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MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: Harley-Davidson's Exciting Dyna Models

WRN spotlight on the Low Rider & Street Bob

By Genevieve Schmitt, Photos by Riles & Nelson
8/17/2006


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Harley-Davidson's Dyna models are some of the smoothest and most comfortable motorcycles in the Motor Company's lineup. Why? The engine is rubber mounted to the frame. This drastically reduces vibration. The Dynas are also extremely ergonomically friendly for the average female rider.

The Low Rider (what she's riding) has helped many more women get in the front seat of a motorcycle so couples riding side by side is a common occurance these days. He's riding a Softail Springer.
The Low Rider (what she's riding) has helped many more women get in the front seat of a motorcycle so couples riding side by side is a common occurance these days. He's riding a Softail Springer.

With the 2006 model year, the Dyna platform went through a makeover and welcomed two new additions. The family includes: the Dyna Super Glide, (the Dyna Super Glide Sport was discontinued in 2006) the Dyna Low Rider, the Dyna Wide Glide, the new Dyna Street Bob, and the new limited-production 35th Anniversary Dyna Super Glide. In 2007, the Dyna Super Glide Custom, was added to the family.

New for 2007: FXDC Dyna Super Glide Custom, is an enhanced version of the Super Glide with laced wheels, pull-back bars, tank-mounted controls, and a two-up seat. MSRP starts at $14,645.
New for 2007: FXDC Dyna Super Glide Custom, is an enhanced version of the Super Glide with laced wheels, pull-back bars, tank-mounted controls, and a two-up seat. MSRP starts at $14,645.

The Dynas were the only model family in 2006 to receive the new 6-speed transmission. This Cruise Drive, as it's called, was then introduced on all 2007 Harleys when the Motor Company rolled out its new engine, the Twin Cam 96, this summer. The Cruise Drive transmission extends the top gear ratio widening the powerband lowering rpms at highway cruising speeds. When rolling along at 75 mph, it doesn't feel like the bike is screaming for power.

The 2006 FXDI 35th Anniversary Super Glide pays homage to the orginal red, white and blue 1971 FX Super Glide designed by Willie G. Davidson. Production is limited to 3,500 serialized motorcycles.
The 2006 FXDI 35th Anniversary Super Glide pays homage to the orginal red, white and blue 1971 FX Super Glide designed by Willie G. Davidson. Production is limited to 3,500 serialized motorcycles.

New helical-cut gears were part of the new transmission on the 2006 Dynas. This type of gearing meshes more quietly than straight-cut gears used on the previous transmission. One noticeable difference on the 06 Dynas is the effort to engage the clutch, reduced by 35 percent over the previous year. As one who has ridden a Dyna most of her life, I definitely noticed the difference. Women who complain their hands get tired easily from engaging a stiff clutch in stop-and-go traffic will love the easy-to-pull-in clutch.

A redesign of the ball and ramp mechanism and clutch diaphragm spring provide a 35 percent reduction in peak cluch effort on all Dynas.
A redesign of the ball and ramp mechanism and clutch diaphragm spring provide a 35 percent reduction in peak cluch effort on all Dynas.

The 2006 Dynas aren't short on power. The Twin Cam 88 engine turns out 1450cc's of power and torque. Zipping through the twisties is a blast. Unlike some larger cruisers where you can feel like you're lumbering through the turns, the Dynas are compact and light enough to propel you forward, yet still maintain that cruiser quality. The Sportsters are so light and nimble there's almost a sportbike quality to the ride. Not with the Dynas. You're definitely on a cruiser. In fact, I'd say Dynas nearly define the term cruiser.

The 2006 FXDWGI Dyna Wide Glide, the largest of the Dynas with a 27.5-inch seat height, mini-apehanger handlebars, and a stylish bobtail rear fender. MSRP starts at $16,795.
The 2006 FXDWGI Dyna Wide Glide, the largest of the Dynas with a 27.5-inch seat height, mini-apehanger handlebars, and a stylish bobtail rear fender. MSRP starts at $16,795.

