#1 Harley-Davidson Wide Glide

2014 Harley-Davidson Wide Glide

With 135 degrees, the Wide Glide is the clear winner when it comes to knee angle (although according to Cycle-Ergo.com, the 2008 WG scored an eye-popping 149). It’s also commonly regarded as one of the most comfortable cruisers on the market, and for that reason the Wide Glide is number one on our list.

It’s long. It’s low. It’s cool. It’s got a sissy bar, beefy triple clamps and forks. Best of all, its wide, flat seat is 26.8 inches off the ground, so the rider sits pretty high for a low-slung chopperesque cruiser. Combine that lofty perch with forward controls and a drag bar, and the Wide Glide is the ideal bike for riders 6 feet and taller.

  • james lagnese

    OK…Waiting for the non-cruiser version of this article…

    • Kevin Duke
      • Tinwoods

        Thanks, Kevin.

        But cruisers and adventure bikes? No duh, Motorcycle.com. How about a far more interesting, less obvious list of bikes for taller riders: sport bikes.

        • Sport bikes don’t work well for tall people, period. They are modeled after racing bikes which are ridden by racers who tend to be smaller folk.

        • Kevin Duke

          Yep, tall folks often have a hard time fitting on pure sportbikes, which are developed with racetrack use in mind. In that category, KTM’s RC8 and its adjustable seat, pegs and handlebar is probably the best. Most of the others have similar riding triangles. But then there’s the non-fairing sport bikes (nakeds, streetfighters, etc) that have much more accommodating ergonomics for tall people. So, that said, should we include both classes into a sportbike category? If so, there likely won’t be any faired sportbikes in it except for the RC8 and Ninja 1000.

          • i’ve found the Ducati 1198 to be nearly perfect for my 6’8″ frame & 36′ inseam. unfortunately, i found the ECU and transmission to be less than suitable; there’s few things more terrifying than having the engine stall as you’re apexing T1 at NJMP at 105mph, only to have it come back on with a jerk on exit, then catch a false neutral as you shift up…

  • Russ_T

    Surprised Triumph’s Rocket 3 and Thunderbird didn’t make the list, while the Bonny did. Hmm…

    And I think MO should include older models for us tall guys who can’t drop 10-grand-plus on a new bike. I’m thinking Honda Valkyrie, for example. One of my Air Force buddies had one. I have a 34″ inseam, and found it to be a really comfortable ride.

    And yeah, waiting for the non-cruiser version as well. Honda’s new CB1100, with optional forward controls, could be sweet…

    • Jeff LeGrand

      Vulcan 900. Easily findable under 10G, new or used. Great bikes.

      • james lagnese

        It’s short on power though.

        • Jeff LeGrand

          I disagree. It’s got good power. Fully loaded (technically over loaded), riding 2-up (and we’re no flyweights) it crosses the Rocky Mountains from Alberta to BC (Victoria) at least once per season and has no trouble at all. It’s not a rocket, but it’s sufficient and still gets decent mileage too. Without luggage and a passenger, it takes my 220 lbs around in fine form, lots of fun. If anything, it could use a fifth gear, but the Scootworks pulley replacement does a lot there, too, and it will exceed the speed limit without trouble.. um.. or so I hear. Yeah, that’s it.

          • james lagnese

            All I can say is that you are easy to please. I’ve owned a Vulcan 800 and 1600 Nomad. I didn’t consider either quick at all and the 900 is just a stroked 800 and it’s heavier. Then again I weigh more than you do too. I can tell you my RT is a lot quicker and faster than my other Vulcans, so, for me, it would be short on power.

