2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114 | First Ride Review

2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114
The 2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114 is the latest addition to the Softail family. With drag bike-inspired styling, a big 114ci V-twin, sport-tuned components, lightweight materials and generous cornering clearance, it’s one of the sportiest Harleys in the lineup. (Photos by Kevin Wing)

The V-Rod is dead, long live the V-Rod. Well, sort of. When Harley-Davidson overhauled the Softail platform for 2018, it created an all-new chassis to accommodate the Milwaukee-Eight V-twin in different sizes (107ci and 114ci) as well as a wide range of body styles. Capitalizing on the flexible design, Dyna models were folded into the Softail line, creating one big, happy family, like the Brady Bunch.

2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114
The FXDR 114’s swingarm and subframe are made of aluminum and its tail section and fenders are made of composite, which helps it achieve a curb weight of 668 pounds (claimed).

Joining the Softail lineup for 2019 is the FXDR 114, a long, lean, dragbike-inspired power cruiser that channels the spirit of the VRSC V-Rod, which quietly exited the stage last year after 17 years of production. Like the V-Rod, the FXDR has a raked-out front end, a lower cowl attached to the frame’s downtubes and a wide 240-section rear tire wrapped around a solid-disc rear wheel.

2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114
With 33 degrees of available lean angle, the FXDR 114 offers more cornering clearance than any other Softail. In corners, the first thing to drag will be your boot heels.

To enhance the FXDR’s performance potential, Harley-Davidson gave it an upside-down single-cartridge fork with a triple-rate spring, a remote preload-adjustable rear shock with “internal free-piston technology” and a pair of 4-piston front calipers that squeeze 300mm discs. To save weight, the swingarm and subframe are aluminum and the tail section and fenders are composite. And everything is wrapped around a torque-rich 114ci V-twin with a massive, forward-facing air intake and a 2-into-1 exhaust.

2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114
The Harley-Davidson FXDR 114’s aggressive seating position requires the rider to lean far forward to reach the drag-style handlebar.

Greg’s Gear
Helmet: Shoei RF-SR
Jacket: Spidi Thunderbird
Pants: Spidi Furious Tex Jeans
Boots: Rev’It Mohawk 2

My 100-mile first ride on the FXDR was on California State Route 33, a curly ribbon of pavement that climbs up and over two mountain ranges. With its 68.4-inch wheelbase, drag bars and forward pegs, my arms and legs were stretched out and my back was hunched over. Even though the seat was comfortable, it didn’t take long for my lower back to cry “uncle.” Lean angle is impressive—nearly 33 degrees, according to Harley—and the first thing to touch down were my boot heels, which were severely beveled by the end of the ride.

2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114
A massive air intake and bronze-colored exhaust pipes ending in a sport-style muffler give the FXDR 114 an aggressive, go-fast look. The Milwaukee-Eight V-twin pumps out 119 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm (claimed), and its oil cooler is hidden by the lower cowl.

But what’s even more impressive is the suspension damping, particularly at the rear. Even when powering through G-out dips midcorner, the FXDR absorbed the hits and maintained composure. Strong brakes slow the 668-pound (claimed) machine with authority and steering is lighter than expected given its rangy wheelbase and wide rear tire. Of course, there’s plenty of torque available, but the FXDR needs to be shifted early to avoid banging into the 5,500-rpm rev limiter.

2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114
The Harley-Davidson FXDR 114’s big triple-disc brakes and sport-tuned suspension keep the bike under control when riding hard on twisty roads.

2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114 Specs
Base Price: $21,349
Website: harley-davidson.com
Engine Type: Air-cooled, transverse 45-degree V-twin, SOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,868cc
Bore x Stroke: 102.0 x 114.0mm
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated assist clutch
Final Drive: Belt
Wheelbase: 63.6 in.
Rake/Trail: 34 degrees/4.7 in.
Seat Height: 28.5 in.
Wet Weight: 668 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 4.4 gals., last 1.4 gals. warning light on
MPG: 91 PON min. / NA

2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114
A minimalist digital display is tucked behind the small speed screen. Up front is an LED headlight.
2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114
A massive 240mm rear tire provides the requisite drag bike look, but its flat profile slows down steering.

35 COMMENTS

  1. Yuck! I’m all for the “Motor Company” actively seeking the appeal of younger riders, but this thing is FUGLY! It is also a bike, as noted in the review, that has limited rider comfort so anything more than a hundred miles enters into the masochistic zone. Just look at the profile shot with the test rider on the bike. Looks pretty comfortable, eh? I own, and have owned several, motorcycles with limited practicality but in order to make this thing work you’d need to spend $$$$$$. You say the VROD is dead. Probably it really is, but some of us hope not. That would be a real tragedy if H-D never reworked that frame and engine into a real rider’s bike. They were pretty damn close with that one. We can only hope that there’s something in the works for a new and reborn “Revolution” engine. The traditional “Old School” rider, of which I was once a partial member, never appreciated a Harley with a good chassis and a 9,000 RPM engine. Those riders are slowly riding off into oblivion. I, myself, have tried to evolve and have ridden many really good machines lately. Hopefully, H-D doesn’t bet the house on this lump of a “Milwaukee Eight”. The future could be bright.

