- Table of Contents
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Motorcycle Handlebars Height Law
- 3. Top Factory-Made Harley Davidson Motorcycles with High Handlebars
- 3.1 Harley Davidson Softail Standard
- 3.2 Harley Davidson Street Bob 114
- 3.3 Harley Davidson Sportster Iron 1200
- 3.4 Harley Davidson Heritage Classic
- 3.5 Harley Davidson CVO™ Road Glide® Limited Edition
- 4. Top Custom-Made Harley Davidson Motorcycles with High Handlebars
- 4.1 Fat Tire Bagger “The Hammer Head” by Southeast Custom Cycles
- 4.2 Harley Davidson V-Rod “NOTW” by DD Design
- 4.3The Carbon Bagger by Roland Sands Design
- 4.4 The 1993 FXR GTFO by Roland Sands Design
- 4.5 Harley Davidson V-Rod “Bayou Black” by DD Design
- 5. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- 5.1 Which Factory-Made Motorcycles Have High Handlebars?
- 5.2 Why Do Some Motorcycles Have High Handlebars?
- 6. Takeaway
Harley Davidson is one of the most beloved motorcycle brands due to its many customizable motorcycles. There are also many aftermarket parts readily available that you can use to customize your Harley motorcycle. Because of this, Harley Davidson motorcycles are popular among motorcycle enthusiasts and custom motorcycle builders.
One of the most common ways to modify Harley Davidson motorcycles is by installing high handlebars, particularly ape hangers, mini-ape handlebars, and handlebars with tall risers. Motorcycle enthusiasts usually argue about the optimal height of the handlebars without restricting the rider’s vision and affecting handling and maneuverability. However, most expert riders favor high handlebars, claiming that their backs are more comfortable and have a better riding position.
Customized Harley Davidson motorcycles are usually fitted with high handlebars including mini-ape handlebars and ape hangers. Several factory-made Harley Davidson models are also fitted with stock high handlebars. This article discusses the top 10 Harley Davidson motorcycles with high handlebars, including factory-made and customized Harley motorbikes.
2. Motorcycle Handlebars Height Law
Several laws and restrictions focus on how to use high handlebars or ape hangers. However, the motorcycle handlebars height law varies in different states. The law implemented in most U.S. states, including Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, and Michigan, does not allow the rider to use handlebars that are 15 inches tall above the seat level when the rider is seated
Another motorcycle handlebars height law states that the handles must be below shoulder height. This law is applicable in several states, including Arizona, North and South Dakota, New York, New Hampshire, and Illinois.
In about 14 states, there are no restrictions on motorcycle handlebars’ height. However, to ensure safety and reduce the risk of crashing, avoid using extremely tall motorcycle handlebars since they make it difficult to control and balance your ride.
Also Read: MOTORCYCLE HANDLEBARS HEIGHT LAWS BY STATE
3. Top Factory-Made Harley Davidson Motorcycles with High Handlebars
3.1 Harley Davidson Softail Standard
Photo Credit: @Harley Davidson
The Harley Davidson Softail Standard is one of the most agile and powerful Harley Davidson motorcycles due to being a simple and lightweight vehicle. Despite having a minimalist design with a stripped-down cruiser look, it is powered by a 1,753 cc Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine capable of a torque of 149.14 Nm at 3,000 rpm and a horsepower of 92.5 hp. The Harley Softail Standard is popular among custom builders due to being easily customizable and having stock mini-ape handlebars. This ensures a comfortable riding experience and provides an upright back position for long-distance rides. You can continuously ride this motorcycle for hours without getting fatigued. For a laidback riding experience, you can install sissy bars and a backrest.
The Harley Softail Standard’s light handling, smooth power delivery, and good throttle response at all gear levels also ensure a fun riding experience. The mini-ape handlebars are at a decent height that does not restrict the rider’s vision and ensures safer riding.
