Few motorcycles are as iconic as a Harley-Davidson. Since 1903, the Milwaukee company has crafted some of the coolest motorcycles. More than that, Harley-Davidson has become a lifestyle and a symbol of American society. Since they’ve made so many amazing bikes over the years, it’s easy to debate which are the best. However, for their cultural impact and iconic status, these are five of the greatest Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Introduced in 1915, the 11F featured innovative technology and better capabilities than any other motorcycle of that era. It was equipped with a magneto, a V-Twin engine, three-speed transmission, and an automatic oiler. With larger valves and an overhead intake, the V-Twin was an improvement on most other engines and generated 11 horsepower, which was unheard of at the time. With its speed and impressive new design features, the 11F easily proved its superiority in the motorcycle community.
This bike received little fanfare when it was first unveiled but the LiveWire has proven that it has what it takes to keep up with the rest of the Harley pack. Released in 2019, the LiveWire One was Harley-Davidson’s first foray into the world of electric motorcycles and they’ve since released a second, improved model. The newest LiveWire has a 241-kilometer (150-mile) driving range and is packed with cool tech including seven driving modes, an HD display, and a Reflex Defensive Rider System. The LiveWire is also the fastest Harley, taking three seconds to go from 0-97 kph (0-60 mph). With such great speed and performance, this little bike is the key to the brand’s survival in a world that increasingly prioritizes electric vehicles.
Harleys have always been kings on the race circuits, especially when it comes to flat track racing. Released in 1970, the XR-750 was one of the most legendary flat track motorcycles. Out of 37 AMA National Championships, this bike snagged an impressive 29 wins, which is still more victories than other motorcycle in AMA history. It gained fame outside of the racing world after it was used by the death-defying daredevil, Evel Knievel. You can check out one of Knievel’s XR-750s at the National Museum of American History.
Harley-Davidson Fat Boy
Since being introduced to the world in 1990, the Fat Boy has been one of Harley’s most popular motorcycles. Imbued with classic Harley-Davidson style, this Softail bike features wide front forks, fat tires, and a low seat that makes it perfect for cruising. The design of the Fat Boy was meant to revive public interest in cruisers. It’s safe to say that venture worked out.
The Sportster has been Harley-Davidson’s crown jewel since 1957. Featuring an 833cc OHV engine, this mid-size bike was meant to compete with popular lightweight motorcycles from companies like Norton, BSA, and Triumph. The Sportster proved itself a worthy competitor and has seen several new models join the lineup over the years. It is still one of the most favored entry-level motorcycles for its easy handling, appealing size, and high torque. With its impressive features and unending popularity, the Sportster takes the top spot as one of the greatest and most iconic Harley-Davidson motorcycles ever built.