Are you in the market for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and you’re wondering which are the most popular options? If so, then this is just the right place for you to be.
The most popular Harley-Davidson bike is arguably the Harley-Davidson Sportster. Riders absolutely adore this bike as it gives them the best of everything. You can cruise around the town on short rides or go on long dives on highways and the driving experience will be a treat. The initial models sported the name “K series” and with every new model, the popularity of this line continued to increase.
Further, the simplicity of the bike also makes it incredibly easy to customize, which makes it the perfect bike for people who like to experiment with their bikes. Some of the other popular options include the Road King, V-Road, Dyna Wide Glide, Softail, and more.
In this guide, you will get to know all about the popular Harley-Davidson models, what is the most popular Harley-Davidson bike, and more. Continue reading to get all the answers that you are looking for.
What is the Most Popular Harley-Davidson Bike?
The first Harley-Davidson was manufactured in 1903. Since then, America’s most iconic motorcycle brand has produced hundreds of exciting motorcycle models. While not every motorcycle ended up being successful, the company still continues dominating as it stays true to the brand’s roots. Purists often appreciate the brand’s willingness to experience the newest trends with designs and technologies.
It goes without saying that Harley-Davidson offers some of the finest and most luxurious motorcycles in the market. There are numerous exciting models that have been released over the years. Here, you will get to know some of the most popular Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the market.
1. Harley-Davidson Sportster
The Harley-Davidson Sportster ranks as the best-selling motorcycle from the iconic brand. With production beginning in 1957, there have been numerous versions of the bike, but the basic features have largely remained the same. You might not recognize the early models of this line, as they sported the name “K Series”.
Throughout the generations, Sportster played a key role in helping save the Harley brand and bring more buyers. The motorcycle’s simple design makes it incredibly customizable, which translates to not just avid bikers but to broad appeal too. The agile handling and responsive engine of the Sportster will bring immense pleasure to both beginners and experienced riders alike. Further, the brand has done a tremendous job at evolving the motorcycle to stay relevant with the times.
2. Harley-Davidson Softail
The Harley-Davidson Softail is essentially a love letter to the classic motorcycle design. The motorcycle line features a vintage-inspired design that the Harleys of the 1950s had. The design of the Softail can be credited to Bill Davis. He decided to customize his Super Glide motorcycle to give it a softer suspension before taking it to Harley-Davidson to show them his prototype. The story actually goes that in the early 80s, when Missouri man Bill Davis modified his 1972 FX Super Glide. He was unhappy with the final results of his modifications, but he was so happy with the way he modified the bike that he brought it back to the Harley-Davidson dealer to show it off.
The softer riding design ended up becoming such a major hit that Harley-Davidson started offering a complete lineup of Softail motorcycle models. There is also the beefy Fat Boy, the Heritage Classic, and the refined Slim. While the original design has remained largely the same, the Softail model is easily customizable. This helps the bike stay popular among riders.
The Softail featured a 1340cc V2 Evolution Engine and hidden rear shock absorbers on the massive big twin frame. The final result of the first Harley-Davidson model was the 1984 FXST. In the years that followed, Harley-Davidson released numerous Softail modes and added them to the Softail family.
3. Harley-Davidson Street Glide
The Harley-Davidson Street Glide might have got off to a slow start, but its popularity improved tremendously over the years. Initially, people didn’t quite understand how the bike fits into the lineup. However, despite the slow sales in the beginning, the Street Glide models following the initial release helped the brand gain traction and popularity.
The Harley-Davidson Street Glide started off as a personal project for satisfying one man’s desire for a motorcycle to fit his needs. However, the bike now resonates with riders who are looking for a sporty touring motorcycle. The motorcycle comes loaded with luxury features and innovative technologies, which makes the motorcycle an extremely popular option for people having large budgets. The popularity of the Street Glide has grown to the point where Harley-Davidson has ended up releasing four variants – the Street Glide, CVO Street Glide, Street Glide ST, and Street Glide Special.
4. Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight
As one of the smallest bikes in the Harley-Davidson lineup, the Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight fills a void. The skinny frame and super low seat make this motorcycle the perfect option for smaller riders or women who might find the larger Harley-Davidson bikes a bit overwhelming.
Despite the motorcycle being more than 500 pounds, the low center of gravity makes this bike surprisingly nimble. The Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight is also believed to be the perfect urban bike for avid riders. This makes the bike perfect for not just practicality, but it will also help you make a statement when you are pulling up to the meet. Moreover, the tiny teardrop-shaped fuel tank included in the bike harkens back to the classic Harley design, which gives this bike a touch of heritage.
5. Harley-Davidson Street 750
The Harley-Davidson Street 750 certainly made a huge splash as soon as it hit the streets as the first new model to come off the production line in 13 years. Its compact design and affordability make it an incredibly popular bike. The Harley-Davidson 750 helped the brand reach younger riders who might not have otherwise considered the brand. Additionally, the steady and ultra-reliable liquid-cooled V-twin engine was used for powering the new generation of Harley-Davidson bikes.
For bikers who have followed Harley-Davidson’s lineup evolution, you might see traces of the V-Rod in the motorcycle’s overall design. Moreover, it features a low seat, a low center of gravity, and a sporty stance.
