On the eve of Daytona Bike Week, an event that traditionally kicks off the riding season, Harley-Davidson has announced two new models for 2014: the Low Rider and the Sportster SuperLow 1200T.
When the FXS Low Rider debuted back in 1977, it was arguably the first factory custom. The Low Rider quickly became Harley’s best-selling model and came to define what cruisers should look like for years to come. Last seen in the Motor Company’s 2009 lineup, the FXDL Low Rider returns for 2014, featuring a rubber-mounted Twin Cam 103 V-twin mated to a 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission in a Dyna chassis.
The Low Rider rolls on split five-spoke cast aluminum wheels finished in wrinkle black with diamond cut highlights and shod with Michelin Scorcher tires. Dual front disc brakes slow the party down, and a 49mm fork and new coil-over rear shocks with tri-rate springs are tuned for comfort. Fuel capacity is 4.7 gallons.
To accommodate a wide range of riders, the Low Rider has mid-mount controls, a handlebar riser with 2.4 inches of adjustment and a two-position, 26.8-inch seat with a removable bolster that moves the rider 1.5 inches forward.
Of course, a bike like the Low Rider is all about style. Its chrome 2-into-1 exhaust pays homage to the original FXS, and the chrome rear fender strut and battery box insert have wrinkle black highlights. The console is also finished in wrinkle black and it houses an analog speedo and tach. Color choices include: Vivid Black ($14,199), two-tone Brilliant Silver/Vivid Black and two-tone Amber Whiskey/Vivid Black ($14,929). Factory-installed options include H-D’s Smart Security System ($395), ABS ($795) and chrome steel-laced wheels ($460).
Whereas the Low Rider has adjustable ergonomics to satisfy the many, when the XL883L Sportster SuperLow was introduced for 2011 with a seat height of just 25.5 inches and easy-to-reach controls, it was aimed directly at smaller riders, particularly females. Now, with the Sportster SuperLow 1200T, Harley-Davidson is making the SuperLow chassis available with a larger air-cooled, fuel-injected Evolution 1,200cc V-twin and equipping it with a quick-release windshield and lockable saddlebags.
Harley says the SuperLow’s ergonomics allow riders 5’1” to 5’7” tall to easily reach the ground, handlebar and foot controls. The new Reduced Reach two-up touring seat has a rider height of 26.1 inches when seated (unladen seat height is 27.65 inches), and it places the rider well forward and is narrow in front for an easy reach to the ground. The rider’s feet rest on mid-mount, mini floorboards, which look like wide footpegs.
The fork is tuned to provide a comfortable ride with a rider, passenger and luggage on board, and the rear suspension features a right-side twin tube and a left-side dial adjustable emulsion shock that allows spring preload to be adjusted without removing the saddlebags or using tools. Single disc brakes front and rear, each with 2-piston calipers, handle braking duties. Black/silver split five-spoke aluminum wheels carry Michelin Scorcher 11T touring tires.
The detachable 14-inch clear polycarbonate windshield can be moved up or down on the fork to match rider height. Lockable saddlebags are covered in durable black vinyl with chrome badges, and the mounting hardware has quick-detach rear docking hardware for an optional luggage rack and sissy bar with backrest. A glass-filled chrome badge on the 4.5-gallon tank adds a premium touch.
All 2014 Sportster models feature an electrical system update that incorporates an analog speedometer with digital tachometer, restyled ergonomic hand controls, an updated wire harness and voltage regulator. New hand controls include a left-hand switch to toggle between the odometer, tripmeter, gear indicator and tachometer.
The 2014 Harley-Davidson Sportster SuperLow 1200T is available in Vivid Black ($11,799), Candy Orange ($12,114) or two-tone Birch White/Midnight Pearl ($12,334). Options include the Smart Security System ($395) and ABS ($795).