Back in the day, it was uncommon for women to ride motorcycles. However, changing times mean women now make up a considerable portion of Harley buyers.
While women can drive any Harley, the bikes on this list contain features that make it a more comfortable experience for females, who typically have a smaller frame than men.
In this article, we’ll cover the best Harley for a woman seeking to own a motorcycle.
Best Harley Davidson Bikes for Women
Whether you’re a motorcycle newbie or have years of experience, these six Harley bikes are excellent options for women seeking a comfortable ride.
1. Sportster 883 SuperLow
The sturdy Sportster 883 gets its “SuperLow” title from its low 25.5-inch seat height.
Bike straddling is typically a more challenging endeavor for smaller-framed women compared to men.
However, the Sportster 883 has a deep bucket seat which offers women extra support for straddling their bike.
A narrow seat means that women undergo less strain on their legs than wider seats, making this bike a good option for longer rides.
The handlebars on the Sportster 883 are elongated and turn in towards the rider, offering women with a shorter than average stature comfort when riding.
Women prone to backaches will appreciate that the Sportster has a responsive suspension design.
Therefore, shock absorption is excellent, and the bike is also lightweight, making it easy to maneuver.
In addition to the female-friendly features discussed here, the Sportster is an excellent option for newbie riders of any gender.
It has a small 830cc motor and 52 horsepower, meaning that it’s harder to find yourself in a position where the bike gets out of control.
2. Softail Deluxe
The masculine-looking Softail Deluxe is an excellent option for women who don’t want feminine touches to their ride.
It has a seat height of only 24.5 inches, making it a perfect fit for an average-size woman.
If you’re shorter than average, you can easily adjust the seat by utilizing Harley-Davidson’s aftermarket lower kit.
That way, you won’t have to worry about negatively impacting the bike’s suspension.
Women who plan on traveling long distances will appreciate that the Softail Deluxe has an ergonomic design.
It offers superior lumbar support and comfortable, scooped seats. Due to pullback handlebars, even the shortest women will find the handlebar position comfortable.
Floorboards allow plenty of room for resting your feet. The Softail Deluxe has a 1746cc Big Twin motor and 109 pounds of torque, so it’s the best fit for experienced female riders.
It’s also on the heavier side since it weighs more than 700 pounds. However, a low center of gravity makes transferring it around relatively easy.
3. Sportster 1200 Custom
Intermediate and advanced female riders will swoon over the Sportster 1200.
The bike has a higher seat than the other bikes we’ve talked about so far (28.5 inches), but its deep bucket seat design makes it ideal for comfort.
In fact, the iconic Cafe Racer style inspired the design.
Although it has a large engine (1200cc motor and 71 pounds of torque), this bike is surprisingly lightweight at only 562 pounds.
Because it’s so light, it’s a good option for riding down both highways and city streets.
The bike has an upright riding position and mid-mount foot controls. For these reasons, it’s a good fit for average to tall women.
Those who want a throwback to the ’70s will love the ’70s-inspired gas tank graphic.
The Sportster 1200 is one of the best Harleys for a woman wanting power without the heavier touring models.
It has a fixed speed screen so that you always know the altitude of your bike. You’re sure to love the mini-ape handlebars, which bend for comfort.
4. Street 500 & 750
The Street 500 & 750 Harley models cater to younger female riders who want a sporty ride.
These models cater to women of different motorcycle experiences since the 500 has a 489cc engine, and the 750 has a 790cc engine.
Harley did an excellent job engineering their Street models to cater to a woman’s stature.
The bikes have a narrow profile and wide handlebars, so even the shortest women can easily maneuver their ride. The seat’s position requires a more front-leaning experience.
However, footpegs by the knees ensure you remain comfortable.
As you’ve likely gathered by now, a bike’s weight plays a huge factor in identifying the best Harley for a woman.
Both the 500 and 750 weigh just over 400 pounds, so they’re easy to handle on the road.
