Harley Switchback review

Versatility is the key word for the Harley-Davidson Dyna Switchback.
It’s a tourer with hard panniers and a big windscreen, yet in seconds the luggage and screen can be whipped off to reveal a handsome boulevard cruiser.
So you can switch back from tourer to cruiser and back again, hence the name.
At $25,995 (plus on-roads) it’s an attractive proposition being two bikes for the price of one.
Its main competitors, the Victory Cross Roads Classic ($25,495) and Triumph Rocket III Touring ($25,990 plus on-roads), also feature quick-release windshields and hard panniers.
The Switchback layout is similar to the Road King with its stripped-down touring credentials.
But the Switchback is made for shorter people. Long-legged riders and pillions might feel a little cramped and cop a bit of buffeting from the windscreen.
Harley SwitchbackIts low 663mm seat and relatively low 316kg (dry) weight should attract shorter riders and females who haven’t been able to find a suitable tourer before.
The Switchback is powered by the plodding momentum of Harley’s 1690cc Twin Cam 103 V-twin.
It’s down on capacity relative to the Victory (1731cc) and the whopping 2.3-litre Triumph, but it’s 67kg lighter than the Victory and 46kg less than the Triumph. It’s also 42kg less than a Road King.
The Switchback has bags of torque for quick acceleration and will delight with its cruising pulse.
There is a bit of a solid clunky on ignition, but its something Harley has been smoothing out.
While Harley has also reduced the clutch pull, the six gears are still a little clunky and neutral is difficult to find.
Sixth is also an overdrive and really only needed at 120km/h so it’s basically irrelevant in Australia.
The two-into-one exhaust dispenses with the butterfly valve and is very quiet at 91.5dB. Legal Screamin’ Eagle replacements are also available.
Fuel economy is about 5.6L/100km, giving moderate touring range from the 17.9-litre tank which is from the Street Bob.
There is no doubting Harley’s style. It harks back to the 1970s when Willie G first put pen to paper and invented the Dyna dynasty.
It’s old school, but with enough modern-day menace to be relevant.Harley Switchback
It features cigar-shaped covered twin springs/shocks, which match the cartridge-style forks. The old-school fenders are full and the adjustable mini-ape handlebars are comfortable. Hollowed black cast-alloy wheel spokes keep weight down.
Instruments are minimal, but feature a handy LCD screen that provides more information than before including a tacho and gear indicator.
The panniers are on the small and narrow side, but will hold enough for a weekend getaway.
The Switchback points and shoots quite nimbly thanks to the front-end geometry, preload-adjustable rear shocks with dual-rate springs and sensible tyres.
The only drawbacks are cornering clearance and short rear travel that hits the bump stops way too often.
The ABS works well, if a little jerky, and there is limited fork dive under heavy braking.
Riders will enjoy the comfortable contoured seat and full-sized footboards, while pillions will delight in the thick seat cushion and long reach to the pegs.
While it may be two bikes in one, it’s not a compromise. It will tour and cruise with ease, and the price is just right.

Harley-Davidson Dyna FLD Switchback

  • PRICE – $25,595 (ride away)
  • WARRANTY – 2 years/unlimited km
  • SERVICE – 8000km
  • ENGINE – 1690cc Twin Cam, 135Nm
  • TRANSMISSION – 6-speed Cruise Drive
  • THIRST – 5.6L/100km; 17.8L tank
  • DIMENSIONS – 2357mm (L), 1595mm (WB), 663mm (seat height)
  • TYRES – 130/70B18; 160/70B17
  • DRY WEIGHT – 316kg

Harley Switchback Harley Switchback

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get free access to the best motorcycle newsletter on the planet

Join The Newsletter