Difference Between Dyna And Softail


Last Updated on January 27, 2023 by mdmtool

The Dyna and Softail models of Harley Davidson motorcycles are two of the brand’s most popular designs. Although similar in some ways, the two models have distinct differences that make them unique.

The main difference between a Dyna and a Softail is the design of their rear suspension. The Dyna model uses a traditional swingarm, which is suspended by dual shocks and provides a comfortable riding experience even over rough terrain. Softail models are equipped with an “invisible” suspension system that gives them a rigid look while still providing decent comfort levels under normal conditions.

Dyna VS Softail

What Is Dyna?

Dyna is a line of cruiser motorcycles made by Harley Davidson that feature traditional styling, including a wide stance and low ride height. The Dyna models have large V-twin engines with ample amounts of torque, making them great for cruising down the highway or powering through tight turns.

What Is Softail?

Softail is a line of Harley Davidson motorcycles that feature a unique frame design. The frame is made up of two pieces, with the rear part attached to the engine and transmission via four shock absorbers. This allows for less suspension travel than a traditional swingarm setup, giving the motorcycle an unmistakable rigid look while still providing decent comfort levels under normal conditions.

What Does Dyna Mean In Motorcycles?

Dyna stands for “Dynamic” and refers to a class of Harley-Davidson motorcycles that feature a classic, vintage look with lower, more aggressive stance.

What Does Softail Mean In Motorcycles?

Softail stands for “Soft tail” and refers to a class of Harley-Davidson motorcycles that feature a modern look with higher, more comfortable stance.

Softail And Dyna Are History:

  • Softail: The Softail design was first introduced in 1983 as a way to bring the classic hardtail look back into Harley Davidson motorcycles. Since then, the Softail has become one of the most popular designs from the brand and is available in many different models that cater to varying tastes and needs.
  • Dyna: The Dyna was introduced in 1991, and it quickly became one of the most popular Harley Davidson models due to its traditional styling, torque-filled engine, and comfortable ride. The Dyna lineup has grown over the years to include many different models that suit riders with a range of preferences.

Pros And Cons Of Dyna And Softail

Dyna Pros:

  • Comes with an adjustable suspension, allowing riders to customize their ride.
  • Offers a wide range of customization options to create a look that is truly unique.
  • Fuel economy is usually better than Softail due to its lighter weight.

Dyna Cons:

  • Not as comfortable for long rides due to lack of cushioning.
  • Not as good for off-roading due to its lack of suspension travel.
  • Limited selection of aftermarket parts available compared to the Softail.
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Softail Pros:

  • Comfort is usually better than Dyna, thanks to its well-cushioned seat and suspension.
  • Softails are designed to provide a smoother ride, even over bumpy terrain.
  • More selection of aftermarket parts available compared to the Dyna.

Softail Cons:

  • Not as customizable as Dyna due to its fixed suspension design.
  • Fuel efficiency is usually worse than Dyna due to its heavier weight.
  • Parts are often more expensive than Dyna due to their more complex design.

