So you're shopping around for your very first motorcycle. But you don't just want any regular bike. You want one that symbolizes rebellion, freedom, and comradery. You want... a Harley-Davidson! Considering that Harley is one of the most recognizable brands in the world, the company's 120-year-long history has influenced and passed on the passion of riding for multiple generations.

Related: 10 Great Cruiser Motorcycles for Beginners

Contrary to what you may have been told, it is not as easy as getting a ride down to the nearest Harley-Davidson dealer, picking out the best-looking Chopper, and off you go. The perfect bike for a new rider must not only match your taste, but it must be designed for someone that is not a seasoned rider.

Updated April 2023: As each year's models come out, some great bikes are offered on the market. Not all of them will be the best options for new riders. That is why this list has been updated to let you know that the bikes already listed are still some of the best to start out with, as well as a few others thrown in to give you a little more to choose from.

1 Harley-Davidson Street 750 Is A Great Starter Bike

A parked 2020 Harley-Davidson Street 750
A side and partial front view of a 2020 Harley-Davidson Street 750

There probably isn't a motorcycle in existence easier to ride than a Harley-Davidson Street 750. Equipped with a slightly larger Revolution X V-Twin engine than its smaller sibling, the Street 500, this bike is a complete confidence builder thanks to its 492-pound weight and responsive handling. This is a great bike for people that have never ridden a motorcycle (or have any experience with manual transmission).

2 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Is An Easy Sporster To Learn On

A parked 2022 Harley-Davidson Iron 883
Side view of a 2022 Harley-Davidson Iron 883

If you are in the mood for an easy-to-ride Sportster model with a little more power than a Street 750 but not overpowering, then the Iron 883 is for you. Built on Harley-Davidson's smaller Sportster frame, the Iron 883 has been the brand's most popular beginner model, thanks to its nimble handling, three-gallon fuel tank, customization options, and affordability. Ideal for riding in the city and local suburban roads, the Iron 883 sets the groundwork for newer riders to get their feet wet and still earn the respect of seasoned veterans.

Related: Five Times Chinese Motorcycle Companies Tried To Beat Harley-Davidson at Its Own Game

3 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 Is Only A Little Bigger

A driving 2021 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200
Photo by Harley-Davidson
A side view of a moving 2021 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200

If you like the style, handling, and affordability of the Iron 883 but could use just a little more power to satisfy your needs, look no further than its bigger sibling, the Iron 1200. This motorcycle shares many attributes with the Iron 883, with only a few discernable differences. The first is its 1200cc V-Twin engine.

While some newer riders enjoy the power of the Iron 883, some feel like they've outgrown it and desire a bit more speed and torque in a Sportster. The Iron 1200 also boasts a pair of mini-ape handlebars to grant its rider a more upright, relaxed riding position, as well as Harley-Davidson's classic retro stripes on the fuel tank.

4 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Is A Sportster With Adjustable Suspension

A side view of a 2022 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight
Side view of a 2022 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight

In the mood for a lightweight Sportster that looks tough and muscular while also being easy to ride? Then the Forty-Eight is the bike for you. Built around the same frame as the Iron 883 and Iron 1200, the Forty-Eight also gives local riders an extra kick in manageable power with its air-cooled 1200cc V-Twin Evolution engine. But unlike the Iron 883 and Iron 1200, the Forty-Eight is a Sportster in a class of its own. This is due to a few things: a lower seat height (26.2 inches), forward controls, and a 2.1-gallon peanut fuel tank. Of course, we cannot forget its signature chunky front and rear tires. Combined with its adjustable suspension, this bike can eat up all the cranks and bumps in the road while giving off a "bulldog" vibe.

Related: These 10 Motorcycle Engines Prove That Perfection Exists

5 Harley-Davidson Street Bob 114 Is Maneuverable And Comfortable

A driving 2022 Harley-Davidson Street Bob
Side and front view of a moving 2022 Harley-Davidson Street Bob

If there was a Harley-Davidson that checked off all the boxes for a new rider, no model would do it better than the Street Bob. Street Bobs are certainly one of the most well-rounded bikes on this list because they are just as maneuverable and easy to use as the Sportster, but being built on the larger Softail frame allows you to sit more comfortably for more extended periods. Aside from this motorcycle embodying the best of both classes, the Street Bob is also one of the most customizable, featuring a diverse range of stock and aftermarket options.

Related: Was The Harley-Davidson VRSC V-Rod Really The Disaster Everyone Says It Was?

