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Harley-Davidson Low Rider | BIKE TESTS

Its name might conjure images of Hopper and Fonda, ground-scraping Impalas or perhaps trick bicycles ridden by Mexicans and Southern Californians, but the Low Rider has also deeply embedded roots in Milwaukee.
Back in 1977 Harley-Davidson launched its interpretation of the Low Rider, a “ride-it-hard, put-it-away dirty” cruiser named after its custom-style chops and slammed seat.
After a five-year hiatus, the Low Rider is back and distinguishes itself from its fellow Dyna siblings with its ergonomic versatility for “rugged, universal appeal”. It aims to appeal to all creatures great and small with plenty of adjustability to the seat and handlebar via a few easy-access Allen bolts.
Adjustable, boomerang-shaped risers bring the ’ bar closer or further away from the rider while a separate clamp above it allows the ’ bar itself to rotate, thus offering the right stance and a relaxed ride position.
Then there’ s the neatly integrated seat insert (or two-position seat as H-D calls it) that moves the rider forward or back by almost 40mm (1.5 inches) to better reach the foot controls.
Harley stylists have moved the ’ pegs 50mm (2.0 inches) forward from the standard Dyna’ s mid mounting for a position that straddles between mid and forward controls. In AFL football terms then, think of it as centre-half forward controls.
So is any of it effective? For sure. The Low Rider easily accommodates anybody between 155cm and 185cm (5’ 1” and 6’ 1”) tall while its low, 680mm-high seat, helps keep the rider out of the wind. If you’ re not comfortable then simply tweak it.
The heartbeat of Harley’ s latest Dyna is the usual 1690cc ‘ Twin Cam 103’ V-twin that delivers plenty of low- and mid-range muscle to make shifting the six-speed gearbox somewhat optional. There’ s something sweet and addictive about burbling out of corners on a Harley in a low cog.
Open-road miles are better spent in fifth if you’ re looking for the best roll-on power for overtaking, while sixth saves a bit of wear and tear and suits relaxed cruising. ‘ Relaxed cruising’ is a relative term, however, because the Low Rider’ s mere 79mm rear-suspension travel can compress your spine over bumpy back roads. It’ s hardly cause for concern through smoother-made boulevards and ’ burbs, however.
The Low Rider doesn’ t mind a decent lean by cruiser standards before scraping its rubber-wrapped ’ pegs. Nonetheless, it remains surefooted and turns in predictably helped by grippy Michelin Scorcher tyres.
When it comes to stopping power, prospective customers will be reassured to know the Low Rider joins the Fat Bob as the only two Dyna models with dual 300mm discs up front and four-piston calipers to pull up the reins.
Whatever your physique, the reborn Low Rider deliversprodigious performance and ‘ perfect-fit ergonomics’ all wrapped in typical Harley style and stance.