Since 1903 Harley-Davidson has been a symbol of rebellion and freedom. In 1977, that symbolism was further solidified with the FXS Low Rider. It was so popular it outsold all the other Harley-Davidson models in just its first full year of production. It has alloy wheels in the front and rear, two disc brakes on the front wheel, extended forks with a thirty-two degree rake and a twenty-six inch seat height. What are the ten best of the Low Riders? Hold on tight, we're about to find out!
10. 1977 Harley-Davidson FXS Low Rider
Let's start with the first low rider Harley made. People loved how the cool, kicked back look made it appear like a custom job. It got the low rider name from a low twenty-seven inch seat height that the ladies love. The Shovelhead motor had only been out for ten years but that sound and incredible torque was already making it a favorite among bikers.
9. 1979 Harley-Davidson FXS 1200 Low Rider
The Seventies came to an end with the Harley-Davidson FXS 1200 Low Rider. It comes with a V2, four-stroke motor. The engine delivers a maximum peak output power of fifty-eight horsepower at 5150 revs per minute. If you could get it off the road and out into the country, you could easily zip along at 105 miles an hour.
8. 1981 Harley-Davidson FXS 1340 Low Rider
Could this be the "1981 Harley-Davidson" Jim Steinman spoke about in "Love, Death and an American Guitar"? Going El Kabong on this baby sure would be a shame. It was a nice touring bike with a V2, four-stroke engine and sixty-seven horsepower at 5800 revs per minute.
7. 1984 Harley-Davidson FXSB 1340 Low Rider
This bad boy isn't for Sunday drivers. It's a bit high maintenance but worth every hour put into it. This is the bike that produces that sound only a Harley can make. The ever faithful V2, four-stroke motor is there with sixty-four horsepower at 500 revs per minute. This model was the last Harley made with the Shovelled 1340cc with kick start and electric. It was also the only year that the Shovelhead had a Belt drive rear end.
6. 1988 Harley-Davidson FXRS 1340 Low Rider
Move over you cute little four speeds! The FXRS 1340 beats them all with five speeds. That high backed seat makes it look like something out of Easy Rider. (Sixties nostalgia was kind of a thing in the late Eighties.) It's not a great off the road bike, but you want to be on the road where everyone can see it anyway. Harley sales had started to slip in the Eighties, but you can see how this model may have given them a little jump start.
5. 1994 Harley-Davidson 340 Dyna Low Rider
Here's another five speeder that has everything you could ask for in a motorcycle! It not only looks awesome and is fun to ride, it is relatively low maintenance, got a high performing engine and driving this beauty is overall just very reliable and trouble free. Is this a touring bike, an off road bike or a racing bike? Yes. This is one bike where you really get what you pay for and a little something extra.
4. 1997 Harley-Davidson FXDL Dyna Low Rider
Smooth, sleek and streamlined are the words used to describe the FXDL. It has that classy Harley-Davidson look and that unique V-twin engine for Harley power and Harley sound. A lot of the Dynas shake like an arthritic Chihuahua after five cups of coffee but the FXDL just hums a little, making it the buisnessman's motorcycle. Celine's heart wasn't the only thing going on and on in 1997. The smooth and supple road suspension lets the rider drive for hours in comfort.
3. 2000 Harley-Davidson FXDL Dyna Low Rider
The Harley for the new millenium is a shorty with a lot of attitude. Everything from the raked 32-degree front end to the highway pegs made a Harley that was unmistakable. Harley started to realize how much their consumers loved the five speed transmission and stuck with it. This particular model comes with an unshakable 67.8 horsepower at 5500 revs per minute.
2. 2005 Harley-Davidson FXDL Dyna Low Rider
Here's a little sweetheart who will take you all around the country and back again. The 2005 model of the FXDL is an uncomparable machine that handles curves real well and the out of this world engine performance means it is there for the long haul. Not only is it low maintenance but comes with some extra goodies like a factory alarm system, a windshield, screaming eagle off road slip on mufflers and a stage one kit.
1. 2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S
Of course, the best Harley-Davidson is always the newest one. Harley said good-bye to Dyna back in 2017 and said hello to something that was both powerful and agile. The design was completely overhauled, starting with the new forty-three millimeter inverted fork being set at a rather steep twenty-eight degree angle. It makes for an agressive look, but what looks like a tiger can purr like a kitten. Is it a five speed? Heck no, let's give it six!
So, what's going on with Harley-Davidson right now? Well, even the Covid-19 pandemic has not prevented thousands from attending the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. However, a travel ban in Milwaukee has prevented any of the official Harley-Davidson staff from attending.They send their regrets and urge all bikers to rediscover adventure through socially-distanced riding. If any good comes of this, it means the boffins at Harley-Davidson will have time to get back to the drawing board and come up with something to amaze us all in 2021.
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith