Harley Dyna® Switchback. Switching Back And Forth Between Cruising And Touring.

When on July 20, 2011 I introduced you to the new Harley-Davidson Dyna Switchback, your reactions were quite positive at the concept of 2 bikes in 1. It’s both a street cruiser and a touring bike via the simple addition of a fork-mounted windshield and of color matched hard saddlebag. A Dyna platform with the eager handling of Twin Cam 103″, a gleaming headlamp nacelle, five-spoke cast-aluminum wheels and a mini-ape handlebar mounted on pull-back risers are quite attracting features. But the Switchback has another important quality: it’s the lightest custom touring motorcycle in its displacement category, only 718 pounds which is an amazing 94 pounds less than a Road King!

“The new front end geometry, wheel and tire specs, and cartridge fork are engineered to work together to produce steering that’s light to input and immediately responsive,” Brian Scherbarth, Switchback project lead engineer. “A demo ride will reveal that Switchback is a capable touring motorcycle that’s also really fun to ride.” I list below the key Dyna Switchback Features (pictures@harley-davidson)

• Twin Cam 103™ engine with 103-cid (1690cc), rubber-mounted within the frame, is rated at 100 ft. lbs. of torque at 3500 RPM. The engine is equipped with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) and is mated to a 6-speed Cruise Drive® transmission. • 2-into-1 chrome exhaust with straight-cut muffler tuned for a deep exhaust tone. • Advanced suspension is tuned for comfort and precise handling. Nitrogen-charged, monotube rear shocks have preload-adjustable, dual rate springs. A 41.3mm front fork with a 20mm cartridge delivers enhanced damping performance, handling and ride comfort. • Low-profile Dunlop® 130/70B18 front tire and specific front-end geometry provides reduced steering effort, enhanced steering response and confident low-speed manuevering. • Color-matched detachable hard saddlebags have a combined luggage capacity of 30 pounds. The saddlebag locks are common to the ignition key, and external latches do not interfere with packing or reduce usable bag volume. • Quick-detach, fork-mounted windshield. • The Black, 5-Spoke Cast Aluminum wheels have machine-highlighted rims; 18-inch front, 17-inch rear. • Full-coverage front and rear fenders. • Chrome headlamp nacelle. • Chrome fork covers and chrome rear shock covers. • Chrome tank console with integrated ignition switch. • Classic black battery box cover. • Full-length rider footboards. • The one-piece, two-up seat features custom stitched detail. Seat height (laden) is 26.1 inches. Its narrow cross section enables flat-foot stops for most riders. • Security Package Option bundles Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Smart Security System with proximity-based, hands-free security fob. • Stainless steel, mini ape-hanger handlebar on pull-back riser. • 4.7-gallon fuel tank.


29 Responses to “Harley Dyna® Switchback. Switching Back And Forth Between Cruising And Touring.”

  1. 1 Brandon Oct 7th, 2011 at 8:17 am

    I heard they sell well. Anyone with reliable info?

  2. 2 Iron Horse Oct 7th, 2011 at 8:21 am

    I like it. HD should have kept this in the line since the FXRT’s were introduced years ago. I personally ride a Dyna Fat Bob and the handling is amazing.

  3. 3 Dave Blevins Oct 7th, 2011 at 9:02 am

    This will be a good seller.
    Now if we can just get HD to build an entry level 1200 Sportster powered Softail for around 10-11 grand they would have another model that would sell… low seat height, good power, etc.

  4. 4 Matt Oct 7th, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I like the fact that Harley is attempting to bring practicality to their Dyna line however to me the extra petite sized hard bags and wind shield seem to be more intended as styling gimmicks rather then functional touring accessories. There is nothing wrong with that if you only want to keep bugs of your favorite vest (or at least the buttons) or need a place to put your iPad but marketing the Switchback as a “Touring Motorcycle” is a bit of a stretch IMO.

  5. 5 Brother T Oct 7th, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Iron Horse: x2 on the Fat Bob. I set mine up with some bags and a detach windshield…I had to wonder why they weren’t doing more with the Fat Bob, but apparently the Switchback was in the works. Smart move to get more bagger style bikes on the road for a lower cost.

