In 2008, Harley-Davidson had 34 OE and four CVO motorcycles in its model line. The 2008 line included seven different Sportsters, six different Dynas, and seven Softails, enough motorcycles to make your head spin. With this in mind, we put together a little primer together to help identify Harley-Davidson models, from current motorcycles to once-popular model lines that have since gone the way of the dodo bird.

Street – Launched in 2014, the Street is Harley-Davidson’s entry-level motorcycle. It features a liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine called the Revolution X. Originally launched in both 500cc and 750cc versions, for 2021 Harley only offers the Street in two 750cc varieties. The Street 750 has turned out to be a solid hooligan flat track bike while the Revolution X engine (modified, of course) powers Harley-Davidson’s factory flat track racer.

Sportster – The first Harley Sportster rolled off the production line in 1957, making it the oldest continually produced motorcycle in Harley-Davidson’s model line. Its overhead valve engine replaced the K model’s flathead side valve configuration. The “XL” started as an 883cc Ironhead but was replaced by the Evolution engine in 1986. These days the Sportster line features both 883cc and 1200cc motorcycles. Sportsters have a devoted legion of fans thanks to its ability to be customized and transformed into just about any style of motorcycle you want. Sportsters also make great hooligan flat track bikes.

Dyna – Successor to Harley-Davidson’s FXR, the Dyna chassis was introduced in 1991 as a limited-production FXDB Sturgis model. Key Dyna characteristics included a rubber-mounted, air-cooled engine, an exposed battery box and exposed rear shocks. Despite having a diehard fanbase, Harley-Davidson did away with the Dyna line in 2018 with the launch of the redesigned Softail chassis. Dynas are still a hot commodity thanks to their popularity with stunt riders, motorcycle clubs, and other hard chargers.

Softail – The Softail frame originated in 1984. Softails give the illusion of an old school hardtail motorcycle but actually have a hidden rear shock. According to Harley-Davidson, “The Softail family was born in the early 1980s when Harley-Davidson acquired a concept motorcycle from a design engineer named Bill Davis, who experimented with hidden rear shock absorbers on a big twin frame. Davis worked alongside Harley-Davidson’s engineers to perfect the design with the 1984 FXST Softail. The frame presented clean styling, low seat height and the classic ‘hard tail’ look of yesteryear, but with the comfort and handling offered by full rear suspension via horizontal, gas-charged shock absorbers beneath the lower frame tubes (Harley-Davidson opted to go with Davis’s alternative design, which placed the shocks underneath the transmission). Returning to round out the antique look was the classic horseshoe oil tank first introduced on the 1936 Knucklehead, which is still a Softail design element today.”

Touring – From the ever-popular Road King to the Street Glide bagger to its fully-loaded Ultra, Harley-Davidson’s Touring model line is one of its largest. Its roots trace back to 1941 with the introduction of the first FL model. The FL’s were first to feature Harley-Davidson’s 74 cubic-inch Big Twin engine. The model line would continue to evolve in 1949 with the launch of the FL Hydra Glide and its hydraulically damped, telescopic fork. The ride smoothed out even further in 1958 with the advent of the FLH Duo Glide with its hydraulic shocks, swingarm, and hydraulic rear brake. These days, Harley tourers offer a sophisticated package of electronic rider aids, from cornering enhanced ABS to linked braking systems to traction control.

Trike – Once upon a time Harley made a utility three-wheeler called the ServiCar but stopped manufacturing them in 1973. A long dry spell followed before Harley launched another trike called the Tri Glide Ultra Classic in 2009. Instead of a commercial vehicle like the ServiCar, the recreation-minded Tri Glide was based on Harley’s popular two-wheeled tourer, the Electra Glide Ultra Classic. With its Batwing fairing, big tank, and powerful V-twin engine, the front half of Harley’s big three-wheeler looks just like a conventional motorcycle while its two back wheels give it added stability at a stop and extra braking power. A trike is a great way to extend a motorcyclist’s riding life as well as a platform for the disabled to ride.

CVO – CVO stands for “Custom Vehicle Operations” and consists of high-end Harleys customized in-house. The program began in 1999 with the launch of the CVO FXR2 and FXR3. Every year since , Harley will pick a few models to feature in the CVO line. Premium paint,  parts and accessories that haven’t even hit the market yet, and Harley’s most powerful engines are all perks of CVO ownership.

V-Rod – Harley-Davidson made a V-twin-powered muscle bike from 2001-2017 called the V-Rod. It was the first Harley-Davidson street motorcycle to feature a 60-degree DOHC V-twin with liquid-cooling. The engine, a first for Harley, was developed with Porsche Engineering. The V-Rod was the foundation of Harley-Davidson’s factory drag racing team for many years, and in 2006 The Motor Company made a limited run of “Destroyers” available to the public, a drag-specific V-Rod capable of quarter-mile runs in the 8-second range.

Electric – Believe it or not, Harley-Davidson was the first major motorcycle manufacturer to market with an electric motorcycle. The LiveWire was introduced in 2019 and its performance instantly received rave reviews. At a fraction under $30,000, unfortunately its price point didn’t. Harley-Davidson also just launched a dedicated electric bicycle brand called the Serial 1 Cycle Company with a prototype styled after the original 1903 Serial Number One motorcycle. Harley’s first full-sized electric bicycle is set to debut in March 2021.

ADV – Harley-Davidson is looking to break into the lucrative adventure motorcycle market with its forthcoming Pan America model. The 2021 Harley Pan America will be powered by a new, liquid-cooled 1250cc engine called the Revolution Max. Harley’s new adventure motorcycle also gets new radial monoblock four-piston calipers collaboratively built with help from brake specialists Brembo and runs co-branded tires developed with Michelin.