10 Harley-Davidson Motorcycles That Honor America

It is officially the Fourth of July, and we wanted to celebrate the holiday with one of the most celebrated all-American brands of all time, Harley-Davidson. After all, the brand is nearly synonymous with all the values that make Americans "American", such as freedom, independence, strength, courage, progress, and equality. Throughout the company's lifetime, it has released several models that celebrate the good ol' USA. Some feature a bright and bold star-spangled paint scheme, while others were made in tribute to those who have served and are actively serving our country. So fire up the grille, set off some fireworks (safely), and enjoy this list of Harley-Davidsons made to celebrate America's independence.

Key Takeaways

  • Harley-Davidson motorcycles are a cultural icon that embodies the spirit of being a biker and Americana.
  • The 1969 Electra Glide introduced the iconic "batwing" fairing and improved power and cruising capability.
  • The V-Rod was a polarizing Harley that stood out from the crowd, loved by some, and disliked by traditional enthusiasts.
  • The Pan America model showcases Harley-Davidson’s venture into the adventure bike segment with a 1,252cc Revolution Max liquid-cooled engine.
  • The LiveWire represents Harley-Davidson's commitment to innovation, being the brand's first electric motorcycle.

1. Harley-Davidson WLA Liberator

The Harley-Davidson WLA Liberator is a legendary motorcycle that played a crucial role during World War II. Designed and built specifically for the U.S. Army and Allied forces, around 70,000 units were produced to aid in the war effort. These motorcycles were used for delivering messages, transporting cargo, and assisting the Military Police. Nicknamed the Liberator by American troops, they were simple and rugged, designed to withstand traveling over rugged terrain for miles and miles.

Performance Specifications

  • Engine:45-Degree V-Twin
  • Type:Air-Cooled, Side-Valve
  • Displacement:45 cubic inches (739 cc)
  • Carburetion:Linkert
  • Power:5 Horsepower
  • Primary:Chain
  • Transmission:3-Speed

Historical Significance

The WLA Liberator was famously ridden by Allied Forces liberating cities and territories from German occupation across Europe. Its streamlined design, powerful engine, and agile handling made it an invaluable asset on the battlefield.

 In 2016, Harley-Davidson released a special-edition Softail Slim S that paid homage to the iconic WLA Liberator. Featuring military-inspired visuals, a blacked-out interior, and a 110 cubic-inch Twin Cam engine, this version became a real head-turner for enthusiasts.

2. Harley-Davidson Electra Glide

In the early 1960s, a wave of change was sweeping across the American highways, fueled by a sense of adventure and exploration. Responding to the growing demand for a comfortable and powerful touring motorcycle, Harley-Davidson introduced the Electra Glide in 1965. This innovative model quickly captured the hearts of riders, filling a crucial gap in the market. The Electra Glide marked a significant shift with the introduction of an electric starter, replacing the kick-starter found on the previous Duo Glide. Powered by the 'Shovelhead' V-twin engine, the Electra Glide offered enhanced performance and cruising capabilities. The iconic 'batwing' fairing made its debut in 1969, further enhancing the bike's appeal. Over the years, the Electra Glide has undergone several upgrades, including the adoption of Evolution and Milwaukee-Eight engines, solidifying its reputation as a symbol of innovation, comfort, and the enduring spirit of exploration.

3. Harley-Davidson V-Rod

Harley-Davidson V-Rod

The Harley-Davidson V-Rod is one of the most polarizing motorcycles ever produced by the brand. Created to compete with the sports cruisers from Japanese manufacturers like Yamaha and Kawasaki, the V-Rod was a bold step away from traditional Harley designs. Collaborating with Porsche, Harley-Davidson developed a machine that could effortlessly cruise highways and turn heads with its unique look.

The V-Rod featured a 1250cc, liquid-cooled, 60° V-twin four-stroke engine, delivering 74 lb-ft of torque. This powerful engine was paired with a five-speed transmission and a tubular steel, twin spine frame, making it a standout in both performance and design.

  • Engine:1250cc, liquid-cooled, 60° V-twin four-stroke
  • Torque:74 lb-ft
  • Transmission:Five-speed
  • Frame:Tubular steel, twin spine

 The V-Rod was a sure way to stand out from the crowd, loved by some and disliked by traditional enthusiasts. It was a perfect amalgamation of butch design and sheer engineering prowess.

4. Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Harley-Davidson LiveWire

For Harley-Davidson, the future is now, seeing the potential of EVs (Electric Vehicles) as the market expands. The LiveWire, launched in 2019, is their response to the shifting tectonic plates of the industry. It marks the company's first foray into the EV market and a more sustainable and technologically advanced future.

Powered by an electric motor, the LiveWire delivers instant torque and rapid acceleration that gas engines struggle to match. According to LiveWire, it has a range of 146 miles, depending on how you drive the bike. It can be recharged in about an hour with charge points to plot your route using the LiveWire app. The design combines classic features that Harley-Davidson is known for with more modern elements. It's sleek and muscular and includes a touchscreen display, LED lighting, and a futuristic frame. The riding experience is smooth and silent, a significant departure from the loud, aggressive engines Harley-Davidson is known for.

However, it hasn't sold well thus far. Customers aren't convinced that LiveWire is worth the substantial investment. Though prices have dropped, concerns about range and charging times are still at the forefront of potential customers' considerations. Additionally, some traditional Harley enthusiasts are hesitant to embrace the electric model. That being said, it still represents a major step in the trajectory of the company, which is why it has been included on our list. Looking ahead, LiveWire could pave the way for more electric models from Harley-Davidson.

5. Harley-Davidson Pan America

Harley-Davidson Pan America

The Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special is a groundbreaking model that marks Harley's entry into the adventure touring segment. This motorcycle is as powerful as it is durable, making it a versatile choice for both street and off-road adventures. Equipped with a liquid-cooled Revolution Max 1250 V-Twin engine, the Pan America stands out as one of the most technologically advanced models in Harley-Davidson's lineup.

In 2022, the Pan America was featured in Harley-Davidson's limited-edition G.I. Enthusiast Collection, showcasing its bold design and rugged capabilities. This bike is not just a bulky cruiser or a wide trike; it's an adventure bike ready to tackle dirt, mud, and sand with ease.

  • Engine: Revolution Max 1250 V-Twin
  • Cooling System: Liquid-cooled
  • Horsepower: 150 HP
  • Special Edition: G.I. Enthusiast Collection (2022)

 Perhaps the best example of Harley's surprising awesomeness is the Pan America. This is not a bulky cruiser, a wide trike, or the like, but an adventure bike.

6. Harley-Davidson Bronx

Harley-Davidson Bronx

The Harley-Davidson Bronx just became reality, but there's a catch. This motorcycle is based on the Pan America but undergoes a sizable overhaul to become more street-oriented. The Bronx features a stripped-back design with a 1,252cc Revolution Max liquid-cooled engine and performance upgrades.

Key Features

  • 47 mm USD forks (electronically adjustable)
  • Monoshock (electronically adjustable)
  • 19/17-inch alloy wheels
  • Dual disc brakes up top and a single disc brake at the rear (with Brembo calipers)

 While waiting for H-D to bring the Bronx to reality, European custom shop Powerbrick Performance has transformed a Pan America into a streetfighter.

The Harley-Davidson Bronx is a testament to the brand's ability to innovate while staying true to its American roots.

7. Harley-Davidson Road King

Harley-Davidson Road King

The Harley-Davidson Road King has been a staple for motorcycle enthusiasts for decades, maintaining its allure through continuous enhancements and upgrades. This model seamlessly merges classic design with modern performance, making it a cultural icon that epitomizes freedom and the open road.

Introduced in 1994, the Road King was designed to replace the long-beloved Electra Glide series. It features a Milwaukee-Eight V-Twin engine with a 114 cubic inch (1868 cc) displacement, delivering 96 horsepower. This engine configuration provides the torque and power necessary for long-distance cruising, making it ideal for extended road trips.

The Road King is equipped with hard saddlebags and can handle heavy loads, ensuring comfort and stability even when fully loaded with gear. Its plush seat, ergonomic handlebars, and advanced suspension contribute to a comfortable riding experience.

 It's crafted to churn out serious torque — 122 pound-feet, to be exact — for brisk acceleration and responsive pickup as you twist the throttle.

