Harley-Davidson FXLR Softail Low Rider / S / ST (2018+) Maintenance Schedule / Guide

This is the maintenance schedule and general guide to servicing the Harley-Davidson Softail Low Rider (FXLR), powered by the Milwaukee-Eight motor, made since 2018.

This also covers the FXLRS (Low Rider S) and FXLRST (Low Rider ST). They all come with the Milwaukee-Eight engine platform (in gradually increasing engine capacity from 107 to 114 and 117) on the new 2017+ Softail chassis and share the same basic maintenance requirements.

The Harley-Davidson Low Rider is a relaxed “California”-style cruiser with mid controls and a comfortable, upright seating position. Harley-Davidson has been making the Low Rider in various incarnations for ages, but since 2018 they have been made with the Milwaukee Eight motor in the revised Softail chassis. The previous incarnation had the Twin Cam engine in the Dyna chassis.

The maintenance schedule is similar to other motorcycles with Milwaukee-Eight motors from the Softail line (e.g. the Harley-Davidson Breakout), but of course, some parts and maintenance specs are always different.

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Harley Davidson FXLR Low Rider Service Intervals

Like most Harley-Davidson motorcycles, the Harley-Davidson Low Rider has 5000 mile / 8000 km or annual service intervals, though Harley recommends you service it more often if it’s ridden under harsh conditions (e.g. if you ride it aggressively, in high ambient temperatures, or on dirt roads).

At every service, change the oil and filter, and look over the motorcycle for items needing lubrication, adjustment, or cleaning. Also, check wearable items (like hoses and tires) to see if they’re still in good condition. (See the end for tire specs.)

As the Milwaukee-Eight motor (like most air-cooled Big Twin motors) has self-adjusting hydraulic valves, there is no strict valve service interval. However, Harley-Davidson does suggest you change the spark plugs every 30,000 miles / 48,000 km or two years.

As well as engine oil, you need to periodically replace both primary chaincase lubricant and transmission lubricant.

A number of items need to be done less frequently, like changing the brake fluid (The Low Rider models all have a cable clutch). See the schedule for more details.

Maintenance schedule for the Harley-Davidson Softail Low Rider

Below is the service schedule for the Harley-Davidson Low Rider (FXLR). We’ve adapted this from the manual but clarified it to make it more legible and easy to follow. For example, we add notes into the table, put the most important things on top (shouldn’t “change the oil” always come first?), and group things by frequency where possible.

Generally maintenance for the Harley-Davidson Softail line with the Milwaukee-Eight engine can be summarised as

  • Every: 5000 mile / 8000 km: Oil and filter, and a once-over
  • Every two services: tighten everything up back to torque spec, and lubricate major bearings.
  • Every 2-4 years replace fluids, or as needed.

Naturally, there’s no valve service check. It’s a Harley! (Well, it’s most Harleys.) However, there can be cases of valve noise, either from uneven wear in the rockers. If that’s the case, you’ll need to get the valves looked at anyway.

Major Items Maintenance Schedule

This is the major items maintenance schedule for the Softail / M8 Low Rider See below for the “inspection checklist” to follow at every service.

This inspection checklist is based on regular usage of your bike. Of course, this isn’t a motorcycle that is used as a casual commuter or even a tourer, so you may want to modify the maintenance schedule. Harley Davidson recommends you service your bike more often if you operate it in “adverse conditions”, which means severe cold, extreme heat, a very dusty environment, very bad roads, or through standing water.

If you regularly ride your motorcycle less than 15 mi / 24 km, in temperatures between 60 F / 16 C, then change oil intervals three times as often — every 1500 mi / 2400 km.


  • Follow the earlier of the distance-based or time-based intervals. For example, change the oil every 5000 mi / 8000 km or year, whichever comes first.
  • Keep repeating the schedule in the pattern shown.
mi x 100051015202530
km x 100081624324048Every
Inspection checklist (see below) – PerformYear (some items only)
Engine oil – Replace
Drain plug torque: 19-25 Nm / 14-21 lb-ft
See notes below
Oil filter – Replace
Hand-tighten with a rag
Air cleaner filter – Inspect
Clean as necessary in lukewarm water with mild detergent
More often if riding in severe conditions.
Spark plugs – Replace2 years
(Spoked rims) Spoke tightness (front and rear) – CheckMore often if riding in severe conditions.
Hand control switch housing screw torque – TightenYear
Master cylinder handlebar clamp screw torque — TightenYear
Front brake handlebar clamp screw torque – TightenYear
Steering head bearings — Adjust / Lubricate as necessary
Steering head bearings – Lubricate
Windshield (if fitted) bushings – Inspect
Primary chaincase lubricant – ReplaceMore often if riding in severe conditions.
Transmission lubricant – ReplaceMore often if riding in severe conditions.
Brake fluid – Replace (use DOT 4 fluid e.g. Castrol DOT 4)2 years, or if moisture is >3%
Front and rear axle nut torque – TightenYear
12 battery – Check battery, terminal torque, and clean connections. Lubricate with electrical contact lubricantYear
Front forks — Rebuild (seals, fluid)50,000 mi (80,000 km)
Fuel filter – Replace100000 mi (161000 km)
Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight (Air/Oil-cooled) Softail Maintenance Schedule