  2. I’ll keep my VRod, thanks. This thing is just too strange. If I want something like this I’ll get a Yamaha FZ1
    which could probably chew this up and spit it out for a fifth of the price. PASS

  3. Would Harley provide a riding position besides with your feet almost touching your hands? It may look cool, but it’s no way to handle a motorcycle when things go sideways. Sucks for your back too.

  4. Ouch ! 668 lbs “claimed” dry weight , so that means over 700 curb weight , guess I’ll be stickin’ with my wonderful longtime “do it ALL” Drag Race , Road Race , Tour & even some “Adventurous” Off Roading Partner in Crime , my 2009 XR 1200 !

  5. Congratulations Harley! You’ve finally built Kawasaki Mean Streak that looks like a Honda Shadow! But at least those bikes offered some ergonomic forethought and comfort. I can already feel my lower back aching after about 20 miles just looking at the rider in the picture. “Aggressive” positioning? More like gynecological!
    When will you guys wake up and build the great American “Sport Cruiser”?
    Victory almost pulled it off with the 92SC but they blew it and handed the entire category to the Japanese.
    Build it and every frigging baby boomer who rides will own one! Mid controls, cornering clearance, aluminum frame and and a big honkin light weight V Twin!

  6. Looks silly, like a clown bike. the air cowls are hideous and the bodywork is buffoonish. It looks like another ham handed attepted by Harley to stay relevant….this bike certainly isn’t going to do it

  7. I like the use of the word folded when attempting to explain the disappearance of the Dyna line. Considering the difference in rear suspensions between the softail and Dyna line, its going to take a little more than folding. I’m thinking cutting and removing is more like it. Just don’t know one word that would cover the two operations.
    As far as a long lean drag bike look. Yeah, if it was coming out of the shop of my least favorite TV Reality Stars, but Harley?
    I thought a Harley was all about walking the walk one talks about. It may have the look but that’s it.
    After reading a motorcycle article “How to save your ass at a red light” I went to a long straight road that I knew was hardly traveled and positioned myself so I could see what was coming. The premise of the article was if you were to find yourself about to be rear-ended, bring the RPMS’s up to 3,000, release the clutch, when the wheel is about 2” off the ground this will be the postion of maximum acceleration
    Long story short, I try it. Next thing I know I’m flat footed on the road with my hands straight up in the air. I let go of the bike and watch it bounce down the road. I run after it, hit the kill switch, get it upright and ride it home with only twisted handle bars and a broken mirror.
    Sometime later I’m telling my story to someone with more experience. Their first question why didn’t I jump on it and ride it back down (short conversation ensues). Then their comment, when you found the front wheel coming off the ground, applying the rear brake would have brought it back down (another short conversation). New question, how were your sitting when you tired this (another short conversation). New question, did your read the article or just look at the picture? You may want to stop reading those magazines before you get hurt.
    Although it may look like a drag bike leaning on its jiffy stand, the riding postion says it’s not. With one’s feet out in front of one’s butt, it’s hard to lean forward. It may look cool, but functional it’s not. So, I’m confused is Harley going to walk the walk and build bikes to ride or to look cool. Once a leader, Harley is now trying to figure out “Who Moved the Cheese”.

  8. I have owned and ridden Harley Davidsons since 1969 as well as many other makes. I started riding in 1959. I currently have a 2014 FLHR along with a 2016 BMW R1200RS. This new bike is “BUTT UGLY”. Sorry, I realize the MC is trying to stay afloat, but this is not the way IMHO. I have to think that if your new rendition does not attract the next generation of riders it is time to sell my HD stock.

  9. Design looks surprisingly familiar like a Ducati Darvel…hmmm I guess they took some of the design team with them when the bought Ducati.

  10. This is scary. Has Harley lost it? It looks like I’m riding my 2007 FXD forever. I was disappointed when they dropped the Dyna’s in 2018, as I hate the softails and now they are bubbly and soft looking. What an uncomfortable ride this is. I wanted to like it and I wanted it to be cool, but I just can’t. If I wanted performance, I would buy something other than a Harley. I want basic, tough, torque, sound and coolness in a Harley. Anyone who rides this bike is not a real biker and I wouldn’t want to ride with them. Sorry Harley, you lost me.

  11. Like a VRod….
    Sure, unless you discuss the VRSCR. I had one, I sold it because got old before the bike did.

    Not stretched out, not limited to sub 6000rpm. No solid wheel. Mid controls and lighter than this bike (although still too heavy) than this bike.

    Of course they did not sell.

  12. C’mon Harley! I know sales are in decline, but you can do better, especially with the styling. The muffler looks borrowed from a Hoover upright. And what’s up with the hefty price tag?

