Best Harleys For Women

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When women look for the perfect Harley Davidson motorcycle to purchase, which one gives them the power, style, and spirit that best fits the female gender?

For women searching for the best Harley Davidson, these motorcycles are exceptional choices:

  • Harley Davidson Sportster 883 Superlow
  • Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe
  • Harley Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom
  • Harley Davidson Street 750
  • Harley Davidson Street Glide Classic

While this article will answer the question of which is the best Harley Davidson for a woman, a definitive answer is impossible. The subjectivity of which bike will meet your individual needs is a very personal choice. However, my interaction with dozens of Harley Davidson enthusiasts who are women as well as my own wife have helped inform this list. I’ve also researched the most prolific Harley Davidson forums and have 30 years of experience in the Harley world. That being said, let’s dive right in.

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The Sportster 883 Superlow: A Great Choice For All Women

The Power of the Harley Davidson Sportster 883 Superlow

Women are powerful and their bike needs to reflect that.

Women riders never need to compromise power for safety, balance, or weight with the Sportster 883 Superlow.

This bike packs a neck-snapping max torque of 75.00 Nm (7.6 kgf-m or 55.3 ft. lbs) at 3500 RPM and will pull plenty of G’s at a red light doing a quarter mile in 15 seconds flat.

The air-cooled, four-stroke, 45-degree, V-twin Evolution motor has a compression ratio of 8:8:1 with an 883cc (53.9 cubic inches) engine (bore and stroke: 76.2 x 96.8.) and is capable of reaching top speeds of 105 MPH.

The horsepower may seem modest at 68 (50.2 kW) at 4400 RPMs, but this is a smooth cruiser meant for distance, not the track.

The Low Center of Gravity of the Harley Davidson Sportster 883 Superlow

According to the NIH, the average American woman is 5’ 3”, and the average American man is 5’ 9”. Many motorcycles are designed with that 6-plus inch difference in mind for men, making it uncomfortable for the more compact rider. When you account for the weight of a motorcycle that can reach over 850 pounds, you have a monster that you’re trying to balance if both your feet aren’t planted on the ground.

The Sportster 883 Superlow is literally “super low” with a deep saddle seat height reaching only 25.5 inches off the ground when laden. For about $140.00 you can purchase an aftermarket Harley drop-in fork frame-lowering kit and get it down another 1 to 3 inches. This not only allows for better balance and control at rest, but a low center of gravity also is more stable and allows for faster turns around corners. This is important for beginners and can be important for women who value control, stability, and balance.

The narrow deep bucket seat design and narrow frame also make the upright riding position more comfortable for many women riders than some of the bulkier seats of the larger-framed models.

The Light Weight of the Harley Davidson Sportster 883 Superlow

Some of the biological differences between men and women include upper body strength as a general norm. Pushing your bike up an incline, lifting it off the ground, or even tilting it up from the kickstand can be a chore when you’re wrestling a 900 lb behemoth.

Thankfully, the Sportser 883 Superlow weighs in at only 536 lbs (234 kg) dry and is the second lightest bike only to the 500/750 Street. This super-light bike coming out of Harley-Davidson allows for better control and handling, especially at rest. Of course, the power output delivery also becomes more efficient on a lighter bike making the ride a lot more fun on city streets!

The Safety of the Harley Davidson Sportster 883 Superlow

The most important safety feature on any motorcycle is the brakes, and the Sportster 883 Superlow has a two-pot caliper 300 mm single disc brakes in the front and a two-pot 260 mm disc brake in the rear.

Both tires are safety-supervised with ABS which pulses quickly preventing brake locking and skidding around corners or in wet weather and are standard on all Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Safety is also found in the tires, and the Superlow has a firm bike-to-pavement feel thanks to the Michelin Scorcher 11 radials with a 120/70 front tire and a 150/60 rear tire. These tires were developed specifically to showcase the handling of the Sportster 883 Superlow.

They feature a semi-slick tread pattern that increases the contact patch providing increased road adhesion on dry roads. The new tread groove is designed to efficiently move water away from the bike making it dependable in the rain.

The Front-End Fit of the Harley Davidson Sportster 883 Superlow

On average, female riders have a shorter reach, so the elongated handlebars of the Sportster 883 Superlow are developed to turn in towards the rider which offers more comfort and control if a person’s reach is limited.

The front-end specs create a new and different feel in the Sportster line which features a more linear ride. The trail (horizontal distance from the tire contacting the ground to the angle of the steering axis intersecting the road) is 5.7 inches giving it a more precise roll. In comparison, the trail on the 883 Low is 4.6 in.

The Style and Lines of the Sportster 883 Superlow

The stylish tires of the Sportster 883 Superlow tie into the saddle and the gas tank up into the handlebars making a sleek and beautiful statement for lady riders. With the chromed-out engine and tailpipes, it highlights a simple but elegant design.

The wheelbase is classic and the front end is retro. The bike can be a neutral palette for a female rider to explore. Just add some custom paint, and this is a designable women’s motorcycle that will turn a lot of heads making it perfect for female riders.

The Softail Deluxe: A Great Choice For Shorter Women Riders

The Low Center of Gravity of The Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe

The Softail Deluxe has an astonishingly low seat height enhancing control and balance at only 24.5 inches allowing those in the five foot height range to have both feet planted firmly on the ground. The narrow seat is ergonomically designed and has a comfortable riding position.

The handlebars are bent in and are manufactured to keep shorter female riders in an upright seating position instead of hunched and leaning forward.