          • Jeff LeGrand

            I DID say it’s not a rocket.. It is a stroked 800, true.. however, changing the stroke of an engine has long been an accepted way of gaining displacement and power without having to re-engineer. I AM pleased with my 900, obviously. Whether I’m easily pleased OR I just know what I want and I went and got it is irrelevant. You obviously don’t like cruisers much (judging by posts) because you want to go fast.. you might be reading the wrong article. And by the way, if you sit properly, and (admittedly) get the stock seat off of it, your tailbone isn’t the weight focus. I ride happily for hours, I enjoy my 900 a lot, and you have no idea what Russ would like. He asked for ideas in the price range, I gave mine. You have your opinion, I have mine.. neither are wrong, and neither of us are likely to agree with the other. It’s up to Russ to decide who he agrees with. You can try all day to convince me I don’t like my bike.. but I highly doubt that you’ll succeed… by the way, if you respond to this, it will take a while for me to get back to you, I’m going to be out enjoying several hours with my Vulcan today. Russ, if you’re not into cruisers, then I can only say that the Honda CBR’s are reported to be very capable, reliable, fun bikes, and I know lots of guys who payed less than ten G for theirs.

          • james lagnese

            I am not trying to convince of anything other than your bike isn’t quick nor fast. I have owned cruisers, both Kawasaki’s, so I know the brand. The 900 isn’t a bad bike and it is what it is. An entry level cruiser.

          • Jeff LeGrand

            I never said it was fast. You said “under powered”, you didn’t say “not very fast”. I said it could use a fifth gear. It’s not fast. The Vulcan is a highly capable and comfortable mid size cruiser, it does work well as entry-level because it’s a forgiving and stable ride, and it’s easily available under ten grand.. which is what the original conversation was about. He didn’t say “I wanna go fast for under 10K”.. he wanted older bikes because he wanted to keep things in a budget. My suggestion was that there were newer bikes available (maybe with a warranty, and parts available) that can do the job and fit the price range. The Vulcan does that.. and yes it’s not FAST, but it DOES have some power, however that power translates as torque and cargo carrying, not speed. I was and am talking about the Vulcan 900, which I own and ride and have done for six years.. and that’s why I know it’s comfortable (after a few tweaks, yes) capable, fun, and economical to buy and run. Your feelings about similar but not identical bikes don’t change the fact that Russ can still check out a Vulcan and decide for himself. And owning 2 unrelated cruisers, same brand or not, does not give you insight into the 900.. there’s a reason I chose it over the 1500 when I bought.. because it went fast enough for me, and would do what I wanted, and it was right around the ten grand mark- kinda like what Russ wants. See why I suggested it? I would heartily suggest you do NOT buy one though… they’re not fast. Reliable, capable, comfortable, stylish, yes.. but not fast.

          • james lagnese

            Underpowered and not fast can go hand in hand and the 1500 isn’t any faster/quicker really as it’s the same with the 1600. Extra weight absorbs any increase in torque and HP.

            When I owned my 1600 Nomad and I was looking for something more, I did try the 1700 Voyager. The problem with Kawasaki’s 1700 platform is that they made the ergonomics more compact than the 1600 and cheapened the bike with more plastichrome and the bags and trunk are somewhat flimsy in construction. They went from John Hoover’s idea for the Vulcan, which was a modern version of what Indian might be to a funky harley copy that was also a lot more expensive than previous models.

            I belong to a Vulcan group and a lot of the riders changed brands, buying Victory’s and HDs instead. I tried the Vision, Ultra and Voyager and settled on the RT, which wasn’t my first choice as the LT was discontinued, but it did everything better than the other bikes I tested. Now, after 3 years on the RT, would I buy another BMW? May be not. BMW expects it’s customers to be beta testers, at least for the first few years of a model, so my advice for anyone wanting to buy a BMW, get a model that’s been out awhile. As far as Kawasaki goes, they don’t currently make anything i would buy, but neither does BMW. I think I will wait awhile to see if something that approaches what I consider my perfect bike comes on the market.

          • Buzzworm

            Went through a few bikes. Kawasaki Concourse, HD Street Glide and after riding the Ducati Multistrada 1200 S, bought one. Most comfortable bike I have ever ridden. Yes the foot pegs are a little too rearward but its not uncomfortable on long rides.
            Me – 6’4″ 35 inch inseam and 36 inch sleeve in dress shirts. Seat height is perfect, reach to bars is perfect. Weight is right at 500lbs. 150hp…something to think about..

