Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic Complaints and Problems – Is Your New Bike A Lemon?

Speedometer, clutch and engine issues among the top complaints from motorcycle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic is a popular Softail model from the manufacturer. It’s known for its modern style, massive twin-engine and high-performance front suspension. It’s meant to stand out on the road. In fact, the company boasts that “blending in is not an option” with this bike. Enthusiasts jump at the chance to ride one and then quickly regret the decision. Between the steaming hot engine, defective clutch and faulty speedometer, this bike spends more time sitting at the dealer for repairs than it does on the road.

Classic Engine Problems

With a Milwaukee-Eight Big Twin engine installed, it’s clear that this bike has plenty of power. The trouble with the engine doesn’t seem to be related to the power or durability, but rather the heat that comes off of it.

Just look at this review left on HD Forums. “My wife got a new 2017 Heritage at the end of August. She started riding on a Yamaha 650, moved to the Vstar 1100, then the Vstar 1300, riding about 90,000 miles over the last 12 years. She likes everything about the Heritage (smooth, well balanced, lots of torque, appearance, etc.) except for the “dance” she does at stop lights due to excessive heat. She literally has had burns on her calf while wearing jeans. She is short so her legs are close to the primary on one side and the pipes and oil tank on the other. We have purchased new shocks and lowered the bike, as well as added a crotch cooler. Heat is still a problem, even after we’ve gotten into cooler weather in Colorado.”

No bike should be burning someone’s legs through pants in the cold Colorado weather, especially with all the modifications they added. It’s as if the motorcycle is attempting to brand the riders so they will always remember who they belong to. Maybe it’s part of their tactic to ensure no one blends in.

Problems with the Clutch

On a motorcycle, riders demand a clutch that engages smoothly and helps to shift gears seamlessly. Without this, there is nothing enjoyable about the ride at all. Yet, Harley can’t seem to get its clutches manufactured correctly.

One review on the HD Forums states the problem perfectly. “At close to 5K the clutch was still grabbing when starting in gear with lever pulled all the way in. At the 5K service they did an adjustment which helped the lurching when starting, but messed up the location of the friction zone in the lever. Back to service 3 times. Better now, but still not quite right, IMHO.”

For those who haven’t been informed, it’s vital to note that Harley-Davidson has undergone four clutch recalls in the past five years. The most recent recall involved nearly 240,000 motorcycles worldwide. The company claimed this recall cost them $35 million. One of the other recalls from previous years include a problem with the clutch master cylinder. It seems no matter how hard the company tries, they just can’t produce a well-designed clutch. If they wanted to stand out from the other bike companies, they certainly accomplished their goal.

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Speedometer Problems

When it comes to monitoring speed, it is vital to have a working speedometer. Without this, it’s easy to get pulled over by a cop for enjoying the bike a little too much. Yet, many users find that this bike, along with other Harley models, simply doesn’t have a functional speedometer.

Here is one of the many complaints from HD Forums. “Condensation in speedometer. Haven’t had it replaced as others have reported replacements are just as bad.”

Searching the forum, it’s clear to see that there’s no real solution to the matter. Just look at this. “Seriously, this crap just happened on my 18′ 114 FB this past weekend as I went from warmer temps near my home to cooler lakeside temps.Came here to the forum and found a few threads on this ‘issue’ and it seems that some had it replaced under warranty and some were told it will happen again no matter what.”

If there is a problem that will occur, “no matter what” then it might be time for the manufacturer to come up with a new design. Anyone spending this kind of money to own a bike should be able to see the speedometer clearly. This is frankly unacceptable and another reason that Harley will continue to remain unblended.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Harley pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • kevin

    paint peeling on front and rear fenders

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