1949 Harley-Davidson FL Hydra-Glide

The now-classic bucket headlight and chrome trim were popular accessories offered on the 1949 Harley-Davidson FL Hydra-Glide motorcycle. See more motorcycle pictures.

The 1949 Harley-Davidson FL Hydra-Glide motorcycle was popular with riders for its modern design, comfortable ride, and larger front brake.

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After bringing out the refined Panhead engine the previous year, Harley's big news for 1949 was the introduction of "Hydra-Glide" front forks. Replacing the former leading-link forks, Hydra-Glide was a modern telescopic design that provided greater travel and a much higher level of riding comfort.

However, the frame still lacked any form of rear suspension; that would take another few years to develop.

The big Harleys were now called "Hydra-Glide" in reference to the new forks, marking the first time they carried a name as well as a series designation.

They remained available in 61-cubic-inch EL and 74-cubic-inch FL versions, and, although the latter is represented here, there was little difference in appearance.

The 1949 FL was not only more comfortable to ride, but also easier to stop due to a larger front brake.

Though by this time many motorcycles were adopting foot-shift transmissions, that too was some time off for the big FL series, which still made use of a hand shifter and foot clutch.

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