Your Guide to the World of Harley-Davidson Bikes

Dec 26, 2023


guide to harley davidson, HD guide, harley davidson logo

In the world of motorcycles, the name Harley-Davidson is almost universally known and synonymous with riding culture in America. A symbol of Americana, HD bikes have taken the world by storm in the last century, with no signs of slowing down. In this article, you’ll find a guide to the vast world of Harley-Davidson motorcycle models and the brand itself, so you can buy or rent the perfect motorcycle for you. 

Overview of this Guide:

How did Harley-Davidson make a name for themselves?

The journey of Harley-Davidson is a testament to American innovation and cultural influence. Founded in 1903 by William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the company started with a vision to enhance the efficiency of bicycles with an engine. This vision materialized into the creation of their first motorcycle, a modest but groundbreaking endeavor that set the stage for a legacy of innovation. Throughout the decades, Harley-Davidson is at the forefront of motorcycle engineering, pioneering features like the iconic V-twin engine that became a hallmark of the brand.

However, Harley-Davidson's influence extends far beyond technical advancements. The brand ingrained itself in American culture and beyond, symbolizing freedom, rebellion, and the spirit of the open road. It has become a lifestyle and a symbol of a particular kind of Americana, deeply associated with the idea of the rugged, independent spirit. The company's involvement in both World Wars, supplying robust motorcycles to the U.S. military, further cemented its reputation as a stalwart of durability and American engineering prowess.

The brand's impact on motorcycle culture is indelible. Harley-Davidson motorcycles are not just vehicles; they’re a way for riders to express their identity.

Why are Harley-Davidson bikes so sought-after? 

Imagine yourself on a bike with a bold, classic design, its powerful engine rumbling beneath you. That's the unique charm of a Harley. These bikes aren't just about getting from point A to point B; they're symbols of freedom and adventure, celebrated in movies and music, and might just be your ticket to an exhilarating lifestyle.

When you choose a Harley, you're choosing reliability and performance. Known for their durable build and smooth rides, Harleys are made for those who appreciate quality as much as they do style. If you're drawn to a blend of iconic design, cultural prestige, and dependable craftsmanship, then a Harley-Davidson motorcycle could be the perfect ride for you.

How do I rent a Harley-Davidson motorcycle?

Renting a Harley-Davidson motorcycle is an excellent way to experience the thrill of riding a Harley without the commitment of ownership. A convenient and popular option for this is using services like Riders Share, a motorcycle rental platform that connects you with a wide range of Harley-Davidson models.

  1. Create an Account: Sign up and create a profile on Riders Share. Provide some basic personal information and details about your riding experience. Get 20% off your first ride! 
  2. Browse and Select: Search for Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the area where you plan to ride. You can filter results by model, price, and other preferences to find the perfect Harley for your trip.
  3. Check Availability: Once you find a Harley you like, check its availability for your desired dates and review the rental terms. If you need some gear, make sure you select a bike rental that offers gear rental! 
  4. Book Your Ride: If everything looks good, now it's time to book the motorcycle. You’ll need to provide your driver’s license and motorcycle endorsement details. Riders Share will also run a quick DMV check to ensure safety and compliance.
  5. Pick Up the Bike or Have it Delivered: Coordinate with the bike owner for pick-up or delivery. This is a great time to ask any questions about the bike and go over any specific instructions or tips.
  6. Enjoy Your Ride: Hit the road and enjoy the unique experience of riding a Harley-Davidson. Whether it’s for a day or a longer road trip, renting gives you the flexibility to enjoy the ride on your own terms.
  7. Return the Motorcycle: After your adventure, return the bike to the owner as agreed. Make sure to refuel and check for any damages before handing it back.

Riders Share makes renting a Harley-Davidson easy and accessible, offering you a taste of the Harley lifestyle with the convenience of a trusted platform. So, if you're curious about what it's like to ride a legendary Harley, renting one could be your perfect opportunity.

Best Harleys for Beginners

If you're new to riding and are interested in the iconic Harley-Davidson, you're in luck. Harley-Davidson offers a range of motorcycles that are perfect for beginners. These bikes combine the Harley style with user-friendly features, making them a great choice for those starting their riding journey.

Harley models for beginners are designed with ease of handling in mind, offering a comfortable riding position and manageable power output. This makes them a great option for learning and gaining confidence on the road. You can start your riding adventure with a bike that's not only cool but also tailored to new riders. These bikes are often more balanced, comfortable rides with potentially smaller engines. 

For more information on the best Harley Davidson models for beginners, check out our article HERE

What types of Harley-Davidson models are there?

