Exploring the Types of Popular Harley-Davidson Models

Dec 22, 2023


Harley Davidson logo on a metal wall

From four young men’s dreams in 1903 to taking America by storm, Harley-Davidson is not just a motorcycle manufacturer. HD is embedded in motorcycle culture worldwide. Harley-Davidson has been offering an experience and lifestyle for over a century now and is dedicated to continuing this legacy for generations to come. On average, around 50% of total motorcycle registrations in the USA can be attributed to Harley-Davidson. In this blog, we’ll dive into the most popular Harley-Davidson motorcycle models of all time, current types of Harley models, and what makes them so memorable and cherished. 

Before We Get Started- Here’s a List of Current Types of Harley Models:


  • NIGHTSTER® - MSRP: $13,499
  • SPORTSTER® S - MSRP: $16,399
  • BREAKOUT® 117 - MSRP: $20,999
  • FAT BOY® 114 - MSRP: $20,199
  • LOW RIDER® S - MSRP: $18,199
  • STREET BOB® 114 - MSRP: $16,599
  • LOW RIDER® ST - MSRP: $22,199
  • FAT BOB® 114 - MSRP: $18,899
  • ROAD GLIDE® ST - MSRP: $29,999
  • ROAD GLIDE® - MSRP: $21,999
  • CVO™ STREET GLIDE® - MSRP: $42,999
  • CVO™ ROAD GLIDE® - MSRP: $42,999
  • ROAD KING® SPECIAL - MSRP: $23,999
  • STREET GLIDE® - MSRP: $21,999
  • STREET GLIDE® ST - MSRP: $29,999
  • ULTRA LIMITED® - MSRP: $29,799
  • PAN AMERICA® 1250 SPECIAL - MSRP: $20,399
  • PAN AMERICA® 1250 - MSRP: $17,699
  • ROAD GLIDE® 3 - MSRP: $32,999
  • FREEWHEELER® - MSRP: $29,999
  • TRI GLIDE® ULTRA - MSRP: $36,499

Picture of a black Harley Davidson XL 883 Sportster parked on the side of a road in Paris, France

Best-Selling Harley of All-Time: The Sportster

The Harley-Davidson Sportster, first introduced in 1957, is renowned for revolutionizing motorcycling with its powerful engine and lightweight design. The Sportster is the most popular HD and the best-selling Harley of all time. Continuously upgraded over the years, including a 1,000cc engine in 1972, it became an icon in American motorcycle culture, known for its classic style, affordability, and versatility. It set a 265.492mph speed record in 1970, cementing its legacy as the best-selling Harley of all time.

Innovative Performance

The Sportster was introduced in 1957 as a direct descendant of the Harley-Davidson Model K series. It featured a more powerful 54 cubic-inch, overhead-valve powerplant known as the ironhead motor, replacing the K model's 45 cubic-inch engine. This upgrade significantly enhanced its performance and appeal​​.

Beating International Competition

The Sportster was created partly to compete with popular British motorcycles, such as Triumphs, BSAs, and Nortons. Its power, combined with the allure of being a Harley, made it an attractive alternative to British imports​​.

Customization and Versatility

By the mid-1960s, the Sportster had become popular for customization since it had lightweight and clean lines, making it ideal for chopper or bobber transformations. This adaptability allowed riders to personalize their bikes, further enhancing its appeal​​. 

Constantly Improving

Over the years, Harley-Davidson continued to improve the Sportster, including engine upgrades like replacing the standard 900 cc engine with a 1,000 cc overhead-valve motor in 1972. These advancements kept the Sportster at the forefront of motorcycle technology​​.

Keeping it Classic & Affordable

The Sportster has been known for its unique style, embodying classic American motorcycle culture. Additionally, its position as a relatively affordable option in the Harley-Davidson lineup made it accessible to a wider range of enthusiasts​​. The 2023 Sportster S model will run you $16,399, making it one of the more affordable Harley models in 2023. 

Cultural Impact

The Sportster gained fame for its record-setting performances, including a 265.492mph speed record in 1970- legendary!