Difference Between Dyna And Softail

PROPERTY Dyna Softail
Physical Differences – Shorter wheelbase (distance between the front and rear axles) – Longer wheelbase
– Lower seat height – Higher seat height
– Wider frame – Narrower frame
Performance Differences – Generally better in straight-line acceleration – Generally better handling (turns and agility)
– Better ride over bumps on the road – Better balance when stopped or at slow speeds
– Lower, more aggressive stance – Higher, more commanding stance
Frame and Body: – Comes standard with a steel frame and aluminum body Comes standard with an all-aluminum frame and body parts.
chassis: Larger space between the swingarm and frame Narrower space between the swing arm and frame.
Price Differences Generally less expensive than Softails Generally more expensive than Dynas.
wheels and tyres: – 16″ front wheel and 18″ rear wheel – 16″ front and rear wheels
– Tubeless tyres – Tubed tyres.
Suspension: Comes standard with dual adjustable shocks in the back, plus a telescopic front fork Comes standard with a single shock in the back and a telescopic front fork.
Weight: Generally heavier than Softails Generally lighter than Dynas.
Engine configuration and power output: – Generally equipped with air-cooled, 45° V-twin engines – Generally equipped with liquid-cooled, 60° V-twin engines.
– Typically produces between 55HP and 72.7HP – Typically produces between 80HP and 107 HP.
Brakes: Comes standard with a single disc brake in the front and rear Comes standard with dual disc brakes in the front and rear.
Controls: Typically comes with electronic cruise control and push button start Typically comes with mechanical cruise control, keyed ignition, and kick start.
Fuel Economy: Generally better fuel economy than Softails Generally, lower fuel economy than Dynas.
Maintenance: Generally requires more frequent maintenance than Softails Generally requires less frequent maintenance than Dynas.
Sound: The louder and more aggressive exhaust note Quieter and more refined exhaust note.
Overall Ride Quality: Generally provides a smoother, more comfortable ride Generally provides a sportier, more responsive ride.
Speed Differences Generally not as fast at high speeds. Generally capable of higher top speeds
Exhaust System: Comes standard with a 2-into-2 exhaust Comes standard with a 2-into-1 exhaust.
Comfort and Ergonomics: Lower seating position, lower handlebars, and forward footpegs provide a more relaxed riding position Higher seating positions, higher handlebars, and mid-foot pegs provide a more aggressive riding position.
Paint and Finish: Matte black paint and satin finish Glossy black paint and chrome finish.
Cost of Parts: Generally cheaper than Softail parts  Generally more expensive than Dyna parts.
Availability: A wider range of models and aftermarket parts available Limited range of models and aftermarket parts available.
applications: Better suited for touring, cruising, and commuting Better suited for customizing, stunt riding, and performance applications.
shock absorption:  Provides better shock absorption due to its dual adjustable shocks Generally provides less shock absorption due to its single rear shock.
Overall Performance and Durability: Greater performance and durability than Softails Generally less performance and durability than Dynas.
Style: A classic, timeless look with modern touches Customizable and unique looks with a more aggressive style.
Warranty: Generally comes with a two-year warranty Generally comes with a three-year warranty.
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Deciding Between Dyna Or Softail

Deciding between Dyna or Softail can be a difficult decision, as both offer unique advantages depending on the rider’s needs and preferences. Dynas generally have a more affordable price tag, adjustable suspension, and a wider selection of models. Softails offer higher power output, better handling due to rigid frame construction, and a more refined exhaust note. Ultimately it is up to the individual rider to decide which style will best suit their riding needs.


Which One Is More Powerful?

Softail: – Typically produces higher power output than Dynas.

Which One Has Better Handling?

Dyna: – Better suited for cruising, touring, and commuting

Softail: – Better suited for customizing, stunt riding, and performance applications.

Which One Has A Better Suspension?

Dyna: – Comes with adjustable rear suspension, allowing for improved handling and comfort

Softail: – Rigid frame construction gives the bike more stability but less shock absorption.

Which One Has A Better Selection Of Models?

Dyna: – Wider range of models and aftermarket parts available

Softail: – Limited range of models and aftermarket parts available.

Is A Fatboy A Softail?

Yes, the Fatboy is a Softail model.

Which Produces Better Exhaust Notes?

Softail: – Generally produces a more refined exhaust note compared to Dynas.

Which Is Better For Touring?

Dyna: – Lower seating position, lower handlebars, and forward foot pegs make it better suited for touring.

Softail: – Higher seating position, higher handlebars, and mid-foot pegs make it less comfortable for long rides.

Which Is Better For Stunt Riding?

Softail: – Rigid frame construction and higher power output make it better suited for stunts.

Dyna: – Dual adjustable shocks provide improved handling but less stability, making it less suitable for stunt riding.

Is Softtail A Good Beginner Bike?

Softail is a great choice for beginner riders. Its comfortable seat and suspension make it ideal for long rides, while its fixed suspension design makes it easier to handle than the Dyna. It also has a wide range of aftermarket options, so you can customize your ride as you become more experienced. However, due to its heavier weight, it won’t be as fuel efficient as the Dyna. So, if you’re looking for a great beginner bike, the Softail has something to offer.

Is A Softail Better Than A Dyna?

That depends on what you’re looking for in a bike. The Softail offers more comfort and customization options than the Dyna, but it’s heavier and not as fuel efficient. On the other hand, the Dyna is lighter and has better fuel efficiency, but it isn’t as comfortable or customizable. Ultimately, it comes down to your own personal preference and what you value most in a bike.


Dyna motorcycles tend to be less expensive than Softails, have lower seating positions, are heavier than Softails, produce lower power output, and are better suited for cruising, touring, and commuting. On the other hand, Softail motorcycles are generally more expensive than Dynas, have higher seating positions, are lighter than Dynas, produce higher power output, and are better suited for customizing stunt riding, and performance applications. Both types of motorcycles provide riders with great features and options to choose from depending on their individual needs and preferences. Ultimately, it is up to the rider to decide which motorcycle is right for them.

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