Harley-Davidson's range of models caters to different riding tastes and needs. If you're into a more spirited, sporty ride, the Sportster models are a great fit, especially for city riding and shorter journeys. For those who love the classic Harley look but appreciate modern features, the Softail series blends old-school cool with contemporary technology. If long rides are your thing, the Touring models are designed for comfort on longer journeys, complete with all the bells and whistles for a smooth trip. The Street series is more about easy handling and maneuverability, making them a good choice for urban riders or beginners. And for something a bit different, the Trike models offer a three-wheel experience, combining Harley's unique style with extra stability. Each type brings its own flavor to the Harley-Davidson lineup, offering something for every kind of rider.

For more details on the most popular types of Harleys and the types of HD’s available now, visit our article HERE

What are the best Harley touring bikes?

If you're in the market for a Harley that's great for touring, there are a few models that stand out for their comfort and performance on longer journeys. The Electra Glide Ultra Classic is a solid choice, known for its smooth ride and classic Harley look, but with all the modern features you need for a comfortable trip. Then there's the Street Glide, which combines a cool, streamlined design with a powerful sound system, making it a favorite for riders who value both style and comfort. And for a touch of the traditional Harley feel, the Road King offers a blend of classic design and easy riding, perfect for those longer road trips. Each of these models brings something special to the table, so you can pick a Harley that’s not just practical for long rides but also fits your style.

For more information on other great touring bikes, organized by our favorites to fit your specific touring needs, check out our guide, “Best Harley Touring Bikes for Your Next Ride”- where we chat about the evolution of HD touring bikes, personalized recommendations, and more!

Choosing your perfect Harley Cruiser

Harley-Davidson cruisers, a favorite among riders, come in various styles, each offering a unique riding experience. The Softail series, with its hidden rear suspension, provides a smooth ride with a classic look. Dyna models, known for their traditional style and big-twin engines, are still sought-after in the pre-owned market. The Sportster line, often considered a great entry point into the Harley world, offers a lighter, more agile ride, ideal for both new and experienced riders. Each type of cruiser embodies the Harley spirit in its own way, from the classic feel of a Softail to the sporty agility of a Sportster, ensuring there's a Harley cruiser for every kind of rider. Find more information on how to pick out your perfect HD Cruiser in our blog, “How to Choose the Perfect Harley Cruiser.”

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How much do HDs cost?

The cost of Harley-Davidson motorcycles varies depending on the model, year, and features. If you're looking at new Harley models, on average, you can expect to pay around $25,000+. This price reflects not just the motorcycle itself but also the brand's heritage, quality, and the unique riding culture it represents. Harley-Davidson leads the pack in terms of pricing among its peers due to its blend of prestige and robust build quality.

For those considering a used Harley-Davidson, prices can be more affordable, typically ranging from $6,000 to $10,000, depending on factors like mileage, year, and model. It's important to note that Harley-Davidson is known for its high resale value, retaining a significant portion of its original value over time, which is a crucial factor to consider when investing in one.

Whether new or used, a Harley-Davidson is not just a purchase; it's an investment in a lifestyle and a piece of iconic motorcycle history. The price reflects the brand's legacy, quality, and the unique experience it offers to riders. For more specific information on how much Harley Davidson’s cost, review our cost analysis of HD and other makes, up-to-date with the latest information on Harleys. 

How to test ride different Harleys before you buy

Thinking about buying a Harley-Davidson? It's smart to take a few for a ride first. Head over to your nearest Harley dealership or catch a demo event to try out different models. When you're test riding, it's not just about the bike's look. Focus on how it feels to ride – the comfort of the seat, the reach to the handlebars, and how it handles on turns. It's crucial, especially if you're planning for long trips. Do you find that the test ride just isn’t enough? Try renting one instead! It’s a great opportunity to experience different Harley models in-action on the road prior to you short test ride. Rent one for a few days or try out different styles to find the one that's right for you. 

Purchasing a Harley is no easy feat- they’re well-made bikes and their sticker price can reflect that! With such an important, meaningful purchase, it’s necessary to know you’ve make the right choice. 

For a more in-depth guide on what to look out for during a test ride, check out our article, “How To Test Ride Motorcycles Before You Buy.” It's packed with tips on making the most of your test ride experience, from the basics to the finer details. This can be a big help in choosing the Harley that's just right for you. 

To Summarize…

To wrap up this guide on Harley-Davidson, remember that these motorcycles are more than just transportation – they're a part of American history, embodying freedom and a spirit of adventure. Whether you're contemplating buying your first Harley, renting one for a road trip, or just curious about what makes them so special, this guide has hopefully shed light on the world of Harley-Davidson. From understanding why they're so popular, to choosing the right model for beginners, to diving into the different types available, and even tips on renting and test riding, we've covered the essentials to help you navigate the Harley experience. So, whether you're a long-time fan or new to the scene, there's a Harley out there waiting to take you on your next adventure.