Best Harley Motorcycles
Harley-Davidson FLHT Electra Glide Standard
One of the best Harley motorcycles of all time is the FLTH Electra. Although it lacked many of the characteristics associated with other high-end motorcycles, such as powerful sound systems, vibrant paint colors, and a plethora of chrome, it did include several intriguing elements.
This Harley-Davidson motorcycle was equipped with a Twin-Cam V-Twin engine with electronic throttle control (ETC), and its single engine is noted for its dependability. The motorcycle's four-stroke engine can produce 96.6 lb-ft of torque at a maximum speed of 3,500 rpm. The motorcycle's air-adjustable suspension is excellent, and the 1584cc air-cooled engine is mated to a capable six-speed cruise drive gearbox.
The new Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard has several functions. Its stripped-down character makes it an excellent place to start for a custom layout, allowing users to access the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine in the Touring chassis. The Electra Glide Standard is designed for city riders, with a hefty 17-inch front Dunlop to combat crumbling infrastructure and no-nonsense touring-oriented gadgets that will make cruising around downtown in style incredibly enjoyable.
It is a superb city ride in terms of ergonomics. The modest seat height complements the pleasantly pulled back bars and forward-placed floorboards. The fork-mounted batwing fairing allows for ordered seating, and the heel-toe shifter contributes to the enjoyment.
The Dunlops and three linked 320mm discs perform a fantastic job of decelerating the 820-pound ride, and the linkage is delightfully transparent. Nothing interrupts your flow with the initial contact, yet there is enough braking power when you need it. ABS is a standard feature in the motorcycle.
FLHR Road King
The FLHR is known as the king of the roads when it comes to personalization and speed. This famous Harley-Davidson debuted in 1994 and quickly set a benchmark for all other motorcycle brands in its class.
The 1690cc Twin-Cam 103 workhorse is paired to a six-speed cruise drive gearbox unit in the Road King. It also had an anti-lock brake system and digital cruise control. It has a changeable touring suspension system and a removable windscreen in the customizing sector, making it easier to produce a fluid ride. The conventional Road King casing, which is synonymous with motorcyclists, houses all these elements.
The Road King is a moving time machine of America's riding era, with an old-school spirit and elegance. The chrome accents have been replaced with a blacked-out look, and the profile is updated with a 19-inch front wheel and reduced fender. Of course, the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine, which replaces the 107ci V-twin in the baseline model, makes the Road King totally unique.
It comes with everything you'll really need for long road trips, including a big six-gallon gasoline tank. The Road King is significantly lighter than other V-twin tourers, including ones from rival manufacturers, even without all the extras.
It also has a reputation for good handling, thanks to the weight and the fact that it's built with great cornering clearance. On this ride, the indicators are simple and modest; a solitary round speedo with a tiny LCD screen displays a variety of data that you can flick between using the button on the left bar.
Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide
Harley-Davidson released the FXDWG Dyna Wide Glide in 1993. This ride was longer than any other and looked nothing like its siblings. The model had Tommy Gun 2-1-2 exhausts, a bigger back end, and a cut rear fender, which set it apart from the previous versions.
It also had a lower seating than its ancestors, which contributed to how enjoyable it was. While the motorcycle's turning ability is a touch rusty, it is an excellent pick for experienced riders. Harley-Davidson had to retire the Dyna platform in 2017 to create space for a revamped Softail series. In the realm of motorcycles, the Dyna Wide Glide has become legendary now.
The cut rear fender is clutter-free owing to side-mounted twin red LEDs that serve as stopping or turn tail lights, indicating that maintaining the rear of the motorcycle neat was a design aim. A license-plate holder is mounted beneath the left rear light.
The black wire sissy bar, which lends the Wide Glide a 1970s street-chopper feeling, may be the single most distinguishing stylistic element, and it's a basic one at that. A set of preload-adjustable Showa shocks regulate the swingarm made of black steel.
If the color of the tires and bar didn't give it away, it's evident that blacked-out is returning for Harley. The light-sucking technique was done on this ride's mirrors, headlamp nacelle, battery box, handlebar spurs, rear pulley, and powder-coated engine.
Another crucial design aspect was raising the front of the Street-Bob-style gasoline tank by 3/4th of an inch, which may not seem like much, but it significantly changed the aesthetics of the Wide Glide. A speedometer and a compact LCD screen are housed in a low-profile gauge panel.
1915 Harley-Davidson 11F
The 1915 11F was the first Harley-Davidson ride with a three-speed gearbox, automatic oiler, and large intake valves, allowing it to produce 11 horsepower. It even came with a nighttime illumination light that could be detached. While this ride is no longer in production, it was essential in the development of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. It revolutionized motorcycle manufacturing by demonstrating that comfort, style, and speed can all be combined.