          • Craig Hoffman

            Aside from comfort, the Multi is a fast excellent handing bike and no doubt an entertaining fun and character filled ride. Excellent choice!

      • Romans5.8

        It’s a stroked, AND FUEL INJECTED 800. FI adds a lot of power. The 900 has the same power output as the old 1500 V-Twin from Kawasaki. Displacement doesn’t tell the whole story these days. That’s why we have 4 cylinder engines in cars with the horsepower of big-displacement V8’s (non pony car) from the 60’s and 70’s! (And especially the 80’s!)

  • m3m

    Look to the rides the Iron Butt riders choose, Like old Honda ST ll00 or old standard 1000 Honda Gold Wings, which weigh in at a manageable 500 pounds and let you move around to make things fit. Any BMW Boxer GS with (or without) lowered pegs. Part of comfort (if you want to be able to ride out of an emergency standing up (impossible on most cruisers) is upright position and knees lower than hips. Triumph 800 xc, KTM adventures. KLR’s for the budget minded – many aftermarket mods. Flat saddles (rather than bucket shaped cruiser type or sloped racing type) will keep you smiling as you can adjust your position while you ride and keep your seat comfy with no hot spots. I have a 34 inseam and 37 inch sleeve length and have been uncomfortable on a lot of bikes. The adventure bikes with tall seats and lowered pegs can nearly all be made to fit since they have ground clearance with lowered pegs.

  • james lagnese

    The other problem with cruisers is that all the rider’s weight is on the tailbone. If the rider is tall and big, pain ensues. DAMHIK. Standards like the GSA are a lot better. I have an RT with peg lowering kit and bar risers. Still not there yet and will keep looking. My perfect bike would have the ergos of a GSA, power and torque of at least a C14, have the touring and load capacity of a Victory cross country tour with similar ease of maintenance and weigh no more than 600-650lbs. It would have to have ABS and cruise control for sure. Unfortunately, this bike does not exist.

    • Steve Freeman

      DAMHIK, GSA, RT, C14…….. uh, no clue what this means. A Victory bike I can understand, and the 600-650; but the rest was almost useful. I am 6’6, 300#, with 34 inseam. 🙁

      • C14=Kawasaki Concours, GSA= BMW R1200GS Adventure, RT=BMW R1200RT.

    • tlwiz

      With many 5000+ mile cross country rides under my tall big belt I am quite happy riding comfortable roomy cruisers. I am sure standards are nice but I have not logged any long trips on them so I can’t really comment – but I will take issue with your “pain ensues” comment since my first hand experience is quite the opposite. My preset 900 pound ride is very smooth and a great ride on the two lane blacktop through the mountains and across the plains.

      I do like my ABS and cruise control. I enjoyed my Concours (great bike) but it wanted to go faster than I wanted to go.

      • Like I said, I rode cruisers. All my weight was on my tailbone and pelvic bones, which makes for pain for me.

        • SNIF

          I ride a Harley Softail. ( forward controls), and I have never experienced the problem you talk about. And I ride it every day.

          • Depends on your ergonomic requirements. I am a big guy (6’5 over 300#) with a relatively small ass without much padding. I get uncomfortable in cars too. A softail wouldn’t work for me all.

          • James Fraser

            I’m 6’4″ and 36″ inseam. I have a 2007 softail standard with 3 inch extensions and it still wasn’t enough so I made another 2 inch extension and now I have 5 inches past the original forward control. It works for me.

          • My inseam is 34″, so I have a little more torso above my ass. God had a sense of humor when he built me. I wish I had more padding on my ass.

  • Claudiu Bugoi

    there are other manufacturers outside of the U.S. you know…..

  • Robert Holmes

    Knee angle does not a comfortable ride make. I’m 6’4″ 35″ inseam. Most bikes (esp cruisers) are uncomfortable to me because my thighs angle up which puts more pressure on my tailbone. Sure my knee angle is over 90° but that doesn’t matter. Try sitting on the floor with your knees bent and you’ll see what I mean. I prefer a standard bike any day, even though there are few that fit me.

