We tend to associate a lot of things with the Harley Davidson brand. Classic Americana, the V-twin engine, whitewall tires, leather saddlebags, loud exhausts, handlebar tassles, and sunburned shoulders. But rarely do we consider Harleys to be particularly fast bikes. They’re cruisers, big and soft, and meant to float down a road with minimal effort asked of the rider. They’re effectively the Cadillac Fleetwood of motorcycles.
However, within Harley’s increasingly broad and confusing lineup of bikes, there have been a handful of absolute barnstormers, bikes with enough power and low enough weight to achieve some seriously quick speeds.
This list will rank the 10 fastest production Harley Davidsons ever made, by 0-60 miles per hour times.
10 1998 FXST Softail – 0-60 in 4.8 seconds
Harley Davidsons of the late 1990s could easily be mistaken for bikes much older than that. The brand used to be known for keeping its styling consistent and rarely deviating from its past designs. This particular bike, the FXST Softail, was able to achieve 0-60 in 4.8 seconds. Not a blistering pace by modern car or bike standards but still plenty quick for something that looks as old-school as this does.
9 2017 Roadster – 0-60 in 4.7 seconds
The modern Sportster is modelled after classic racing bikes of the past, while also cashing in on the recent trend of naked “streetfighter”-style bikes. Its short wheelbase and low handlebars give this bike phenomenal corner grip and stability, allowing you to nail the throttle harder on corner exit than a bike like this should. It achieves 0-60 in 4.7 seconds.
8 2014 Softail Deluxe – 0-60 in 4.5 seconds
Despite this being a 2014 model year bike, you’d be forgiven if you thought it was straight out of the 1970s. The classic black and white motif, the whitewall tires and the big tri-lamp headlights are all classic Harley. This is one of the latest iterations of the iconic Softail line, and its massive V-twin gives this bike enough shove to overcome its weight and achieve 0-60 in 4.5 seconds.
7 2018 Softail Heritage Classic 114 – 0-60 in 4.4 seconds
Though a name like “Heritage” suggests this bike should look a lot more like the one above, this newer Softail forgoes the glossy black and white for a cleaner, matte grey and black theme, also doing away with the whitewall tires and chrome. 114 refers to the engine’s displacement in cubic inches, which is enough to propel this “Big Twin” cruiser to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, a one-tenth improvement over the 2014 Softail.
6 2016 Sportster 48 – 0-60 in 4.3 seconds
Early reviewers of this bike pointed out that its one killer feature is its front forks, designed in such away to dramatically improve its handling. Its also one of few Harleys that does not use wire spoke wheels, rather a set of lightweight alloy wheels wrapped in performance tires. Its V-twin pushes it from 0-60 in 4.3 seconds.
5 2014 Street Glide Special – 0-60 in 4.3 seconds
Like the Sportster above, this also ditches the chrome spoke wheels for alloys, but that’s about where the comparisons end. This is a Harley Davidson: a big, brash bruiser of a bike with full fairings, saddlebags, massive chrome V-twin and a paint job so vivid that you’d be hard pressed to go unnoticed while you ride. Its engine has enough power to overcome its considerable weight and propels it from 0-60 in 4.3 seconds.
4 2013 Sportster 1200 Custom – 0-60 in 4.2 seconds
Harley decided to modern-up with this one and use the metric system in its name. 1200 in this case refers to the size of the engine in cubic centimetres, or 1.2 litres. That’s a massive engine for a bike, particularly one with only two cylinders, so you can only imagine how loud and menacing this thing sounds. It’s fast too, with enough power to reach 60 in 4.2 seconds.
3 2016 Softail Slim S – 0-60 in 3.9 seconds
Finally we arrive at the first sub-4 second 0-60 time. The “Slim” part of the name is what gives this bike an edge over some of its stablemates. It lacks the bulky dressing of other Softails, while retaining the big, powerful V-twin. The matte green army look is a factory option, and its one that should be ticked by anyone thinking about picking one of these up: it looks fantastic. This bike will do 0-60 in a respectable 3.9 seconds.
2 2010 V-Rod Muscle – 0-60 in 3.7 seconds
The V-Rod series of bikes are some of Harley’s highest-performance options, designed above all else to be quick enough to compete with import performance bikes, while retaining the American charm (and V-twin burble) associated with a Harley Davidson. The front forks are raked back and kept low, to help with balance and aerodynamics. It’s a fairly lightweight machine too, at least by Harley’s standards. All this adds up to a 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds.
1 2001 V-Rod – 0-60 in 3.5 seconds
This bike has a phenomenal look to it, better than the V-Rod above because of its colour alone, allowing you to see the skeleton of the bike’s frame and how the fairings are designed to fit flush within the frame to maximize airflow over the bike. It’s a fantastic look, and it’s paired with some pretty fantastic performance. This bike will hit 60 in only 3.5 seconds, making it the fastest production Harley Davidson motorcycle, and a force to be reckoned with.
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