Harley Davidson Dyna Glide: Tips and Tricks for New Riders

While the Dyna is a straightforward machine and very user friendly, beginners could still stand to benefit from some tips and tricks. If you would like to learn more about your Dyna and how to ride it properly, this is the place to be!

By Daniel Robey - December 30, 2015

This article applies to Dyna Glide models (1991-2016).

So, you finally got a Dyna of your own? Good call. The Dyna lineup has something to offer riders of all skill levels and ages. For the purpose of this article, we will discuss tips for novice riders on their Dynas and even an experienced riders looking for information on their first Harley Davidson.

Attend a Basic RiderCourse

The single most important aspect to consider when motorcycling is safety—that's where the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) comes into play. The MSF offers courses for riders of all skill levels. The Basic RiderCourse is the first evolution in your training as a competent and safe rider. The MSF will offer the use of a 250cc, lightweight motorcycle for this course, but I do not recommend using it. Unless you are afraid of dropping it, ride your own bike during the training course. The Dyna has a lower center of gravity, but it also weighs more than the loaner bikes, so your control inputs have to be a lot different. The MSF bikes also have a lot less power, so you use a lot more throttle than on the powerful V-twin Harley. If you are going to learn how to ride your Dyna safely, it stands to reason that you should practice on your Dyna. Plus, this will serve as an opportunity to familiarize yourself with your new bike in a controlled environment. Besides, everyone else will be jealous of your shiny, new Harley as you rip around the course with surgical precision!

Figure 1. A Dyna rider practicing at a MSF-USA Basic RiderCourse.

Do not stop with the Basic RiderCourse, either! It is recommended to take as many different MSF courses as possible in order to make yourself a safer and more skilled rider. Course information can be found at the Motorcyle Safetly Foundation site (see Related Sites below).

Get Quality Riding Gear

Again, I hate to harp on safety here, but it really is that important. I am sure that you have heard it before. "There are two types of riders: those who have crashed, and those who will crash." There is more than a hint of truth to that old saying. While it isn't true that everyone who ever rides a motorcycle will one day get into a bad accident, the chances are high that you will at least drop your bike at some point. I am not saying this to dissuade you by any means, but simply to put emphasis on the importance of safety gear. I have been in several accidents, and have never been seriously injured. Some might call it luck, but I credit it to my riding gear. You should always have a helmet, boots, and long pants on, at the minimum. A leather jacket or vest, gloves, and protective pants/chaps are even better protection! I get that some think you look cooler without this gear on, but real riders know how essential good gear is.

Simpson Outlaw Bandit
Figure 2. A quality helmet such as the Simpson Outlaw Bandit is worth its weight in gold.

I want to stress the importance of a helmet one more time before we move on; other gear will certainly protect your body, but a helmet protects your brain, and in turn, your life. Your helmet should be DOT rated at the bare minimum, and a Snell rating to go with it would be better. If your helmet isn't rated for motorcycle use, it may be no better than a plastic baseball cap. A good helmet can save your life at speeds well beyond the legal limits. A full face helmet may not only save your looks, but it will allow you to cruise at freeway speeds much more comfortably. Good helmets are not even all that expensive, and if you ask yourself "How much is my brain worth?" I would be willing to bet the answer is more than the most expensive helmet.

There are several places to find quality riding gear, but I have always had the absolute best luck with RevZilla. The customer support is out of this world, their selection is top notch, their shipping is free as well as lightning fast, and their gear selection is huge.

Get a Factory Service Manual for Your Dyna

When I got my first Harley Davidson, my father gave me a service manual as a gift. It is the single most important piece of literature available for your new Dyna. Every maintenance task is covered in great detail with step-by-step instructions and illustrations. From changing your oil to rebuilding your forks, the Harley Davidson service manuals have what you need. Making sure that your Dyna is properly maintained is vital. As long as you keep your bike in good working order, it will continue to impress and satisfy you. Like we used to say in the military, "Take care of your equipment, and your equipment will take care of you." You can get the manual for your bike at your local dealer's parts department.

2005 Dyna factory service manual
Figure 3. 2005 Dyna factory service manual.

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