Established in Milwaukee in 1903, Harley-Davidson is one of two American motorcycle manufacturers to make it through the Great Depression. Known for its large-displacement, heavyweight cruiser motorcycles, H-D has found success worldwide as a symbol of freedom and individuality. Harley models are the base for most chopper and bagger custom builds, and have been at the heart of custom culture since its inception. With clubs and groups for Harley-Davidson owners as well as events worldwide, the brand has developed a culture of its own. Now developing more versatile bikes including electrics and sport motorcycles, H-D is aiming for a younger and more diverse audience, while maintaining the touring line at its core.
Harley-Davidson’s 2019 lineup builds off of the 2018 Softail introduction and adds a handful of features to the CVO touring line, but does not see a whole lot of change outside of that. Introduction of the FXDR 114 to the Softail line saw an all-new cast swingarm and front end geometry that resulted in a great-handling motorcycle. CVO models got a larger-displacement 117ci Milwaukee-Eight engine as well as some updates to the infotainment system and hardware. All eyes are on 2020 with the middleweight 1,250cc cruiser, naked 975cc streetfighter, and the Pan America adventure motorcycle planned for release.
2018 was a big year for Harley-Davidson, introducing the new Softail platform and expanding the Milwaukee-Eight engine’s presence in the lineup. Killing off the Dyna line, 2018 saw the introduction of a completely redesigned array of Softails pulling nomenclature from successful models on both the Dyna and Softail platforms, such as the Street Bob, Breakout, and Deluxe. The 114ci Milwaukee-Eight that was previously only available in CVO models became available on select Softails, such as the Fat Bob 114 and Heritage 114.
The Harley-Davidson Road Glide (FLTR) was introduced in 1998 as an updated version of the Harley-Davidson Tour Glide, the first Touring Model motorcycle to come equipped with a frame-mounted fairing, also known as a shark nose fairing because of its shape that wrapped tightly around the dual front headlamp configuration. Always a polarizing motorcycle, the Road Glide was either loved or hated, but continues to be a mainstay in Harley’s Touring Model Motorcycle platform, with three models currently being sold: Road Glide, Road Glide Special, and Road Glide Ultra.
The Harley-Davidson Road King (FLHR) was introduced in 1994 to replace the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Sport. It came equipped with hard saddlebags and a windshield. It’s the large front headlamp nacelle that definitely sets the Road King apart from the rest of its Touring Model brethren.
The Harley-Davidson Street Glide was released in 2006 as a stripped down version of the Electra Glide. It debuted with the Twin Cam 88 engine, which was replaced for the 2007 model year with the larger Twin Cam 96 engine. Retaining the factory Harmon Kardon audio system, cruise control, and ABS (optional) with security (also optional). However, the Street Glide featured a sleeker aesthetic with a smaller windscreen, no Tour-Pak, no fender trim, and lower suspension. The Street Glide is arguably the most popular Harley-Davidson motorcycle to date.
The Harley-Davidson Electra Glide (FLH) debuted in 1965 and was outfitted with a 74 cubic-inch Panhead engine, and was the first year for electric start (only the Servi-Car had featured electric start previously), which served as the foundation for naming this new model, "Electra Glide." In 1966, the newly released 74 cubic-inch Shovelhead engines now powered the Electra Glides for the next 18 years until the Evolution engine made its debut.