Other Popular Types of Harley-Davidson Models To Know About

Picture of a blue Harley Davidson Road King parked in a parking lot

Harley-Davidson Road King

Celebrated for its versatility and speed, the Road King is equipped with a powerful Milwaukee-Eight engine, providing either 107 or 114 pound-feet of torque. It's customizable for various road conditions and missions​​.

1990 FLSTF Fat Boy

Debuting in 1990, the Fat Boy became one of the most beloved motorcycles in the industry, featuring new 16-inch wheels for its front and back, marking a significant change in motorcycle design​​.

Picture of 2 white Harley Davidson Electra Glides used for Secret Service in Washington DC

Electra Glide

Known for its superb wind and weather protection, the Electra Glide offers exceptional rider and pillion comfort, thanks to its “bat wing” fairing and large windscreen​​.

Harley Davidson 11F

This model was a pioneer in the motorcycle industry, being the first Harley to feature a three-speed transmission, an automatic oiler, and intake valves, along with a complete electrical system​​.

picture of a green Harley Davidson Knucklehead motorcycle on display at an indoor show

EL “Knucklehead" Harley Davidson

The last motorcycle, designed by the Davidson brothers and William S. Harley, featured a semispherical combustion chamber and was available in an iconic 74-inch version from 1941​​.

Picture of a black Harley Davidson Fat Boy motorcycle parked on the side of a road in front of a big brick building

Harley Davidson Fat Boy

This model introduced the first-ever Softail look with its unique “shotgun” designed exhaust pipes and massive 16-inch disk wheels​​.

Harley Davidson VRSCSE2

Known for its excellent functionality and style, this model featured a powerful Revolution engine and was easy to maneuver through traffic​​.

Harley Davidson CVO Softail Convertible

Launched in 2010, the 2012 model stood out for its excellent touring and cruising capabilities​​.

Harley Davidson XL Sportster

This model drove several specialty machines and underwent consistent engine upgrades, evolving from an 883cc to a 1,200cc engine​​.

Picture of a maroon and black Harley Davidson Dyna Wide Glide

Harley Davidson Dyna Wide Glide

This model featured a Tommy Gun 2-1-2 exhaust, a massive back end, and a chopped rear fender, marking the start of the bobber era​​.

Harley Davidson XR-1000

It was popular for its improved power with an OHV V-twin 998cc air-cooled engine, reaching a maximum speed of 112mph​​.

Picture of a blue Harley Davidson XR 750

Harley Davidson KR750

A dominant motorcycle in AMA sports, the KR750 was pivotal in the origin of flat-track racing and marked Harley-Davidson’s dominance in the sport​​.

picture of a maroon Harley FLHR Road King parked in front of a building

Harley Davidson FLHR Road King

Known for its customization and performance, it featured a twin Cam 103 1690cc engine and a six-speed cruise transmission​​.

Harley Davidson VRSCA V-ROD

Famous for introducing drag racing to motorcycling, the V-Rod competed against American & Japanese Muscle Bikes and had a top speed of 140mph​.

Explore the Types of Harleys by Renting Before You Buy

With so many iconic Harley-Davidson models available, each with its distinct personality and riding experience, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. To avoid buyer's remorse and ensure you find the perfect Harley match, venturing beyond the showroom floor and test-riding multiple models is crucial. This allows you to not only feel the power and handling of each bike firsthand but also discover hidden gems that might surprise you. Through test riding, you'll gain invaluable insight into which Harley-Davidson truly aligns with your riding style, preferences, and personality. By taking the time to explore different models, you'll be riding off with confidence, knowing you've made the perfect decision for your next unforgettable adventure.

Are you considering purchasing a Harley-Davidson but unsure about which model suits you best? Riders Share offers a unique opportunity to rent a Harley-Davidson model of your choice before you commit to buying. With a vast selection of Harley-Davidson motorcycles available at thousands of locations across the United States, Riders Share ensures that you can test out the exact type of Harley you're interested in. This allows you to truly experience the bike in real-world conditions, ensuring it's the perfect fit for your riding style and preferences. Renting before buying is a smart way to make an informed decision and find the Harley-Davidson that's right for you.