The Best Used Harley Davidson Motorcycles for Collectors

14 Best Used Harley-Davidsons

Harley-Davidson motorcycles hold a special place in the hearts of many motorcycle enthusiasts. Known for their distinctive style, robust performance, and rich history, these bikes are highly sought after by collectors. If you are looking to add a Used harley davidson motorcycle to your collection, certain models stand out for their iconic status and collectible value. This blog will highlight some of the best used Harley-Davidson motorcycles for collectors, ensuring you make a wise investment in a piece of motorcycle history.

Harley-Davidson Knucklehead (1936-1947)

The Harley-Davidson Knucklehead, produced from 1936 to 1947, is one of the most iconic models in the brand’s history. Its distinctive overhead valve engine design, with exposed rocker boxes that resemble knuckles, gave the bike its nickname.

Why It’s Collectible

The Knucklehead is highly collectible due to its historical significance and unique design. It was the first Harley-Davidson to feature a recirculating oil system, marking a significant technological advancement. Original Knuckleheads in good condition are rare and command high prices, making them a prized addition to any collection.

Harley-Davidson Panhead (1948-1965)

Following the Knucklehead, the Panhead was produced from 1948 to 1965. It featured several improvements over its predecessor, including aluminum cylinder heads and a more efficient oil circulation system.

Why It’s Collectible

The Panhead is celebrated for its classic Harley-Davidson styling and reliability. Its iconic “pan” shaped rocker covers give it a distinctive look that collectors love. The Panhead era also coincides with the rise of motorcycle culture in America, adding to its nostalgic value.

Harley-Davidson Shovelhead (1966-1984)

The Shovelhead succeeded the Panhead, and it continued the tradition of Harley-Davidson’s V-twin engines. Known for its power and distinctive exhaust note, the Shovelhead became a favorite among riders and custom builders.

Why It’s Collectible

The Shovelhead is popular among collectors for its durability and customization potential. Many Shovelheads have been modified into choppers and bobbers, reflecting the motorcycle culture of the 1960s and 1970s. Finding an original or well-restored Shovelhead can be a rewarding addition to a collection.

Harley-Davidson Electra Glide (1965-Present)

The Electra Glide debuted in 1965 and remains a staple in Harley-Davidson’s lineup. It was the first Harley to feature an electric start, a significant innovation at the time.

Why It’s Collectible

Early models of the Electra Glide, especially those from the 1960s and 1970s, are highly sought after by collectors. The bike’s association with long-distance touring and its iconic “batwing” fairing make it a classic choice. Collectors appreciate its comfort, style, and the evolution it represents in touring motorcycles.

Harley-Davidson Sportster (1957-Present)

The Sportster has been in continuous production since 1957, making it one of Harley-Davidson’s longest-running models. Known for its versatility and performance, the Sportster appeals to a broad range of riders.

Why It’s Collectible

Early Sportster models, particularly those from the 1950s and 1960s, are prized for their performance and minimalist design. The Sportster’s rich history and adaptability for custom builds make it a favorite among collectors. Finding a well-preserved early Sportster can be a valuable addition to a Harley-Davidson collection.

Harley-Davidson Softail (1984-Present)

The Softail, introduced in 1984, features a hidden rear suspension system that preserves the look of a hardtail while providing modern comfort. It has become one of Harley-Davidson’s most popular models.

Why It’s Collectible

The Softail’s blend of classic styling and modern technology makes it a desirable choice for collectors. Early models, such as the FXST and Heritage Softail, are particularly sought after. The Softail’s design versatility allows for various customizations, adding to its appeal.

Tips for Collecting Used Harley-Davidson Motorcycles

When collecting used Harley-Davidson motorcycles, consider the following tips to ensure you make a sound investment:

Research and Verify Authenticity

Ensure you are knowledgeable about the specific model and year you are interested in. Verify the bike’s authenticity by checking the VIN and consulting with experts or joining Harley-Davidson collector forums.

Condition and Restoration

The condition of the motorcycle is crucial. Original, unrestored bikes in good condition are typically more valuable. If considering a restored bike, ensure the restoration was done using original parts and techniques.

Documentation and History

Collect motorcycles with a well-documented history. Maintenance records, previous ownership details, and any restoration work should be documented to verify the bike’s provenance.


Investing in a used Harley-Davidson motorcycle can be a rewarding experience, both for its historical significance and its potential value appreciation. Models like the Knucklehead, Panhead, Shovelhead, Electra Glide, Sportster, and Softail are excellent choices for collectors. By researching and verifying authenticity, considering the bike’s condition, and seeking well-documented histories, you can make informed decisions and build a remarkable collection of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

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