2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114 Is a Rowdy, Fun Ride
Daily Slideshow: Fast on the straights and nimble in the twisties.
New Model Renassiance
Harley-Davidson is in the middle of a new model renaissance, one that it hopes will help right the financial ship. And so far, the legendary motorcycle maker's revival appears to be going quite well. One of the most exciting new products they've introduced recently is the stunning FXDR 114. But as good as this thing looks, the real question is - how does it ride? Thankfully, Bike EXIF has the answer in their recent review.
Cool, but Worth It?
In concept, the FXDR is essentially a radical looking new Softail that's built on drag racing aesthetics, yet one that also handles well. And it's the only Softail that sports H-D's 114 cube Milwaukee-Eight powerplant. With a base price of $21,349, it's also the most expensive bike in the Softail lineup. So is it worth it?
Look the Part
As Bike EXIF notes, it certainly looks the part up close. "It’s sure to polarize opinion, but seeing it in the flesh had me instantly hooked. It has all the right power cruiser chops, but with neat contemporary touches. Like that flat track-esque rear section, and that oval LED headlight, borrowed from the Breakout. (Kudos to Frank Savage, who led the design team, and Dais Nagao, who penned the first design)."
From Every Angle
The interesting design quirks of the FXDR 114 extend to every angle, too. "Look at it from the front, and you’ll see the angles on the headlight shroud echoed on the air filter and the edges of the oil cooler covers. Peek behind that screen, and you’ll see the same tiny LED speedo as the Street Bob embedded behind it. The FXDR’s raised clip-on handlebars keep the cockpit neat and open, and a removable plate reveals regular riser mount points, if you’d prefer to fit different bars."
Sure, it looks awesome. But apparently, the FXDR 114 lives up to the quality and feel you'd expect from such a pricey bike. "What’s more, every last part feels primo to the touch. We had four of the six paint options on hand, and they all looked top-class in the light of day, with little orange highlights (right down to the spark plug wires) adding to the muscle bike feel."
As you might imagine, that torquey M-8 offers up a pretty fun riding experience when you twist the throttle, too. "Whacking the throttle open had the FXDR pulling off the mark like a freight train. With no traction control to rein it in (when asked, Harley said it was in the works for future models), getting the rear to breakaway and squirm was as juvenile as it was fun."
Keep it Brief
Riding position was a point of contention, however. And it makes the FXDR 114 more suitable for shorter rides. "But swinging a leg over the FXDR 114 quickly revealed a weakness: ergonomics. With forward controls and low bars, I looked and felt like a regular badass on it. But out on the road, it limited how good the FXDR could be."
"The riding position worked a treat here: all I had to do was hang off the clip-ons, feet out, with the scooped seat tucking me into the bike. But the pressure on my back and wrists made riding it a chore by the end of our 150-mile ride."
It took some adjustment, but eventually, our test rider figured things out. And he seemed to enjoy the FXDR's handling prowess. "But once I managed to adapt my riding style, I started to see the results of Harley-Davidson’s handling tweaks. That 19” front wheel does turn in easier, and the bike feels incredibly planted once it’s in a turn. On the Breakout, that fat rear wheel feels disconnected—but on the FXDR it works in unison with the front."
Power and Styling, Above All
The final verdict? Well, the FXDR is a great bike to blast around town on, apparently. "All in all, it’s a rowdy, fun ride. But that goofy riding position stops me from really loving it. And, honestly, that’s OK. Harley-Davidson is clearly pitching the FXDR 114 at riders who value power and styling more than all-out canyon carving ability."
Click over to the HDForums' how-to section and catch up on the latest maintenance tips and how-to tricks for your bike.