harley davidson dyna

The History of Harley-Davidson Dyna Motorcycles

The History of Harley-Davidson Dyna Motorcycles

Before Softail, Dyna was the trademark Harley lineup with several notable models in the Dyna family carrying a unique prestige and persona. The Harley Davidson Dyna has unfortunately vanished from the scene after the introduction of the Harley Davidson Softail family.

It looks like Dyna is completely gone and will never make a comeback in the new motorcycle market. However, it is still a reputable brand of bikes in the old motorcycle segment and is valued highly among those who have a mature sense of motorcycling.

The Harley Davidson Dyna motorcycles are the best Harley bikes of the good old days. Dyna motorcycles have played a huge role in portraying the perfect picture of what Harley-Davidson bikes are like. Continue reading this article to learn about the splendid history of Harley Davidson Dyna Motorcycles.

1. The History of Harley-Davidson Dyna Motorcycles


1.1 The Harley Davidson Dyna Origin with FX Series

The history of the Harley Davidson Dyna motorcycles dates back to the 1970s, even before the first Dyna came out in 1991. 1971 marked the year when Harley released the FX Super Glide, the company’s first offering of a factory-made custom bike. The FX Super Glide was the experimental combination of the H-D FLH Electra Glide and the XLH Sportster. The telescopic front fork was extracted from the XLH Sportster while the FLH Electra Glide donated the rear suspension and frame.

1.2 What Does the FX Mean on a Harley?

Not just these parts, the XLH and FLH codes also merged to form the FX, which also became known as “Factory Experimental”. The public response in terms of sales and feedback was mixed. Harley Davidson paid due attention to the feedback and continued making amendments, particularly the boat tail-like rear fender design, which received mild criticism from users. It was unnecessarily big and heavy and was negatively impacting the overall look of the Harley Davidson FX Super Glide.

1971 Harley Davidson FX Super Glide

1971 Harley Davidson FX Super Glide
Photo Credit: Bike Urious 

As modifications kept coming over the years, the Harley Davidson FX Super Glide sales started improving.


1.3 The Release of the Harley FXR Series

1982 FXR Super Glide II

1982 FXR Super Glide II
Photo Credit: Zombie Drive

Later in 1982, Harley Davidson released the FXR Super Glide II which was a refined and upgraded form of the H-D FX model. The FXR Super Glide II featured a five-speed transmission and the engine was mounted to the frame using rubber mount technology. After becoming a familiar name in the motorcycling world, a new model was introduced in the FXR lineup, called the H-D FXRS Low Rider in the same year. The very next year, the Harley FXRT Sport Glide made its debut.


The H-D FX lineup was completely removed from the scene in favor of the more successful FXR series. However, Harley Davidson had new plans to continue improving its FXR chassis.


1.4 The Birth of Harley Davidson Dyna

1991 Harley-Davidson Dyna FXDB Sturgis

1991 Harley-Davidson Dyna FXDB Sturgis
Photo Credit: Mecum Auctions 

The first-ever Harley Davidson Dyna motorcycle was born in 1991, called the Harley FXDB Sturgis. It was a limited-edition model, named after the most successful motorcycle rally, held annually in South Dakota, the Sturgis Rally. According to an estimate, nearly 1,500 units of the FXDB Sturgis were made.

The one major change in the Harley FXDB Dyna Sturgis from the previous models was the reduced number of engine mounts while keeping the rubber-mounted technology as found on the previous FXR Super Glide II. As the number of mounts was reduced from three to two, it resulted in extreme engine vibrations. However, it was done to achieve lower production costs and time. Also, regardless of the increased engine vibrations, the new Dyna FXD frame helped keep the engine movement restricted within the frame.

The new FXD frame became a primary choice for the newly-produced Evolution engine due to being stiffer.


1992 FXDC Dyna Glide & 1992 FXDB Daytona

1992 FXDC Dyna Glide
Photo Credit: Moto Zombie Drive 
1992 FXDB Daytona
Photo Credit: Mecum

The Dyna continued to grow as Harley Davidson added two new models in the lineup, including the FXDC Dyna Glide and the FXDB Daytona. Both of these motorcycles were quite similar to each other except for a few visual changes.


