Harley-Davidson is a brand that polarises opinions. You either love this slice of apple pie America, or you detest everything it stands for. Irrespective of your point of view, there are a few undeniable facts about owning a used Harley.
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The most impressive of which is the ticket price. Depreciation hardly exists in the world of Harley, these are bikes you can sample and very easily pass on if it’s not for you with minimal cost.
886cc | 265kg | 50bhp | 760mm seat height
- Dealer price up to £8500
- Private up to £8000
- This one 2011, 5800 miles
Launched in 1986, the Sportster XL883 was designed to attract fresh blood into the Harley-Davidson family and as such has always been viewed as the ‘starter’ purchase.
Powered by an air-cooled V-twin motor that sounds, feels and looks authentic, the model was completely revised in 2004 with the motor now rubber-mounted within the frame to reduce vibrations while fuel-injection arrived in 2007.
Still the most popular model in Harley’s range, it is easy to locate in the used market and a great first Hog. The one we’ve found here on MCN Bikes for Sale is the always-popular Iron variant.
Watch out for pre-rubber mounted-motor models, especially if you want to take a pillion, because the bikes vibrate really badly. Finish is good on the 883, but the cast wheels can corrode under the lacquer (later ones aren’t lacquered) and the reg/rec at the front of the motor gets pitted and chipped.
Always check the belt drive and pulley’s condition because some 883 models lack a lower belt cover and that makes them susceptible to damage. With all Harley-Davidsons it is worth looking out for a proper dealer service history.
1202cc | 270kg | 67bhp | 760mm seat height
- Dealer price up to £9500
- Private up to £9100
- This one 2008, 18,347 miles
Where the 883 tends to attract newer riders, the Sportster 1200 is the machine for those wishing to add their own unique stamp on a Harley. It is rare to find a Sportster that hasn’t got some additions from the Harley Parts and Accessories catalogue and many are taken to the extreme (don’t pay more for extras you don’t want).
Loads of 1200 get customised, so I’d go for a carb model and stick in huge jets and add a loud pipe. When buying a bike with a pipe on it, check it has had its fuelling modified to suit through either a carb kit or new fuel map.
Always inspect the wiring on a 1200 (and 883) by removing the seat and looking for nasty aftermarket connectors or tape joints. A lot of 883s get converted into 1200s (they are more powerful than a stock 1200) so check its history via a dealer.
1130cc | 285kg | 115bhp | 660mm seat height
- Dealer price up to £14,000
- Private up to £12,700
- This one 2002, 26,345 miles
With its brushed aluminium finish and solid wheels the V-Rod looked like nothing else. And it went pretty well too thanks to a water-cooled motor developed with Porsche. Since then the engine has spawned its only family with the 2006 Night Rod and Street Rod, which are more aggressively styled machines, and the 2009 V-Rod Muscle.
The engine increased in capacity from 1130cc to 1250cc in 2008, boosting torque to 84ftlb. Discontinued in 2017, the V-Rod is still a popular bike – and rightly so.
Early models had problems with water getting into the dash. Electrical issues can be a can of worms, so be wary of aftermarket alarms or other items fitted. Buy on condition and service history and go for a higher mileage bike over one that has been stored for years.
749cc | 229kg | 45bhp | 710mm seat height
- Dealer price up to £5995
- Private up to £5000
- This one 2015, 6208 miles
Released in 2016, the Street 750 caused outcry within the ranks of Harley aficionados. Not only is it water-cooled, it’s also made in India (don’t tell Mr Trump). The reason for this is simple: cost.
An all-new model and powered by a ground-up new motor (the Revolution X), the Street 750 was designed to appeal to younger urban riders who didn’t care about air-cooling and push-rods, instead they wanted a light, agile bike with the Harley badge.
The Streets are relatively new in the used market and we haven’t experienced any reliability issues. I wouldn’t be too worried about buying a used Street as I’ve seen one with over 20,000-miles on its clocks and the finish and engine seem very robust. It’s a cheap bike, but appears well built and has surprisingly decent residuals.
1340cc | 308kg | 82bhp | 680mm seat height
- Dealer price up to £7800
- Private up to £7000
- This one 2007, 24,946 miles – Online auction site
The Super Glide is the hidden gem in the used market. If you can find one buy it and keep it as it will increase in value. The original bike had a silver engine and Buckhorn bars and there are also a Super Glide Sport (black engine) Dyna models with flatter ‘drag style bars’ and a twin saddle.
Early ones are powered by the 1340 Evolution engine with a five-speed box and are just a lovely classic Harley. I bought one myself in 1998 and I still miss it.
Later models had the 1450 motor, which is more powerful but these cost more so you will probably be looking at a 1340 with a £6000 budget. Original paintwork is a major bonus, especially if it is in 100th anniversary paint as the stripe is impossible to replicate.
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