  6. 6 Brett Oct 7th, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Not faulting the company for making this…seems like a “girls bagger”. I have seen many girls on their our Road King or Street Glide, however, many women are intimidated by them due to the weight.

    I know when my wife buys her new bike, she is now considering this over a Heritage Softail.

  7. 7 burnout Oct 7th, 2011 at 9:41 am

    For each high mileage Softtail (60k plus) that comes thru my shop I see six high mileage Dyna models. peace

  8. 8 Larry R Oct 7th, 2011 at 9:53 am

    This is a smart move, HD. Nice bike that I would consider buying if I had the capital. Oh well, can always dream.

  9. 9 Luis Oct 7th, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    I like it I think the FL bikes are a little big for me. I sat on it at the dealer when they had one to show and it was comfy albeit a bit low to the ground for cornering clearance. I’d rock it and put some wire wheels.

  10. 10 Toby Oct 7th, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Demoed one two weeks ago along with some other Dynas. My observation is that the 103 may be problematic in the Dyna frame (at least with the EPA cam grind). Vibrated like a paint shaker. Smoothed out around 3k rpm. Yeah, I know, all Dynas shake, I had a Wide Glide in my past, but the 103s shake considerably more. Oddly the 110 inch SE Fat Bob seems smoother (maybe a different cam). The footboards were like an electric sander on the Switchback.

    However, IMOHO the biggest impediment to sales is that it is nearly $3,000 more than a comparable Dyna for the bags and windscreen. Aftermarket parts are considerably less. Sorry, I just don’t see it.

  11. 11 Kroeter Oct 7th, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    I chuckle when people say a Sportster is a girls bike. I see more ladies riding Dynas and Softails. But maybe they start out on Sportys?

  12. 12 Woody Oct 7th, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Maybe they mean it’s a TALL girl’s bike. I’m only 5’8″ and I had to tippy-toe my ’75 Sporty, while I could flat-foot my ’79FL. I think this new Dyna is a great move except for the 103 motor as mentioned above. Frankly, I think a similar treatment option for the Sportster Low would have sold just as well, but I still like this bike.

  13. 13 Fredp Oct 7th, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Geez,Titan was doing this back in 1999 with the Roadrunner.RM. Is this really new news for H-d?

  14. 14 Doc Robinson Oct 8th, 2011 at 7:06 am

    The Switchback fills a real niche for Harley-Davidson and some considerable thought has gone into the entire design. It is not just the ‘parts bin special’ that I initially took it for. Having had one on test and also gained feedback from riders who (briefly) test rode one at the Mackay Motorcycles Open Day last weekend I predict a bright future for this model.

  15. 15 pabstbluerigid Oct 8th, 2011 at 8:38 am

    @ Toby & others….GREAT BIKE, however vibration issues abound that remain unresolved! Long exhaust “stick” from 2 into 1 hangs out there as if you attempted to carry a fishing pole from the wrong end…only mount/contact with the bike is via mount/support at the tranny…which transfers MASSIVE vibration (from vibrating muffler) at 2900-3300 rpm in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th gears…fun to come….wait & see.

    sign me…hopeful.

  16. 16 Dale Oct 8th, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Nice bike. Nice throwback touches. If I were to summarize it in few words it’s a midsized RoadKing.

  17. 17 spaz Oct 8th, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I think it’s a little gay looking. Once again Harley just mixes up the stuff they already have, and bolts it all together… “lets see… how ’bout if we take a Dyna, and put a Heritage (FL) front end on it, then -oh use the chrome shocks, then some little softail saddlebags,,, OK then a new wheel design to REALLY make it look new, and the masses will buy it!” I dunno, it looks, small and rehashed. Just small not cool-looking. Do they make one of these for men? -oh yeah, it’s called a Road King!

