First ride: 2015 Harley-Davidson Low Rider in the UAE
Harley-Davidson is on a roll. Not only did sales grow in 2014 compared to the year before, Harley-Davidson also released some all-new models to complement its already massive line-up of motorcycles. One of those models, and the most notable of them all, is the new Low Rider. After being shelved for half a decade, Harley-Davidson has resurrected the Low Rider name.
The first word that comes to mind when you see the Low Rider is classic. Harley-Davidson has left no stone unturned in ensuring that this new motorcycle does its part in staying true to the iconic 70s Low Rider look. The tank, the seat, the fenders, they all scream heritage and those looking to get a brand new Harley-Davidson that stands out even among its siblings in terms of retro appeal, the Low Rider is the way to go. Some design cues that totally impressed me were the chrome steel-laced wheels, the classic headlamp visor and the custom ignition switch located just below the tank on the left.
Built on a Dyna chassis, the Harley-Davidson Low Rider is designed to accommodate riders of varying height and build. To make things comfortable, Harley-Davidson offers a two-position seat and adjustable handlebar risers that help you fine-tune this motorcycle as per your seating preference right out of the showroom, without any additional aftermarket parts. The only aftermarket part that you might want to get is a louder exhaust, as the stock exhaust is just too muffled. Harley has also moved the footpegs about 5 mm forward compared to the previous Dyna mid-mounted position for added comfort. However, the Low Rider lives up to its name with its seat height being just 680 mm off the ground.
Powering the Harley-Davidson Low Rider is a rubber-mounted Twin Cam 103 engine that displaces 1,690cc and has a maximum torque output of 126 Nm delivered at a leisurely 3,500 rpm. There is no official power figure so I can’t help you there.
Like with all Harley-Davidson engines, the off-the-line feel is very impressive. There are copious amounts of torque available when you need it. I particularly enjoyed the forward surge delivered by this massive V-Twin. Even though Harley-Davidson refrains from mentioning the engine’s power, let me assure you, it’s enough. This engine is equipped with Harley’s Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) and Automatic Compression Release (ACR), and is mated to a 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission.
To add to this motorcycle’s impressive look, the engine is finished in wrinkle black powder coat with chrome-plated covers that add beautiful contrast to its looks and blends in perfectly with other similarly finished panels on this motorcycle.
One of the only things that I wasn’t too impressed with is the suspension setup. It has a rather stiff rear suspension in relation to the soft front end. The Low Rider dives considerably under heavy braking and on uneven roads, the front-end soaks up the bumps pretty well but the rear isn’t that compliant. The stiffness is even more pronounced when you’re riding two-up. My pillion passenger couldn’t stop complaining of the stiff ride and the narrow seat. If you plan to embark on long rides with someone sitting at the back, you might want to look at getting that seat upgraded.
Those looking for agility and performance out of a Harley-Davidson will be very impressed by the Low Rider. It is relatively lighter compared to its siblings and has an engine that packs a mighty punch. To keep all this performance in check, the Low Rider gets a good braking setup with dual discs up front and a single disc at the rear that do a great job in slowing this bike down. It also comes equipped with ABS as standard. Overall, the Low Rider is a testament to Harley’s determination to go modern but never lose its classic appeal. It’s just amazing how the engineers at Harley-Davidson still manage to do it flawlessly.
The Low Rider is available in the UAE at all Harley-Davidson dealers. Pricing starts at AED 69,900 and goes up to AED 73,900, depending on the paint finish.
The author is a blogger at motorcycleuae.com.
Photos by Martin Victor Alva.