American Iron Magazine Asks What Are The 10 Best Harley Motorcycles of All Time?

We at American Iron Magazine want your opinion on what are the ten best Harleys of all time?

Please reply to this post with your list of no more than 10 specific Harley motorcycles, and you can explain your thinking if you wish Рor not. Example: 1903 Harley (first Harley motorcycle ever built), 1936 Harley EL Knucklehead (first OHV Harley and first with recirculating oil), Captain America Panhead chopper (from the movie Easy Rider), any FXR (great handling frame/chassis), XR1200 Sportster, 2014 Rushmore Ultra-Glide,  etc.

We will ask our readers to nominate what you feel are the ten best Harley-Davidson motorcycles of all time (stock or iconic custom) for the next month or so. Then our staff at American Iron Magazine will compile the recommendations and post the final list on-line and in print.


  1. mike klinger says:

    the 45 deserves to be there it was the longest produced, Blue collar working girl that also won WWII and spawned from the WLD the K model the sporster and the XR’s. There is at least one
    45 that still holds a record at Bonneville

  2. Instead of throwing SEO value to another magazine site, how about throwing some to us instead?

  3. JD Mcgeary says:

    The 1915 twin first 3 speed transmission
    1929 JD last of the line of F heads at their most refined.No JDH simply because the high price prevented it from being a big seller.
    1931 DL early bearing failures were cured and the 45 ci motor was produced up to 1973.It also helped win a war and spawned the R model and later the WR,KR and eventually the XR.
    1936 Knucklehead easy choice here first year OHV,recirculating oiling system,constant mesh transmission.Still the basic blueprint for nearly every harley v-twin built since.
    1949 Panhead First telescopic front fork or Hyrdaglide
    1965 Electra Glide first year electric start,last year for the panhead,first year 12 volt electrical system.
    1971 Superglide first factory custom Willie G was finally allowed to stretch his wings and show what he could do.
    1977 XLCR cafe racer another forward thinking Willie G design that has become iconic today.
    1984 evolution soft tail first reliable bulletproof evolution motor last year kick starter and the soft tail frame.

  4. Walter Jay Peterson says:

    I’m so glad someone mentioned the servicars! Like the solo and sidecar 45’s, they may have been the most rugged of the lot.
    The slab-side shovelheads, 66-69 are my personal favorite.
    At the risk of redundancy, the 1903 which started the legend(first belt-drive), the first knuckle which brought the OHV, the 80″ flatheads, the 80″ shovelheads, Randy Smith’s 45 magnum, the 57 sportster for starting the longest model run, the ‘set it and forget it’ evolution engine, the rubber-mounted fxr for it’s super-handling suspension, and notable mention going to the rotax powered mt500.

  5. My favorites are the FXR, RoadGlide and Road King

  6. Bill Malarkey says:

    In chronological order:

    1903/4 – The first Harley built because it started the ball rolling
    1909 Model 5-D – The first V-twin
    1936 EL – First production OHC
    1937 WL45 – The flathead that was in production for the longest run.
    1957 Sportster – Model that is still in production.
    1965 ElectraGlide – Electric starter on the big twin. Still in production..
    1970 XR750 – Dominated flat track racing for years and 45 years later, still formidable on the mile.
    1971 Superglide – Mated the Sporty front end with the big twin frame.
    1980 Tour Glide – Rubber mounted motor still used for touring models.
    1984 FXR – Rubber mounted EVO engine and CAD/CAM designed frame. The best handling big twin ever built (I have a ’91 so I am kind of biased)

  7. Jason Conrad says:

    All of them! All Harley’s are worthy of being called the best Harley!

  8. Can I go back in time? Many are fortunate to have ridden/owned the classic Harleys.

    I will have to say the Sportster.

  9. Scott Byrd says:

    1) 1929 D–the first small V twin (45 c.i.) by HD, produced to compete with the Indian Scout. If you follow the lineage of the bike, it is the great, great grandfather of the Sportsters.
    2)1936 Knucklehead–first overhead valve, with a recirculating oil system. It is directly responsible for the development of the bikes being manufactured today.
    3)1957 XL–first year for the Sportster, Harley’s entry into performance oriented bikes. For many, the Sportster has provided a way into the Harley world.
    4)1991 Sturgis–first year for the Dyna line

  10. bob combs says:

    10 huh… Ok I’ll give it a go in no particular order.

    1957 XL – First Sportster. Harley Sportster is one of the longest running most successful motorcycle platforms ever.

    1961 DuoGlide – First big twin swingarm, panhead motor. A classic.

    1936 knucklehead – For the reasons listed above.

    1982 FXB Sturgis – First factory belt drive model.

    1941 WLA Flathead – First of the production WWII models.

    1977 FLHS Electra Glide Sport – The model that would eventually become the Road King.

    1977 XLCR – Because … cafe racer … duh.

    1914 J-model

    1930 Flathead – First of a long era of HD Flathead motors that would last until retiring the G-model in ’72. 52 years – wow.

    1948 FLH – panhead. I shouldn’t have to explain this one.

  11. 1971 Superglide
    1977 lowrider
    1936 VLH best side valve
    1926 JD 74ci
    any pan
    1986+ Softail

  12. The top of the 10 best Harleys would be the 750 XR one of the longest running
    engine platforms in racing history(racing history not motorcycle history)
    1972 to date that is 42 years the Offy did not have stats that great.

  13. jeff castellari says:

    2013 Street Glide, I currently own a 2014 but of all the Harleys Ive owned (10) this has to be the best.

  14. George Whitten says:

    1983-84 XR1000

  15. shawn Enos says:

    #1 any model FXR great bike fun ride.
    #2 love the Panhead motor
    #3 Like Dennis Hoppers bike from “Easy Rider”
    #4 Road Kings are nice
    #5 Any Harley that Steve McQueen rode LOL
    #6 Harleys servi car 3 wheelers of long ago.