1.5 The Release of Dyna Wide Glide and Low Rider

1993 Harley-Davidson FXDWG Wide Glide

1993 Harley-Davidson FXDWG Wide Glide
Photo Credit: Zombie Drive Moto 

The start of the 1990s marked a new era of success for Harley Davidson thanks to the inception of the Dyna as it brought several great ideas. All the previous FXR models, including the FXRS Low Rider and the FXRT Sport Glide, stopped being produced in favor of the new FXDWG Dyna Wide Glide and the FXDL Dyna Low Rider. With these models, Dyna became an established entity in the Harley Davidson due to its widespread popularity.


1.6 The Year of Improvements

Several upgrades were made to the Dyna in 1995 as the company decided to make it the flagship lineup through improvements and the introduction of several new variants. As a result, the Harley FXD Dyna Super Glide and the FXDS-CONV Dyna Glide Convertible were released. The 32° rake in the previous Dyna models was replaced with the 28° rake in these current models.

The remaining two FXR models, including the FXLR Low Rider Custom and the FXR Super Glide, were discontinued as well.


1.7 The Release of Dyna Super Glide Sport

The Release of Dyna Super Glide Sport
Photo Credit: Zombie Drive 

1999 marked the year of the introduction of the FXDX Dyna Super Glide Sport. This bike featured improved suspension technology and triple disc brakes. The Harley Davidson FXDX-T Super Glide T-Sport was also introduced in 1999 which carried a fork-mounted fairing and removable saddlebags for improved customizability and touring performance. In the same year, Harley Davidson also replaced the 82 cu in Evolution engine with a more powerful and torquey Twin Cam 88 cu in engine.


1.8 The Harley Dyna FXDBI Street Bob Came to the Scene

The Harley Dyna FXDBI Street Bob Came to the Scene
Photo Credit: Revtero 

For a good number of years, the Harley-Davidson FXDX Dyna models were out of the scene as the company did not introduce any new models. The H-D Dyna again became the talk of the town when the Harley FXDBI Street Bob and the limited-edition 35th Anniversary model, the FXDI35 Super Glide were released with a redesigned chassis. The Dyna series also received a six-speed transmission in 2006.


1.9 The Twin Cam 96 Introduction

In 2007, another major engine upgrade was introduced to the Harley Davidson Big V-Twin lineup, including the Dyna series. The Twin Cam 88 was replaced by the all-new fuel-injected Twin Cam 96 cu in engine.


1.10 The Muscle Bike “Harley Dyna Fat Bob”

The Muscle Bike “Harley Dyna Fat Bob”
Photo Credit: Ultimate Motorcycling 

2008 was another successful year for Harley thanks to the beefy Harley muscle cruiser that featured in the H-D lineup, known as the FXDF Dyna Fat Bob. The most iconic features of the FXDF Fat Bob that improve its meatier look, include the twin headlamp, wide front tire, and a two-into-one-into-two exhaust system.

1.11 Harley Davidson Dyna Featured on Sons of Anarchy

The Muscle Bike “Harley Dyna Fat Bob”
Photo Credit: Screen Rant 

Another major development occurred in 2008 when the Harley Davidson Dyna motorcycles premiered on the all-time favorite crime tragedy television series, Sons of Anarchy. The Harley Davidson Dyna gathered immense limelight and popularity through this show and it especially came at a time when the company was struggling financially.

The show is based on the story of a single father who finds it hard to maintain a balance between his life being a new dad and his loyalty and involvement with a motorcycle club involved in lawlessness. Most of the cast members who appeared on this show used the blacked-out Harley Dyna models.

The main lead of Sons of Anarchy, Jax Teller, played by Charlie Hunnam used a 2003 Harley FXD Dyna Super Glide throughout the show. Though other motorcycles were also used in the show, the most prominent bike was the Harley Dyna which was used by most cast members and received the most air time.


1.12 The First Touring Dyna - FLD Switchback

The First Touring Dyna - FLD Switchback
Photo Credit: Total Motorcycle 

In 2012, Harley Davidson introduced the first-ever complete Dyna touring bike, called the H-D FLD Switchback. The touring looks were completed with standard saddlebags and floorboards for riders. The Harley FLD Dyna Switchback was also the first offering in the Dyna series to receive the Twin Cam 103 engine.


1.13 The Final Year of Sons of Anarchy

After a successful run of seven years, the hit television series, Sons of Anarchy, finally concluded in December 2014. The show has helped Harley Davidson, particularly Dyna models receive tremendous hype and popularity.


1.14 The Discontinuation of the Harley Davidson Dyna

Unfortunately, in 2017, the King Dyna had to go in favor of the new Harley Softail series. It was a bold decision made by the company as several widely popular Dyna models were currently being produced. However, the company cleverly continued the most popular Dyna models by transferring them to the Softail series with a hidden rear shock underneath the seat.