    • damsam72

      Seems like we are the same stature. that 35 inseam sucks. I had a Honda VTX 1800 and loved the feel. But I agree that the butt bone still hurt after an hour or two and needed to make often stops. Any suggestions on a “Standard” bike. Not looking for a Goldwing but thinking that I like the longer Raider (but have yet to ride one). So now I am in the market again but am not looking to pay for the Harley name. Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated.(And still have a Cruiser!

    • I went to a BMW. Feet under butt, so the tailbone doesn’t get hammered so much. If you are bent on riding a cruiser, get a Russell Seat. It’s the only way to make it tolerable.

  • John Ayres

    I have a Victory Cross Roads. I’m 6’1″ and have a 34″ inseam. On my Victory I can ride in a really comfortable position, and rarely even use my road-pegs. Love the very lond floor-boards on the Vic, and my bike is heavier and longer than my friend’s H-D Road-King (H-D comparable model). I use this bike for local & touring rides.

  • Buzz Belt

    I ride a 2011 Z1000SX Ninja. Before that I had a Suzuki 1200S Bandit. I like the standard riding position and the Ninja was more adjustable for me. I liked KTM’s SM990 more than the SM T and am really looking forward to the new KTM Super Duke 1290. If I was a beginner I would try Honda’s new CB series. I sat on the CB500N and it was very comfortable, but they didn’t have a demo ready. I am 6’3″, 32″ inseam, and weigh in at a very portly 350lbs. I tried EVERY HD model and did not find one that I could sit on comfortably without modifications. For the initial price, that’s totally unacceptable.

  • Michael Goodwin

    But if you have a racing or dirt biking background and don’t care for forward cruiser controls but rather having you feed under you where you have more handling options the list is somewhat smaller.

  • Tinwoods

    Cruisers, cruisers, and more cruisers. Zzzzzz….

  • Michael Ridley

    I felt cramped on a vrod and the one I chose that fit me best was a v2k classic didn’t make the list

  • Chris Lacas

    I am 6’1″ and I ride a 2011 Harley Street Bob with forward controls and mini-hangers (8″ rise) bars. I rode it from Las Vegas to San Diego and the bike itself was very comfortable. The only problem I had was with the seat. It comes with a standard single rider seat (can’t remember the name of it) but I had them put on a Badlander when I bought it. After that ride I swapped out the Badlander with a Sundowner with adjustable and removable backrest for the driver. That is a very comfortable deep bucket seat with plenty of padding.

  • Blkojo

    Couldn’t get my size 13s under the gear shifter of the Wide Glide. Bought a Softail Custom instead. For this taller rider (6′ 2 1/2″, size 13 boots, 36″ inseam) the Wide Glide is far from #1.

  • Ali Hasan

    what tall, thin, and for beginners?

  • Micahdogg

    This is a joke. If you are 6-8 or 6-9, there is no bike that is going to fit you well. It sure as hell won’t be a new Chief or a Judge – good lord those bikes are about the WORST in leg room. The answer is simple – nothing fits. If you want a fighting chance, measure the seat-to-pegs, then measure the seat-to-bars. Now spend countless hours searching all aftermarket parts available for each brand. Then crunch more numbers. Don’t forget that you will most likely need a completely custom made seat. Finally good luck. A judge……….(shaking head).

    • Twiz

      Hi….just thought id say, 6-8 36inseam and always had problems. But now have Rocket111, similar to rask forward kit slightly modified, std bars, raised seat by 1″. Perfect!!!! rode from Uk to Spain last year with three other rockets. if your my size its this or a Highball. All the best Twiz

      • It’s not only being tall and/or big, but the quality of the suspension. There are some bikes I could make work for me, but the ride either sucks or isn’t good. I went from a Nomad to a RT and the difference was astounding. I’ve ridden other touring cruisers that may have been better than the Nomad, but still not as good as the RT.

