History of the Harley Davidson Dyna

Harley Davidson has a rich and interesting history. They have been through a number of ups and downs over the years and have produced some of the most iconic motorcycles available in the market today. Harley’s have a distinctive design and feel, and every model family has a different vibe to it. Every model family has its own legacy and history and in this article, we’re going to focus on the Dyna.

What’s Special About The Dyna?

The Harley Davidson Dyna model started out with a 39mm XL-style front fork, front wheel, and footpegs when it was first introduced in the market. These models had traditional styling along with big-twin engines. The design has evolved considerably since it was first introduced into the market and has split up into different categories as well. Most modern models have a traditional coil-over spring that connects the swingarm with the frame.

The Dyna line-up included a number of distinct model types and these included the Super Glide (FXD), Wide Glide (FXDWG), Super Glide Custom (FXDC), and Low Rider (FXDL). Later models included the Dyna Street Bob (FXDB), Fat Bob (FXDF) and Dyna Switchback (FLD). Dyna models offer a happy medium between the smaller and larger Harley models.


The Origins of the Dyna Family

Before the Dyna design became a permanent part of the Harley line-up, the company introduced the Wide Glide back in 1980. This bike had the custom look and feel that made Harley’s immensely popular. The Wide Glide had an eye-catching fuel tank with a flame paint job, a spoked 21 inch front wheel, and a wide spaced front fork. The bike also had a bobbed rear fender, ape hanger handlebars, stepped two-up seat, and mini and forward mounted controls, which gave it a distinct chopper-like feel.

The Dyna frame can accommodate a wide variety of front end and trim levels, which is why it’s considered one of the most versatile frame designs in the Harley line-up. This model design was introduced after years of research into customer preferences and expectations. Harley studied the reviews and criticism of previous bike launches and started working on a replacement for the FXR chassis.

The company experimented with many different kinds of designs and variations of the Dyna model before they introduced the finalized model to the market. Before the first official Dyna chassis model was sold, there were several versions of Wide Glide, FX Superglide, and FXR’s introduced to the market. Many of these bikes received lukewarm reviews so Harley knew they needed to up their game to keep customers interested.

The First Official Dyna Chassis

The first official Dyna model was the FXDB Sturgis. It was introduced back in ‘91 and was a limited production. Harley was just testing the waters with this model to see if customers liked the new design and chopper-like feel. The Sturgis had some flaws because Harley compromised on quality for production speed. The engine mounting system now had two rubber mounts instead of three, which led to increased vibrations and poor control.


Unsurprisingly, the Sturgis wasn’t a complete success but the company did receive a lot of feedback on the bike performance and design. That allowed them to take their creativity with these Dyna’s a little further.

1992 – Daytona and Dyna Glide Custom

In the following year, Harley introduced two new models to replace the Sturgis and they were the FXDB Daytona and FXDC Dyna Glide Custom. The Daytona was a limited production and only a few bikes were introduced in the market. Both bikes were nearly identical in design and performance, but had different paint jobs. The FXDC Dyna Glide Custom was completely silver and black when it was first introduced. The later production units had a black frame instead of a silver frame, which gave the bike a more modern feel.

1993 – The Low Rider

Harley decided to discontinue the FXRT Sport Glide in 1993 and the company also decided to replace the FXRS Low Rider. They introduced the new FXDL Dyna Low Rider and FXDWG Dyna Wide Glide in the same year. Both of these models were well-received and by now the Dyna design and aesthetic was an ingrained part of the Harley line-up.

The company still continued to provide the FXR, FXRS-Conv Convertible, FXLR, and FXRS-SP Low Rider Sport, they did plan to slowly replace these models as well.


Harley introduced two new models into the market- the FXDS-Conv Dyna Glide Convertible as well as the FXD Dyna Super Glide. They had the signature Dyna chassis and had a 28° rake instead of the 32° rake. They were created as a replacement to the FXR Super Glide and FXLR Low Rider Custom. With this, the entire FXR line was discontinued.

After 2000’s

The company continued to rapidly develop the Dyna lineup from this point on. In 1999, Harley introduced the FXDX Super Glide Sport with dual disc brakes and improved suspension. This bike delivered a better performance compared to its predecessors. In 2001, the company introduced FXDX-T Super Glide T-Sport as a replacement to FXDS-Conv Dyna Convertible, which was discontinued 2 years later in 2003. They introduced the Super Glide Custom in 2005 before introducing a new chassis design in 2006.

The new Dyna chassis had a six-speed transmission and performed better on the road. In the same year, they introduced two new models FXDBI Street Bob and FXDI35 35th Anniversary Super Glide. Harley then introduced FXDF Fat Bob in 2008 along with a limited edition FXDWG Wide Glide, which was reintroduced in 2010 in a different color.

They discontinued both the FXD base model and the FXDL Low Rider in 2010. Harley added new engines to some Dyna’s and introduced the FLD Switchback Sport-Tourer in 2012. In 2014, the FXDL Low Rider replaced the older FXDC Super Glide Custom lineup.

The Harley Davidson Dyna remains one of the most popular family models in the Harley lineup. We believe these models will continue to thrive in the market for many years with new designs and improvements.


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