Longtime Harley heads will surely be familiar with the Low Rider name. First introduced in 1977, the Low Rider was a rugged bike for the rugged rider. For 2014, after a five-year hiatus, Harley-Davidson is bringing the Low Rider name back. Now with a host of upgrades to ensure riders of all sizes will feel at home. Pricing starts at $14,199 for Vivid Black, jumping to $14,929 for the Brilliant Silver/Vivid Black or Amber Whiskey/Vivid Black two-tone color schemes.
Based on the Dyna chassis, forward thrust comes courtesy of the venerable Twin Cam 103 engine H-D says puts out 99 ft-lbs at 3500 rpm. Michelin provides the Scorcher tires and suspension is handled with a 49mm fork in front and twin coilover shocks in the rear with progressive springs.
The Motor Company used the same customer-led development process used for Project Rushmore. Through this, the product development team realized the Low Rider would have to appeal to a vast array of body sizes. To do this, Harley utilized three key features: a two-position seat, an adjustable handlebar riser, both easily adjusted using simple hand tools, and footpegs that are relocated two inches forward from the standard Dyna platform. True to its name, the Low Rider’s seat height is just 25.4 inches.
To get a better understanding of optimizing ergonomics for different people, computer-generated rider triangles representing the extremes of the biometric targets – 5’ 1” to 6’ 1” in height – were overlaid on the Dyna chassis. These triangles depicted not just the reach of the respective riders, but also the more critical comfort zones within the range of reach. To accommodate many different body shapes, the adjustable handlebar risers offer 2.4 inches of adjustment.
“We next had to design solutions we could put into production,” said Paul Weiss, lead engineer on the Low Rider project. “Inspired by the idea that you’d adjust a car seat to meet the controls, we devised the two-position Low Rider seat that can move the rider forward or backward 1.5 inches. By next adding handlebar adjustability, we were able to accommodate the riders in our defined comfort envelope. The final change was relocating the footpegs two inches forward of the previous Dyna mid-mount position.”
The design of the seat features a removable bolster, secured by two concealed screws, allowing it the desired range of seating positions. A new headlamp visor bolts to the upper triple clamp and provides the fixture to support the adjustable handlebar riser, secured by four easy-access hex-head bolts.
Clearly, styling for the new Low Rider was heavily influenced by its predecessors.“The use of wrinkle-black paint on the powertrain, wheels, console and trim are key to the new look,” says lead stylist Tony Pink. “The visor and suspended headlamp are also touchstone styling elements we wanted on this new Low Rider.” Like the original, this new Low Rider rolls on cast-aluminum wheels; the new ones featuring a split five-spoke design. Chrome steel-laced wheels are available as an option in certain markets, as is ABS, which will also come standard in certain markets.
MO’s cruiser guy, Evans Brasfield, is setting up shop in Florida for Daytona Bike Week, where he’s scheduled to take both the Low Rider and the newly announced SuperLow 1200T for a spin. Keep it here for his thoughts on both bikes real soon.