I purchased a 2011 Softail Deluxe because I love the way the bike looks. It maintains that throwback look unlike alot of Harley’s other models. What I failed to realize until I put some miles on the bike, is that the bike is intended for riders in the 5′ 8″ range. The softail deluxe is very popular among women riders for that very reason.
I’m 6′ 2″ and started to experience lower back pain on rides over 50 miles. I spent hours researching solutions and even put my bike up for sale for a few weeks because I couldn’t find a remedy to my problem. I thought I’d write this blog since I know other riders must be experiencing this problem and are desperate for a solution. Here is my solution:
First, go to HarleyGoodies.com and grab a floorboard extension kit for about $50. They only kick the boards out 1″ but it makes a huuuge difference.
Secondly, the factory Softail Deluxe seat is VERY uncomfortable if you’re tall. It puts pressure on your lower back and pushes you forward as if you’re riding on the gas tank. I’ve always been told you should feel like you’re in the bike.. not on it. There are a lot of aftermarket options for seats on the softail but very few keep the vintage look. During my research I found that the Heritage Springer 1997-2003 seat fits the newer softail models and has massive cushion with almost no upward curvature at the rear. It even has a seat rail that fits a small or large back rest. They are no longer made and quite expensive because Harley discontinued these parts. I found mine on ebay by typing in “heritage springer seat” and “heritage springer seat rail”.
Finally, I swapped out my stock handlebar risers for 1.5″ inch risers. This pushed the handlebars forward a few inches letting my arms stretch out.
I have to tell you that I almost sold my bike because of this problem.. the above solutions will improve the look of your softail and add an enormous amount of comfort. I picked up about 4″ inches of leg stretch with the heritage springer seat and 1″ of leg stretch on the floorboard extensions and 3″ inches of arm stretch with the HD 1/5″ inch risers… putting me at a very comfortable riding position. I hope you found this blog useful… oh and 1 more thing if you own a printer checkout Inkgrabber.com and we’ll save you big money in comparison to what you pay now! Below are some cruddy before and after picks I took with my cell phone. Notice the curvature difference and massive padding.