Lady in Indiana needs help picking out the right HD.

Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by KenleyK, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. KenleyK

    KenleyK New Member


    Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated in helping
    me find the correct HD bike for myself. I am a 40 yr. old female,
    that is 5'1" and a novice bike rider.

    Thank you,
  2. WHM1

    WHM1 Junior Member

    There are many threads on this subject already... you may try a search. It really boils down to personal opinion.... from a Sportster because many people think because it is the smallest therefore easiest to ride.Others have a lower center of gravity and for some easier to handle. We all suggest go to a dealer and most will let you sit on their bikes and see which ones can you stand up from a parked position. If possible and you already have an endorsement take test ride. Most dealers will let you do this if you are serious about buying a bike.
  3. KenleyK

    KenleyK New Member

    Thanks for your suggestion.

    Due to my height, I wasn't sure which model to check out.

    Comfort would be a plus. I have ridden a sportster, and no offense
    to anyone, it kinda wore me out.

    I would want a bike that is easy to handle too.

  4. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    Check out this post:

    What is a good bike for a beginner? - Harley Davidson Community

    What you want the bike for will play a role in your decision about what bike. If you plan on doing some longer distance touring, then that is important in your decision. If you want a quick little scoot to run around town to see the other riders, that is a different sort of bike. So give that some thought.

    If you have already taken the Rider's Edge course from HD, great. If not, this might be a good option since HD will usually try to put you on a bike that will encourage you to want one. So they will probably put you on a bike with a low center of gravity, and hopefully one that has been lowered so that stopping at lights and intersections is not as scary. See here:

    Harley-Davidson | Rider's Edge Course Locator

    Should that not be available locally for you, the Dealership might rent bikes. This is a bit pricey, so if you can narrow the field down to a couple of models that you have researched and like, that would be better.

    Harley-Davidson | Products | Motorcycles | Try a Bike

    Another idea is to go to some rallys and look for other women riding their own bikes that are about your physique. Ask them about their rides, and what they have done to them to make them more comfortable to handle.

    Finally, check out these:

    Low Rider
    Softail Rocker
    Night Train

    With lowering and a low profile seat, you should be able to make these sorts of bikes low enough for you. But go into the Dealership and find a Salesperson that you like, and that is not trying to immediately sell you something. Their job is to sell bikes, but some of them want to make sure that their customers are happy six months later too, so they will take the time to find out what you really want. Find that person on the Sales floor.

    Welcome aboard!!

  5. Ozoneman

    Ozoneman Active Member

    I have recently gone through the purchase of a bike for my wife. However she is 5'5" but does have shorter legs for her height. What we found as far as lower riding bikes was the Dyna Lowrider, Dyna Street Bob, and the Softail Deluxe. All of these have lower seats so you can reach the ground when stopped at a stop light. We ended up with the Street Bob due to finding a good deal on this bike. Which bike you pick above may be determined on how much you can afford.
  6. Mickster

    Mickster Active Member

    :D This question sounds familiar. My wife also, is in the process of buying her 2nd scooter, 1st Harley. A close friend, who is also of about the same height stature as you and my wife are, chose a 08 StreetBob and within a month of owning it, she & her husband that had also just bought an Ultra-Classic, took off for a road trip to El Paso TX and back (to MI) >> without one complaint! She loved the ride and thought the scooter was the correct riding height for her. My wife on the other hand, has chose to get an 09 ElectraGlide Classic (as I have) and have both the front and rear lowered, plus adding a solo seat, that will permit her to sit lower. A major question you might ask yourself is, among others, will you be travelling any extreme distances, beyond your home-base area?
    GOOD LUCK ...

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

    Part of the problem with the Sportster is it is lighter (600 lbs wet), due to less accessories, slightly less power 1200 cc (73 cu inches) vs 88 or current 92 cu inches, and cost less than the Big Twins, BUT higher center of gravity to gain ground clearance for the sportier ride. Add the mix of newer Big Twin hardware, plus some of the old hardware (long reach to conventional handle bar), big diameter 1 1/4" bars with 1 3/8" to 1 1/2" grips (metrics use 7/8" bar and 1" grips) and the bigger V-Twin standard hand & foot controls contribute to the big bike "feel." :58:

    All this makes Sportys harder to ride, but because of their low weight and initial cost, lends itself to more customizing by those of us who are "slight of build" (I am 5' 6" w/ 30" inseam, my gal is 5' 4" w/ 28" inseam). In addition, I changed the seat (lost 1 1/2"), lowered front fork springs $120 & changed to Progressive 412 shocks $150 (lost addiional 1 1/2" ), changed the clutch actuator $35 (behind the "Derby" cover) to lighten the clutch pull. You can also get straighter brake & clutch levers (to shorten reach to the levers for smaller hands). Be sure to adjust the foot controls lower and level for both gear shift & brake pedal so you have no shin/leg cramping. You will be surprised how much more easier a Sporty can be made to ride with these mods. :s

    On the other hand, the other Harley models being a heavier 750 to 900 lbs carry their center of gravity lower, with softer suspension that sacks down 1 to 1 1/2 inches when you sit on them and if you add similar mods to them (but slightly higher in cost) they will feel better with lower center of gravity. Before you buy, go to various Harley dealers and functions to meet riders with similar size and needs as yours to get ideas on what works for them. Hope this helps :)
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  8. STEVE07

    STEVE07 Well-Known Member Staff Member Super Moderators

    Where in Indiana? If your near Elkhart go to hoosier Harley,they have a good selection of new and used ,a friendly staff and they would let you sit on all their bikes and ride the ones you like
  9. Joyflyin

    Joyflyin Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator

    Read up, look at bikes you like, and sit on all of them you can. I sat on everything, just to see what I liked and didn't like. I thought I wanted a vrod, but I was talking to one salesman & as I asked questions, this guy answered them honestly, (he wasn't selling me something I didn't want, and he wasn't talking me out of buying something I really wanted). He just answered my questions & I realized the vrod wasn't going to be my first bike. I ended up getting the deuce & I love it. But I shopped around for over 6 months. I had it narrowed down to the softail deuce & the dyna low rider. I wish I had thought to go on line & found this forum earlier. :s