The Harley-Davidson 11F has a solid rear suspension and a trailing link front suspension with coil springs. Brake was a two-action expanding band system that wasn't quite cutting-edge. The OHV component was accommodated by two small openings on the right side of the fuel tank.
While not a genuine overhead-valve layout, the motorcycle 61-cubic-inch V-twin engine was more developed than some contemporaries' flathead engines. The ride included a dual-purpose fuel tank that also served as an oil carrier, as well as a gated guiding plate on the shifting gear.
The 11F, which was one of the most sophisticated motorcycles in existence when it was introduced in 1915, was a crucial ride for Harley as well as for two-wheeler technology around the world. Harley-Davidson was so confident in the motorcycle that they were willing to offer a formal warranty. This is likely one of the most crucial events in the model's symbolism today, elevating its significance and, ultimately, its worth.
Since the acetylene lighting was less expensive than other versions, the 11F was dubbed as the "poor man's Harley." Even individuals who couldn't purchase many frills could buy the ride because of this. Following its release, the 11F became one of the greatest models due to its price as well as its incredible racing capability. In 1915, a total of 9,855 11F models were delivered to racers.
Harley's Custom Vehicle Operation group designed this powerful cruiser ride. It was loaded with CVO's engine upgrades, giving it a leg up on its competitors in the sector. This motorcycle is more than simply a performance machine; it's a perfect blend of beauty and muscle.
The VRSCSE2 is available in three color combinations: Platinum pear and chromium yellow pearl, charcoal slate and fiery red pearls, and black with orange. It is powered by a Screamin Eagle 1247cc Revolution Engine, which can produce 123 horsepower.
The design and implementation of this version distinguish it. The Screamin' Eagle V-Rod name was given to the 2006 VRSCSE2. Owing to the power offered by the 125-cc displacement engine, the 240 mm rear tire grabs and tears across the road. The CVO team upgraded this high-performance engine by adding specialized components to provide this cruiser with a good amount of energy.
A 1250cc powertrain with 105 mm pistons and huge bore cylinders, high flow caps, and specific cam timing adjustment are some of the features of the ride. The wider 240 mm tire, along with the 6 x 18-inch back wheel, offered the VRSCSE2 exceptional contact with the road, allowing for faster speeds.
A stiffer spring was added to the heavy-duty clutch, as well as Brembo braking systems, a relocated key switch, and a seat lock. The 1.25-inch-thick handlebars with wiring braided internally, bespoke side covers, and an air box covering console containing the indicator lights, along with an LED fuel gauge, were all unique for this version.
The use of chrome in precisely the right spots gives this motorcycle an exquisite look that isn't overdone. There are also several braided elements that contribute to the looks, as well as padding in the saddle that provides a better level of ride comfort.
Harley-Davidson CVO Softail Convertible
Harley-Davidson created the CVO series to tap into the booming custom motorcycle market in the United States. The Softail Convertible debuted in 2010 and was an instant hit. Nevertheless, it was the 2012 model that won the hearts of many riders.
The motorcycle has good touring skills, making it ideal for extended rides, as well as cruising capabilities, which makes it ideal for cruising around town. A retractable backrest, a back passenger seat, and a windscreen are all notable characteristics.
Because the seat height is perfect for women motorcyclists who are not taller, this motorcycle has a lot of female lovers. It's among the most popular motorcycles for club members since it has a raw charm and a large presence.
The CVO Softail Convertible is essentially the same motorcycle it was when it originally joined the CVO family, but Harley improved several of the touring features for 2012. Following consumer feedback, Harley opted to raise the length and width of the windscreen by 1.0 and 2.0 inches, respectively, as well as add ventilation and movable lower wind deflectors.
As per Harley, the redesigned taller and broader screen reduces roughness in the cockpit and removes a substantial amount of wind pressure on the cyclist's head. Given the screen's small size, it does a fantastic job of blocking off most of the wind, with only a minor bit of buffeting at highway speeds.
CVOs are significantly more expensive than the normal models from which they are derived, but when compared to many high-priced cruisers from small shops with low-volume manufacture, the CVOs represent excellent value.
Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod
The V-Rod is one of the quickest Harley-Davidson rides ever manufactured. It's a great blend of high-performance and bespoke style that went on to become a riding milestone.
When it was first introduced in 2002, it grabbed the motorcycle market by storm. It was driven by an 1130cc V-Twin revolution engine that produced 115 horsepower at 8,250 rpm and 74 lb-ft of output at 7,300 rpm. The motorcycle's top speed was 140 mph, which was incredible for a ride that came out during the 2000s.