Inspection checklist for the Harley-Davidson Low Rider

Below is the regular inspection checklist for the Low Rider (FXLR series). Do this checklist at every service, per the schedule above. Items on the right also need to be done annually.

Standard Inspection Checklist — Softail, Milwaukee EightAnnual
Drive belt and sprockets – Inspect for wear
Drive belt – Check / Adjust tension
See notes below on checking / adjusting belt tension
Rear sprocket isolators – Inspect at every tire change
Electrical equipment and switches – Inspect for correct function
Tire pressure and tread (front and rear) – Check
Brake and clutch controls – Lubricate
Brake pads and discs (front and rear) – Check wear and that the discs run true
Minimum pad thickness: 0.04 in / 1 mm
Brake fluid level (front and rear) – Inspect level (fluid drops as pads wear), and check moisture content. Replace if moisture over 3%. (Castrol DOT 4)
Clutch cable – Adjust and check for leaks, contact, or abrasion. Lubricate cable with Harley-Davidson lubricant
Fuel lines and fittings — Inspect for routing, condition, leaks, and abrasion
Oil cooler – Clean
Oil and brake lines – Inspect for wear / routing
Jiffy stand – Lubricate
Exhaust system, fasteners, and shields – Inspect
Fuel tank cap / hinge / latch – Lubricate
Component and system function – Road test
Standard Annual Service (Harley-Davidson Milwaukee Eight, Softail)

Harley-Davidson Low Rider FXLR Belt Maintenance

Below are more details on belt maintenance of your FXLR Harley-Davidson Low Rider. To check the belt tension on the Low Rider, follow the procedure below.

Firstly, you need a belt tension tool and a ruler (either metric or imperial, whatever you’re used to). You can use either the standard Harley-Davidson belt tension tool or a generic one from Amazon – they do the same thing (and they’re also usable on other cruisers).

Harley-Davidson Low Rider belt deflection test
  1. Put the motorcycle in neutral on its stand, with the rear wheel on the ground. There should be no luggage or load on the bike, either.
  2. Push up on the middle of the bottom half of the belt until the belt tension gauge shows 10 lb (4.5 kg) of pressure.
  3. Use the ruler to measure belt tension deflection. Some models have a deflection window — you can use that too.

Target belt tension for the Harley-Davidson FXLR (existing belt) with 10 lb force: 1/2-9/16 in / 12.7-14.2 mm

If the belt tension is out of spec, you can either adjust it yourself if you know how, or take it to a dealer.

Oil Change on the Harley-Davidson Low Rider (FXLR)

There are three fluids that need to be changed on the FXLR, as with most Harley-Davidsons, though you only need to change the engine oil at every service.

For all of them, you can use the same oil — Castrol V-Twin 20W50, a popular oil for Harley-Davidson big twins, or Mobil 1 V-twin 20W-50. You can also use Screamin’ Eagle Syn3 Synthetic 20W50, Harley-Davidson’s own in-house high-quality synthetic, which you can get from dealers.

For the Milwaukee Eight motor you need 4 quarts / 3.8L of oil (usually just one big bottle — or a bit shy). This is for a complete change, including the filter.

Here’s a pretty decent video going over the process for the oil change on the Low Rider ST:

To change the oil (in all locations) you need

  • A wrench with a 5/8 inch (16 mm works) socket
  • The right nuts to open the various drain plugs
  • An oil filter socket (access is hard — it’s behind the oil cooler). And some kind of way of catching the oil under the filter. Hand tighten the wrench to contact + firmly hand-tightened.

These are the places oil needs to be changed on the Low Rider or other bikes with this motor:

  1. Engine oil
  2. Primary chaincase lubricant
  3. Transmission lubricant

While the standard oil change interval for the Low Rider (and all M8-powered motorcycles) is 5000 miles / 8000 km, Harley-Davidson recommends you change the oil more often if you operate it under adverse conditions or in extreme cold without allowing it time to warm up. (See the above notes on temperature.)

Wheels and Tires for the Low Rider

The Low Rider, Low Rider S, and Low Rider ST all ship with Michelin bias ply tires out of the box, custom-made for the various FXLR models.

