Harley vs Yamaha Best Bike?
Nothing is as relaxing as riding along city streets in your cruiser or something that pushes your adrenaline levels while cruising at astronomical speeds like a super bike. This article explores two of the top bike makers – Harley vs. Yamaha
There is something exhilarating in watching superbikes zoom past you at speeds of over 160mph. The feeling is something that just stays with you. The aggressive nature of superbikes is what gives one an adrenaline rush. However, getting your first bike isn’t an easy one. You have dirt bikes, cruisers, sport bikes, and scooters for those trying to get ahead of city traffic.
Harley and Yamaha have been manufacturing high quality bikes for decades. However, their niche varies. Harley appeals to the more contemporary and old-fashioned bikers who prefer a more chilled approach to their riding style while the young who are into pushing the throttle to the maximum prefer Yamaha. This article takes a closer look at the features that have made this two iconic brands at the forefront of every bikes mind.
What are the differences between Harley vs. Yamaha
|Target Market||Collectors, older generation||Young aggressive bikers|
|Performance||Modest acceleration||Aggressive acceleration|
|Electronics||Old fashioned dials||Latest electronics|
|Weight||Heavy gasoline guzzlers||Super lightening speeds|
Harley vs. Yamaha – How do these motorbike companies compare
Harley and Yamaha both serve a specific niche when it comes to motorcycles. For the longest time, Harley has developed a solid fun base when it comes to cruiser bikes. One of their first bikes was 116cc cruiser bike in 1903. The bike maker has maintained its reputation for cruisers with a displacement of 750cc to a high of 1700cc for the street guide. Yamaha specialty is superbikes. In this category we have the superfast R1 that is capable of generating over 200HP courtesy of a 998cc liquid engine. Yamaha also have the R6 that competes well in the medium sized engine. If you are looking for speed then Yamaha performs better than Harleys perform but if you are looking for something iconic, laid back then go with a Harley cruiser.
When it comes to electronics then the Yamaha has a clear edge over the Harley. Most of the Yamaha bikes are designed for speed. This means you need the latest biking technologies to keep the bike glued to the road. In most Yamaha super bikes you will find traction control, wheelie control, Quick shift system, ABS are standard, slide control and launch control. The R1 for example features Yamaha innovative chip controlled throttle (YCC-T). The electronic package for the Harley largely depends on the type of bike but you will find analogue dials as standard with the optional digital screens. In some cases you may find a cruiser sporting Bluetooth.
Harley have a solid reputation of using the V-twin engine with a 45 degree angle between the cylinders. This design has enabled Harleys to have a very laid back body with low seats. Harleys are meant to be driven in kind of relaxed mode and this means you have very low body frames. Some Harleys will come with additional passenger seats for long travels. The suspension is also adjusted to accommodate some off-road riding. Yamaha superbikes main focus is speed. This means the aerodynamics are designed in such a way to reduce excess drag. Yamaha is the first motorcycle maker to come up with the genesis engine that allows the gearbox output shaft to be strategically placed beneath the gearbox input shaft. This design means the bike has a lower center of gravity hence boosting performance.
Harley vs. Yamaha – A comparison Overview
Harley – Overview
Harley Davidson is one of the most popular bike manufacturers in the US. It traces its roots in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Founded in 1903, the bike maker survived the great depression and continues to be an icon today through its high quality range of bikes. Harley Davidson bikes stand out due to its numerous customization options available to consumers. Today, the bike maker has plants across the world in places like Manaus, Missouri, Wisconsin, Brazil and India. The Harley Davidson franchise has moved to various branded items like home décor, toys and various accessories. The company has also built a loyal community of followers.
Harley has established itself as the king of cruiser bikes. You can select a bike that you love pimp it up and customize it through various options offered by Harley. While Harleys have always appealed to an older loyal audience, today the bikes are coming loaded with modern electronics. Harley even announced the production of their first fully electric bike.
Harley-Davidson Street 750
Not all Harleys come with a hefty price tag. If you are looking for something moderately priced while still offering you the option to cruise around town then consider the Street 750 into your purchase. The bike has a displacement of 749cc and this enables it to deliver 47 worth of horsepower and 59NM of torque. All this power is through a six-speed manual gearbox.
Braking is great courtesy of front and rear disc chrome plated brakes. You also get some comfortable additions like mid-mounted instrumentation, sweptback handlebar and round headlamps for those long journeys. The painting scheme on this bike is limited to five colors – denim black, vivid black, barracuda silver, performance red, and vivid black deluxe. This is an excellent highway cruiser with amazing torque delivery but it the braking system isn’t the best.
Harley Davidson Forty-Eight
If you are looking for a more classical looking bike then the forty eight is ideal for your cruises. From the exterior you can sport that classical look through it covering of chrome, spoked wheels and that iconic Harley peanut shaped fuel tank. Underneath the seat is a massive 1,202cc engine that gives you a mileage of 20 kilometers per liter. This is not a bike for someone who is trying to be economical with fuel.
