2016 Harley Low Rider S First Ride Review

2016 Low Rider S Review

NEW BIKE REVIEW • by Tyler Greenblatt  Photos by Riles & Nelson

There’s fast, and then there’s 110” Screamin’ Eagle Dyna fast

You know you’re in for a fun ride when fleet center manager Alan has to replace all the ground-down footpegs on the test bikes from the previous day’s grouping of motojournalists. I promised to take care of the fresh pegs on the new 2016 Low Rider S when my day came to ride it, unlike the local Los Angeles hooligans who had been riding that day. After about 30 seconds of riding the FXDL-S, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to keep my promise.

Walking up to the S for the first time, it takes a second to recognize it as actually being a Low Rider as so much is physically different between the two machines that share a name. Gone is the chrome and metallic look from the original Shovelhead Low Riders. The back half of the rear fender is noticeably missing, and the handlebars are entirely different. At first glance it looks more like something coming out of a Southern California custom shop than a factory Harley. That defining look is the first complete bike to be headed up by H-D Director of Styling Brad Richards, who started at Harley just over a year ago and whose name you’ll be seeing a lot.

2016 Harley Low Rider S

The Low Rider S is equipped with “Premium Ride nitrogen gas-charged emulsion shocks and a Premium Ride cartridge fork.”

The split, five-spoke Magnum Gold cast aluminum wheels look as though they were pulled from the 1982 FXSB, while the gold tank badge was pulled directly from the 1977 XLCR. The drag bars, speed screen, side-mount license plate, bobbed rear fender, and deep-scoop solo seat are all modern takes on the traditional high-performance Harley.

It’s impossible to discuss high-performance Harleys without making mention of the legendary FXR motorcycles of the 1980s and ‘90s, which mixed a stiff, triangulated frame and sporty suspension with a rubber-mounted Big Twin. FXRs have grown in popularity in the past few years, and with that resurgence came a subsequent rise in Dyna interest. But today’s twin-shock enthusiast isn’t looking for the same chopper-esque feel of Willie G’s Shovelhead FX creations. The name of the game today is speed, around corners as much as in a straight line, and the ability to stop. The 2016 Low Rider S delivers on all fronts.

2016 Harley Low Rider S Screamin' Eagle Twin Cam 110 engine

The latest addition to Harley’s Dyna range is equipped with the Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 engine, a forward-facing Screamin’ Eagle Heavy Breather performance intake and Fat Bob-style 2-into-2 exhaust.

The Low Rider S sports a set of premium adjustable emulsion-type shock absorbers at the rear and a premium ride cartridge fork suspension at the front, good for 2.13″ and 5.1″ of travel respectively. Although rear travel seems short, the premium adjustable shocks held their own while carving California’s canyons for over 100 miles. Unlike typical stock shocks, these didn’t bottom out once on me, and they kept the rear of the Dyna tracking through turns as if it were on rails. The improvement in the front isn’t as obvious, but undoubtedly aids in the bike’s road manners.

The Low Rider S sports 28-1/2-degree left- and 27-1/2-degree right-lean angles, which leaves some lean room to be desired, although as I found out you can go right up to and past the pegs around turns. In fact, after about an hour of spirited riding, your pegs should be worn down enough to increase those angles. Any new buyer should just consider footpegs a regularly replaceable maintenance item thanks to the 4.1″ of ground clearance. That low center of gravity and 27″ unladen seat height also make the S easy to control and predictable even when sparks are flying. The sticky Michelin Scorcher tires still have some tread left once you run out of bike, which further improves confidence.

2016 Harley Low Rider S first ride

Tyler cracks the throttle on the 2016 Low Rider S and said he likes the Twin Cam 110 platform in this Dyna. 

Wait, there’s more! For the full ride review, custom bike features, tech stories and more,
CLICK HERE American Iron Issue 338

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Harley Low Rider S Dyna

“Riders have been asking when Harley-Davidson would build another aggressive, performance-based bike like the legendary FXR models,” said Harley-Davidson Director of Styling Brad Richards.

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