The Harley 103 and TC96 are the definition of power and reliability. The 103 engine offers bigger pistons with extra cubic inches and increases the compression from 9.2 to 9.6. These features boost power and reliability. However, it doesn’t come cheap. A Harley 96 with a 103 engine will cost you more than a Harley 103. So, which engine should you choose?
TC96 vs TC88
Despite the similarity in design, the new H-D TC96 is quite different. While the TC88 was largely unchanged, the TC96 features a new motor and new parts. The bore remained at 3.75 inches, but the stroke was increased, resulting in an increase of 11 ft-lbs in torque. The TC96 is also more reliable, with the starter bolted directly to the inner primary housing rather than a separate jackshaft.
While stock TC88s produce about 58 horsepower and 70 ft-lbs of torque at the rear wheel, the TC96 has a more powerful engine. The new engine is matched with an improved six-speed transmission, and the combination of increased torque and improved gear ratios results in huge improvements in roll-on acceleration. Moreover, the 134-cc displacement increase feels much more significant, owing to the improved gearing.
The Twin Cam 96 motor is based on the same design philosophy as the Twin Cam 88. This new engine is designed to take on the toughest back roads, while retaining the style and legacy of the ‘Big Twin’. The engine’s twin cams have active admision and escape (A/E) systems, and the bike’s Cruise Drive six-speed transmission is the same as the one in the TC88.
TC96 vs TC88B
The H-D TC96 and TC88B have similar basic architecture, but the TC96 has some significant differences. Both bikes use a Twin Cam 96 engine, and the TC96 has approximately 1684 cc of displacement, whereas the TC88B uses a smaller, 1450 CC motor. The main differences are the motor stroke and bore. The TC96 produces more torque is higher at higher rpm. The TC96 has an improved starter. It eliminates the starter jackshaft, increasing its reliability.
The TC96 engine has a higher torque than the TC88B, but both bikes have the same displacement. The TC96 has a higher peak horsepower and torque than the TC88B, but it shakes less at low engine rpm. The TC88B has a smoother ride on the highway, thanks to its TC96B engine. While the TC88B engine shares many components with the TC96, it differs in its powertrain from the other Harley models.
The TC88B and TC96 have a slightly higher final-drive ratio, while the TC96 has a lower final-drive ratio. While both engines are equipped with the same number of gears, the TC88B is slightly faster overall, while the TC96 has more torque and horsepower. But it is not all about the horsepower, but the torque and handling. Aside from horsepower, the TC96 and TC88B are also much more affordable than the TC88B.
The Twin Cam 96B engine is the more powerful and reliable of the two. It also delivers more torque and lower end power, a six-speed Cruise Drive transmission, and a vented lower fairing with storage pockets. Both bikes also come with leather seating. The TC88B is more comfortable for two riders than the TC88B. The difference is more noticeable in the power output of both engines.