Besides a powerful engine and mini-ape handlebars, the Harley Softail Standard is a simple motorcycle with a solo rider seat and bobber-style front and rear fenders. The 2023 model is only available in a vivid black color scheme with chrome and blacked-out finish and has a base price of $14,399.
3.2 Harley Davidson Street Bob 114
Photo Credit: @Harley Davidson
The Harley Davidson Street Bob 114 is a more powerful and stylish version of the Harley Softail Standard. It is also fitted with blacked-out mini-ape handlebars, bobber-style front and rear fenders, and a small round headlight. The Harley Street Bob 114 has a tuck-and-roll rider seat and a separate passenger seat attached to the rear fender. Its 1,868 cc Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine ensures powerful and torquey performance.
The Harley Street Bob 114 is popular among custom builders due to its minimalist design, able to be transformed into an ideal touring bike by installing a windshield, saddlebags, sissy bars , backrest, and crash bars. The high handlebars and slightly forward foot controls ensure adequate legroom, an upright back, and a comfortable arm position for a relaxed touring experience. The Harley Street Bob 114 is available in three attractive color schemes with stylish fuel tank graphics and a matte black finish.
3.3 Harley Davidson Sportster Iron 1200
Photo Credit: @Harley Davidson of Manila
The Harley Davidson Sportster Iron 1200 is also a uniquely-designed Harley motorcycle with a large front wheel and taller front end. It has sporty ergonomics and an aggressive stance due to being fitted with mid-mounted foot controls and semi-sweptback buck-horn-style, mini-ape handlebars. The Harley Sportster Iron 1200 is available in three color schemes with antique fuel tank graphics inspired by vintage motorcycles from the 1950s. It has a solo rider seat, a small nose fairing for aesthetics, and a matte black finish.
Unlike the Harley Softail Standard and the Harley Street Bob 114, the Harley Sportster Iron 1200 is powered by a 1202 cc (73.4 cu in) Evolution engine, providing a torque of 98.97 Nm at 3,500 rpm and a horsepower of 60 hp. The riding position is uncomfortable on long-distance rides but is good for daily commuting. The mid-mounted mini-ape handlebars ensure an upright back position for comfortable city travel. The Harley Sportster Iron 1200 can also be transformed into a light touring bike by installing a sissy bar, backrest, crash bars , and windshield, and moving the mid-mounted foot controls forward.
3.4 Harley Davidson Heritage Classic
Photo Credit: @Harley Davidson
The Harley Davidson Heritage Classic is a classic touring motorcycle with stock leather saddlebags, windshield, Hiawatha headlamps, and large-sized chopped front and rear fenders. For a relaxed touring experience, the high mini-ape handlebars are slightly pulled back, resting at shoulder height to make it easier for the rider to reach. The handlebars’ position and forward-mounted floorboards ensure an upright back position and adequate legroom ideal for shorter and taller riders. The 2023 Harley Heritage Classic is available in seven vintage color schemes with blacked-out and chrome finish. It is ideal for two-up riding due to being fitted with a powerful 1,868 cc Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine capable of a torque of 161.34 Nm at 3,000 rpm. The Harley Heritage Classic also comes with a standard ABS and cruiser control feature, resulting in a base price of $21,199.
3.5 Harley Davidson CVO™ Road Glide® Limited Edition
Photo Credit: @Harley Davidson
The 2023 Harley Davidson CVO™ Road Glide® Limited Edition is a luxurious bagger-style touring bike that comes with stock shark-nose front fairing with a windscreen, saddlebags, and a large trunk with an integrated sofa-like passenger seat. It also comes with a comfortable rider’s backrest and a luggage rack attached to the trunk. The Harley CVO™ Road Glide® Limited Edition also features a Boom! ™ Box GTS infotainment system with a 6.5-inch TFT display screen, Rockford Fosgate Stage I speakers, and an optional Boom! Audio 30K Wireless Headset. It is also equipped with all the modern ride-assist and safety features, including the ABS, traction control, electronically linked braking, drag-torque slip control, and hill hold control. All these top-class modern features and stock parts make the Harley CVO™ Road Glide® Limited Edition a very expensive motorcycle with a base price of $51,999.
