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Discussion Starter #1
Is there a good place to learn about the different models of HD?

I am new to this and just bought my dad's 2000 883 Sportster.

I hear about Glides, Softtails, Bobbers, Fat Boys, etc but I can never get a handle on what is what. I'm having so much fun with the Sportster and I have a feeling I'll want to trade it for a bigger bike someday, but I can't keep them straight!
 

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Turgid Member
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The HD website is a good place to start. They have all the bikes listed by family and name and other info about the individual bikes themselves.

If you want to know about a specific older bike not listed or about bobbers just Google it. There's a ton of Harley info on the web.

Harley-Davidson USA | Harley-Davidson USA
 

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THE Yuppie Outlaw
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The HD website is a good place to start. They have all the bikes listed by family and name and other info about the individual bikes themselves.

If you want to know about a specific older bike not listed or about bobbers just Google it. There's a ton of Harley info on the web.

Harley-Davidson USA | Harley-Davidson USA
^^^^^^^^^^^This

The internet is your best friend.
 

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Fat Guy on the Ultra
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Well like others said the hd website is a great idea, but heres a crash course.
Sportsters, smaller frame, smaller 883 -1200cc engines. Great for smaller riders.
Dyna family, big twin, rubber mounted engine, bigger frame, exposed rear shocks.
Softail family, big twin, internally balanced engine, bigger frame, hidden rear shocks to give appearence of a hard tail
Touring family, stock with saddle bags, bg twin, air ride rear shocks and largest frame,
V-Rod family, only watercooled harley line, built for aggressive sport style riding.

Thats my understanding of the basic families, above that each bike within the family has its own styles and and such.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm on HD's site now.

What's the difference between "touring" and "cruising?"
 

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Addicted Since 2010
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I'm on HD's site now.

What's the difference between "touring" and "cruising?"
Touring bikes are on their own frame. (In the touring section of the site) they bare built for....I'll let you figure that out he he he.

Cruising bikes are basically the rest. In stock form they are Mae to cruise on. Couple hundred miles...that sort of deal. Unlike tourers made to ride all day.

Don't put too much weight on this though. People cruise on touring bikes and tour on softails, sportsters, and dynas all the time

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Hit it she goes boom
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I think the first place you ought to start is enjoying the bike you now own.. don't get me wrong education is a great thing. But let that bike tell you what you enjoy, this will lead you to what model you should be looking at. You may not even want to go beyond what you have now... all depends on how you ride. My sporty was decked out and could run hwy, for long hwy runs it just wasn't practical for me. I spent about 2 years, thinking and looking at what bike I wanted next. I liked the looks and the feel of this RK, its great to hop on the road and have the miles and the time just melt away. I can run 350 miles, eat dinner and go for more. Its a heavy bike, not as agile as the sporty, but it fits me better. Average miles in a season on the sporty 3,000. This bike 6200 last summer. Just my .02. Above all ride safe and enjoy.
 

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Living the dream
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I'm learning about the different models myself and I used to get overwhelmed with the different models, esp when they are only referred to by their model number (FLSTLB, FXDC, FLTRU, etc.). I still don't know all the different designations but I am learning about the differences between the models.Like anything else, it just takes time. I've learned a lot by going to Craigslist and just looking at the different ads for Harleys.


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I'm learning about the different models myself and I used to get overwhelmed with the different models, esp when they are only referred to by their model number (FLSTLB, FXDC, FLTRU, etc.). . . .

There is a logic to it:

"F" - the motor. All Big twins are "F". Sportsters are "X."

"L" - The front end. The "L" are the bigger style forks like on the touring bikes or a Heritage. "X" is the narrow forks.

"ST" - the frame. "ST" = softail. "D" = Dyna. "HT" = touring, etc.

The rest of the letters are specific models indicators. MoCo tends to start minimally and grow out. For example, the Switchback is the "FLD" because it's the only 41mm fork bike being built on the Dyna frame.
 

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Delusional43
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VIN number decoding

This may help you also since you can decode the type of bike from the VIN number.


1960's and earlier 11 characters or more but not as many as 17

Before 1981 9 digit number

1981 and after 17 digit number
Digit 1 - 1 or 5 = domestic or international

Digit 2-3 = HD for Harley Davidson

Digit 4 = Designate weight usually 1 or 2 - 1 for heavyweight or 2 for middleweight 901cc+ but can be other like sidecar etc.

Digit 5-6 = 2 letter model designation

Digit 7 = Engine type

Digit 8 = Introduction date

Digit 9 = VIN check digit can be 0-9 or X

Digit 10 = Bike year

Digit 11 = Assembly plant Y – York, PA or K – Kansas City, MO

Digit 12-17 = Serial number (last 6 are always the serial number of the bike)
 

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As others have said, the HD website has a load of info. And if you haven't discovered it yet, the website has a "Tools" icon you can click on and you can pull up 3 bikes side by side and compare all the specs. You might want to pull up Tools and load a Dyna, a Softtail and a Touring bike side by side and compare the weights, lean angles, prices, ground clearance, etc., etc. Once you have one or more models that catch your interest, time to go to a dealer(s) and sit on a few. When you are really getting serious, time for a test ride. And sooner or later you will make the "deposit" AKA "Purchase Price" bearing in mind the initial cost of the bike is likely only the beginning of your expenditures. Ain't it great?
 

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Check out a book store, they always have a book on the history with pictures. I have several that I recieved as gifts over the years. No better coffee table book than a Harley book.
 

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I'm having a blast so far.
That's really all that matters. Take your time figuring out which models you like/don't like. You need to find the one that fits YOU. There could be an endless discussion about which one is better than which, it all boils down to your needs and personal preference. I happen to lean toward Softails, a friend of mine, Dynas, another friend, touring models. I kinda rushed into my first one, luckily it worked out great and I love the bike I have. This time, I'm taking my time and making sure it's what I want or if I just want to keep the one I have.
 
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