The Death of the Dyna

Time, Tech, and Tough Guys

Death of Dyna

The aftermarket has worked wonders with the Dyna platform over its long production life.

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As Dave Mustaine of Megadeth fame says, “Tough guys never bitch.” Unless it’s over the demise of the Dyna, I surmise. Yes, I too was shocked that Harley-Davidson decided to halt production of the ever-prolific Dyna—but not to the point of losing my mind over it like so many others have done shortly after the news dropped.

We who live in the realm of custom Dynas tend to think that the popularity of this model bike is vastly larger than it ever really was in the grand scheme of Harley owners and riders. The point being is the Dyna throughout its whole life was a blip on the sales radar compared to Sportsters, Softails, and most recently baggers.

Most of you Dyna brethren probably don’t want to hear this, but after riding the 2018 Softail platform for a ton of time I can tell you that H-D just plain hit the ball out of the park with it. It is lighter, faster, and stronger than any Harley before it. I have ridden all eight models extensively and can say that they are superior to any stock Dyna or FXR ever made. The new frame design coupled with the performance of the solid-mounted Milwaukee-Eight motor takes this new bike to the forefront of American-made production motorcycles.

Death of Dyna

Old Harley-Davidsons never die. They just go out of production.

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And, yes, I know that many will say their Dynas are still superior, and although I can’t agree with that 100 percent, I do know from personal and professional experience that with a bunch of money, a budget-free motor build, and a pile of European suspension parts you can make a Dyna or FXR handle and ride almost as good as a 2018 Softail. But you will be spending upward of $60,000 to get either of those old bikes up to par with the performance and power of the new line of Softails. And is that expense economically intelligent just to say you wouldn’t ride a new Softail? That is entirely up to you.

The aforementioned performance facts I have laid upon you don’t make the new Softail all that and a bag of Fritos though. As we all know, styling is a very large factor with any and all H-D riders, and I feel that the FXR and Dyna just simply have better looks than the new line of bikes across the board. I love the look of dual shocks out back—it screams Harley-Davidson. But as we all know the 1991–2017 Dyna platform is a completely outdated design that (sorry to say) has run its course.

The deal here is that time and technology wait for no one. Company progression in business is key to survival, and if you are Harley-Davidson, that is a very sticky situation. Let me put it to you in the simplest of ways: Due to the fact of who it is, H-D has to worry about both keeping with the old guard wanting the bikes to barely ever change and, on the flipside of that, needing to attract a whole new generation of riders who don’t want the same style bikes as their fathers and grandfathers. That is quite a bind to be in and one that will keep stirring up controversy for years to come. But I do feel Harley-Davidson is going in the right direction even if it means losing a beloved model bike such as the Dyna.

Are you getting what I’m saying? Well, if you aren’t wrapping your head around it, please don’t think I’m a hater. You’re reading an editorial from a guy who has five different Dynas currently in his garage. And, no, they are not for sale.