The best motorcycles are two-wheeled combinations of speed, sex and performance. And at #TeamDU, we make no secret of the fact that only the legendary Bar and Shield creates genuinely great machines. And nothing is as great as a custom Harley Davidson. Of course, every marque claims to have an iconic model or two in its catalogue, but no other manufacturer gets to be a lifestyle choice. So, after plenty of banter in the workshop about the world’s best custom Harley Davidson, we put together this top 10 list.
Harley-Davidson EL “Knucklehead”
We’re jumping straight in with the mighty Knucklehead. It was a massive design departure from the traditional flatheads, and Hog owners soon came up with the Knucklehead nickname for its iconic valve cover design. It was also the last bike chief engineer William S. Harley and the Davidson brothers completed together – and that alone gives it a place in our top 10.
Super tough. Super reliable. Super iconic. The bike that won the war for the USA was a typical flathead design which tolerated anything, including poor-quality fuel. 90,000 WLA’s were made for the US Army – that’s what the “A” is for – and its allies. And if we’re talking iconic motorcycles, no list is complete without this piece of history.
Harley-Davidson XLCH Sportster
The original flat track racer, this is hands down the most popular bike from the Bar and Shield. Debuting in 1957, there’s nothing not to love about the Sportster. It’s powerful and ultimately customisable with Harley bolt-ons. Harley Davidson has very little to the Sportster over the past 60+ years because the design is sweet perfection.
Hydra-Glide or Electra-Glide? This was a tough call, but the Electra-Glide, with its Panhead engine, five-gallon tank and electric starter system, took out the win. When it got the big batwing fairing in 1969, Milwaukee’s favourite company created the ultimate tourer. Built for comfort, a favourite with riders from US cops to Elvis Presley, and immortalised in the 1970’s classic Electra-Glide in Blue, what’s not to love?
Harley-Davidson XLCR 1000
The design flopped, and its performance was nothing to write home about. But the uber-rare XLCR 1000 has achieved cult status among Harley enthusiasts. Essentially a dirt track bike on a Sportster frame, it featured the fabled “Siamese” exhaust system. But as a rare misfire, its rarity value gives it iconic status.
Harley-Davidson Fat Boy
This 1990 classic encapsulates everything about what makes a Harley so damned cool. After all, it’s the bike Arnie rode in Terminator 2 and sent sales soaring. With its 50 horsepower V-Twin engine capable of producing over 100ft-lbs of torque, it backed up its lethal looks with great performance.
Harley-Davidson V Rod
Who doesn’t love a custom V-Rod? It’s the bike that showed Harley could effortlessly do performance, with a bit of help from Porsche, while giving custom bike builders so much to play with. Check out the “Black Beauty” in the movie “Green Hornet”, and take time to appreciate the chopped rear fender, the detailing on the diamond-stitched leather seat, the awesome all-black paint job and the Destroyer wheels. Instantly iconic.
This 70’s icon is the most winningest motorcycle in the history of the American Motoring Association. It won on flat track and road, and Evel Knievel used one for all his record-breaking stunts, including his final jump in 1977. And despite its modest looks, it’s actually the most successful racing bike of all time. Not bad for an “Ironhead.”
Harley-Davidson Softail Rocker C
We knew we had to include a chopper in any discussion of iconic Harleys. But should it be the 1986 FXR Super Glide, like Bruce Willis rode in Pulp Fiction? Or a Softail Springer Classic with its low-slung cool? In the end, we bowed to “Popular Mechanics” and went with their pick, the Softail Rocker C. What makes the design instantly iconic is that ingenious Rockertail rear end – all the looks of a hardtail chopper with none of the spine-shredding effects.
This bike has a place very close to our hearts. Because without the FXR2, there’d be no Harley CVO. And without Harley Custom Vehicle Operations – well, you get the picture. The FXR was out of production when Jim Hoffman, Harley’s Parts & Accessories guy, decided to claim back some ground from the aftermarket manufacturers. He got the bike back in production with some very tasty goodies, and Harley’s incredible CVO range was born.
Custom Harley Davidsons from #DU
So there it is, our customised list of the most iconic Harley Davidson motorcycles ever built and the reason we spend our days doing what we do. So if you’re looking to ‘murder out’ your Harley, upgrade your horsepower or get a custom colour respray, get in touch. At #TeamDU, creating custom Harley Davidsons is our passion, so contact us to talk bikes and trucks today.