How To Know Which Harley Is Right For Me

1-Which-Harley-Is-Right-For-Me

Which Harley is right for me? This is a question every designer bike enthusiast has asked themselves at one point or the other. Seeing as how investing your money on a Harley is a major decision, you need to ensure that you will be getting your money’s worth, as well as something that is befitting your personality, body type, and social leanings. Use this guide to pick your first Harley-Davidson easier.

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General Harley Davidson Information

Founders

one of the first generation's Harleys

One of the first generation's Harleys

Harley-Davidson is one of the most popular motorcycle manufacturers in the world. The company is based in the US, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Most people would say that the company started operations in 1903. The truth is, 1901 was the year when William S. Harley finished the design of the premier Harley engine.

In 1903 with the help of Walter Davidson, Arthur Davidson and William S. Harley revealed the first motorized attempt, which they called the first Harley motorcycle. This was more of a racing bike, designed and built in a woodshed.

William A. Davidson, a brother of Arthur and Walter Davidson, quit his job and joined the company in 1907.

Historical Milestones

1920-Harley-Davidson-1000cc

Harley Davidson in 1920

A couple of historical milestones for the brand you ought to be aware of include:

  • Serial Number 1 was released in 1901
  • The first HD factory was built in 1906
  • William A. Davidson joined the company in 1907
  • The Bar and Shield logo that now stands for Harleys was used for the first time in 1910 and trademarked in the United States a year later
  • The F-head engine became the workhorse of all motorcycles from 1911 to 1929
  • Harley-Davidson entered motorcycle racing in 1914
  • Close to 50% of all Harleys are sold to the US. military for use in World War I in 1918
  • Riders on Harley-Davidson motorcycles win all 8 National Championship races
  • In 1926, single-cylinder bikes were added to the Harley-Davidson collection for the first time ever since 1918
  • In 1930, all gas tanks get art-deco eagle designs to boost sales
  • Harley-Davidson’s only competitor in the US. is Hendee Manufacturing
  • After the US. joined the World War in the 1940s, the production of civilian bikes was almost suspended in favor of production for the war effort
  • Harley-Davidson receives its first Army-Navy E Award for excellence in 1943
  • The flathead WR racing bike is introduced in 1946
  • The side valve K Harley-Davidson model was introduced in 1952
  • The Electra-Glide is updated with an electric starter in 1965
  • The FX 1200 Super Glide® is introduced in the 1973 as a response to increasing customization
  • Production moves to York, PA in 1973
  • The Fat Bob is introduced in 1979
  • The Heritage Softail is released in 1986
  • Softail models are outfitted with twin cam engines in 2000
  • The XL Forty Eight is introduced in 2010 as a recall to the custom Sportsters from earlier days

Special Changes Over Time

Harley-Davidson-Softail-Deluxe

Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe

The production of Harley-Davidson motorcycles has been evolving over the years. The models released into the market have included:

  • HARLEY DAVIDSON IRON
  • HARLEY DAVIDSON Road Glide
  • HARLEY DAVIDSON Dyna
  • HARLEY DAVIDSON Ultra
  • HARLEY DAVIDSON Softail
  • HARLEY DAVIDSON Sportster
  • HARLEY DAVIDSON Road King
  • HARLEY DAVIDSON CVO
  • HARLEY DAVIDSON Street Glide
  • HARLEY DAVIDSON Trike
  • HARLEY DAVIDSON Electra Glide
  • HARLEY DAVIDSON Street
  • HARLEY DAVIDSON VRSC
  • HARLEY DAVIDSON Firefighter
  • HARLEY DAVIDSON Peace Officer
  • HARLEY DAVIDSON Shrine
  • HARLEY DAVIDSON Fire/Rescue
  • HARLEY DAVIDSON Police

The Identification Signs

While asking yourself, “which Harley is right for me?” you ought to figure out the different families of this sportsbike. The general rule of thumb to doing this includes:

  • If the belt/chain is on the right side when you're seated on the bike, then it means that you're on a Sportster. Sportsters also have narrow forks and are smaller than other models
  • Dynas, on the other hand, come with visible rear shocks and left side drive mechanism
  • ​However, if there are no visible shocks, then you're probably looking at a Softail
  • A Touring has hard saddlebags and front fairing

The Models Of Harley On The Market Today

Harley-Davidson-cafe-racer

Harley Davidson Cafe Racer

The four distinct Harley-Davidson families are classified as SUVs, Cadillacs, Corvettes, and Miatas. After you are sure about the kind of bike you wish to buy, consider the following types of Harleys on the market today:

1.1. Dragsters

Dragsters come with a low profile, making them ideal for buyers looking for something that is as aggressive as it is cool. You’ll be riding in the forward driving position, meaning that you’ll look even cooler.

1.2. Cafe Racer

For a comfortable ride, go for a Cafe Racer. Although it is quite large, the lightweight frame will give you an easy time on the road. You can also customize your Racer to look more personal.

1.3. Bobbers And Choppers

The small rear and front fenders are the give-away marks on Choppers and Bobbers. These bikes are pretty common and popular although the style first came on the market in the 1940s. If you are looking for a classic look, therefore, this is the best option for you.

1.4. Highway Cruiser

With a Cruiser, you’ll get to ride comfortably and in a relaxed state. However, the bike will still draw eyes because it looks amazing speeding down a highway.

1.5. Bagger

For something a bit different, go for the Bagger. Its saddlebags are placed on either side, making it look extra special and unique. The Bagger can also be customized easily to match the rider’s personality.

Although there are several other types of Harley-Davidson bikes on the market, the list above contains the most common.

Picking The Right Harley

Harley-Street-Glide

Harley Street Glide

Drawing closer to your decision on the Harley that is right for you, there are a couple of considerations you should make to ensure that you get the perfect match. These include, but are not limited to:

2.1. Appearance And Style

Apart from the brand name, always check the appearance and style of the Harley-Davidson before you buy it. By so doing, you’ll be able to land on the bike that fits your personality, style, and general lifestyle.

2.2. Fit And Size

There are different sizes in the various Harley-Davidson families to meet varying needs in the market. Big body types are generally hard to use. As you shop, get a feel of the bike and look at the position of your arms and feet to ensure that you’ll be comfortable cruising on your new find.

2.3. Controls

Depending on the type, Harleys come with different controls too. Where possible, find one where the controls are within easy reach, or get them adjusted so that you are more comfortable riding.

2.4. Features

Each Harley you’ll come across will have unique features. Find one with the exact features you are looking for.

2.5. Performance

To maximize the performance of your motor, look for a bike that has the most modern/best engine in the market. However, it is also possible to get a basic Harley and modify it according to what you would like to do with it.

Here is a quick video with more tips on how to choose a Harley Davidson that you can reference.

Conclusion

With the wide variety of Harley-Davidson motorbikes in the market, finding the ideal one can be a bit tricky. However, you can circumvent this problem by learning as much as you can about the different models sold.

Whether you buy a used Harley or a new one, ensure that it matches your specific requirements, feels comfortable, and is in keeping with your personality and lifestyle.

I hope you enjoyed this article, please leave us your feedback in the comment box below. Share it with your fellow biker friends if you think it’s helpful.

    Peter Hanson

    Nothing can compare to the feeling of riding a motorcycle. The freedom on the ride is the greatest thing I have ever had in my life. As they said, I'd rather be a biker for a minute than a spectator for a lifetime. If you are also a biker, then we are friends. Let's talk about our motorcycles and rides.

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