Why the Harley-Davidson Sportster Makes a Great Beginner Bike

A black 2022 Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 883 is shown from the rear at an angle while driving on the highway after leaving a Harley-Davidson dealer near me.

Driving a car has its benefits, like lots of cargo and passenger space, but sometimes those very pros are also the worst things about a vehicle. And when you grow weary of circling to find a parking spot for your SUV or the price of gas to fill up your pickup breaks your bank account, you might finally be interested in driving a motorcycle. Easy to park and maneuver through traffic and a whole lot of fun to drive, a good bike can bring back a sense of freedom, and there’s no better name in the bike game than Harley-Davidson. So after you’ve searched “Harley-Davidson dealer near me” and found us, the next step is deciding which bike to check out.

If you’re new to bikes, there’s a lot to learn, and you can’t just hop on the first one that catches your eyes. In fact, the bulkiest, most eye-catching bike probably won’t be the best for a beginner. You’ll want something light and easy to handle. Ditching the four doors of a car for the wind-on-your-back feel of a bike is a whole new experience. It’s a thrill, but it takes some time to build up your skill. And when people talk about the best beginner bike from the best brand in motorcycles, they often talk about the Harley-Davidson Sportster. It delivers that classic look and feel but with some surprising perks for new riders. Here’s why you should look into this lean speed machine when you’re ready for the motorcycle life.

It’s Light and Easy to Maneuver

To be clear, the Harley-Davidson Sportster is by no means a light bike as far as the whole market is concerned. You will need to be very careful with it, as you would with any bike. If you want a truly light bike, you’d have to look at other brands for that. But if you’re committed to riding a Harley-Davidson because you know about the reliability, performance, and beauty of these bikes, the Sportster is one of its lighter models. It also drives smoothly and is easy to maneuver. Switching gears is a breeze, which is important when you’re new to riding and need to focus on the road. You won’t find yourself looking down, fumbling through gears. You’ll get the hang of the controls on this bike quickly.

The Harley-Davidson Sportster performs well both at low speeds in busy city environments and at interstate speeds. So, if you’re getting the bike so you can zip around the city and run errands faster than you could in a car, it’s great for that. But, if you one day hope to graduate to the open road and see the sights, this bike will be ready when you are.

A black 2022 Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight is shown from the rear at an angle on a road during autumn.

You Can Grow With It

The truth is that many people wind up selling their first bike within a year or two because they want to upgrade to something more advanced. But getting used to a whole new bike can be a pain. Luckily, if you love your experience on the Sportster, you won’t have to trade up. These bikes are some of the easiest to customize. So when you feel like you’re ready for something more powerful and advanced, you don’t have to sell the bike you’ve grown to know and love. You can just customize it to suit your new needs and skill level.

Parts Are Easy to Get

The Sportster has been around for a long time and is so popular that nearly any business that works on bikes will carry its parts. So when something comes up, you won’t be searching every corner of the earth for a part or waiting weeks while one is special-ordered from across the country. And you won’t pay an arm and a leg for the parts either due to “shortage” issues––these parts are very easy to locate. So you can be back on the open road again in no time.

It’s a Great Fit for Nearly Anyone

When shopping for a bike, if you’re much shorter or taller than “average height,” your options can become limited. The cool thing about the Sportster is that it’s super easy to customize to suit a variety of heights. Everything from the seat height, handlebars, and foot controls can be modified to get a comfortable fit, no matter your height. Short and tall riders alike can modify the Sportster to fit them just right.

In fact, the Sportster 883 SuperLow was designed specifically for short female riders. It has an excellent center of gravity, a good grip, and solid balance, along with a low and narrow seat that’s comfortable for petite women.

A black 2022 Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 883 is shown from the front at an angle while driving on the highway.

It’s Easy to Find

When you’re ready to shop, you should have no trouble finding a Sportster. This model has been around since 1957, meaning that there is a tremendous number of used ones on the market. You won’t have a shortage of options when it comes to prices and mileage, customizations, and beyond. So don’t worry that you’ll be in a niche market where you’re forced to pay a high price for a rare bike. Shopping for a bike when you’re new to the motorcycle world can feel overwhelming, and there can be concerns about sellers taking advantage of your lack of knowledge. But, this is one time when it really is a buyer’s market because there are just so many Sportsters out there.

The affordable price point on a used Sportster is good for beginner riders for one particular reason: you’re probably going to damage your bike a bit. You just are. It’s no judgment on you as a rider; every beginner makes mistakes. When you’re a beginner, some drops, bumps, and scratches are bound to happen. So you’d probably rather put those on a used bike you got at a low price than a shiny brand new one that you paid a fortune for. However, even if you decide to buy a brand new Sportster, you will be delighted to find it is one of the more affordable models in the Harley-Davidson lineup.

It Has Good Resale Value

As we already said, you probably won’t want to trade up once you’ve experienced the smooth handling of the Sportster. But, if you do decide that one day you’d like to experience a different Harley-Davidson, the Sportster holds its value well, and you’ll likely find that you can get a good price for it when you sell it.

Sample the Open Road With a Sportster

Transitioning from car life to bike life is a big deal. No longer having to fight for limited parking spots or hand over a chunk of your savings each time you fuel up can be incredibly liberating. And that connection you get with the wind and the road while on a bike is like no other. However, a bike is a commitment––it’s a financial commitment and a lifestyle commitment. So it’s important you find one that gives you a welcoming introduction to motorcycle life. The Harley-Davidson Sportster is an excellent beginner’s bike because of its affordability when purchased used or new, its highly customizable nature that will grow with you as you advance, and its smooth handling. Be sure to check one out when you’re ready to ditch that sedan.