  13. I have to say this is ugly from any direction. What the hell is that piece of sheet metal over the rear tire? And the rear fender?? WTF IS THAT? I’m sorry I am a loyal HD supporter, but this just shows they have lost their direction . It’s just not what the style needs to be. Sad, but the only exciting news was for the trikes and the improvements on the Boom audio system ( which remains to be seen).

  14. Congratulations, Harley-Davidson! You have now created the ugliest motorcycle to date. I would rather be caught on an Amazonas (remember those?) than being near this aberration. You get a “P” for Pathetic.

  15. The love child of a Ducati Diavel and a Fatbob with an excess of plastic adornments and the price, yikes!!!!. I wonder who did the market research and how they interpreted the findings to the creative team. In the UK we pay about 30% more than in the US and now with additional Tariffs, not just an odd bike but probably as il suited in the UK and Europe as in the US.

  16. I cannot believe that Harley Davidson made this piece of rubbish, at first I saw the front end and though, thank God – a twin disc front end, and that’s where it ended, the rest of the bike is a joke, is this the bike your’e making for a Saturday night live comedy skit? Really Harley Davidson, you say your’e trying to corner the younger market, you did the with the 2017 Dyna Low rider “S”, my 22 year old son and 4 of his mates all went out and bought one each, the best bike Harley ever made and then you insulted us a late year with the removal of the Dyna range and then just to make sure you insult us completely you produce this heap of crap, why don’t you get us Harley Davidson Riders to design your bikes, that way we wold buy them and your company would survive, but as you don’t listen to your consumers, I suppose it’s “goodbye Harley Davidson” may you rest in peace, and may my Dyna live for ever.

  17. Such a shame to watch a great historical company go down the drain because of its incompetent CEO-designers -who obviously don’t have a clue to the value of its historical past !

  18. If they put the 117 stage 4 kit on it stock then it might be more a real performance cruiser . Sorry to say but ,,
    As is still not that astonishing in performance .

  19. Well I guess I disagree with EVERYONE here as I think the new FXDR looks great and promises to do everything I want from that type of bike. If I want absolute maximum performance, I’ll ride something else, but when I want to save my license and cruise about, but with more ability than any other cruiser, this would be the bike I’d take.

    Seems to me this is exactly the V-Rod replacement, but better. Strange how the V-Rod was such a black sheep of the H-D family, but now it’s been discontinued (don’t hold your breath on it ever coming back), suddenly it’s being praised. I really enjoyed having a V-Rod Muscle, but in the end it wasn’t enough. The FXDR IS.

    I feel sorry for H-D. They stick to the same bikes for years and everyone criticises them for not moving forward. They produce something new and everyone jumps up and down and throws a hissy fit because it’s different. You want the old style Harley-Davidson, fine, they still make ’em. Go buy one. If you want something with more contemporary styling, hey, they’ve got that available too. Sheesh, why does everyone seem to think they have to like everything H-D make. I wouldn’t say thank you for a Dyna, or Tourer, or super bloody fancy glide ultra thingy, but if that floats your boat, I’m happy for you. The fact I have no desire at all for one doesn’t upset me, or make me cross, I just won’t buy that model. It doesn’t make me want to publicly rant against H-D. Get a life.

    While you do that, I’ll get me an FXDR because it certainly floats my boat and all you haters out there, great don’t buy one. The fewer there are on the roads, the happier I’ll be 🙂

    The V-Rod is dead. Long live the FXDR.

    • Harley’s simply have to LOOK like Harley’s or they do not sell. People buy the image and brand, not innovation. The Vrod was fine, but too close to HD for some, too far from it for others. Same for Buell- the Red Headed step child of HD family.

  20. The V rod was the most dependable motor HD ever produced. I am guessing they didn’t want to pay the royalties to Porshe anymore since they designed it. I have been waiting for 15 years for them to come out with a larger displacement of VRod motor for big baggers; which never happened. Those were reliable; bullet proof motors; liquid cooled too. Ask any HD engine re-builder how many times they had to rebuild a VRod motor. Most will tell you never; or very few.

  21. Dear Harley- Pls stop all that drag inspired stuff . I don’t want a black basketball for a rear tyre. Monkey-see Euro muffler is crap. But the new Softails ride real nice, STAY ON THE DIET. Cool adaptive Daymaker headlamp. Seat/side panels a bit corpulent.
    If it handles as well as the new Softies ,well and good,.Diavel? Bosh. BottpowerXR-1
    much better.

  22. if any potential Harley customer saw the triumph thruxton/Bonneville line first, it would be a NO SALE for H-D. triumph are gorgeous yet FUNCTIONAL. at 63 I can ride my thruxton r 150-200 miles at a crack. like the H-D sound and community, but, not paying for ugly and unrideable.

  23. I watched it air-filter…
    i think this one has been studied only to cross dry areas.
    /!\ Engine breakdown quite sure at the first big rain !!!
    I do not thing this type of engine runs with water…

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