Big Twin Rumble: Harley-Davidson FXDL Dyna Low Rider

A closer look at the Harley-Davidson FXDL Dyna Low Rider from the Big Twin Rumble

Harley-Davidson FXDL Dyna Low Rider
Harley-Davidson FXDL Dyna Low RiderKevin Wing

If you're hankerin' for a big-engined Harley-Davidson, the Dyna Low Rider offers you the cheapest way to straddle major Milwaukee iron. Though still a touch pricier than any of its Japanese competition, the Dyna Low Rider is about $3500 less than the Springer Softail.

Your $13,760 investment (including an extra $320 for spoked wheels) nets you cleanly conventional Harley styling and a carbureted, rubber-mounted 1340cc twin supplying the motivation. You even get a few extras not found on the other bikes in our group—stuff like a tachometer, dual front disc brakes, and even separate highway pegs. Some cash was spared on detail finish items however, so the Dyna lacks the sparkle of the more expensive Springer.

The Low Rider powerplant is a standard-issue H-D big twin.Kevin Wing

The Low Rider powerplant is a standard-issue H-D big twin. Relative to its Japanese rivals, the Harley motor has small cylinder bores and a long 4.25-inch stroke. The single-pin crankshaft and narrow 45-degree V-angle ensures plenty of vigorous engine vibration, but Harley-Davidson’s clever mounting system lets the motor jump around furiously while transmitting little of the commotion to the rest of the machine. The only time vibration is an issue for the rider is at idle, when the mounts can’t contain the low-frequency shakes.

Quaint pushrod valve gear pops open two valves in each air-cooled cylinder, and hydraulic lifters keep the workings continuously adjusted. Like the Springer Softail, the Dyna has a five speed transmission and belt final drive—the Japanese contingent uses four-speeds and shaft final drive.

Harley’s Sport chassis ties it all together with key dimensions that define the Dyna as the roadracer of our bunch. It has the shortest wheelbase, the steepest steering-head angle and the least trail—all dimensions skewed toward steering responsiveness. Relatively firm spring rates front and rear combine with three powerful disc brakes to further enhance the Dyna’s performance potential.

This article was originally published in the February 1997 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser.

dyna low rider
Harley-Davidson FXDL Dyna Low RiderHarley-Davidson
Designation: FXDL Dyna Low Rider (1997)
Suggested Base Price: $13,760 (1997)
Standard Colors: Vivd Black (1997)
Extra-cost Colors: Patriot Red Pearl, States Blue Pearl, Violet Pearl, two-tone Victory Sunglo/Platinum Silver, two-tone Platinum Silver/Black (1997)
Standard Warranty: 12 mo., unlimited miles
Recommended Service Interval: 5000 miles
Engine & Drivetrain
Type: Air-cooled 45-degree tandem V-twin
Valve Arrangement: OHV, 2 intake, 2 exhaust valves, operated by hydraulic adjusters Displacement, bore x stroke: 1340cc, 88.8mm x 108mm
Compression Ratio: 8.5:1
Carburetion: 1, 40mm Keihin CV
Lubrication: Dry sump, 3.0 qt
Transmission: Wet, multiplate clutch; 5 speeds
Final Drive: Belt, 2.188:1
Wheels: Wire-spoke, 19 x 2.50 front, 16 x 3.00 rear
Front Tire: 100/90-19 Dunlop Elite S/T tube-type
Rear Tire: 130/90-16 Dunlop Elite S/T tube-type
Front Brake: Single-action single-piston calipers, 11.5-in. discs
Rear Brake: Single-action caliper, 11.5-in. disc
Front Suspension: 39mm stanchions, 6.9 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Dual dampers, 4.0 in. travel, adjustable for preload
Fuel Capacity: 4.9 gal. (0.5. gal. reserve) Handlebar width: 27.0 in.
Electrical & Instrumentation
Charging Output: 360 watts
Battery: 12v, 20AH
Forward Lighting: 55/60-watt 5.75-in. headlight, position lights
Taillight: Single bulb
Instruments: Tachometer, speedometer, odometer, tripmeter, fuel gauge; warning lights for high beam, turn signals, neutral, oil pressure
Fuel Mileage: 40 to 49 mpg, 44.9 mpg average
Average Range: 220 miles
RPM at 60mph, top gear: 2500 200 yard, top-gear acceleration from 50 mph, terminal speed: 76.3 mph
Quater-mile Acceleration: 14.13 sec. @92.5 mph