The Harley CVO™ Road Glide® Limited Edition is also fitted with mini-ape handlebars with a sweptback, buckhorn-style design that brings the grips below shoulder height.
Also Read: TOP 15 MOST EXPENSIVE CRUISERS IN THE USA
4. Top Custom-Made Harley Davidson Motorcycles with High Handlebars
4.1 Fat Tire Bagger “The Hammer Head” by Southeast Custom Cycles
Photo Credit: @Custom Harley Davidsons
The Harley Davidson Road Glide Special Fat Tire Bagger, also known as “the Hammerhead” by Southeast Custom Cycles, is a fully-customized motorcycle with a dual-tone color scheme and neon orange color stripes. Its most striking feature is the high-mounted 14-inch fat ape hangers. These custom high handlebars ensure an ideal riding position for relaxing long-distance rides.
The Hammerhead has a shark-nose fairing with slight modifications. The front and rear fenders have also been replaced with a chopped front and large rear fender with an extended tail design. The stock saddlebags are also replaced to complement the Hammerhead’s extended tail design. It also comes with a custom-made seat capable of two-up riding. The front end is replaced with a thick front fork and a wide front tire wrapped around 3D cut enforcer wheels.
The Hammerhead has also received a two-into-one Cobra turnout exhaust pipe and a Trask Performance air filter. The Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine has been upgraded to a 128 cu in (2097.54 cc) capable of a horsepower of 127 hp and enhanced torque delivery.
4.2 Harley Davidson V-Rod “NOTW” by DD Design
Photo Credit: @Devin Diego Designs
The Harley Davidson V-Rod ‘NOTW’ by DD (Devin Diego) Design uses the Harley V-Rod as a base motorcycle. It has an aggressive muscle cruiser design with high ape hanger handlebars. The NOTW has a minimalist design with a simple front-end style, basic instrumentation, a solo rider seat, a bobber-style front fender, and a small sharp-cut rear fender with small integrated twin tail bulbs. Despite its stripped-down look, the NOTW has a wide front and rear tires for better traction and stability. It is also fitted with radiator shrouds that improve air intake and give the vehicle a broader front. The NOTW also has separate two-into-two small exhaust pipes, a raked-out front end, and an extended wheelbase. Due to its extended design and forward-mounted foot controls, the rider has adequate legroom to stretch his/her legs. However, the rider has to sit forward due to reach the straight-mounted high handlebars.
The NOTW by DD Design is powered by a 1,247 cc liquid-cooled, Revolution 60° V-Twin engine capable of a torque of 115 Nm at 6,500 rpm.
4.3 The Carbon Bagger by Roland Sands Design
The Carbon Bagger by Roland Sands Design uses the 2021 Harley Davidson Road Glide as a base model. Roland Sands Design calls this vehicle a performance bagger because it has good storage capacity suited for long-distance rides. The Carbon Bagger has better performance due to its modified Milwaukee-Eight engine. Despite being a bagger with a shark-nose fairing, it performs like a sports bike with its high horsepower, incredible maneuverability, and greater lean angles.
The Carbon Bagger is fitted with beach handlebars with tall risers that provide a high handlebars position. The frame, including the fuel tank, front and rear fenders, shark-nose fairing, saddlebags, and side panels are built from carbon fiber. The Carbon Bagger is also fitted with a step-up seat with a low seat height capable of two-up riding. For a smooth riding experience and better performance on paved and bumpy roads, it is fitted with Öhlins front and rear suspensions. The front suspension is a cartridge fork that uses Diamond Lane Cycle fork tubes.
The brakes have also been replaced with Brembo radial-mounted calipers and master cylinders. The Carbon Bagger is equipped with high-performance parts for faster performance. The rear fender has been kept simple, with dual LED tail lights installed on both sides.
