Auto Trader bikes

Skip to contentSkip to footer
Best Of

Five best Harley-Davidsons

Don’t know your Nightster from your Breakout? We’re here to help, with our five picks from the Harley-Davidson range

Phil West

Words by: Phil West

Published on 26 February 2024 | 0 min read

Harleys are Harleys – right? To the uninitiated they all look the same and the most famous brand in motorcycling is all about old-fashioned, American built V-twin cruisers – and not much else.
Wrong! Although Harley’s roots and most famous bikes are its definitive ‘Big Twin’ cruisers and customs there’s a far greater variety than you might expect, ranging currently from 975cc to 1,900cc, and from laid-back hot-rods to ‘full-dresser’ tourers. And everything between. Nor are they old-fashioned either. Harley-Davidson’s latest 2024 Street and Road Glide ‘baggers’, for example, now boast massive TFT instrument displays, top quality Brembo brakes and much, much more. Begging the question which are the best Harleys currently available? What do they have and what are they like? Read on for our top five!

1 – Harley-Davidson Nightster: the modern entry-level ‘Hog’

Apart from a few 70s era Italian-built two-strokes and the Indian-built ‘Street’ series of more recent memory Harley’s smallest and most affordable bikes have always been Sportsters, as first introduced in 1957. Between 1986 and 2020 these were junior 883 and 1,200cc versions of its bigger V-twins but in 2021 they were replaced by an all-new, liquid-cooled Sportster family. The biggest, the Sportster S, is a 1,252cc, 121 horsepower hot-rod priced over £15K. But better still is the smaller 975cc version, the Nightster, with bigger wheels, softer 89 horsepower output, more basic spec and more accessible £13K price. It’s a great entry into Harley ownership.
Read the review

2 – Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST: the ‘all-rounder cruiser’

The Low Rider is Harley’s classic, low-slung performance cruiser and has been a staple of its ‘Big Twin’ range for decades. It currently lives on in two forms – the headlamp cowling equipped Low Rider S at just under £20K and the slightly more expensive Low Rider ST with its frame-mounted fairing and panniers. Both feature the classic, air-cooled, V-twin, ‘Softail’ chassis and kicked out front end which delivers a pleasing mix of charismatic cruising and surprisingly engaging handling. We’d go for the ST as its fairing and panniers take little away from its looks yet add plenty in terms of comfort and practicality.
Read the review

3 – Harley-Davidson Breakout 117: the definitive Harley hot-rod

If your idea of a Harley is a long, low dragster with a fat rear tyre, skinny front ‘hoop’, fire-breathing V-twin bristling with chrome, attitude and not much else then the Breakout is the bike for you. There’s a hunched, aggressive riding position (all-day comfortable it’s not), a broad tank, glorious paint, lots of noise and arguably the biggest ‘pose’ Harley delivers. Firing away from traffic lights is a blast, parked up it draws crowds and any owner will be the star of their street. Just don’t expect comfortable, practical transport for your near-£25K.
Read the review

4 – Harley-Davidson Road Glide: Harley’s best bagger yet

The first Street Glide debuted in 2006 as a stripped-down Electra Glide tourer, with no top box and a chopped down screen. As such it retained the practicality and comfort of its ‘bags’ and fairing but with a custom, chopped style all its own. It proved such a success it became the US market’s most popular bike and spawned a host of imitators. The latest version was introduced in top spec CVO form in 2023 and more basic trim for 2024, both boasting new engines with variable valve timing and partial liquid-cooling, updated styling, lightened chassis and uprated instrumentation including a massive 12-inch TFT dash. The Street has the more traditional, handlebar-mounted ‘Batwing’ fairing but we prefer the even slicker Road Glide with larger frame-mounted version.
Read the review

5 – Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited: the most extravagant Harley of all

For some fans Harleys are lightweight Sportsters while for others they’re baggers and cruisers. For those for whom touring comfort and style is the most important prerequisite of all there can be only one, though. And that is the ‘full dress’ tourer, of which the current £30K Road Glide Limited is the best example. Simply, it’s a Harley with it all, including a full frame-mounted touring fairing, three-box luggage system, stereo, heated grips and seats – you name it, it’s got it all. There’s simply no better way to rack up those endless American miles in absolute comfort. And, if you want something more, there’s also, currently, the special 120th anniversary CVO edition, complete with gold paint, special wheels, enhanced V-twin engine and sound system and more. All for around £50K!
Read the review

Send me great Auto Trader offers and the latest vehicle reviews.

By signing up, you agree to receive marketing emails in accordance with our privacy notice. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Follow us on social media