Harley-Davidson Freewheeler Review: Exploring the Riding Experience of a Trike

In the realm of motorcycles, diversity often yields unique experiences. Trikes, a niche within a niche, had remained unexplored territory until recently. With experience on quads, leaning multi-wheel bikes like the Yamaha Niken, and even a Watsonian sidecar, the opportunity to handle a true two-at-the-back, one-at-the-front trike finally arrived with Harley-Davidson's invitation to test their custom-looking Freewheeler.

Over a span of three weeks and covering approximately 600 miles, the Freewheeler navigated urban streets, cruised highways, and soaked up the summer sun on this eye-catching machine.

Entering the official H-D trike club comes with a significant price tag. In the UK, the Freewheeler starts at £31,895, making it the more economical choice compared to its larger sibling, the Tri Glide, priced at £39,595. For 2024, color options include Billiard Gray, Vivid Black (with a £500 premium), and Alpine Green with Vivid Black (adding another £1,000).

Manufactured at Harley-Davidson,  the Freewheeler is not a kit or custom build. It presents as a stylized variant of the Road King Special, featuring a 114 Milwaukee Eight V-Twin engine producing 87bhp at 5,020rpm and 107lb ft of torque at 3,000rpm. Power is transferred through a six-speed gearbox and belt drive, resulting in a distinctive riding experience.

The Freewheeler's initial handling impressions are characterized by substantial weight and the influence of its generous steering damper. Once in motion, however, it mimics traditional motorcycle handling with familiar controls and an instrumentation view dominated by Harley's iconic design.

Cornering on the Freewheeler differs markedly from two-wheeled counterparts; its stability is notable, yet the handling dynamics vary significantly, particularly over potholes and uneven surfaces. The presence of two rear wheels and a live rear axle necessitates a different approach to road irregularities, underscoring its distinctiveness within the riding landscape.

The Freewheeler boasts robust braking capabilities, featuring a potent twin-disc front setup complemented by a strong rear brake, all linked with cornering ABS for enhanced safety. Comfort-wise, the ride position mirrors Harley's Softail models, with vibration-dampened running boards and a plush seat conducive to long-distance cruising.

Choosing a Harley-Davidson Freewheeler largely depends on personal preference and readiness for its unique handling characteristics. While it may not be the preferred choice for a £30k+ investment, its appeal to riders unable to manage a conventional bike underscores its value within the Harley-Davidson lineup.

Ultimately, the Freewheeler represents more than just a machine; it's a gateway to a distinct riding experience and a testament to Harley-Davidson's commitment to diversity in their product offerings.