Are you a beginner looking for your first-ever motorcycle? Have you decided that you want a Harley as your first motorcycle to take you down the basics?
If yes, this guide is for you.
When you’re new to motorcycles, you want to make sure your first ever bike is something that feels comfortable to sit depending on your height. You want a bike that’s safe to drive, handles well, and is fairly powerful to introduce you to the thrill of motorcycle riding.
Find below our compilation of the best Harleys that are a good fit for beginners.
Is Riding a Harley Difficult?
Before we get into more intimate details about the best Starter Harley bikes to consider, let’s first discuss what it is like to sit in the saddle of a Harley.
Riding a Harley is quite easy. Forget what you hear people say out there. Riding a Harley isn’t difficult as long as you get a bike that fits you well and you’re not too small for it. Riding a Harley will also be easy for you if you’ve got the riding skills.
However, the bikes are quite heavy. Some people with good build and well-muscled can handle even the heaviest of the Harleys. But if you have a lean, averagely built body, you may have difficulty controlling the bike.
If you’re just starting out, we recommend you to find a training in your area of residence and take it. This will help you learn the basics of operating your bike. Couple your training with a good, beginner-friendly Harley, and you’ll have a smooth experience with the Harleys.
Let’s now shift our focus to some of the best Harleys for beginners to introduce you to the world of this legendary brand.
Best Harley for Beginners
This section introduces you to our list of beginner-friendly Harleys and why we believe they’re a good choice for beginner bikers.
1. Harley Davidson Street 500
If you’re looking for a used beginner Harley at a budget-friendly, this Harley Davidson street 500 is a great choice.
This bike hangs pretty low and has a seat height of 25.7 inches. It is also incredibly lightweight, at only 492 pounds, making it quite easy to handle for beginners handles with no prior experience with motorcycles.
As for the engine, this bike features a small 494cc liquid-cooled engine. While this might not appeal to experienced motorcyclists, it does produce enough power to get the beginners excited.
Note that you can use this bike for touring as well as daily commuting.
2. Harley Davidson Street 750
If you like the Street 500 above but don’t like its small engine, this Harley Street 750 is a direct upgrade and a more powerful brother to the Street 500.
As siblings, the two bikes share plenty of features, including a lightweight design (weighing around 492 pounds) and a low 25.7-inch seat height. These two aspects appeal to all new motorcyclists.
We rate this Street 750 as another best Harley Davidson model for beginners because it features a 749cc liquid-cooled engine at a fair price point. Quite an upgrade from its small brother, right? This is capable of producing a maximum power of p to 47bhp. It delivers a maximum torque of 59Nm at 4000 RPM.
Despite its powerful engine, beginners will have an easy time maneuvering this bike whether you’re riding it in the city traffic or on the freeway.
3. Harley Davidson Sportster 883 Superlow
If you’re looking for the best Harley for short beginners, this is it. This Harley cruiser comes with a low height design, with a seat height of 25.5 inches, making it suitable for most beginners.
However, tall beginner riders can equally enjoy riding it by adjusting their footpegs as well as the seat to fit their body height.
This bike is armed with Harley Davidson’s signature two-cylinder, pushrod engine. It can handle a couple hundred miles a day without any problems.
Not to forget, this bike is fairly lightweight (at around 545 pounds), making it easy for beginners to maneuver.
4. Harley Davidson Sportster Iron 883
You can talk about Harley beginner cruiser bikes without talking about this bike. The Harley Iron 883 is widely recognized as a classic beginner bike.
The bike isn’t as big, heavy, or even pricey compared to other bikes from H-D’s lineup.
It boasts its position as one of the highly customizable bikes available. And this means you can equip it with upgrades that help reduce weight, deliver incredible power, and do virtually everything else you want.
With middleweight power and precision handling, this Sportster will help you get comfortable whether you’re dodging potholes changing lanes, or cruising down the interstate.
5. Harley Davidson Street Bob
If you want something better than the Iron 883 but still ideal for starters, get the Street Bob. This bike is 1000lbs heavier and has a beginner-friendlier engine capacity than the 883 Sportster.
It offers more power and an aggressive riding stance, giving you a good experience in the world of Harleys.
This latest Street Bob model comes with a super-low seat height (at 25 inches). This further qualifies it as a great upgrade from our previous Sportster model. It will help compensate for the extra weight.
If you’re in love with the Bobber looks and want a big Harley without the excess weight of the bigger models, you’ll like this stripped-down Street Bob!
And yes, taller and heavier riders will also find this bike a good step-up from the Sportster.
6. Harley Davidson Softail Slim
This bike features a traditional lid back cruiser design and takes you back to the 1950s.
Looks asides, the Softail Slim is a great fit for beginners since it features a low seat height (25.5 inches) on top of a relaxed riding position.
Though its weight is a bit higher (at 671 lb.) than other models on this list, it’s still on the light side of the Harleys. And this makes it easy for an absolute beginner to control and maneuver.
Its Milwaukee-Eight® 107 engine is quite powerful and will produce a torque of 110 ft-lb at 3000 RPM. This is good enough power for an ambitious beginner who wants to experience the power of a Harley.
Previous users of the Softail Slim agree it has a nice, low center of gravity—helping with great balance and giving you more confidence as you ride it.
Should you be getting a used Harley bike as a beginner?
You may consider getting a used Harley bike as a beginner. Taking this path has its upsides and downsides, as we’ve discussed below.
When looking for Harley Davidson as your starter motorcycle, you may want to look into the used models to help you save some cash. It’s common knowledge that used motorcycles come cheaper than brand new ones.
This comes as a huge plus for a beginner. Even if you have the budget for a new bike, why get the new bike while you’re not sure you’d use it long-term? Get a used bike to help you get into riding.
Another reason to consider used bikes as a beginner is that the new models would depreciate twice as fast compared to the used ones. Keep in mind that your chances of dropping your Harley are quite high for a beginner rider.
You don’t want to risk dropping that brand new bike and making it depreciate super-fast in just 6 months. On the other hand, a used Harley holds its value better, and you won’t lose a lot of money when you decide to sell it. Even if you keep it, it may be a good source of spare parts for your new bike.
If you’re more specific and want a discontinued Harley model as your first bike, it would make sense to go for the used models.
However, getting a used motorcycle may not always be a good idea. For instance, the previous owner may fail to divulge the bike’s mechanical problems. The warranty may also be void if you buy your Harley from another individual.
This means you could spend a lot of money to fix the problems the bike developed in the hands of the previous owner.
Mileage on a used Harley is another reason to reconsider buying used models. After hitting a given number of miles, a bike that hasn’t been well maintained may require a full (and probably pricey) service.
TIP: This is more of a buying tip for used Harley. Most bikers are always working on their bikes and equipping them with upgrades for comfort and performance. When buying a used Harley, you’d want to check if the previous user modifications of the bike fit what you want. If not, it will take time to rectify the bike to fit your needs.
The legendary Harley Davidson motorial brand is a good starting point for new motorcyclists looking for their first bike.
Their bikes are easy to ride for beginners as long you find a model that fits you. Taking a motorcycle course will also improve your riding experience with your first Harley.
The Harley models we have just discussed in this guide are beginner-friendly and will help you get a good entry into the motorcycles world.
These bikes are pretty lightweight, making them easy to maneuver for beginners. They also come with a low seat height that most beginners will find quite comfortable.
Not to forget, they come at affordable price points, making them great entry-level options for even beginners on a tight budget.
As a beginner motorcyclist, you can opt for a used Harley to help you save money and learn the basics before upgrading to your ideal bike for long-term use.
Which of these beginner Harley motorcycles would you want to get?