Big Changes in 2007
In 2007, the Dynas became even more attractive with the introduction of the new Twin Cam 96 (1584cc) engine and electronic fuel injection on all the Big Twin models. The bigger engine translates to 17 percent more power and torque on the Dynas.

With the new engine comes a new exhaust sound noticeable to Harley diehards. It's throatier, deeper and richer. You have to know that Harley engineers spent considerable time redefining and then refining this trademark sound.

The Twin Cam 96 powertrain on the Dynas. For more power, a Screamin' Eagle 103 cubic inch Big Bore Kit is available from Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Accessories.
The Twin Cam 96 powertrain on the Dynas. For more power, a Screamin' Eagle 103 cubic inch Big Bore Kit is available from Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Accessories.

With the six speed transmission comes refined shifting. Several enhancements were made to the gear box to make shifting easier and smoother, another noticeable improvement. And the gauges have been redesigned to now include a clock.

WRN Spotlight: FXDL Dyna Low Rider
The Low Rider is very popular among women because of its ideal ergonomic set-up. Seat height is a low 25.8 inches and the stock seat is narrow enough so a rider won't lose precious leg inches in the spread like one would, say, in the wide bucket seat of the Fat Boy.

Randi Twells, founder of the Ladies at Laughlin event, rides the 2006 Dyna Low Rider. The low slung seat and pull-back bars enhance the bike's low, slammed profile.
Randi Twells, founder of the Ladies at Laughlin event, rides the 2006 Dyna Low Rider. The low slung seat and pull-back bars enhance the bike's low, slammed profile.

Many women love the Low Rider because the reach to the handlebars is not a reach. Risers bring the bars ideally placed in front of the rider. Plus, foot controls are right beneath the rider instead of out in front where some women have a tough time reaching their legs. Highway pegs mounted up front come standard so a rider can rest her feet on long cruises.

Fatter forks were introduced on the Low Rider in 2006 giving the rider a stronger and more commanding grip of the road. A big 160mm rear tire also adds to the bike's planted feel helping to boost rider confidence levels.

WRN Spotlight: FXDB Dyna Street Bob
We've seen lots of women riding the Street Bob since it was introduced 12 months ago. Something about that old school look wrapped in the attractive Dyna package is quite appealing for women who want a little attitude in their ride. The Street Bob's minimalist styling with its mini-apehanger handlebars, the classic Fat Bob fuel tank, and solo seat (without rear pegs), are reminiscent of the post-World War II "bobber" movement. What's a bobber? A minimalist's chopper. A chopped chopper. A solo game.

The 2007 Dyna Street Bob in Pewter Denim, a flat silver color.
The 2007 Dyna Street Bob in Pewter Denim, a flat silver color.

Seat height is the same as the Low Rider, 25.8 inches. Most of what's different with the Street Bob is styling. The flat black or "Black Denim" as Harley calls it with the wrinkle black finish on the battery box, console and belt guard, was a popular color choice in 2006 for riders wanting to make a statement. In 2007, several new colors were introduced.

The Street Bob is just as smooth and fun as the Low Rider, but the ape hangers take some getting used to for those not accustomed to riding with their arms up instead of down. I put mini-apes on my 1994 Dyna Low Rider years ago because I'm one who prefers riding with my arms up. A lot of people always ask me, "Isn't it uncomfortable to ride that way?" I say no way, and invite them to try it out. Most are convinced riding with their arms up is quite comfortable. If it wasn't do you think you'd see so many people riding with ape hangers and do you think Harley would make a bike with mini-apes? I think not. The Street Bob is one cool motorcycle.

The Street Bob doesn't come with highway pegs. Longer legged riders may want to bolt on a set for a stretch and a rest.
The Street Bob doesn't come with highway pegs. Longer legged riders may want to bolt on a set for a stretch and a rest.