2. Important Highlights of the Harley Davidson Dyna Motorcycles

2.1 Meaningful Name

What Does Dyna Stand for?

‘Dyna’ is a title that embodies the essence of ‘dynamic,’ a word that describes the motorcycle’s core attributes of power and performance. The Dyna motorcycles were developed to provide more of a dynamic riding experience to Harley enthusiasts with their powerful engines and highly responsive handling qualities.

2.2 Unique Frame Design

What is Special About a Dyna?

The Harley Davidson Dyna Series is well-known for its twin-shock rear suspension system integrated into its frame design. The setup is also different from the Softail's hidden suspension and the Sportster’s traditional dual-shock design which creates an excellent blend of performance and comfort.

2.3 The Middle Child

The Harley Dyna series is situated between the Sportster lineup, which is the smallest, and the touring models, which are the largest motorbikes in the Harley family. Consequently, these bikes were also referred to as the ‘middle child’ of the Harley-Davidson line-up. However, it gained immense public attention and love because of the way it combined the two most notable motorcycle features, including agility and power.

2.4 Customizable Fit

The Dyna series is a highly customizable lineup that can be modified as per riders' preferences. Components from various aftermarket parts companies are perfectly compatible with the Harley Dyna motorcycles. As a result, you can use a lot of aftermarket parts and make your motorcycle unique.

2.5 Replacement for FXR

The Dyna was designed to successfully take over the FXR chassis and it came out with the FXDB Sturgis as its first model. The engineers designed this model to pay tribute to the popular Sturgis motorcycle rally and introduced what would be known as the Dyna models in the future.

2.6 Evolution of Design

Various design changes were introduced and new models were added throughout the years since it was last made in 2017. With the new models and constant upgrades, the Harley Davidson Dyna series remained competitive and cool to ride on.

3. Why Did Harley Discontinue Dyna?

There are several reasons speculated by different motorcycling experts and Harley fans regarding why Harley discontinued the Dyna lineup.

3.1 Incapacity of Accommodating the Bigger Milwaukee-Eight

The one reason that sounds the most authentic was the introduction of the all-new more powerful and torquey Milwaukee-Eight engine and the incapability of Dyna frames to accommodate it. The Milwaukee-Eight engines by Harley Davidson are large V-Twin engines with greater displacement sizes, requiring a more sturdy and rigid frame design.

3.2 Stock Prices Went Down

Many sources also confirmed that Harley-Davidson wasn’t able to do well in those years and the stock prices were continuously down. The company was compelled to bring its expenditures down through downsizing and cutting production. As a result, our favorite Harley series, Dyna, had to go.

3.3 The Demand to Bring Something Fresh and New

There is also another point of view regarding why Harley discontinued Dyna which states that Harley Davidson was struggling to target its loyal client base to continue selling motorcycles to them. As competitors were focussing more on the next-generation motorcycles of the future, Harley Davidson was also demanded to bring something fresh and new. The company was also tasked to attract young, new, and female riders to the Harley Davidson motorcycling culture.

3.4 Not Being Exceptional

If you analyze the discontinuation of Harley Dyna models thoroughly, you will notice several major points that could have been pointed out and improved. Though the Dyna models were relatively affordable, less complex, and easier to work on, they were not as overpowering as H-D touring models and also not as smooth and responsive as the H-D Sportster.

4. The Bottom Line

Though discontinued, the Harley Davidson Dyna motorcycles have served as the face of the company and the American motorcycling scene for 27 glorious years. The Dyna models still hold a reputation as the pioneer and trademark Harley models. Numerous Harley-Davidson Dyna models have left an indelible impression on our hearts and a legacy that can never be matched.

The Harley Davidson Dyna motorcycles became the favorite models of motorcyclists due to their stunning capability of being customized a great deal. Harley Dynas can be a great partner for long-haul journeys and motorcycle tours with only a few touch-ups and additions.

Viking Bags, the class-leading motorcycle luggage bags , and aftermarket parts manufacturer has almost everything in the store that is built to fit the Harley Dyna series. Visit the website to find saddlebags , sissy bars , sissy bar pads , handlebars , and fairings custom-tailored for Dyna.

Do you want more storage capacity on your bike? Viking Bags makes the best-in-the-town motorcycle bags, including tank bags , backpacks , tour packs , trunk bags , and much more.

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