When you talk about the top 10 best motorcycles of any manufacturer, you have to take this with a grain of salt. Obviously, this is a matter of opinion and that of the person telling the story. The list that follows is the list for today and hopefully some of your favorites are on it. Harley Davidson has made quite a few bikes over the years so this may be a challenge, but here goes from ten down to one and number one being the favorite.
10. Duo-Glide From 1958
The Duo-Glide was actually the first Harley that featured what I would call an ‘actual rear suspension. It was a coil-over shock design that you could adjust from one normal rider to a heavier rider to a two-up for a very stiff ride. They still had the sprung seat, so you got the best of both worlds. This was a great improvement for those that liked to tour.
9. Electra Glide From 1969
The Electra Glide has changed in appearance over the years, but ’65 was the first year Harley introduced an engine with an electric start—hence the name–along with the kick start which was standard. But I think the ’69 model is the most notorious for its ‘bat-wing fairing’ that made it one of the most recognizable bikes on the road. Very popular indeed.
8. FXS Low Rider From 1977
In 1977 at the Daytona Bike Week, Harley Davidson came out with the ever popular FXS Low rider. This is when Harley first started making what I would call ‘factory custom bikes’ for the masses. They did make a 2011 version of the FXS also, but it is a totally different animal.
7. FLH From 1969
This bike was designed more from the type of motorcycle that the police used. The design was to emulate riding or sitting on a horse which is where some say the nickname of ‘steel horse’ originated. Very easy to spot just by the unique way they made it look.
6. VR 1000 From 1994
Harley got into the racing scene in 1994 and came out with the VR 1000, which looked nothing like anything they had built before. It only weighed 375 lbs but was rated at 135 horsepower at 10,000 rpm. Unfortunately, only 50 were made that could be bought by the public. I guess there wasn’t enough return on the investment.
5. XR-1000 From 1983
Harley introduced the XR-1000 in ’83 and gave the people what they wanted—more power! It also came with a stiff price tag, seven grand, which was a boat load in 1983. There was a couple racing crews that modified them into competition bikes to draw the public eye to get the Harley fans into the showroom. Still way to pricey compared to the competition.
4. FXDG Disc Glide From 1984
The FXDG Disc Glide gets its name from the rear wheel which is actually a sixteen inch solid aluminum disc. Harley also made the tranny and engine solid black for uniqueness. I don’t know how many are still alive today, but they only made 810 originally. You are in a very special club if you own one!
3. Sportster XL883L SuperLow From 2007 Through Present
This model is the ‘low-rider’ of the Harleys, with twenty-five and a half inches being the seat height. Great to handle now matter what speed you are going. This is a great bike for the ladies as well, not to big but has plenty of power and maneuverability. Luckily, Harley does make other Sportster models that are taller for the longer legged.
2. XL1200N Sportster Nightster From 2007 Through Present
If you are looking for a Harley that is not all chrome and flash, then the XL1200N Sportster Nightster is the bike for you. The only chrome on it is the staggered exhaust; everything else about it is dark, black and cool. This model is similar to the Night Rod, but boasts the bigger Sportster engine of the two that are available.
1. FXSTB Night Train From 2009
The FXSTB Night Train is one tough looking custom factory bike that was derived from the Softail. It comes standard with the front end stretched and the engine and transmission blackened out. It may look like its all show, but don’t let looks fool you. This baby boasts a monster 1584cc 96B twin cam engine that will rock your socks off!
There you have it, the top 10 best motorcycles made by Harley Davidson from one person’s point of view. This is quite an impressive list and no doubt the next guy would throw in a Night Rod Special or a classic Fat Boy or a FXD Dyna Super Glide, but it’s all good. I encourage you to make your own list and see what you come up with!