  18. 18 alan sharp Oct 8th, 2011 at 11:51 am

    in the uk its called the road queen, as its for the ladys,as the road king is to big for them, its a good looking bike, but i wood not ride a bike thats call the queen………………

  19. 19 1/420 Oct 8th, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I think that the Switchback big wraparound fenders take away from the raw look of a Dyna .Well i guess good old H-D hade some spare parts they wanted to get rid of at a high cost to us .My opinion who ever was the brains behind this bike should be shot.. good way to f up the dyna.Hell why not a raido and a drink holder on it. Look this isn’t a road king .The fact is this the Dyna is a great bike corners well on back roads, as well the handeling on the open roads and it has a good uncluttered look to it. It has a personality all it’s own and it look like they are tring to make somthing it’s not. Why would anyone want to put that big cumbersome front end on that bike.The saddle bags are nice if you want to carry makeup and a purse! It will never be as comfortable as any of the touring models. Why try to fool your self if you want to go cross country on a Dyna do it like Mack dose on a XL just strap your shit on.
    Just saying!!

  20. 20 Woody Oct 8th, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Was at the dealer this afternoon and took a good look at one. Looks nice and the bags look better in person than in that picture. the nacelle around the risers & headlamp look great when the shield is off-very “FatBoy” and not tinny looking at all. I think it’s sad the way some folks rag on anything smaller than an FLH in the Harley lineup. There a LOT of little guys out there that make me feel tall at 5’8″ and I’m glad they have another option. My favorite bike ever is my Valkyrie and someday I may not be able to hold it up when my knees finally get worse. Then I may have to go to a “small” bike like a Softail or Dyna, and I doubt if I’ll sprout ovaries when that day comes 😉

  21. 21 fuji Oct 9th, 2011 at 6:19 am

    Woody says. My favorite bike ever is my Valkyrie. Smart man Woody.

  22. 22 Smittydog Oct 9th, 2011 at 7:05 am

    I like it it a little, but i am sticking with wide glide. Best handling and responsive bike in HD dyna line.

  23. 23 Big Oct 10th, 2011 at 8:56 am

    To the guy who called it a “girls bagger” — the Switchback is very similar in size and proportion to a pre-84 swingarm FL. Are you saying that all fullsize Harleys built from 36-84 were girls bikes?

  24. 24 Jim C Oct 10th, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Loved the windshield I had on my Superglide, never took it off – was alot easier to hear cars coming, vs all the wind. I wish they had left a dyna headlight and 39 mm forks on this one

  25. 25 Blackmax Oct 10th, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    I rode it out in Sturgis at Demo days, I did not like it, has a pronounced shake/shimmy in the front,
    at + highway speeds. Rather have a Street or a Road Glide.

  26. 26 Woody Oct 10th, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    @Blkmx, not to defend the moco or be argumentative but I doubt if that was anything but an individual bike problem? Nothing new about that front end so I’m guessing bad front tire or improper steering head preload. Sometimes the setup guys forget somebody’s actually going to RIDE the suckers 😉

  27. 27 Blackmax Oct 12th, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Thanks for the info Woody, but if they are putting out there for people to test ride, it should be correct? I’ve talked to others who felt the same thing, I’ve got a good friend of mine that was looking at one of these & told him to get a Street or Road glide instead. $1500.00 bucks difference between a stable platform (at least the new ones with the new frame) and one that shakes?
    No Contest …….

  28. 28 Woody Oct 12th, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    We shall see Blackmax, I’ve been wrong before 😉 It doesn’t make sense that it should have a handling problem unless there’s a component problem. Cyls are in line with the frame, likewise a chain drive. Nothing radical about the frontend design and they aren’t spoked wheels. I give up?

  29. 29 Wiz Oct 15th, 2011 at 4:23 am

    Give me a dozen of ’em! Let’s see, one red, blue, black, purple poka-dot, tie-dye [fer you Ricky], yellow [fer you Jeffy], Michaelagelo airbrushed [fer you Cyril], pink [fer the damn ladies ‘an the ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLE clowns], camo [fer the soldiers], OD green [fer the WWII vets], white [fer the God folks], ‘an rust [fer the Limpnikki Lot crew]. But NEVER GREEN!!! [Bad Luck, ya know!!] Wiz

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