What Is A Low Rider: Everything You Need To Know About A Harley-Davidson Low Rider

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What Is A Low Rider

Are you a Harley-Davidson enthusiast pondering over what is a Low Rider and whether to buy it? If so, then you’ve definitely landed on the right article.

Low Rider is one of the most iconic and popular Harley-Davidson cruiser models, especially in the US market. The Low Rider features a comfortable seat and seating ergonomics, a V-twin engine, and loads of chrome. The V-Twin is refined and comes with a slick-shifting gearbox. 

In this article, you’ll get to know all about Harley-Davidson Low Rider, what is a Low Rider, the design, the ergonomics, the performance, and everything else in between. Stick around to know more about the Harley-Davidson Low Rider.

What is a Low Rider?

Whether you’re a biker or not, it’s a high possibility that you would have heard of Harley-Davidson bikes. In pop culture, the term “Harley” has become largely synonymous with the reliable and legacy-filled motorcycle company. For over 115 years, Harley-Davidson has been dominating the motorcycle market. From their exquisite design to their state-of-the-art engine, there are a lot of positives to these astonishing bikes. One such remarkable Harley-Davidson model is the Harley-Davidson Low Rider.

Originally, a part of Harley-Davidson’s Dyna lineup, the Harley-Davidson Low Rider has long been one of Harley-Davidson’s most popular bikes. When the 2018 Softail Family was introduced, the Harley-Davidson Dyna got relegated to the chopping block. However, the Low Rider stayed and got ported to the Softail platform. Now, the bike runs on all-new internals and includes an all-new frame and a new Milwaukee Eight Engine. This latest-gen Low Rider also carries over the previous motorcycle’s styling cues and not a lot apart from that.

Harley-Davidson Low Rider Design

The Harley-Davidson Softail Range has pretty amazing-looking motorcycles. While the Harley-Davidson Low Rider isn’t really the best-looking bike in the market, it still manages to be attractive due to its paint scheme and 70s styling. You’ll love the blue and red stripes on the black tank, while the brighter color options will look striking too. The overall stance will look beautiful, thanks to its large 19-inch front wheel. Meanwhile, there’s also a chunky gear end featuring a full-size fender, a small 16-inch rim, and a wide 180-section tire.

Thanks to the pulled-back Buck-horn handlebars with bar-mounted indicators and the 1200 Custom style headlight, the modern retro cruiser exudes a lot of charm. While you may think that cast wheels are a departure from classic Harley-Davidson bikes, these come with narrow spokes, which is a nice throwback to the Low Rider from the mid-70s.

What Is A Low Rider - Low Rider Motorcycle

It also features the Softail-synonymous tank-mounted analog speedometer pod with a built-in digital MID. Moreover, it gets a second pod with a tachometer being mounted below it. The twin pods with an unusually vertically stacked configuration look kind of charming. However, the tacho is fairly hard to read. You’ll have to tilt your head down a bit to look at it when on the move. Oodles of chrome around it will have a nasty tendency of reflecting sunlight into your eyes if you’re riding on sunny afternoons. 

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Highlights

  • The simple retro paint scheme on the tank looks stunning.
  • The small headlight with the cap-on top will remind the rider of the 1200 custom.
  • Handlebar-mounted indicators are certainly a nice touch.
  • Two instrument pods on the tank will look nice, while the analog tacho is certainly a welcome addition. However, you’ll need to look down to read the tacho.
  • A full rear fender and small front fender will create a neat contrast while giving it an old-school look.
  • The large 19-inch front wheel with 110/90 tire and the 16-inch rear wheel with 180/70 tire will create a pulled-back, rear-heavy look.

Harley-Davidson Low Rider Ergonomics

One of the things that many folks really appreciate about cruiser bikes is that thanks to the low seat height, even short riders feel comfortable riding them. The Low Rider is no different. At only 680 mm, even riders who are 5’5” or below will be able to get their feet firmly on the ground.

However, the riding position will still be a bit strange. Unlike other Softail siblings like the Heritage Classic or the Fat Bob, the footpegs here are pulled into almost a mid-position. To give the motorcycle more concerning clearance, they have been set slightly on the higher side, too. This way, you’ll end up sitting slightly knees-up, and this position will be even more bothersome if you’re tall.

With that said, the seat is borrowed from the Fat Bob, and it is really comfortable. Meanwhile, the rise at the back will help you brace against it with the backside when you’re moving the motorcycle around in the parking with your feet. You can forget carrying pillions on the rear seat, as it only accommodates the smallest of rear ends.

Highlights

  • The seat height of 680 mm will make it easily accessible for riders of all heights.
  • The footpegs are almost mid-set and lifted, making for a knees-up riding position.
  • The Buck-horn handlebars are effortless, too, even for short riders. Taller riders could find the bars a bit too close, which may lead to an awkward riding posture.
  • The seat is borrowed from the Fat Boy, and it is very comfortable. The posture ends up putting a bit of pressure on your lower back due to the handlebar and peg position.