8. Harley-Davidson Softail

Harley-Davidson Softail

The Harley-Davidson Softail has been a staple in the lineup since its introduction in 1984. This model cleverly combines the classic aesthetics of a vintage hardtail with the modern comforts of a state-of-the-art suspension system. The hidden rear suspension became the defining feature of the Softail, making the frame appear rigid while providing a smooth ride.

Since its inception, the Softail has gone through many iterations, encompassing a variety of models. The Milwaukee-Eight V-Twin engine powers modern versions, offering significant improvements in power and efficiency. The original Softail was powered by an 82 cubic inch (1340cc) Evolution engine, providing about 70 horsepower. This engine was renowned for its reliability and ease of maintenance, solidifying Harley-Davidson's reputation for quality and performance.

 The Softail epitomizes Harley-Davidson's attitude to innovation and design, making it a historical breakthrough for the company.

9. Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

The Harley-Davidson Fat Boy, introduced in 1990 as part of the Softail family, quickly became one of the company's most iconic models. With its wide, robust appearance, it featured solid-cast disc wheels, a wide front fork, and a distinctive shotgun exhaust. Its unique style and aesthetics set it apart from other motorcycles and made it an instant classic.

The 1991 Fat Boy, designed by Willie G. Davidson, grandson of the brand's co-founder William A. Davidson, boasted impressive engine specs. It had a V-Twin configuration with a displacement of 1,337cc, producing 67 hp and 72 lb-ft of torque. This model was a significant departure from Harley-Davidson's late-80s conservative lineup, marking a bold new direction for the company.

In 2006, Harley-Davidson offered five very limited-edition paint kits for Fat Boys to commemorate the five branches of the military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. These rare kits featured matching graphics, making them highly sought after by collectors.

 The Fat Boy is one of Harley-Davidson's most iconic Softails. Recognized for its low-profile, large steamroller tires, solid wheels, and muscular build, this motorcycle is renowned for its laid-back attitude and extra dose of machismo.

10. Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic

Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic

The Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic is a true embodiment of Americana, blending vintage aesthetics with modern performance. With its soul-stirring rumble and 119 pound-feet of torque, the Milwaukee-Eight® 114 engine delivers a quintessential H-D® cruiser riding experience. This motorcycle is perfect for those who appreciate the timeless design and robust power that Harley-Davidson is known for.

  • Classic cruiser style
  • Powerful Milwaukee-Eight® 114 engine
  • Comfortable for long rides

 The Heritage Classic stands as a testament to Harley-Davidson's commitment to preserving the spirit of the open road while offering modern-day reliability and performance.


Harley-Davidson motorcycles have long been a symbol of American freedom, independence, and strength. From their star-spangled paint schemes to models honoring those who have served our country, these bikes embody the spirit of the USA. As we celebrate America's independence, it's clear that Harley-Davidson continues to be a cultural icon, representing the values that make Americans proud. Whether you're a seasoned rider or a newcomer, these motorcycles offer a unique way to experience the open road and the essence of Americana. So, fire up the grille, set off some fireworks (safely), and take a moment to appreciate these remarkable machines that honor America.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Harley-Davidson motorcycle is known as the 'Liberator'?

The Harley-Davidson WLA is known as the 'Liberator'. It was produced during World War II and was used extensively by the U.S. military.

What makes the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide iconic?

The Harley-Davidson Electra Glide is iconic for introducing the 'batwing' fairing in 1969, which improved power and cruising capability.

What is unique about the Harley-Davidson V-Rod?

The Harley-Davidson V-Rod stands out for its unique design and performance, featuring a liquid-cooled engine and a departure from traditional Harley styling.

Is the Harley-Davidson LiveWire an electric motorcycle?

Yes, the Harley-Davidson LiveWire is the company's first fully electric motorcycle, representing a significant shift towards sustainable riding.

What is the Harley-Davidson Pan America known for?

The Harley-Davidson Pan America is known for being an adventure touring motorcycle, featuring a 1,252cc Revolution Max engine and advanced performance upgrades.

Why is Harley-Davidson considered a cultural icon?

Harley-Davidson is considered a cultural icon because it embodies the spirit of freedom, independence, and Americana, making it more than just a motorcycle manufacturer.

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