For true-blue Harley fans

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Harley Davidson Low Rider feels refined and has a charming demeanour, but what’s most appealing is its practicality 

Yet another model from the Harley-Davidson Softail family for 2018, the Low Rider has found its way to India for the first time. The earlier generation models beginning 1970 were popular with custom motorcycle builders. The straightforward and uncluttered lines of the bike turned it into yet another iconic Harley offering as part of its Dyna family. Harley Davidson axed the Dyna family last year and chose to introduce the next generation Low Rider as part of the Softail family. 

Powered by the new Milwaukee Eight 107 motor, the Low Rider feels quite refined and has a charming demeanour. Sporting a round LED head lamp, a large 19-litre fuel tank, pullback bars, generous saddle, and mufflers that are typically Harley, the Low Rider flaunts a generous amount of chrome; it helps to create the image of a retro cruiser. 

The  dual instrument console placed on the fuel tank, and consisting of an analogue tachometer and speedometer, adds to its old-fashioned look. The dual instrument console incorporates a small digital display to relay odo, trip, fuel, and gear indicator information.  

In-built safety system 

The modern bits include the gorgeous cast aluminium alloy wheels and keyless ignition with an in-built safety system that sets off a chime if the bike is moved without the key. The Low Rider flaunts a high quality switchgear, and the paint quality and build of the bike are of the type offered by premium machines. The safety system cannot be disengaged. If the chime triggers, it can only be disengaged by inserting the key in the slot. This can be a bit irritating at times, especially in a densely populated neighbourhood. 

At home on the highway

The Low Rider comes to life with a mild rumble with the 1753cc V-Twin motor settling down to a lazy idle with mild pulsations. The six-speed gearbox engages with a clunk common to Harleys. Producing 144Nm of peak torque at 3000rpm, the bike moves away with verve. The riding position may feel a bit cramped initially and the centre-set foot pegs may take some time getting used to, however, the Low Rider exerts a strong pull from the start. It borders on ferocious with the throttle turned a little quickly. 

The heavy clutch can make it a bit demanding to ride the bike in traffic, but on the highway it feels at home. The best part is the bike’s ability to cruise at speeds well in excess of 100kmph in top gear with the motor turning at under 2500rpm. 

Improved dynamics

The upright riding position and 680mm seat height make for a comfortable ride over longer distances. The chassis of this generation Low Rider is stiffer. This reflects in the confidence the bike inspires when tackling sweeping bends. If the 305kg weight of the bike does not make itself feel, the Lower Rider, with no feelers, can lean more than the other machines in the Softail family. The only exception perhaps is the Fat Bob. 


The Showa telescopic front forks and the monoshock rear has the bike soaking the irregularities with confidence. It may not be the most comfortable cruiser yet, but it delivers a good ride on Indian roads. The 130mm ground clearance makes it easier to tackle most obstacles. The dual channel ABS assisted brakes do a good job of shedding speed. Made up of a single disc at the front and rear, the brakes call for an amount of effort to exert a strong bite. It may have to do with the wooden feel perhaps. Certain to appeal to true-blue Harley followers with its retro looks, the Low Rider is priced at Rs 13.6 lakhs ex-showroom Delhi. A full-size cruiser in terms of appearance, build, value, performance and comfort, the bike excels due to the practicality it offers. It is this quality that makes it so much desirable. 

Pros: Retro looks, performance, ride
Cons: Price

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