  • biker

    I am sorry to say that with the exception of the classic Indian, the editor or the author of this article doesn’t know his arse from a hole in the ground. look at all those riders in the pictures, none of them looks over 6.2 hell not even 6 foot tall. whare do the 6.5 and 6.7 people fit in all of this. where is the royal star series. where is the vision series. Where’s the old series of the GS with seat height nearing 32 inch…DO your homework mr author. you obviously don’t ride. and obviously not tall enough to be talkin about this. not for cruisers and not for old vintage racers. I admit I can’t speak for sport bikes because I just don’t fit on them, but I owned a 1980 GS100G full dresser and was my best most comfortable of all times. I own and ride ROyal star venture and tour deluxe cause ultra glide just not high and big enough. I am 6.5 and weigh 325 pounds. I go for comfort and nothing else. and nothing else personal mr author.

  • Michael Henry

    Not sure I agree with your list – at 6’5″ I’ve tried half of these machines, because I love the cruiser look. Frankly, after a few minutes my abs and core are burning from having to hold myself up, and my knees are up around the handgrips for maximum cornering… I gave up on the cruiser dream and settled on a Road Glide, with forward footboards and a custom seat set 3″ back. The only real disadvantage is that even though I fit pretty comfortably, I am still way over the bike’s center of gravity, and my face is not protected by the windscreen (actually, that’s OK with me). I would love for a motorcycle company to design a bike around taller riders instead of one that we can make do with.

  • Haris Iasonas Haralabides

    I’m 6’9 1/2″, 280lb. I currently own a KTM 990R Adventure and a recently trashed by a U-turning idiot (but descent in any other aspects, human being) ZZR1400 (ZX14 for the American crowd).

    The 990 has of course a more favourable seat to peg distance and one would infer that it would be easier to travel long distances with it, yet it’s not (and I’ve clocked a lot of miles on my bikes).

    After I got the ZZR, I realised that since my knees aren’t hurting that much, being bent at a steeper angle than on the KTM’s, the bending forward ridding position is less tiring on the back compared to the straight up. Therefore it became my favourite touring bike.

    Both bikes were fitted with lower pegs (an inch), bar risers on the KTM and infinitely adjustable Apex clip-ons for the Kawasaki. Taller screens for both (KTM touring screen and Zero Gravity touring for the ZX).

    Being an extreme case I hope I gave some insight and convey the message that there are plenty of solutions in terms of ergonomics for almost any type of bike out there for us big and tall guys. Nevertheless, everybody has a unique body that carries an equally unique history on its back. At the end of the day, you’ll never know till you’ve ridden one long enough.

    • I don’t know how you ride any bike comfortably. I am 6’5 and 350, 34″ inseam. I have a longer than average torso, so my line of sight and arm angle is different on the bike. I’ve seen guys near your height that were shorter than me sitting down. Weird. Anyway, between rusty knees and a fused neck, I like to sit up straight and not cramp my knees. 30 years ago I wouldn’t have cared, but can’t do some bikes now.

  • mick

    Cool there’s only one bike in the group that I would ride, maybe. How about fingerless gloves and chain drive wallets for tall people?

  • Seth Pirmann Sr.

    so I just found this old list, Any updated ones since I just wrecked my M109R? and how was the M109R not on this list? where would you think it ranked?

    what are the chances of anyone seeing this

  • Scott L.

    most BMWs fit tall riders, I went from a R12GSA to a R12RT to a K16GT.

    Why go slow

  • Steve

    I call bullshit ! My wife’s Fury is perfect 100% ! And she’s 5’4″ tall,

  • Bubba Blue

    Suzuki Bandit 1250FA & Road King.

  • Annika Larson

    This fall, my husband and I are looking to buy a motorcycle for us to cruise on. My husband is particularly tall, so we want to make sure we get the right type and size for him to be comfortable. Like you said, handlebar risers are good to allow adjustment of the existing bar’s position, and floorboards and highway pegs can allow for more leg room. Thanks for sharing! http://mtnride.com/New-Vehicle/New-Vehicles