The Roland Sands Design custom builders have also built handlebars with adjustable risers called sector risers that can be installed on the Carbon Bagger. The highest handlebars make the Carbon Bagger a comfortable performance bagger for taller riders above 6 ft 4 in.
Video Credit: @RolandSandsDesign
4.4 The 1993 FXR GTFO by Roland Sands Design
Photo Credit: @Roland Sands
The 1993 FXR GTFO is another classic bobber-style custom cruiser with a single-piece step-up saddle that extends to the sissy bar to provide back support for the passenger and rider. The 1993 FXR GTFO used the old Harley Davidson FXR as a base motorcycle. It has a simple front end with a small round headlight, bobber-style front fender, and beach-style handlebars with tall risers allowing riders to ride comfortably with an upright back and the grips at shoulder level. The gauges are mounted to a peanut-shaped fuel tank with a vintage color scheme and graphics.
The stock 82 cu in Evolution engine is replaced with an S&S V111 1,819 cc Twin engine. The 1993 FXR GTFO is equipped with a 45 mm Mikuini carburetor that ensures quick throttle response and good acceleration.
4.5 Harley Davidson V-Rod “Bayou Black” by DD Design
Photo Credit: @Devin Diego Designs
The Harley Davidson V-Rod is a popular customizable muscle cruiser due to its unique and modern look. It can transform into an ideal custom chopper due to its raked-out front and extended wheelbase. The Bayou Black is another customized Harley V-Rod bike with tall handlebars by DD Design. This custom motorcycle’s most unique feature is its high pulled-back ape hangers pointing away from the rider. The handlebars stand at shoulder height but do not ensure an upright back position. The rider has to sit in an aggressive riding position to reach the handlebars.
The Bayou Black is also fitted with a step-up dark-brown leather seat capable of two-up riding. It has a sports bike-style front fender and a straight-cut small rear fender with an integrated slim tail light. A small round headlamp is fitted inside a slim nacelle and the gauges are mounted on the aggressive-style sharp fuel tank. This Harley model also comes with radiator shrouds on both sides of the front fork for better air intake. Like the Harley V-Rod “NOTW” by DD Design, the Bayou Black is also fitted with wide front and rear tires wrapped around blacked-out five-spoke wheels for better traction and linear performance.
Video Credit: @DARKKUSTOM
5. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
5.1 Which Factory-Made Motorcycles Have High Handlebars?
Most modern factory-made motorcycles do not come with high handlebars or ape hangers. There are only a few modern Harley motorcycles and Indian motorbikes that come with stock ape hangers or mini-ape high handlebars. These include:
- Harley Davidson Softail Standard
- Harley Davidson Street Bob 114
- Harley Davidson Sportster Iron 1200
- Harley Davidson CVO™ Road Glide® Limited Edition
- Harley Davidson Heritage Classic
- Indian Springfield Dark Horse
5.2 Why Do Some Motorcycles Have High Handlebars?
Motorcycles with high handlebars are more comfortable as they ensure an upright back and stretched arm position. The mid-mounted sweptback handlebars are also comfortable, but after continuously riding it for an hour or two, the back can start to hurt due to a slouching riding position. High handlebars keep the back upright, ensuring better comfort when on the road.
They are also better suited for taller riders as they have room to adjust their arms.
Harley Davidson motorcycles can be modified in different ways due to the many aftermarket parts that are readily available, making them popular among custom builders. Harley motorbikes are well-known for their classic cruiser looks and relaxed rider triangles. Unlike other brands, Harley Davidson experiments with their motorcycles’ ergonomics and riding style while keeping the ape hanger tradition alive in several models, including the Harley Softail Standard, the Harley Street Bob 114, and the Harley Sportster Iron 1200. If you love high handlebars on motorcycles, the Harley models mentioned above come with stock high handlebars. However, custom Harley motorcycles with ape hangers and high handlebars with tall risers prove that even older models like the Harley V-Rod, the Harley FXR, and the Harley Road Glide look good and feel more comfortable with high handlebars.