Are Harley-Davidson's Difficult to Ride?

May 23, 2024


woman rider on a Harley davidson sportster Are Harley-Davidson's Difficult to Ride?

Wondering if Harley-Davidsons are difficult to ride? Riding a Harley-Davidson can be a bit of a learning curve for some, especially if you're not used to heavier bikes, but it's definitely manageable and enjoyable once you get the hang of it. Here’s how it breaks down:

The Short Answer: Are Harleys Difficult to Ride? 

Harley-Davidsons, with their low center of gravity, are manageable despite their weight, especially once you're moving. They require some adjustment to their unique handling and seating position but are generally enjoyable and not overly difficult to ride.

Weight and Handling

Harley-Davidsons do carry some weight, but they’re designed with a low center of gravity which really helps in making that weight less intimidating. It's mostly noticeable at very slow speeds or when maneuvering the bike while it’s not running. But once you're up and riding, that weight distribution actually helps stabilize the ride, which many riders appreciate.

Getting Used To Riding a Harley

If you’re new to Harleys, or coming from riding lighter or sportier bikes, the first thing you'll notice is the difference in posture and the position of the controls. Harleys tend to have more forward foot controls and a seating position that encourages a laid-back ride rather than an aggressive, forward-leaning posture. It might feel a bit awkward at first, but it’s generally seen as very comfortable once you're used to it.


One characteristic element of Harley engines is their vibration. While many riders enjoy this as part of the bike's character, it can be tiring on long rides and might require an adjustment period for those not used to it.


In terms of performance, don’t expect the nimbleness or the quick acceleration of a sports bike. Harleys are built for cruising—think smooth, steady acceleration and a ride that’s designed to be as enjoyable on a long, straight highway as it is on winding roads, with appropriate models for each. The brakes and acceleration are less aggressive, which can be a plus if you’re looking for a relaxed ride, but it might take some adjustment if you’re used to more immediate responses.

Overall Experience

Many riders find that any initial challenges are well worth the distinctive and rewarding experience of riding a Harley. They often mention the sense of community among Harley riders and the iconic status of the brand as part of the appeal. The advice from seasoned riders? Take your time, get comfortable with the bike’s handling at low speeds in a safe area, and you’ll likely find that riding a Harley is an enjoyable and not overly difficult experience.

In essence, while there might be a brief adjustment period, particularly with managing the bike’s weight at low speeds, Harleys are not inherently difficult to ride. They offer a unique riding experience that many motorcycle enthusiasts come to prefer and cherish.

What are the Best Harleys for Beginners?

When it comes to choosing the best Harley-Davidson models for beginners, the Street 500 and Street 750 are great options. These models are favored in Harley-Davidson® Riding Academy courses for their user-friendly handling, courtesy of a low center of gravity and manageable power delivery. Both are equipped with a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected V-twin engine—offering a smooth introduction to motorcycling while ensuring enough power for a satisfying ride without overwhelming newcomers.

2020 harley davidson street 500 Are Harley-Davidson's Difficult to Ride?

2020 Harley davidson street 750 Are Harley-Davidson's Difficult to Ride?

For those who prefer a bit more power, the Iron 883 is another great choice. It offers a blend of iconic Harley style and approachable performance, making it ideal for new riders seeking a classic experience. Additionally, the Street Bob offers a robust introduction to more powerful bikes, providing a manageable mid-weight option with a responsive ride. Each of these models represents a thoughtful balance between performance and manageability, perfect for those new to riding and looking to enjoy the unique Harley-Davidson culture.

Test Ride a Harley-Davidson with Riders Share

Not sure about the handling? Maybe you took a test ride at your local dealership and still don’t feel sure if it’s the right fit for you. Consider renting a Harley with Riders Share today and experience an HD in real-world conditions- from the Softtail, Dyna, Road Glide, Sportster, and more. No buyer’s remorse here. 


2024 Harley Davidson Road Glide Are Harley-Davidson's Difficult to Ride?

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