Harley-Davidson Street 750 parked on city street

About Our Selections

Before we go any further, I need to make something abundantly clear: with the possible exception of the very first two bikes on this list, none of these are recommendations for your very first motorcycle.

As a general rule, Harleys aren’t for people who just finished their MSF course. They tend to be big, heavy, and expensive. As a new rider, you should assume you’re going to drop your bike once or twice while you’re still getting used to it—or worse.

The last thing you want is an 800+ pound motorcycle pinning you to the pavement, and the second-last thing you want is to trash a bike you just blew your life savings on. So if you’ve never ridden before and you’re desperate for a badass cruiser bike, we recommend checking out a Honda Rebel or Kawasaki Vulcan instead.

But for those of you who have been in the saddle for a little while already and are ready to make your leap to that first Harley, here are 5 bikes I’m happy to stand behind. Get ready to rip.

Harley-Davidson Street 500 or Street 750

A modern cruiser friendly to both newer and veteran riders

Harley-Davidson Iron 883

The best lightweight Harley for the seasoned beginner

Harley-Davidson SuperLow

Lower, longer, and a little softer makes it that little bit more forgiving

Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight

A few seasons under your belt will get you astride this intermediate beginner beast

Harley-Davidson V-Rod

The ultimate "grow into it" intermediate Harley you can buy after a couple of seasons