March 7 2013 by Jason Fogelson
The Harley-Davidson lineup consists of five families of motorcycles: Touring (FLT), Softail (FLS), V-Rod (VRS), Sportster (XL) and Dyna (FXD). Touring is the workhorse; Softail is the pretty one; V-Rod is the hooligan; Sportster is the kid brother. Dyna is the middle child -- sometimes forced to struggle for attention, but truly remarkable in its own way.
The distinguishing feature between the families is the frame. Dyna frames are formed from tubular steel, and like the Touring, V-Rod and Sportster frames, are designed to accept twin external rear shocks, attached to a double-sided swingarm. A Softail frame harbors a single, hidden rear shock, giving the appearance of a rigid suspension.
The first Dyna was the 1991 FXDB Sturgis, a limited production model named to commemorate the Sturgis Rally and Races. The Dyna chassis turned out to be stiffer and better suited to the new Evolution engine than the outgoing FXR chassis, and by 1995, the Dyna family had replaced the FXR in the Harley-Davidson lineup.
Harley-Davidson continuously develops and improves its motorcycles, and in 2006, the Dyna family got a new chassis. In 2007, the Twin Cam engine replaced the Evo in the Dyna chassis, where it continues to live today.
As the middle child, the Dyna is bigger than the Sportster, but not as massive as the Touring bikes. With a variety of front ends available, the Dyna is transformed from beach cruiser to street fighter to sport tourer. With the recent addition of the Switchback, the Dyna has been revealed as the Swiss Army Knife in the Harley-Davidson lineup, capable of long distance comfort and boulevard posing with quick release components.
The current Dyna lineup consists of the Street Bob, the Super Glide Custom, the Wide Glide, the Fat Bob and the Switchback. The Street Bob is part of the H-D1 Customization program for 2013, which means that buyers can custom order their Street Bob with a variety of components already installed at the factory. There's a 110th Anniversary Edition of the Super Glide Custom available as well, which promises to be a collectible bike, as many Anniversary Editions have become in the past.
The Dyna chassis is a sound basis for a good, honest motorcycle, ideally suited to riders who really want to get the most out of their bikes. Shorter riders can lower the Dyna by installing shorter shocks. Taller riders can install forward controls to get more leg room, and the chassis' geometry responds well to ape hangers or beach bars. You can customize your Dyna with a wide variety of parts and accessories from the Motor Company's catalog, or head to the aftermarket for specialty parts. The Dyna makes a great canvas for creativity and personal expression, and is a relative bargain within the Harley-Davidson lineup, with prices starting at $12,999.
So give some love to that middle child, and ride a Dyna.