One of the most “notably Harley” motorcycles ever produced by the Harley-Davidson Motor Company is the Harley-Davidson Low Rider.
There are few models on the market today that capture as much as half of the essence of the Low Rider.
A Varied History
Motorcycles, superbikes, and scooters are the bread and butter of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company’s products, with each subsequent model adding to the long-standing legacy of the longest-lasting American motorcycle company.
When it comes to aesthetic and culture, Harley-Davidson has the industry in vice grips. No other brand has the awareness that the Harley brand enjoys. When the average person thinks “motorcycle,” he thinks of low-standing Harleys with the handlebars high in the sky.
That perception is the result of the carefully cultivated culture of the Harley-Davidson Motor company at work, popularized by many of its models, of course, but perhaps none more than the Low Rider.
A Deliberately Casual Design
The phrase “deliberately casual” is oxymoronic, but there’s nothing moronic, oxy- or otherwise, about the Harley-Davidson’s design for the Low Rider. The first models hit the road in 1977 under the name FX Low Rider, based on the design of the FX Super Glide.
As the decades rolled on, engines were revamped, frames were redesigned, and series after series gave way to innovations in research and engineering.
No two Harleys are the same, given the massive array of replaceable parts and customization options Harley-Davidson offers, but every design has a common theme: classic cool cruising.
Timeline of Models and Changes
Between the years 1977 and 2016, about half a dozen different generations of the Harley-Davidson Low Rider were produced.
- FX Low Rider (1977-1982)
The first Low Rider contained a kickstart-only engine until that line was discontinued in 1979. The option for such a customization was always there moving ahead, but the general model had either an electric start or both an electric start and a kickstart.
- FXR Low Rider (1983-1992)
In 1983, the chain drive of the Low Rider models were replaced with belt drives in an effort to modernize the designs and improve performance efficient, output, and comfort.
- FXDL Dyna Low Rider (1993-2009)
The last of the core Low Rider generations was produced for the 2009 model year. These models were built around the newly designed and outfitted Dyna chassis, which had better stability at high speeds and allowed for larger engine displacements.
- Low Rider (2014-present)
After a few years of relative inactivity in regard to production of the Low Rider line, Harley-Davidson revived the line beginning with a couple of new models in 2014 and a limited edition version in 2016.
Harley-Davidson has announced more models are yet to come for future years, including the newly announced 2020 Low Rider.
The Harley-Davidson Low Rider model has appeared in dozens of films and TV shows showcasing “bad boy biker” culture.
Harley-Davidson social groups are some of the easiest finds in the world. This page in particular has over 35,000 followers.
Harley-Davidson Low Rider – the Quintessential Cruiser
The Harley-Davidson Low Rider, with its low-riding seat and high-flying handlebars, is exactly what people think of when they think of Harleys. Until a specific model is mentioned, even auto-enthusiasts will picture the Low Rider and similar models. This just goes to show the success of the line.