6. Harley-Davidson V-Rod
Produced from 2001 to 2017, Harley-Davidson produced the impressive V-Rod lineup for competing with other popular muscle bikes. Harley-Davidson collaborated with Porsche to build a motorcycle that dramatically departed from the typical models that you see in the Harley-Davidson lineup. Harley-Davidson teaming up with Porsche to produce splendid engines helped improve the popularity of the V-Rod tremendously. The liquid-cooled, overhead cam, 60-degree V-Twin engine is believed to have taken inspiration from the VR1000. It was a racing motorcycle that Harley-Davidson produced back in the late 80s and early 90s.
For instance, the fuel tank was under the rider and not in front. In addition, the radiator and frame support the air cleaner cover, which is located where the fuel tank used to sit. Instead of culture marketing, Harley-Davidson focused on the motorcycle’s performance abilities. The result of that was the Harley-Davidson V-Rod, which helped it become a top-selling motorcycle internationally for the company. In the United States, the bike drew in riders who generally preferred other manufacturers.
7. Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide
The Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide made its debut in the 90s and became an instant hit. However, the Glide lineup has deeper roots that date back to the 70s. The “Glide” family was dropped in the early 70s, and it wasn’t until 1993 that the motorcycle industry saw the release of the first Wide Glide. Despite taking a brief hiatus, the Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide has become one of the best-selling motorcycles released by the iconic American company.
Unlike other motorcycles sporting the Harley-Davidson emblem, there hasn’t been a lot of change in the Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide over the years. It still features the original V-twin engine that the masses know and love. This lack of change has helped foster familiarity and comfort among enthusiasts. Moreover, it has also helped keep the Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide as one of the most in-demand motorcycles from the American brand.
8. Harley-Davidson Fat Bob
People often confuse the Harley-Davidson Fat Bob with the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy, but the two are different motorcycles. Named after its stance, similar to the V-Rod, the Harley-Davidson Fat Bob is another motorcycle that is a quick seller. Many feel that the Fat Bob is technically an off-shoot of the Harley-Davidson Softail family. The bike gets its name from the shape of its fuel tank. The bike is flat and broad across the top. The motorcycle itself features the low-slung look of a bobber. However, what makes this motorcycle so aggressive isn’t the cool styling and aggressive stance.
Owners often appreciate how fast and light this motorcycle is. Harley-Davidson has done tremendously well to keep the motorcycle relevant over the years. Newer models have stayed true to their roots with the inclusion of a fat rear tire. However, they’ve also got fatter front forks for a stronger stance that looks fairly balanced.
When the first Harley-Davidson model was produced, it was introduced with an air-cooled V2 four-stroke engine, which has become a common feature among many Harley-Davidson bikes. Due to certain regulations, Harley-Davidson ended up discounting this model in 2017, but revived it the next year with extensive upgrades.
9. Electra Glide
The Harley-Davidson Electric Glide has been the breakout star from the FL series. The Electra Glide is one of the oldest models in this lineup, with the bike being introduced back in 1965. Back then, the bike featured the iconic Panhead engine. However, the model has seen numerous improvements and evolutions over the years. For instance, the Panhead engine got replaced by the Shovelhead engine. Additionally, the option of batwing fairings also became standard. The batwings have now become a staple feature of this model and are what make it so easy to recognize.
The Electra Glide has become one of the fastest best-selling bikes over the years. When it was launched in 1965, it was originally based on the Duo Glide with the addition of an electric start. Another major addition came in 1969 as the company added optional Batwing fairing, a feature that has now become standard.
The latest models feature the Milwaukee-Eight V-Twin engine, the newest emulsion-technology rear shock absorbers, and a lot of comfort features. It should come as no surprise that the Electra Glide is among the most popular grand American touring bikes in the market.
10. Harley-Davidson Road King
The Harley-Davidson Road King is another product of the exciting FP Series. While the bike was first introduced in 1994, its roots can be traced back to the 40s. Bikers love the Harley-Davidson Road King immensely, as this bike will give you the best of everything. Whether you want to drive around your city or put the large power engine to work on the highway, Road King has got you covered.
The simplicity of this bike makes it easy to customize, so you will be able to turn your standard Road King into a unique, customized beast. Additionally, the usage by police also helps the Road King sales and the fire departments across the country. Since the Harley-Davidson Road King was first introduced to the world, it has only grown in popularity. In fact, it has become one of the most recognizable and sought-out touring motorcycles of all time.
What is Harley-Davidson’s smallest bike?
The Harley-Davidson Softail Slim Model ranks as the Shortest Harley-Davidson bike in the market. It comes with a seat height of 23.8 inches or 60.5 cm. Moreover, the Slim Softail Model has a weight of around 700 lbs. and delivers up to, 1690cc.
What is the ideal Harley-Davidson bike for a beginner biker?
The Harley-Davidson Street 500 is the ideal bike to start for a beginner once you have completed your first motorcycle safety course. You can use this bike for daily commuting or weekend excursions. It’ll come with an anti-lock brake option, which is remarkable for beginners who have a habit of over-applying the brakes when they panic.
Which Harley-Davidson bike is the best for long-distance riding?
The best Harley-Davidson bike for long-distance riding is the Harley-Davidson Ultra-Limited. It is the best bike for road trips and deserves a place in the Grand American Touring collection. Moreover, it features a Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine with 122 lb-ft torque.
Are Harley-Davidson bikes faster than cars?
While Harley-Davidson bikes are incredibly fast and offer a great riding experience, they aren’t faster than cars. On average, cars are quicker than motorcycles when considering top speed. However, Harley-Davidson bikes could have faster acceleration due to having a higher power-to-weight ratio. There are numerous reasons to consider here, which include but are not limited to aerodynamics and technology.