After 5 years away from the lineup, a Low Rider model has re-joined the Harley-Davidson ranks. This new Low Rider, a mid-year 2014 model priced at $ 14,199, traces its lineage back to the 1977 original, which is described by The Motor Company as a “ride-it-hard, put-it-away-dirty” type of bike that became an icon. While the idea of re-creating any icon is daunting, Harley tackles the challenge with a rubber-mounted Twin Cam 103 engine mounted in a Dyna chassis that has a low 25.4-inch seat height and ergonomics designed to fit a broad range of riders. Harley, in fact, has come up with what it calls the “perfect-fit” riding position, a concept made possible by the Low Rider having a 2-position seat and adjustable handlebar risers, plus footpegs moved 2 inches forward of the previous Dyna mid-mount position. Paul Weiss, lead engineer on the bike, explains: “We wanted the Low Rider to offer an expanded comfort envelope, and worked in 3 stages toward that goal. We started with live feedback from riders of all sizes, and then employed Pro/Engineer computer simulations of posture and riding positions to project the best positions for rider controls.” In this process, computer-generated riding triangles for riders that range from 5-foot-1 to 6-foot-1 were overlaid on the Dyna chassis. After much study, Harley came up with a seat that can move the rider fore or aft 1.5 inches via a removable bolster with hidden screws. What’s more, the 2014 Low Rider’s headlamp visor bolts to the upper triple clamp to serve as a support for the adjustable handlebar, which offers 2.4 inches of adjustment and is secured by 4 hex-head bolts.
As for the bike’s looks, Harley stylists say they wanted a motorcycle that has a rugged and universal appeal, but with an eye focused on the original Low Rider of 1977 for inspiration. To that end, the 2014 Low Rider has a visor and suspended headlamp, which the designers call the “touchstone styling elements.” Moreover, wrinkle-black paint is used on the powertrain, the 5-spoke cast aluminum wheels, the console, and other trim pieces. “We’ve achieved a look that’s purebred, classic Harley-Davidson,” summed up Tony Pink, lead stylist. Other hardware of note on the 2014 Harley-Davidson Low Rider includes a chrome 2-into-1 exhaust, as well as a custom ignition switch on the left side of the motorcycle and an analog speedometer and tachometer. For suspension, a 49mm fork teams with coil-over shocks to provide what Harley calls “all-day comfort and excellent performance.” Also, dual-disc front brakes and Michelin Scorcher tires are standard, and ABS is available as a factory-installed option. Available colors include Vivid Black and a pair of 2-tone offerings: Brilliant Silver/Vivid Black or Amber Whisky/Vivid Black. In the next couple of days, Contributing Editor Jamie Elvidge will ride the new Low Rider in Daytona, as part of Bike Week. Check back soon to read her riding impressions of this newest Harley-Davidson Big Twin.