Harley-Davidson Motorcycles For Beginners TOP 10


Looking to start your motorcycle journey right? Here are some Harleys ideal for newer riders


Harley-Davidson Street 750

There probably isn't a motorcycle in existence easier to ride than a Harley-Davidson Street 750. Equipped with a slightly larger Revolution X V-Twin engine than its little brother, the Street 500, this bike is a complete confidence builder thanks to its 492-pound weight and responsive handling. This is such a go-to model for people that have never ridden a motorcycle (or have any experience with manual transmission), that many riding schools use these bikes for absolute beginners to learn on.


Harley-Davidson Iron 883

If you are in the mood for an easy-to-ride Sportster model that has a little more power than a Street 750, but not overpowering, then the Iron 883 is for you. Built on Harley-Davidson's smaller Sportster frame, the Iron 883 has been the brand's most popular beginner model, thanks to its nimble handling, three-gallon fuel tank, customization options, and affordability. Ideal for riding in the city and local suburban roads, the Iron 883 sets the groundwork for newer riders to get their feet wet, and still earn the respect of seasoned veterans.


Harley-Davidson Iron 1200

If you like the style, handling, and affordability of the Iron 883, but could use just a little bit more power to satisfy your needs, then look no further than its big brother, the Iron 1200. This motorcycle shares many of the same attributes of the Iron 883 with only a few discernable differences. The first is its 1200cc V-Twin engine. While some newer riders enjoy the amount of power the Iron 883, there are some who feel like they've outgrown it and desire a little bit more speed and torque in a Sportster. The Iron 1200 also boasts a pair of mini-ape handlebars to grant its rider a more upright, relaxed riding position, as well as Harley-Davidson's classic retro stripes on the fuel tank.


Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight

In the mood for a lightweight Sportster that looks tough and muscular, while also being easy to ride? Then the Forty-Eight is the bike for you. Built around the same frame as the Iron 883 and Iron 1200, the Forty-Eight also gives local riders an extra kick in manageable power with its air-cooled 1200cc V-Twin Evolution engine. But unlike the Iron 883 and Iron 1200, the Forty-Eight is a Sportster in a class of its own. This is due to a few things: a lower seat height (26.2 inches), forward controls, and a 2.1-gallon peanut fuel tank. Of course, we cannot forget its signature chunky front and rear tires. In combination with its adjustable suspension, this bike can eat up all of the cranks and bumps in the road while giving off a "bulldog" vibe.


Harley-Davidson Street Bob 114

If there was a Harley-Davidson that checked off all the boxes for a beginner, there is no model that does it better than the Street Bob. Street Bobs are certainly one of the most well-rounded bikes on this list because they are just as maneuverable and easy-to-use as the sportsters, but being built on the larger Softail frame allows you to sit more comfortably for longer stretches of time. Aside from this motorcycle embodying the best of both classes, the Street Bob is also one of the most customizable, featuring a diverse range of stock and aftermarket options.


Harley-Davidson Lowrider S

As far as Harley-Davidsons that had immediate mass appeal upon its debut, the Lowrider S was the bike of choice for both beginner and veteran riders. First appearing on the showroom floor in 2020, this blacked-out high-performance cruiser had everything riders of all experience levels desired. Beginners were fans of its dark and intimidating aesthetic, cruiser riding style they can learn on, as well as the strong likelihood that they will be hanging onto this bike for years to come. Meanwhile, more experienced riders were infatuated with its Milwaukee-Eight 117 cubic-inch engine (previously 114) housed in a Softail frame. This motorcycle has all the tools necessary to go out for casual cruises around town. But if you ever wanted to haul off on the throttle and take advantage of a big engine inside a medium-sized bike, it can rise to the challenge.


Harley-Davidson Softail Slim

Although the Softail Slim ran in Harley-Davidson's Softail lineup for 10 years, it brought with it a reputation of being the ultimate "chill-out" motorcycle. Bringing with it the classic look of spoked wheels, chopped fenders, floordboards, and a Milwakiee-Eight 107 engine, the Slim cast a wide net to newer riders that wanted a more "badass-looking" bike that wasn't a sportster, and could seamlessly run with the big dogs. But then again, its low-profile design makes it perfect for a solo summer afternoon ride. Its low seat height (25.5 inches) also made it a very popular bike for female riders too.


Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 114

We've all heard of muscle cars like the Dodge Challenger or a Chevy Camaro. Well, the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy is a muscle bike. The Fat Boy is the ultimate, bad-to-the-bone motorcycle that has been a staple in Harley-Davidson's inventory since 1990 and basically looks like a Softail Slim if it spent years weightlifting. Not to mention that it was Arnold Schwarzenegger's ride of choice in the Terminator films! Many beginner riders are fans of the Fat Boy's beefier design, low-profile seat, floorboards, forward controls, and comfortable riding stance that could send them out on a relaxing cruise down the highway. Of course, they also need to bring the bike's learning curve into consideration. Given that the Fat Boy's big steamroller tires have wider road coverage, that also means that it isn't as nimble as some of its predecessors.


Harley-Davidson Fat Bob 114

Often considered the rival to the Lowirder S, the Fat Bob is a different take to Harley-Davidson's high-performance cruiser concept. Also built on a Softail frame with a Milwaukee-Eight 114cu engine, the Fat Bob brings a more aggressive, post-apocalyptic design to contrast the sleek and simple elements of the Lowrider S. Featuring a 27.7-inch seat height, forward controls, 2-1-2 exhaust system, a pill-shaped LED headlamp, two chunky tires, and an inverted race-style front fork design, the Fat Bob serves as a long-term stepping stone for newer riders that wish to challenge the conventional.


Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic

Simple in its design with modern/retro style, the Heritage Classic is the quintessential All-American cruiser. Nicknamed the "baby Road King", the Heritage carries all of the desired touring features (detachable windshield, saddlebags, touring seat, floorboards) minus the additional weight and bulk. Housed on the Softail frame, the Heritage is the beginner rider's introduction to touring without the intimidation factor. Lighter in weight and simple handling, the Heritage is the beginner rider's bike of choice if they want to make the jump from riding class to riding cross-country.


Q: Which Harley-Davidson models are best for newer riders?

Every motorcyclist has different needs and riding styles. But most experienced riders would recommend either a sportster (Iron 883, Iron 1200, Forty-Eight) or a softail (Street Bob, Softail Slim) for beginner riders.

Q: Who owns Harley-Davidson?

Harley-Davidson was started by Walter Davidson, Arthur Davidson, William Davidson, and William Harley in 1903. Today, the company is a publicly-traded company, meaning it is not owned by one single corporation. Instead, it has many shareholders, yet it still trades as Harley-Davidson Inc.

Q: Are Harley-Davidsons good bikes?

Harley-Davidson has long been considered the motorcycle brand with the highest quality bikes since its inception in 1903. With a diverse inventory of sportster, softail, and touring models, Harley-Davidson has the largest, and most appealing selection of motorcycles for riders of every kind.

Q: Are Harley-Davidsons good for beginners?

Harley-Davidson is a very popular brand for beginner motorcyclists, with several sportster and softail models ideal for newer riders.

Q: Are Harley-Davidson motorcycles safe?

Harley-Davidsons are just as safe as any other motorcycle brand. While riders can take steps toward improving their safety (louder exhaust pipes, wearing bright colors, etc.) the best safety precaution one can make on a motorcycle is to always be aware of other drivers sharing the road.

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