I am expecting to be in my garage by April, the sum of those small things create a much more impactful impression.”
He’s right too, it really is a big step up from last year’s model. What will be interesting is once some of Australia’s talented builders begin customising the new Breakout, especially now that it seems to be the model that has taken that mantle from the V-Rod. It really is a step forward for the Breakout, and is sure to remain one of Australia’s top selling models…