Women who ride in traffic will appreciate that this model’s Revolution X engine uses liquid cooling. Therefore, you won’t get too hot when your bike idles in gridlock traffic.
The Street 500 and 750 are perfect for beginners and anyone on a budget.
5. Softail Slim
A favorite among women and men alike, the Softail Slim is a stylish old-school looking Harley that offers a relaxed riding position, a low-lying seat at 25.5 inches, and floorboards where you can rest your feet.
Thanks to a lightweight design, it’s easy for small-framed women to handle the Softail Slim.
As its name suggests, the bike has a slim design, which is a feature many women seek to make long-distance rides more comfortable.
The Softail’s seat has a low-slung saddle. It lowers you into the bike, making it a good fit for women with shorter legs, and also offers back support.
One of the reasons the Softail Slim is lighter weight is because of its suspension, which has linear damping characteristics.
In fact, it provides similar performance to a racing-style cartridge fork. A mono-shock rear suspension improves dynamic cornering as you ride.
6. Softail LowRider
The Softail LowRider is an excellent fit for average to tall women who are experienced riders.
It has a seat height of 26.2 inches and offers curved handlebars to help put you maintain a comfortable posture while riding.
Harley’s Softail Lowrider is both aesthetically pleasing and offers outstanding performance.
It provides an excellent turning radius and great shock absorption to ensure a comfortable ride no matter the road conditions.
The Softail Lowrider isn’t the lightest weight motorcycle on this list, but at 661 pounds, it’s one of the lightest of the Softail models.
It’s an excellent fit for women seeking an outstanding power-to-weight ratio, as it has a 1745cc engine and 110 pounds of torque.
FAQs About Harleys for Women
Now that we’ve covered the best Harley for a woman let’s cover some common questions about these bikes.
What’s the best Harley for a short woman?
Harley offers some of the lowest riding bikes in the industry, making them an excellent option for shorter women.
Most models include suspension mods, which allows you to lower the seat height even more.
You can also opt to customize your bike, building it piece by piece to fit your preferences.
The Sportster 883 is a great starting bike for women since it’s lightweight, offers low seat height, and doesn’t require as much strength as other motorcycles.
What’s the best Harley for a woman new to motorcycles?
Beginner Harley drivers should seek out lightweight models, such as the Sportster 883 which offers excellent performance.
That way, they’ll be easier to control on the road.
You should also look for a motorcycle with a smaller engine and less horsepower, giving you time to build your confidence before moving on to more powerful Harleys.
Which Harleys are most comfortable for women to ride?
Since most women are shorter than men, average to short women will find it more comfortable to ride cruiser Harleys with a low-lying seat.
Lightweight motorcycles will also make it easier for women to manage. Harley recognizes the demand for women riders and offers various models that cater to a woman’s stature.
What factors should women consider before they buy a Harley?
Women should assess the following characteristics and their experience level with motorcycle riding before making a purchase.
- Weight. Lightweight bikes are easier to balance and manage when riding. As a bonus, they’re more fuel-efficient.
- Seat position. Since women tend to have a shorter stature than men, most will find low seats more comfortable than high ones.
- Handlebar height. Try out different handlebars to find the size that feels comfortable to you and promotes a relaxed posture. Avoid bikes that force you to lean forward to hold the handles.
- Performance. Choose a bike that has a power level conducive to your experience. Beginners should choose a low to mid-range power bike, whereas experienced riders can handle the more powerful models.
Can you customize Harley-Davidsons?
One of the biggest advantages of Harleys is that you can customize your bike to fit your needs.
That’s particularly helpful for women since they can request a specific seat height, handlebar position, and bike weight.
Although it makes for a large initial investment, Harleys hold their value better than most other bike brands.
Seat height, bike weight, and handlebar position are some of the most important factors determining whether or not a motorcycle is a good fit for women.
Harley offers several female-friendly motorcycles.
Since every woman has a different stature, biking experience, and comfort level, you should test out various models to find the perfect Harley for you.