Below are the standard tire sizes and recommended tire pressures. Harley updated its guidance from 2020. Of course, choose the tire pressures that best suit your conditions, riding style, load, etc.

WheelTyreRecommended pressure (cold)
FrontMichelin Scorcher 31 110/90 B 192018-2019: 30 psi / 207 kPa / 2.07 bar
2020+: 32 psi / 221 kPa / 2.21 bar
RearMichelin Scorcher 31 180/70 B 1640 psi / 276 kPa / 2.76 bar
Harley-Davidson Breakout Low Rider Wheels, Tires, and Pressures

About the Harley Davidson FXLR Low Rider (and S and ST)

2021 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S 114 FXLRS rhs by sand dunes or pyramids
2021 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S 114 FXLRS

The Harley-Davidson Low Rider is a laid-back cruiser, one of the recurring mainstays of Harley’s line for decades in various forms — but most notably since the Twin Cam years.

The Low Rider has always been known as a “classic” cruiser. It has (or did have) a lot of old-school features, like dual tank-mounted gauges, chrome exhausts, and classic Harley-Davidson graphics. The front and rear wheel combination of 19 and 16 emphasises the laid back nature. It’s not aiming to be a sport bike, nor a long distance cruiser — the Low Rider, like the Fat Bob, is a bike that’s meant to be about every day fun.

Harley-Davidson released the first FXLR cruiser in 2018, along with the other revised Softail cruisers that replaced the Dyna models of old.

The original FXLR had the 107 Milwaukee-Eight motor, no slouch. But more notable down-spec features of the FXLR were the conventional (not inverted) fork and single disc brake.

But Harley-Davidson upped the ante with the Low Rider S, which has an inverted fork and twin disc brakes, alongisde the bigger 114 c.i. engine. The Low Rider S is billed as a “performance” cruiser. The inverted fork is at a shallower 28 degrees (vs 30 degrees of the original FXLR), which gives it quicker turn-in.

Finally, Harley-Davidsion brought the Low Rider S’ engine spec up to 117, and simultaneously released the “Sport Touring” model — the FXLRST. The FXLRST has the same foundations and the 117-powered FXLR, but also has a shield and bags.

Harley-Davidson discontinued the base-model 107 c.i. FXLR, but it’s still well-liked. It has classic lines that aren’t going to go out of style!

Here are the specs of all the FXLR-based models.

EngineMilwaukee-Eight 107Milwaukee-Eight 114Milwaukee-Eight 117Milwaukee-Eight 117
Compression ratio10.0:110.5:110.2:110.2:1
Peak torque110 lb-ft / 149 Nm @ 3000 rpm119 lb-ft / 161 Nm @ 3000 rpm125 lb-ft / 169 Nm @ 3500 rpm125 lb-ft / 169 Nm @ 3500 rpm
Front suspension49mm conventional fork, Dual-bending valve43mm inverted fork43mm inverted fork43mm inverted fork
Rake30 deg28 deg28 deg28 deg
Front brakeSingle 300 mm disc, 4-piston fixed caliper2 x 300 mm discs, 4-piston fixed calipers2 x 300 mm discs, 4-piston fixed calipers2 x 300 mm discs, 4-piston fixed calipers
Air cleaner8.5 in roundVentilatorHeavy BreatherHeavy Breather
Weight, in running order661 lb (300 kg)679 lb (308 kg)679 lb (308 kg)721 lb (327 kg)
Spec differences of Harley-Davidson FXLR, FXLRS, FXLRST
2022 Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST Group photo
2022 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S / ST Group photo

One stand-out feature of the Low Rider is the mid-mounted pegs. For most people of average height, this is a much more comfortable position than floorboards or stretched-out forward pegs.

But for taller riders, the Low Rider (and Low Rider S/ST) can actually be uncomfortable. It is worth checking out the bikes in person to see the riding position for yourself.

Despite the high cost of entry, one blessing of a Harley-Davidson Low Rider (or anything with a Big Twin engine, including the Sportsters or even the RH Sportsters) is that the engines have hydraulic self-adjusting lifters, which means there are no prescribed valve service intervals.

With an air-cooled engine, no valve services, and a belt drive, a Low Rider is a surprisingly low-maintenance bike — as long as you stay on top of fluid changes.

Reference — Manual for the FXLR Low Rider

The above maintenance guide for the FXLR Low Rider came from the manual for the Milwaukee-Eight Softail line of motorcycles from 2018. It’s consistent between different years of the Low Rider and the 107, 114, and 117 models (including the S and ST). We checked multiple years of the manual to make sure. See the below screenshots.

You can download service information for your Harley from here (login required).

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