Harley-Davidson Low Rider Engine

The Softail family comes equipped with Harley’s 45-degree Big V-twin engine and the Milwaukee Eight with 4 valves per cylinder. Due to the use of counterbalancers, this engine has been shockingly refined for a large displacement motor. Moreover, it is surprisingly quick to rev, too. With 144Nm of torque at 3000rpm, there is a lot of grunt in every gear. The engine lazily sits at triple-digit speeds on the highway if you’re in sixth gear. If you don’t mind the posture, you can possibly do long-distance rides on it.

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What Is A Low Rider - Black Low Rider Motorcycle

If you try hard enough, you could hit 100kmph from a standstill within 4.94 seconds. This is quicker than most Softail models that you can get your hands on. Most of it comes down to the fact that it’s also one of the lightest Softail models. As the power delivery isn’t as snappy as the Fat Bob’s, it’ll be easier to manage wheel spin off the line. With that said, its in-gear acceleration is pretty good as it manages 30-70kmph in 3rd gear in just 3.20 seconds and 40-80kmph in 4th gear in 3.91 seconds. However, there are other smaller capacity cruisers that can perform better than this. Low-speed tractability isn’t really a hallmark of this motor. When you’re riding in the city, you’ll have to stick to lower gears almost all the time.

Highlights

  • The 1745cc Milwaukee Eight 107 motor present in the bike is extremely smooth.
  • The gear shifts are rather clunky, but the gearbox feels better than Harley-Davidson bikes of old. Meanwhile, the clutch action is light enough for this type of motor.
  • There are loads of torque on tap. However, the low-speed tractability will be okay at best, and you’ll have to shift down often at city speeds.
  • The Low Rider will cruise effortlessly at highway speeds. The sixth gear will help you maintain low revs when you’re going over 100kmph.
  • The throttle response isn’t quite as punchy as the Fat Bob’s, but it’s one of the quickest Softails in the market.

Harley-Davidson Low Rider Ride and Handling

Normally, you wouldn’t expect a massive 305 kg cruiser bike to be nimble, but once you pick the Low Rider off its stand, you’ll be surprised at how quickly it tips into corners. Assisting this will be a wide handlebar. It’ll give you a lot of leverage alongside the “skinnier” 110/90 front tire, whereas the long 1630 mm wheelbase will keep it stable through corners. It comes with decent cornering clearance on either side – 28 degrees. However, if you run out of clearance, the fully rubberized footpegs will not offer great feedback when you’re dragging over the tarmac. They also give a bounce back if they contact the road surface.

As for the ride quality, it is good. Its conventional telescopic forks make use of cartridge-type dampers. Overall, the way the front end tackles bad roads will feel highly sophisticated. While the rear mono-shock does a fantastic job, it might feel a bit soft. This can cause it to not only wallow through corners, but it can even bottom out when you’re coming off tall speed breakers or going through sharp dips. While it could bottom out and be physically painful as you get a sharp jolt up the spine each time. 

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While it’ll offer preload adjustment, you might not be able to fettle with the settings. The Adjustment ring is right under the bolted-down seat, which must be removed first for accessing it. Remarkably, even with a soft rear preload setting and a low ground clearance of 130 mm, the Low Rider could scrape its underbelly on the speed breakers. The other issue will be that brakes’ rotors might not be up to the mark. Along with loud screeching emanating from them at each pull of the lever, braking performance will be a bit degraded. It’ll still be good enough to give great speeds and a fantastic pickup. Meanwhile, it’ll also be one of the highest braking distances among the Softail models.

Highlights

  • There are right-side cartridge-type forks up front, while having a hidden rear mono-shock under the seat.
  • You won’t have a remote preload adjuster and to make adjustments, you’ll need to remove the seat.
  • The stock setting on the rear shock is quite soft. Although it feels comfortable for normal use, it will wallow in the corners. The rear shock will bottom out over sharp bumps or when coming off sharp speed breakers.
  • Even with ground clearance as low as 130 mm, it can clear speed breakers unless they’re sharp.
  • Handling is very accessible among Harley Softails. It’ll turn in quickly, as the wide handlebars will offer plenty of leverage. There aren’t any twitchiness mid-corners and the transitions feel quick, controlled, and accurate.
  • You’ll get decent corner clearance on either side, although the rubber-covered footpegs push the bike up when they drag.
  • The brakes on the Low Rider could have scored discs, causing a lot of screeching under the braking. Meanwhile, it’ll also offer lower braking performance significantly. In fact, it’ll also register the longest braking distance among the Softail bikes.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading. Hopefully, now you know a lot more about Harley-Davidson Low Rider, what is a Low Rider, the design, the ergonomics, the performance, and everything else in between. The Harley-Davidson Low Rider is one of the most popular and comfortable Harley-Davidson cruiser bikes. It offers a comfortable seat and seating ergonomics, a V-twin engine, and loads of chrome. The V-Twin is refined and comes with a slick-shifting gearbox. The Low Rider is an easily affordable bike in Harley’s Softail range. This is one of the biggest positives in the US market, where the bike enjoys major nostalgia value, and the latest modernized takes on the original are well accepted. Although the appeal isn’t as immediately obvious as the Softail siblings like Fat Bob or even the Heritage, which offer more flashy features. With that said, the Harley-Davidson Low Rider is still a bike that is extremely comfortable and packs plenty of performance.

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