While this is a touring bike and, therefore, a bit heavy for the average woman weighing just under 700 pounds fully gassed, the smooth, low-centered ride with twin mono shock rear suspension and flexible Telescopic fork up front for longer rides makes up for the extra weight and keeps this bike controllable even when ridden by someone of a more diminutive size.

The Power of The Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe

The Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe is a cruiser bike and has been upgraded in 2019 to be a perfect fit for midrange power and weight (668 lbs dry.)

The air-cooled, 45 degree Twin Cam 88 engine has 86 HP at just over 5000 RPM with a max torque of 147.8 Nm (109 ft. lbs) at 3000 RPM. This is manageable power that will take the rider to a maximum speed of 110 MPH. The blazing speed of this classic Harley can be seen in the 13.3 second quarter mile, and it can reach 60 MPH from zero in just 4.5 seconds.

The Aesthetics of the Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe

From all the Harley Davidson forums, it’s possible that this bike is the most popular choice of women riders. The look of this bike could be a major reason. Not only is it perfect for shorter riders, but it is classic Harley with the bold lines of the front wheel into the handlebars and the classic curves of the gas tank into the saddle.

The chromed-out engine is stunning sitting under the deep saddle. The twin pipe exhaust flares from high to low meeting behind the back wheel giving it a uniformed, bold appearance. This is a perfect look for any woman biker.

The Sportster 1200 Custom: A Great Choice For Advanced Women Riders

The Power And Feel of the Sportster 1200 Custom

For experienced female riders, the Sportster 1200 Custom is an excellent choice. The max torque is 71 ft/lbs at 3500 RPM in an Evolution 1202cc engine and has superior power for experienced riders. The roar of the engine is classic Harley, and for the more advanced female riders that want the power and feel of a Harley, this is a great choice.

Not only do you enjoy the power, but the rubber mounting and amazing shock systems keep the ride smooth on long rides.

The Fit of the Sportster 1200 Custom

The narrow frame and low seat height of just over 28 inches mean the center of gravity is low, and the bike is more stable. Most importantly for control and balance, the bike is around 562 lbs making the weight-to-power distribution very attractive compared to other bikes and is one of the best Harleys for women.

The Aesthetic of the Sportster 1200 Custom

The look of the Harley Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom makes a dramatic statement. From the dark curves to the modern slick finish, this beast demands respect. This Sportster’s front end curves of the headlights into the handlebars and compact fuel tank as well as the chromed double exhaust system flowing through the middle to the back of the bike are fluid and beautiful.

The customizable options and paint designs are infinite making this a great fit for strong, confident, and experienced women riders.

The Street 750: A Great Choice For Novice Woman Riders

The Smooth and Powerful Ride of the Street 750

While I normally wouldn’t recommend this bike for Harley purists, it’s a fantastic option for women who are just beginning their motorcycle experience and are new riders. Because of its liquid-cooled, 60-degree, V-twin Revolution engine, the bike purrs down the road instead of chugs like a typical Harley.

At a displacement of 749cc and a max torque of 60 Nm at 3750 RPMs and horsepower at 57.6 hp at 7955 RPM, it has more than enough power for anyone just starting out, but if this torque is a little intimidating, you can have the exact same bike with a smaller bored engine in the Street 500. It has the same exact features but with a 500cc engine with slightly less torque and horsepower. I still recommend the 750 because it’s my experience that after just a few short weeks of riding, even the most novice women riders will be confidently ready for the extra power.

The Weight and Fit of the 750 Street

For novice women who are more diminutive and looking for better control and balance, the Harley Street 750 is the lightest of the Harley line weighing in at only 492 lbs. The power-to-weight ratio is excellent finishing the quarter mile and flying through all six gears in 13.69 seconds and going 0 to 60 MPH in 4.6 seconds.

The seat height measures just over 28 inches off the ground and with the narrow frame, a typical woman will have both feet flat on the ground with the feeling of control at rest. With the rear wheel travel measuring 3.5 inches and the 5.5 inches of adjustable shocks and the front wheel base coming from a 37mm telescopic fork, the Street has double the travel of its Sportster sister while having a lower seat height.

The Low Cost of the 750 Street

Another great feature of this well-built machine is the price which is the least expensive of all Harley’s motorcycles. Before this bike was discontinued, the suggested retail was $7,600, but now in the pre-owned market you can find a Harley Davidson 750 Street in the $4000 to $5000 range with low miles making it affordable for a first bike experience for most women.

This bike was created to compete in the foreign markets as an inexpensive, smaller engined Harley Davidson, so many don’t see this bike as a typical Harley. From the smoother, quieter sound to the manufacturing details, it’s not what most expect from Harley-Davidson name, but the price and powerful smooth ride make it a perfect pick for the novice woman rider.

The Aesthetic of the 750 Street

My fiance owns a Harley Davidson 750 Street, and she loves the all blacked-out look that she highlights with a pink helmet.

The custom dark paint in Vivid Black color is a perfect background palet for any customization that you want. With the exception of the gas cap, almost every piece of the machine from wheels to tank are blacked-out. Splash a little color anywhere against such a dramatic backdrop, and you’ve got an eye catching feminine ride. My fiance thinks it’s a fabulous feminine Harley bike that is both tough, manageable, and beautiful.

About THE AUTHOR

Benjamin Rathbun

Benjamin Rathbun

Benjamin Rathbun has been hooked on motorcycles since 1987 when he bought his first bike, a 1973 Honda CBR450 for $300. Since then he has been through countless bikes and continued his two-wheeled hobby passing it down to his 21-year-old son who rides with him on the weekends in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Benjamin believes that nothing clears the mind faster than flying 26 inches above the asphalt on his Harley-Davison.

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