Comparing Popular Harley-Davidson Styles

Harley-Davidson remains the most popular, iconic motorcycle brand in the world. Whether you want a new Harley-Davidson, a used option, or you’re looking for a classic, they stand the test of time and remain sought-after by riders.

There are some general types of motorcycle models, and below is a comparison of the more popular types to help if you’re in the market to buy one of the newest Harley-Davidson models, see more on

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1. Cruiser


A cruiser is what you might choose if you want something you can ride on a daily basis. The Harley-Davidson Cruiser line is meant for cruising around town. They’re standard in many ways but also excel compared to other cruisers. A cruiser will have a low seat position and a V-twin engine. There’s also a large back tire, which makes your ride more comfortable. It’s going to feel more luxurious, even though it’s geared toward an everyday ride.

The cruiser became popular in the 1930s. These motorcycles have engines that emphasize rideability and shifting. They have a good amount of low-end torque but less horsepower.

Aesthetically, if you want something stylish that you can customize, a cruiser can be a good option. Cruisers are meant to be ridden, and they have a capacity for quick acceleration.

2. Sportster


The Harley-Davidson Sportster is a line of motorcycles the company has continuously produced since 1957. These motorcycles are designated in the product code with an XL. Sportster motorcycles have a 45-degree V-twin engine.

The Sportster is currently offered in a few different models. The 2024 models include the Sportster S, which was originally launched in 2024, and the Nightster.

The Sportster S is described by the Harley-Davidson company as a sports custom motorcycle.

The Sportster has been one of the most popular models Harley-Davidson produces since its initial introduction to the marketplace. It can be a great beginner bike for a lot of reasons.

First, used models are widely available. It’s easy to find parts if you want to customize your bike, and they’re easy to care for because they are so popular and the ownership is widespread. You can also amp up the performance significantly. You can configure it for the perfect fit easily as well. You can change your wheel size, seat, handlebars, and suspension.

3. Touring


A touring motorcycle is one that has windshields and wind protection and large-capacity fuel tanks. Touring motorcycles also tend to have an upright seating position that’s more relaxed than a sport bike. A touring bike is meant to give you comfort for hundreds of miles so you can take road trips with peace of mind and enjoy scenic views.

There’s more cargo space and a generally ergonomic design. Each Harley touring bike has a high-performance front and rear suspension system, so you feel fewer bumps in the road.

Touring Harleys have V-Twin engines for speed and performance, and there’s an aesthetic appeal as well as some tech features that can make for better roadway adventures.

The seats of a touring bike are engineered to be soft and lower than the average bike, with a leaned-back seat position. The handlebars are installed at a position for better support. These motorcycles are bulky with a wide frame that keeps them more stable on the road, especially helpful if you’re going to be traveling somewhere with a lot of wind.

4. Street

Harley-Davidson introduced its street series in 2013. These were the first lightweight designs introduced by the company since 1974.

A street motorcycle from Harley has a low seat height, which is going to help your bike feel maneuverable and light. It’s not the lightest bike you’ll find, but you still get a lean look and feel. You can take it on the highway with a 6-speed transmission and electronic cruise control, so it does work for touring too.

A street Harley can be good as a commuter vehicle, but you still get the aesthetics the Harley brand is known for.

The street lineup of cycles can be good if you’re an urban rider and you want something fun and nimble.

5. Softail


A Softail motorcycle looks vintage with a rigid hard-tail frame. Even though Harley-Davidson introduced the first Softail as a registered trademark in 1983, the term has become a generic reference for other models that have rear suspensions that are hidden. Softails have more motor than a Sportster, but a Sportster is lighter and more agile.

The Harley Softail gives an All-American classic look and feel, and the appearance is easy to recognize. Softail models from Harley have a Milwaukee-Eight V-Twin engine with a lot of torque. The handling has been improved over the years, and there’s an improved suspension as well.

Softail models are easy to customize if you start with a base that appeals to you.

There are people who will tell you the Softail Harleys of the most iconic and identifiable of all the models.

6. Dyna

The Harley-Davidson Dyna models have traditional styling, and they come with big-twin engines. They are a bit heavier than a Sportster, but not much. There’s a good power-to-weight ratio, and they’re high performers.

Dyna models are smooth and comfortable, and they pair power with responsiveness.

The Dyna’s powered by an Eagle V-twin engine, and it handles corners arguably better than the Softail. The shock absorbers of the Dyna are exposed while they’re hidden on the comparable Softail. The Dyna is well-suited for two riders.

7. Electric

Finally, Harley-Davidson recently introduced an electric lineup. The Livewire electric motorcycle was introduced, and the company started taking orders several years ago. That bike came with a high price tag, but now the company has introduced a lower-cost electric bike called the Del Mar S2.

The first limited-edition run of this electric motorcycle sold out in 18 minutes.

The Del Mar is expected to be followed up by an S3 model built on the same platform but not yet named. That bike is projected to be lighter weight than the Del Mar.