Harley-Davidson has long been known as the go-to company when it comes to motorcycles. In fact, they’ve been manufacturing their Sportster line since the late 1950s, and part of that lineup includes bikes like the 2011 Sportster SuperLow. This was a bike that was designed specifically for beginning riders, complete with input about what they wanted to see most in a motorcycle. The end result was a bike that was different from practically anything else the company has ever turned out before. While it may not be in production at this time, it’s one that is fondly remembered for a lot of different reasons, all of which will be outlined below.
Taking Riders’ Needs to Heart
One of the things that makes this particular motorcycle so special is that Harley-Davidson took the time to listen to what brand new motorcycle riders wanted and then incorporated those things into this particular bike. One of the biggest complaints that many novice motorcycle riders have involves the height of the seat. In most cases, it is simply too high to provide a comfortable ride. Furthermore, the seat height contributes a great deal to the overall confidence of the rider. When someone is riding a motorcycle that sits quite high, it can be hard to generate enough confidence to progress one’s skills to the next level. A lower seat height that offers better control and an opportunity to generate that confidence is critical. The company listened to what novice riders had to say and incorporated the second lowest seat height of any motorcycle that Harley-Davidson has ever manufactured. Coming in at just 25.5 inches tall, this is a bike that is capable of fostering a great deal of confidence.
In addition, the seat is deeper and offers better cushioning than most. That makes the motorcycle more comfortable to ride, even over longer distances. Of course, other things come into play here as well. No one wants to ride a bike over any appreciable distance if the handlebars are practically out of reach or if they have to virtually kick themselves in the chin with their knees in order to keep their feet on the foot pedals. None of that was ever an issue with this particular motorcycle because it was designed so that the individual riding it would feel more like they were sitting in an easy chair than on a motorcycle. Everything is in a neutral position, meaning that the person on the bike doesn’t have to contort themselves into all of these unnatural positions in order to control it. If you’ve ever been on a motorcycle that requires this, you know how important it is that you don’t have to deal with it unless you’re only going a few miles at a time.
Another thing that Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycles have traditionally gotten complaints over was the fact that none of them had a very good range when it came to fuel economy, largely due to fuel tanks that were ridiculously small. This one is different because again, they listened to what their customers wanted before building the bike. The fuel tank here isn’t the biggest, not by a long shot. However, it is big enough to offer a decent range, more than enough for most novice riders. It’s a 4.5 gallon fuel tank, one which offers a range of approximately 236 miles. That’s because this bike was designed to get excellent fuel mileage. In fact, it was capable of getting about 45 miles per gallon, even in the city. Get it out on the open road, and you could easily see that number approach 60 miles per gallon. That definitely makes it a winner for novice riders who want to be able to go a respectable distance without spending a lot of money in the process. Even with fuel prices over $3 a gallon, it would be possible to fill this tank for somewhere between $12 and $15. A range of more than 200 miles for such a small amount of money at the fuel pump is definitely appealing, and it’s becoming more so with each passing day.
Comfort and Control
Of course, no one wants to ride any motorcycle that is an absolute beast to control. It’s not exactly the most comfortable thing when you are constantly fighting the motorcycle to go around every corner or deal with every bump. Moreover, it can become a safety issue, especially for people that don’t have a lot of experience. Novice motorcycle riders need a bike that offers a decent amount of controllability, yet also has enough stability to keep it upright when it counts the most. This particular motorcycle was able to accomplish that fine line by incorporating wheels that are about an inch shorter than is typically considered standard. This essentially gives the bike better controllability at low speeds. It also makes it less uncomfortable when you hit the inevitable bump in the road that simply can’t be avoided. It also helps with cornering. This bike definitely isn’t the most responsive when it comes to going around tight corners, but it does a decent enough job that most beginners can handle it. That’s especially true if you take the time to slow down to a respectable speed as opposed to trying to pretend that you’re on a race track. A lot of its stability has to do with its weight as well. The bike weighs 536 pounds, but it’s well distributed so that its center of gravity is relatively stable. That’s a big deal for anybody that doesn’t have a lot of experience riding motorcycles, as it can make all the difference in the world between riding safely or being injured.
At the end of the day, this bike had a lot going for it. It’s a real shame that Harley-Davidson eventually decided to discontinue it, and it’s a decision that a lot of motorcycle riders still don’t understand to this day. Perhaps it has something to do with their desire to move out of entry level motorcycles into different demographic markets. Whatever the reason, this is a bike that is still remembered fondly. It’s even still highly sought-after, after all these years.