2014 Harley-Davidson Low Rider Updates 70s Legend

Harley-Davidson first released the Low Rider in 1977, and it's back now with updated tech and a retro look.

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

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The Harley-Davidson Low Rider returns with an updated design on a 1970s two-wheeled creation.

You don’t need to possess detailed insight into the working of the motorcycle industry to realize Harley-Davidson is recreating some elements of its line and image. Milwaukee’s maker of mobile iron is making a different breed of bike – forging more affordable, smaller and youth-friendly motorcycles.

The 2014 Dyna Low Rider fits some of those trending attributes, but not all of them. For a Harley-Davidson, it’s mid-sized – nowhere near the size of the company’s world famous brahma bull touring designs, but larger than many of their sportsters.

While this particular design of Low Rider is making its debut for Harley-Davidson this year, it’s technically not a new bike. It has its roots in the late 1970s, and this re-issue largely maintains the look of a classic H-D cruiser.

Starting out with an MSRP around $14,000, the bike is on the lower end of the H-D price range – but not as cheap of a newer line of motorcycles the company is aiming directly at younger urban riders with a little less disposable income. But, it’s throwback Dyna styling should absolutely appeal to riders young and old who hold a true love for classic cruisers.

The Low Rider offers an air-cooled Twin Cam 1690 cc V-Twin engine – a slightly older design considering Harley-Davidson’s introduction of more liquid cooled power plants this year and next. Regardless, this engine does the job without hesitation, while providing that classic H-D exhaust note that belongs in the audio section of the Library of Congress.

While it’s traditional cruiser aesthetic lines are a direct nod to the Low Rider of era passed, 21st Century technology centers this bike securely in the midst of H-D’s modern line. Electronic Fuel Injection, Dual Front Disc Brakes and Dual Pressured Shocks. The motorcycle also pulls down proper modern fuel efficiency figures, about 53 highway and 34 on the street.

The ride is also more sophisticated that the Low Rider’s disco era ancestors. Armed with Michelin rubber front and back, grip is plentiful.

The stripped profile – sans saddle bags or extended pegs and pedals – allow for more banking in turns at speed than you might expect from a Harley-Davidson. No, nobody is getting their knee down on a cruiser like this, but turning is smooth.

Acceleration and maintained power is enough to get you out of trouble on the street and to maintain your spot comfortably on any freeway. While the ride might not be as comfortable as a larger softail, it can deal with winter residue potholes without concern.

In fact, the only quibble I have with the bike is the same issue I might’ve had if I wasn’t playing with my Han Solo and Greedo action figures back in 1977. I don’t think the name fits. It’s not particular “low.” H-D makes bikes like the Blackline or the Breakout that use more “low riding” ergonomics. The rider sits fairly straight in the saddle here.

Still, that’s not worth much of a complaint. In the end, the 2014 Dyna Low Rider is a welcome throwback model to Harley-Davidson’s line.