Specs at a Glance
2007 Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider
Displacement: 1584cc
Seat height: 25.8 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.8 gallons
Weight: 672 pounds in running order
MSRP: starts at $15,795

WRN Recommendation:
If you haven't figured it out, I'm biased about the Dyna Low Rider as I've owned one for 12 years. It's the third Harley I bought after my Sportster 1200 and Dyna Super Glide and have ridden many long distance miles on it. It can easily be set-up with a windshield, saddlebags, backrest and luggage rack for holding extra bags, and keeps up with the bigger bikes just fine. Don't be swayed by people who think you need a bigger bike for touring. With the right accessories, the Low Rider does just fine.
____________________________________________

Specs at a Glance
2007 Harley-Davidson Dyna Street Bob
Displacement: 1584cc
Seat height: 25.8 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.8 gallons
Weight: 667 pounds in running order
MSRP: starts at $13,595

WRN Recommendation:
I see the Street Bob suited for riders who want the comfort and ease of a Dyna, but desire a little attitude and edge to their ride. When I think of what I did to my Low Rider many years ago by putting a solo gunfighter seat and mini-apes on it, I was actually turning my Low Rider into a Street Bob. Thank goodness Harley had the smarts to make add some attitude to the Dyna family. It needed it.  

For more information, visit Harley-Davidson.com.


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Reader Comments


Thanks for the great articles and real information. I am 5 feet 6 inches and have some of the same issues as you, so the bikes comparison is a great help. I now have a Honda VTX 1300Cand have been wanting a 6 speed low riding bike. Keep up the good work!

Tom Ferguson
Lakeland, FL
Sunday, November 06, 2011
I have just upgraded my 09 Nightster to an 2011 Fat Bob and am an absolute Dyna convert. The ride is so smooth compared to the bone-shaking action of the Nightster, despite my love of that model for an easy cornering, fun, rip-roaring ride. The Fat Bob is wide around the horn and air filter but that is easily fixed with a repositioned horn cover and Screamin' Eagle Heavy Breather. My Fat Bob corners like a dream, despite being 50 kg heavier than the Nightster and I love that you have to haul it around a bit on tight roundabouts.

I'm only 5 feet 5 inches and despite my short legs the FXDF fits me really well and with a super Reach Seat, I am all over whatever the road has to offer. It's not a particularly feminine look, as a bike, but it's my job to make up for its lack of girlish charm. It is just straight out fun and its brazen, two-eyed gruntiness makes it a perfect bike for both good looks and excellent handling.

Charlotte Turner
Sydney, Australia
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Loved the article. The author mentions a number of things I see and experience with my Low Rider. I enjoy my bike, and especially like the sound of the Vance & Hines shorts that were added on prior to my purchase. My only complaint would be I notice I have to be more careful on the curve clearance than on my previous Honda Shadow Spirit.

Jacqueline
The Woodlands, TX
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Thanks for all the great reviews. Let's me know I'm not alone trying to get my Dyna to fit, and to gain comfortable control. I have an '08 Dyna Super Glide, just the base model, really wanted the Low Rider but couldn't afford it and was itching to move up from my starter bike, a Honda 750 Spirit.

At 5-feet-2, I was barely touching with toes on the ground, I had Harley lower the rear with Harley rear shock lowering kit. I could touch a little better but not with confidence, and definitely not on an inclined or curved surface, or gravel, God forbid. No front lowering kit was available when I bought my bike, but just had one from The Fat Book - Drag Specialties put on this week, finally. Seems to make a noticeable difference, need to get some miles on.

The biggest help to reach ground was a Corbin Hollywood solo saddle, pretty thin and narrow but comfortable. I want to get my handlebars closer to me but the handlebar mounted speedometer limits options. Also feel like the clutch is hard to pull, especially compared to my Honda, but the Dyna engine is more than twice as big. Even with all these issues, I absolutely love the ride, the feel, the sound and the look of my Dyna. Ahe rides smooth as a Cadillac.

Karen P
Topeka, KS
Saturday, April 25, 2009
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