Featured Image Credit: Nitot / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
What is the most popular Harley Davidson motorcycle? It could be a difficult question to define and answer.
If you go purely on sales, then the Sportster models are at the top of the list, and my personal favorites as well. However, if you go by most valuable, then vintage Harleys take the cake with some older models being worth well over $100,000.
When it comes down to it, the most popular Harley is likely the one you ride yourself. You can make your personal most popular choice dependent on several different factors that are heavily informed by your own riding style.
Here’s a breakdown of some popular models and the riding style they are best suited to.
The Fun and Spunky: Sportster
These are my favorite group among the Harley models. They are generally a bit smaller than most other models, which makes them great for city riding. They are spunky and easy to handle – ideal for the tight turns and traffic of the city. This is not to say that they aren’t good outside the city though. Get a Sportster out on the highway and open up those 883-1200 cc’s of pure gigity, and you are in for a fun time.
Sportsters come with many available upgrades and add-ons that will make anyone happy to be riding them. The only shortcoming of Sportsters is their limited range, so if your primary goal is to cruise the open highways, the Sportster is probably not for you. This model of bike is most popular with beginner riders and those coming over to Harley from another brand for the first time. Likely because they are the least intimidating of the Harley models.
The Hybrids: Softails and V-Rods
If you are looking to combine the best of the Sportster with touring bike models, the cruisers are the way to go. Softail Harleys are known as the most iconic of the models and are easily identifiable as the most Harley-looking models around. And who hasn’t heard of the Fat Boy? These bikes are equally at home in the city and on the highway and have a good range for travel and plenty of get up and go for the highway.
But if you are looking for that extra speed and kick, then the V-rod or the Night Rod are some of the coolest bikes around. The engines on these two bikes were designed in co-operation with Porsche, so you know they are going to give you exactly what you need in the awesome department. The stripped-down look and drag racing inspired lines of the V-Rod/Night Rod models make them two of the “baddest” bikes around.
All in all, the cruiser models are the best all-around bikes. No matter what your riding style is, you will find much more to like in this group of Harley-Davidson models.
Just Get On and Ride: The Touring Bikes
Does the smooth open highway call to you? Do you need to feel the freedom of escaping the city to blaze a path of glory along the open road? To leave everything and everyone else behind for a time and just go where your bike takes you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then touring bikes are for you.
Harley Davidson has several options here as well. Whether it be the Road/Street glide or the iconic Road King, these bikes are made to cruise comfortably and, of course, in style, down the open road.
Touring bikes have the greatest range and load capacity of any of the models, which makes them ideal for longer trips and cross country rides. Pack a tent, some food, fill up your tank, and just see where the bike and your mood take you. Easily customizable and built for comfort, it is easy to see why this model is the most popular for those who make the open road their home. But, due to the size and handling of these bikes, I would not recommend them for extensive city use.
Which Model is Really the Most Popular?
Well, sure, you may feel like this question has not been answered, but in response, I say, “why does it matter?” Would you buy a model just because it is the most popular? The most expensive? Because everyone else has one just like it? No, you wouldn’t, or at least you shouldn’t.
The correct answer to this question is, “Whichever model is the best fit for you.” Which one gives you butterflies in your stomach when you look at it, which one best suits what you want out of your motorcycle? Ultimately, it is up to you to decide because, as it turns out, the most popular Harley is the one you are riding.
One more thing, you may be saying to yourself, “Hey, he didn’t mention Dyna’s!”
You are correct. I did not mention them because they are being phased out by Softail’s. But, if you are curious, they would fit into the hybrid/cruiser variety. You can still find them out there of course, at dealerships and privately sold, but eventually, there will be no new models of this type, and that has serious implications for things like the availability of parts and service down the road
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Harley Davidson do custom work?
The answer here is yes, sort of. Harley Davidson has a line of bike models called the CVO line-up, which stands for Custom Vehicle Operations lineup. While these bikes are not built to custom specs every time, they do offer the customer a wider range of toys to play with, including GPS, sound systems, and generally more standard equipment. This line of bikes is also built with better power, performance, and style.
What if I want a Trike?
Well, you are in luck! Harley Davidson offers two different styles of Trike – the Freewheeler and the Tri-glide. These Trikes are on the cutting edge of Harley Davidson technology and come equipped with the Reflex defensive rider system.