How to Choose the Best Entry Level Harley®
In the past year, there’s been a boom in the number of motorcycle riders, and it’s easy to understand why. The pandemic made us all more focused on social distancing, but we had to stay sane. People took up new hobbies and outdoor activities that allowed them to blow off stress and feed their souls.
Bloomberg says the surge in number of riders spreads across the globe. Their article suggests people want to ride because bikes use less gas and have a smaller carbon footprint than passenger vehicles. We suggest the pandemic also forced us to face our mortality, to connect with long-unmet longings and to find exhilaration and joy in every day.
If you just finished your motorcycle safety training course, or you’re thinking about taking one soon, you might be wondering what type of bike you’ll want once you obtain your motorcycle license. Let’s look at some of the things you’ll want to consider when you’re choosing the best Harley® for beginners in 2021.
Common Challenges for New Riders
If you’re a new rider, the best Harley® for beginners is going to boil down to what you’re the most comfortable on. You’re going to be the most comfortable when you are safe and in control. That means your bike needs to fit your frame and riding style. It also helps to find one that helps you overcome common new rider challenges.
Taking a motorcycle safety course is an incredible experience because it takes you from someone who has never ridden before to someone who can perform basic maneuvers in a very short period of time. That plus a trip to the DMV office gets you the right to ride a motorcycle on public roads and highways.
The problem is, if you’re a beginner, at that point your only experience will have been in a parking lot or closed course. It’s completely different from riding in traffic.
In a parking lot, you start, stop and turn at your pace, when you’re ready. You might drop a bike, but you’re not going to get run over by an 18 wheeler. Everyone around you is paying extra close attention to what’s going on, because they’re learning too.
The first time you ride in traffic, you’ll feel very vulnerable because you are. New riders quickly realize their greatest needs are practice and time in the saddle.
Slow-speed maneuvers are the hardest to learn. Repetition helps, but that burns gas. If your budget is tight, fuel economy is an important factor when it comes to choosing the best Harley® for beginners.
Slow-speed maneuvers are going to make you feel like your bike might tip over and hit the asphalt. It probably will at least once. That’s why the best Harley® for beginners isn’t a top dollar, heavy luxury bike. Lighter and less expensive is better.
Finding Proper Fit
You want a seat height that matches your inseam so that when you stop, you’re flat-footed. If you’re on your toes, backing up, braking, taking off and walking your bike into any space will be much harder. If you’re tall, you want a higher seat so you feel comfortable when you’re stopped, not like your knees are sticking out too far.
Entry Level Harleys® List
So let’s talk about the best Harley® for beginners in 2021. Here’s your list with some things to consider.
Street 500 and Street 750 – If you’re looking at used bikes, these are definitely worth considering. They’re sporty, lightweight and inexpensive. They offer plenty of power for urban Dallas riding, and are easy to maneuver in heavy traffic or around potholes.
Sportster XL 883 Superlow - Harley® made this one until last year, and it’s a great choice for shorter riders because of its low seat height. It has an upright riding position, mid-mount foot controls and is great for maneuvering through traffic.
Any 2021 Street Model – Iron 883, Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight are all powerful, great-looking and light weight. All three have a starting MSRP under 10k, and all get 48 mpg or better.
Softail Standard – If in your dreams of riding you pictured yourself on a classic cruiser, this could be the bike for you. Softail is so well balanced it’s easy to handle. It’s powerful enough it could be your first and your last bike. There are endless ways to customize and upgrade. There are new and used models available, so you can find one at multiple price points.
Softail Slim – Some shorter riders say they like the Softail Slim better than any of the Irons when it comes to a low center of gravity and comfortable seat height. Be sure to sit on one if that’s you.
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