Weighing in at 252 kg the forty-eight also comes with a 8-liter fuel tank. The massive engine is capable of delivering over 60HP and 96 NM of torque courtesy of a five speed gearbox. You do not have to worry about bringing all that horsepower to a halt as the forty-eight comes with front and rear disc brakes with an additional anti-lock braking system. The bike is available in six colors. If you are looking for an old-fashioned classic bike then the forty-eight is an ideal choice but it comes with some downsides. For one, the fuel tank is quite small considering how much gasoline it guzzles and the seat can be uncomfortable for long rides.
Yamaha is known for many products with motorcycles been one of them. The company traces its origin in 1955 when it was set up as Yamaha Corporation in Japan. The company’s range of products extends to sail boats, scooters, motorcycles, snowmobiles and even to unmanned helicopters. However, sport bikes have become a favorite by many motoring fans across the globe. For one, you do get really fast, aggressive and reliable super bikes that are capable of competing in most racing competitions across the world.
Yamaha YZF R1
The R1 is Yamaha’s flagship super bike that is meant to turn heads anytime it makes an appearance. From the looks, the bike gives off its character as a really fast super bike. It has menacing curves and a high seat that enables you to get a glimpse of the road ahead. A massive 998cc liquid cooled DOHC engine with inline four titanium valves powers the R1. This enables the super bike to produce an impressive 200 worth of horsepower at rpm of 13,500. At rpm of 11,500 it can hit up to 82.9 foot pounds of torque. All this power is paired by a six-speed transmission that ensures fast gear shifts for maximum acceleration. It is hard to find anything on the racing track that can pose serious competition to the R1.
The R1 is built around a deltabox aluminum frame that ensures the bike is stable despite the weather conditions or speed. The shocks are impressive as you get front KYB fully adjustable inverted 43mm and for the rear mono-shock four way adjustable. When compared to the R6, the R1 seat is a bit higher at 33.7 inches. If that is not all, the R1 comes with an array of electronics. You have slide control, traction control, launch control, ABS/Unified braking system, quick shifter, and wheel lift control. If you are looking for something to superfast, then the R1 should be at the top of your purchasing list.
Yamaha YZF R6
If you are wondering what to do with all that horsepower that the R1 offers or find the price a bit high, your next best option is the R6. The R6 started receiving some redesign to its body and electronics so that today it is resembles the R1. But, make no mistake about its 600cc engine. This bike is capable of accelerating fast and hitting speeds of up to 160 mph. The R6 liquid cooled 598cc engine comes with sixteen titanium valves that enables the bike to genterate 116.7 worth of horsepower at rpm of 14,500. It also generates around 45.5 foot pounds of torque at rpm of 10,500. The engine revs really fast and you can feel the power once you press the throttle. This allows it to offer 419 foot pounds of wet torque at rpm of 10,500. All this power is through a six-speed transmission.
The body frame is sturdy enough courtesy of an aluminum deltabox twin spar chassis. For suspension, you get front inverted 43mm three way adjustable KYB and mono-shock four way adjustable for the rear. The seat as stated is smaller than the R1 at 33.5 inches. The R6 is an awesome bike to add to your collection. It is fast, comfortable and loaded with some of the cool electronics you will find in the R1.
Yamaha YZF R3
It is can be a challenge riding a super bike for the fast time. Trying out the R1 or R6 for the first time can be intimidating. It is for this reason that Yamaha come up with an entry-level bike specifically for beginners. Firstly, the R3 should not be underestimated in any way. It looks aggressive and menacing plus it has a powerful engine. You can purchase the R3 for commuting as it is capable of handling 56 miles per gallon.
A liquid cooled DOHC inline twin cylinder 321cc engine powers the R3. This is paired with a six-speed transmission similar to that in the R1 and R6. The engine enables the R3 to comfortably generate 42 worth of horsepower at a rpm of 10,750. This translates to 21.8 foot-pounds of torque at rpm of 9,000. The R3 is capable of reaching a modest speed of 111 mph and a wet weight of 368 pounds.
The suspension for the R3 are front KYB 41mm telescopic forks and rear mono-shock. The seat is lower than the R1 and R6 at 30.7 inches.
Now let’s compare 2 popular Harley and Yamaha models
|Model||Yamaha R1||Harley Sportster|
|Max Power||194.3 HP @rpm 13,500||67.7 HP @rpm 5,680|
|Max Torque||112.4 Nm @rpm 11,500||96 Nm @rpm 4,250|
|Fuel Delivery System||Fuel Injection||Electronic Fuel Injection|
|Cooling system||Liquid cooled||Air cooled|
|Front Suspension||Telescopic Fork||39 mm Fork|
|Kerb Weight (kg)||200||268|
When it comes to high performance bikes that are capable of hitting 160 mph very few come close to the Yamaha R1. The bike is capable of generating a high of 200HP while still maintaining its aggression on the racing track. Yamaha has established itself as riding machine on the racing track and with recent improvements fans are only hoping for more power.
Harleys rule in the cruiser category. They come with classic designs and traditional curves that make them standout. Besides, the price a Harley cruiser should be a good addition to any biking fan collection.