Softail Rocker C
by Kirk Johnson
as tested $19,449
About the Rocker C
Softail Rocker C Specs
||Air-Cooled, Twin Cam 96B,
96 Cu. Inch
||87.90 ft lbs @ 2750 rpm*
New Carbon Fiber Belt
|*They never quote HP. I
find the *87.9 ft. lbs a stretch. That reading is more
than likely at the crankshaft. If you put these bikes
on a Dyno – you will not see any numbers like these
at the rear wheel. The numbers are from the Harley-Davidson
The Rocker or the Rocker C is the Custom Chopper created for
the person that has cast a glancing view to the custom or chopper
motorcycles that have populated the scene a few years back.
The problem with some of the past customs or choppers was the
price and reliability. Some of the custom designed parts, chopped
frames and extended forks gave the creations a terrific profile,
but, often times created riding and dependability problems.
This is not to say that all customs and choppers had a problem,
but there were some with problems and of course resale was
always a concern for these special creations.
Now Harley has a factory custom chopper that has a lot of the
upgrades without the extremes often associated with some of the
creations of the past. Plus, it was engineered and designed for
reliability and ride ability that very few people can create
without the deep pockets of someone like Harley-Davidson. Now,
with the Rocker, you can have your chopper profile, dependability
and service ability with a huge selection of off the shelf performance
and chrome upgrades.
What makes this a Harley is the Softail frame with a rigid mounted
Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection 96B twin Cam, 6 Speed
power plant. And of course all of the hand controls are the same
throughout the line as for brake pedals and hand controls. It
has a speedometer, no tach, with the turn signal and neutral
indicators in a little display on the fuel tank.
What sets this beast apart from the standard line is the extended
front forks and large 240 mm rear tire. The wheelbase of this
custom is only about 5 inches longer (69.2 inches) than the standard
Softail. Besides the chopper profile, they enhanced the custom
look with a rear fender that hugs the oversized rear tire with
custom wheels by mounting it to the swing arm and finished it
with a nice color keyed frame.
On the Rocker C, if you haven’t noticed, they have what
appears to be a solo design. But, should you get lucky, there
is a passenger seat that is conveniently hidden under the solo
seat. It appears to be a little torture pad. But should you need
it, it could be your friend. Just a quick note about the seat;
I rode the Rocker with it hidden under the seat and with it in
place. Now for vanity reasons, you would want the hard solo look
for bar hopping, but should you venture out on the road, with
the seat in place, it actually gives a little lower back support
for more comfort.
As you can see in the picture there is a stage one upgrade. This
included new exhaust pipes and dyno tuned remapping. I recommend
this upgrade for all Harleys, with the exception of the V-rod,
for performance reasons. Pictured are the Vance and Hines Big
Radius 2 into 2 Black pipes that sell for $799.22. This is a
I have ridden choppers in the past and never really like the
ride. It was a full time job to manage that 300 rear tire over
uneven pavement and speed bumps and the turning radius was poor
when you turn around or when maneuvering around in a parking
Climbing on the Rocker the first thing that I noticed was the
nice low seat. Your feet are flat on the ground and with your
legs bent, you have the feeling that you are wearing the bike
rather than just sitting in it. After grabbing the slightly curved
back handlebars on risers, I noticed that they had internal wiring.
That gave it a very nice clean look. But not to be distracted
with the great look of this new toy, I wanted to find out if
this machine really rides like any of the Harley’s that
I have ever been on.
Surprisingly, after getting out of the parking lot, I noticed
very little difference from most of the softails that I have
been on in the past. The upgraded Vance and Hines pipes sounded
great and low end torque increase from the stock Softail was
noticeable. The steering was light and easy. It was nothing like
some of the choppers from the past.
The Twin Cam B power plant is very smooth, even with setting
at idle stopped. After negotiating some nice long curves on the
back roads, you notice that you lean a little more then on some
of the shorter wheel base machines. Then with a slight twist
of the grip, the extra low-end torque really felt good powering
out of corners. This is a very easy to ride custom. Just to see
if there were any problems with turning, I slowed to a crawl
and made a u-turn on a two lane, it was a piece of cake.
After finding an on-ramp to the local freeway, I was able to
find the throttle limit and was pleasantly surprised at the power.
Straight as a rocket, you could easily find a three digit number
by the time you have to merge with traffic. Then of course, you
have to grab a little brake to blend into with all of the cages.
On the freeway, it rides like a dream. With the sixth gear, you
can idle down the road with ease and you always have plenty of
I rode this Rocker on curvy roads to interstate riding and, at
all times, found that this little Rocker was a champ and a pleasure
to ride. It is obviously not a cruiser, nor is it a Buell, but
you could spend the day on the bike and feel great at days end.
What really sets this ride apart is the styling. Even with the
exotic styling, for a Harley, it is a very tame ride when compared
to the old style hardtail choppers. It is a ride that you want
to be seen on.