Bigger cubic inches, better handling and a meaner look straight out of the box – the 2023 Harley-Davidson Breakout has been taken to the next level. We headed to Bright in Victoria to ride it as part of the Australian launch.
First appearing down under back in 2013 as a CVO model, the Breakout was an instant hit. A 2014 CVO model would follow, before Harley-Davidson would release a standard 103 Twin Cam variant in 2015. A year later saw another limited edition iteration.
It would then help launch the Milwaukee Eight era in 2017. There’s a nod to all that history in the new model, with the appearance of the 2023 Breakout harking back to those early CVO iterations.
For all its local success, the Breakout was temporarily unavailable in the US and parts of Europe, but that’s set to change with its return from this year. Enough history though, Bright and the surrounding areas proved the perfect back drop for the Australian launch.
The weather gods shined upon us and we were ready to throw a discerning eye over the refreshed model, and its new Milwaukee Eight 117 powertrain, before hitting the road to test its metal.
Lifted from the ST range launched last year, the engine has provided more power, which has been advantageous for some changes made to the improved handling geometry.
Some spanky new 21-inch front and 18-inch rear Gloss Black turbine wheels now feature too, with chrome also making a welcome return to the 2023 offering, replacing the black finishes of the previous model.
Four colours – Vivid Black, Denim Black, Atlas Silver Metallic and hero shade Baja Orange help give the 2023 Harley-Davidson Breakout a real custom hot rod vibe, ensuring it remains the number one for looks in the Softail range.
On the road, the chassis changes are evident early, with the new model tipping into corners far better than its predecessor, with more ground clearance. It held its line through bends with far less effort, and felt a lot more planted, even at higher speeds.
The 2023 Breakout is now a much more complete bike, and no longer do owners need to fear tight corners or twisty roads. From Bright we headed for Yackandendah, with the trip providing some nice sweeping bends, before we hit some tighter, twistier terrain.
The early stretches of road would allow us to experience how good the 117 Milwaukee Eight power plant truly is, with smooth, crisp responses to throttle, and plenty of oomph when overtaking. This motor is a real beauty, and offers plenty.
With its heavy breather air cleaner protruding from the side menacingly – all covered in glistening chrome – the 117 produces 76kW of power and 167Nm of torque, and pulls like a freight train.
New for 2023 is cruise control as standard. It’s easy to use and works well. The inclusion of the bigger 18.9-litre fuel tank adds to the touring capability and replaces the smaller Breakout tank fitted on the previous model.
Interestingly, the new seat has been sculpted to fit the tank and offers better support for the rider than before. Yours truly has spent a considerable time testing previous Breakout models and after a hard day’s riding would often feel stiff and sore in the lower back.
Not so with the 2023 model, which can be attributed to the new seat, increased ride height and handling geometry. Handlebars remain within easy reach and all controls are easily accessible and simple to use on the fly too.
The LCD display integrated into the handlebar remains and displays all required info clearly. Back on the road, we head to Tawronga Gap for a photo shoot, with the ride offering lots of varying terrain to test the Breakout on.
The greater ground clearance and greater lean angle was appreciated, however you could still notice the weight of the Breakout when trying to change direction quickly. In fairness, this sort of enthusiastic endeavour was probably not what the bike was designed for.
This writer is currently a judge on the Harley-Davidson Breakout Boss contest and one of the things that is truly interesting about the new bike is just how similar it is to some of the modified entrants, with its big front wheel, and standout colour schemes.
The return to chrome is an added bonus. So too is its considerably improved handling and the better performance from the Milwaukee Eight 117 motor. We have no doubt modders will love the new look Breakout too.
Pricing starts from $37,995 ride away for Vivid Black with the other three colours attracting a $365 price premium. The 2023 Harley-Davidson Breakout is backed by a 2-year factory warranty.
Our test bikes were provided by Harley-Davidson Australia as part of the Australian media launch. To find out more about the 2023 Harley-Davidson Breakout, contact your local Harley-Davidson dealer. Pictures courtesy of Incite Images.