6 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim Is A Bike To Chill Out On

A parked Blue 2021 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim
Front and side view of a Blue 2021 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim

Although the Softail Slim ran in Harley-Davidson's Softail lineup for 10 years, it brought with it a reputation of being the ultimate "chill-out" motorcycle. Bringing with it the classic look of spoked wheels, chopped fenders, floorboards, and a Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine, the Slim casts a wide net to newer riders that wanted a more "badass-looking" bike that isn't a Sportster and could seamlessly blend in with the big dogs. But then again, its low-profile design makes it perfect for a solo summer afternoon ride. Its low seat height (25.5 inches) also makes it a very popular bike for female riders.

Related: 10 Custom Bikes That Make Your Harley-Davidson Look Boring

7 Harley-Davidson SuperLow Is The Perfect Entry-Level Cruiser

A parked 2013 Harley-Davidson Sportster SuperLow XL883L
Side and partial front view of a 2013 Harley-Davidson Sportster SuperLow XL883L 

The Harley-Davidson Superlow is an entry-level cruiser designed with the rider in mind. It received its name simply because it is so low to the ground. This bike is a popular choice with beginning motorcyclists because it has a low center of gravity, which makes it easy to handle. Plus, perhaps the best part of all, the Superlow is not only low to the ground but also one of the lowest-priced models Harley-Davidson offers.

8 Harley-Davidson Freewheeler Is Great For Unstable Riders

2023 Harley-Davidson Freewheeler
Press photo of a 2023 Harley-Davidson Freewheeler

The three-wheeled Harley-Davidson Freewheeler may not be one of the first motorcycles to come to mind when considering a beginner bike, but maybe it should. One of the hardest things to get the hang of is balancing and turning a vehicle with only two wheels. The set of two wheels in the back helps stability substantially, making it the perfect bike for all novice riders. The problem is that if you want to learn the art of riding a two-wheeled machine, the Freewheeler will not help you out, but it can be a great stepping stone on your way to the top.

9 Harley-Davidson Street Rod XG750A Is A Little More Than The Street 750

A parked Harley-Davidson Street Rod XG750A
Side view of a Harley-Davidson Street Rod XG750A

You might have already guessed that the Harley-Davidson Street Rod XG750A was molded after the very popular Street 750, which is a great beginner bike, simply by the numbers in the name. If so, you would be correct, but it was only the beginning because the people at Harley-Davidson took the Street Rod one step further by increasing the engine's power, improving the handling, and creating a more comfortable ride. So if you like the primary Street 750 but want a little more bike, you must opt for the Street Rod XG750A.

10 Harley-Davidson LiveWire Is All Electric And Full Of Power

A driving 2018 Harley-Davidson Livewire
Side view of a moving 2018 Harley-Davidson Livewire

It is great to see that four-wheeled automobiles are not the only ones going electric, but who would have thought that Harley-Davidson would produce a bike that was all electric? The LiveWire is such as a bike. Created for all levels of riders that want to reduce the number of carbon emissions that they give off while still enjoying the freedom of riding on open roads with two wheels underneath them. One aspect that helps make this bike so perfect for new riders is that it does not have any gears to worry about because it only has one gear that is good from 0 all the way up to 90.


Q: Which Harley-Davidson models are best for newer riders?

Every motorcyclist has different needs and riding styles. But most experienced riders would recommend either a sportster (Iron 883, Iron 1200, Forty-Eight) or a softail (Street Bob, Softail Slim) for beginner riders.

Q: Who owns Harley-Davidson?

Harley-Davidson was started by Walter Davidson, Arthur Davidson, William Davidson, and William Harley in 1903. Today, the company is a publicly-traded company, meaning it is not owned by one single corporation. Instead, it has many shareholders, yet it still trades as Harley-Davidson Inc.

Q: Are Harley-Davidsons good bikes?

Harley-Davidson has long been considered the motorcycle brand with the highest quality bikes since its inception in 1903. With a diverse inventory of sportster, softail, and touring models, Harley-Davidson has the largest, and most appealing selection of motorcycles for riders of every kind.

Q: Are Harley-Davidsons good for beginners?

Harley-Davidson is a very popular brand for beginner motorcyclists, with several sportster and softail models ideal for newer riders.

Q: Are Harley-Davidson motorcycles safe?

Harley-Davidsons are just as safe as any other motorcycle brand. While riders can take steps toward improving their safety (louder exhaust pipes, wearing bright colors, etc.) the best safety precaution one can make on a motorcycle is to always be aware of other drivers sharing the road.