The VRSCA V-Rod, like its predecessors, is bulky. Luckily, it bears the weight admirably. It's properly aligned in the frame, making the vehicle feel sporty, and the weight aids in keeping the ride grounded at high speeds. Triple four-piston Brembo brakes work perfectly on this machine, and included ABS sweetens the ride even more.
The V Rod's design concept included developing a frame that was both a work of art and engineering. This resulted in the creation of an exterior structure with pipes bent into extreme shapes using a unique technology employing ultra-high-pressure water, which was the only method to bend steel into the required shape without creasing. It's still a prominent feature of the ride's design and makes the bike incredibly desirable.
Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight
The Forty-Eight is undoubtedly the most macho and combative of all the Harley-Davidson Sportster versions we've seen throughout the years. With its big tires, thick tank, and short handlebars, the ride looks aggressive, and thanks to the 1200cc Evo engine, it has enough power to back up its appearance
Few motorcycles can match the Sportster's aftermarket value, making it ideal for people who wish to stand out from the crowd. With about the same 1200 cc, 73 lb-ft Sportster engine that powers the base model, blackout parts and chrome embellishments mix harmoniously throughout the latest version of the Forty-Eight.
The ride boasts a cut-down front fender that fits between blacked-out fork slides over an achromatic casting wheel. The dark finish extends to the turn signals, light can, and Tallboy grips, which raise your hands 7.25 inches with a flair.
Despite the black paint, the new edition features a lot more chromium than the standard Forty-Eight, especially the engine casings, main cover, and sprocket wrap. The single seat has a modest scoop, and the front foot controls remove your feet from the equation, leaving you with only your grasp on the bar and a wobbly clench to keep you seated.
The back fender is cut almost all the way back to the struts, with a wedged LED strip for a rear light and a horizontal plate holder in accordance with the diced aesthetic. Altogether, this ride has the toughness of a two-dollar steak with a hint of outlaw flair, but the peanut tank is what really sells it.
The Duo-Glide was the first motorcycle to include full rear suspension, and it was presented to the world of motorcycles in 1958. If you stumble into one of these rides, the suspension may be set to two-up, heavy user, or solo. Irrespective of the suspension, this model came with a standard sprung seat, making it the perfect blend of old and new features.
This motorcycle has all the frills of a strong ride, as well as the HD lineup's biggest and most influential engine. The Duo-Glide was the first real touring model to come out of Milwaukee, having a windshield, hard baggage, and both front and back suspension. A 1200cc overhead valve engine powers it. Harley's conventional "V" cylinder configuration is used in the twin-cylinder engine.
The gas enters the engine through a solitary Linkert butterfly carburetor, and the smoke escapes by dual fishtail mufflers. A dry clutch transfers energy to the four-speed transmission, while a foot shifter enables gear changes. This layout is a significant change from Harley's long-standing hand-shifted models.
The braking system is a conventional drum brake system from the 1960s. The Duo-Glide was the first to use hydraulic brakes, not only for better braking but also to resolve the issue of a bendable brake line for the suspended back side.
The front suspension hasn't altered much since it was first introduced in 1949, excluding the inclusion of the headlight nacelle. The rear suspension features a pair of chrome-covered dampers for a far more comfortable ride than prior hardtail versions.
The Knucklehead was the Davidson brothers' and William S. Harley's final collaboration on a motorcycle. Thanks to a "Hemi" combustion chamber layout, the Knucklehead was able to produce around 40 horsepower. This may not seem like much, but compared to earlier flathead engines, it represented a huge increase in power.
The Knucklehead came with a 1,000cc engine in the beginning, but in 1941, the legendary 1200cc version was released. However, with a foot clutch, hand switch, and brake lever on the left handlebar, it's still mostly an outdated model. The 61 cubic-inch E, ES, and EL models marked the beginning of the shift from the long-serving but inefficient flathead V-twin engine to the more advanced and powerful overhead-valve pushrod motors.
The E Solo type in the range was the base model, with a production of around 37 hp and a compression ratio of 6.5:1; the ES version was much the same but was intended to be used in sidecar rigs; the EL model had a 7.0:1 compression ratio, with a power of about 40 hp and was dubbed the Special Sport Solo.
When the redesigned 61 E series vehicle debuted in 1936, it had several other product advancements, but it was its unusual engine that earned it an identifiable appearance and unbreakable moniker: the Knucklehead.
About THE AUTHOR
Russ currently owns a Yamaha FZ6N and KTM RC 390. When it comes to vintage bikes, his favorite motorcycle is the feisty BMW R32. He also holds a particular interest in the LAMS segment and triple cylinders. Himself a riding enthusiast, Russ has had experience with racetracks from around the world including Willow Springs Raceway in California and the Imola Circuit in Italy.Read More About Russ Crowley