When naming the greatest motorcycle manufacturers in the world, it is impossible to leave Harley-Davidson off the list. If you’re a motorcycle fan, you’ve probably found yourself coveting a Harley, and we don’t blame you. Many of the bikes built by the Milwaukee-based company have gorgeous designs, comfortable riding positions, and some of the most capable engines you’ll ever hear.
In business for over a century, Harley-Davidson has built many models of motorcycles. While many of them have all but faded from our memories, some are unforgettable because they hold a special place in Harley history. Let’s explore ten of the greatest Harley-Davidson motorcycles ever made.
ten 1990 fat boy
The Fat Boy is one of the most recognizable Harley-Davidson models. Introduced in 1990, the Fat Boy has received a lot of praise, largely due to its gorgeous design. All-new solid 16-inch wheels, wide body, flared fenders and sleek silver paint ensure the Fat Boy turns heads wherever it goes.
This bike was also a joy to ride, thanks to a 1,340cc V-twin that put out 48bhp. The icing on the cake is that the Fat Boy is one of the coolest Harleys featured in movies, having starred in the terminator franchise.
9 2009 FXSTB Night Train
Since its introduction in 2000, the Night Train has gone through a process of constant evolution that has given us many outstanding model years. Our favorite version of the bike has to be the 2009 FXSTB Night Train.
The Night Train FXSTB is the perfect bike for enthusiasts looking for looks and power. It is powered by a 1,584cc air-cooled Twin Cam 96B engine producing 87.90 lb-ft of torque, giving it excellent performance.
8 1958 Duo-Glide
The FL has been a model designation used on Harleys since the 1940s. The FL underwent multiple changes, one of the most significant being in 1958. The 1958 FL had many improvements over the previous models, the better being a new frame.
The new frame had a rear swingarm suspended by two coilover suspension units, which is why Harley-Davidson changed its name from “Hydra-Glide” to Duo-Glide.
7 1915 11F
When Harley-Davidson was established in the early 1900s, it was essentially a producer of motorcycles – the company made small motors that could be attached to frames of ordinary pedal bicycles. However, in 1915 Harley-Davidson introduced the model that transformed it from a motorcycle producer to a motorcycle producer – the 11F.
Fitted with Harley’s first three-speed transmission system, a full electrical system, magneto ignition system, taillight and a 1000cc V-twin producing 11bhp, the 11F was way ahead of its time.
6 1957 XL Sportster
The Sportster is one of the oldest motorcycle models of all time, having been in continuous production for over six decades. The first Sportster was built in 1957, and it quickly became one of Harley’s best-selling models at the time, helping the American company compete with the growing number of European imports.
The XL Sportster replaced the KHK and shared many parts including the frame, fenders, front suspension and gas tank. However, unlike the KHK, which used a flathead engine, the Sportster used an overhead valve engine, known as the Ironhead.
In the late ’60s, the AMA Grand National Championship brought a rule change that allowed European and Japanese motorcycles to overtake the dominating Harley-Davidson KR racer. To get back to the top, Harley developed a new, faster racing bike known as the XR750.
The XR750 proved to be a huge success, winning 29 of 37 AMA Grand National Championships. Interestingly, the XR750 is the bike the legendary Evel Knievel used in his most famous stunts.
4 1936 EL Knucklehead
Harley-Davidson was going through a tough time in the 1930s. Faced with fierce competition from Indian Motorcycles, Harley needed a new model to generate sales, so it came up with the EL, or Knucklehead, as it is commonly called.
The Knucklehead was the last motorcycle designed by William S. Harley and the Davidson brothers as a team. Early models were fitted with a 1000 cc “hemi” engine producing 40 hp, while later models acquired a more powerful 1200 cc unit.
3 2002 V-Rod VRSCA
When the VRSCA V-Rod debuted in the early 2000s, it quickly reminded everyone that it was still the performance king in the muscle bike space. This bike is the perfect blend of custom style and performance.
The V-Rod VRSCA was equipped with an engine masterpiece – a water-cooled 1131cc V-twin developed by Porsche, developing 125 hp. With a top speed of 144 mph, the VRSCA V-Rod was one of the fastest cruisers of the 2000s.
2 King of the Road FLHR 2012
When the Road King debuted in 1994, it showed everyone that Harley was truly king of the cruiser segment. This awesome motorcycle quickly became the benchmark for other cruiser motorcycles, which is why it has been in production ever since.
We chose the 2012 Road King because it combines classic Road King design, massive power and modern technology. It’s powered by a monstrous 1690cc Twin Cam 103 engine mated to a six-speed Cruise Drive transmission. Buyers also got technologies like ABS, electronic cruise control and Harley’s Intelligent Safety System.
1 2012 CVO Softail Convertible
When Harley noticed a growing demand for custom motorcycles, it created the Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) department to create fantastic custom motorcycles based on normal Harley models. The Softail convertible is one such model.
The Softail Convertible debuted in 2010 and was an instant hit, despite being one of the most expensive motorcycles in Harley’s lineup. We like the 2012 model because it’s fast, sleek, comfortable, and comes with awesome extras like a removable windshield, ABS, a high-performance clutch with hydraulic actuation, and electronic throttle control.
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