MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: 2008 Harley-Davidson Rocker

A woman's secret best friend

By Genevieve Schmitt, Editor

My new favorite motorcycle is the Harley-Davidson Rocker. This is a big deal because I dont grant this title lightly. To be one of my favorite motorcycles, it must possess many of the qualities women deem favorable when selecting a bike and the Rocker has them, low seat height, easy to handle — and in this case — styling to the max for those interested in purchasing a bike that looks like a more expensive custom.

motorcycle review harley davidson rocker
Genevieve rides the Rocker. You can see her arms and legs both have a comfortable bend. No extended reach here. Genevieve is wearing Olympia Moto Sports Mustang jacket, very lightweight and breathable for hot summer riding.

I was one of only two women to test ride the Rocker and its cousin, the Rocker C, when they were unveiled to members of the motorcycle press. Im excited to share the first review of the bikes aimed at women riders.

Some Background
The Rocker, designated as the FXCW (and FXCWC for the Rocker C) is a completely new model for Harley, both part of the Softail family. This bike is Harleys effort to capture part of the custom motorcycle market thats flooded with “one-offs” (one of a kind motorcycles designed from scratch) from start-up custom manufacturers that burst onto the scene over the last five years. Many have gone out of business within the last two years, with a few remaining eeking out several thousand bikes a year with start-up assembly line and production facilities that often leave quality at the door.

motorcycle review harley davidson rocker c
There are three main differences between the Rocker and Rocker C (shown): The Rocker has chrome where the Rocker has a satin finish; it has a passenger seat thats hidden underneath the riders seat, and its seat height is almost an inch higher than the Rocker.

With Harleys 105 years of time-tested engineering and manufacturing, its a no brainer for the Motor Company to dip its toe into these custom waters to bring back some customers who went searching over yonder for something new, exciting and different. (Harley does offer its Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) motorcycles, but those have a high price tag attached to them.) The problem with new, exciting, and different when bought from a manufacturer with a limited track record of quality and reliability is that customers are left holding the bag, or in this case, a bag of parts that fell off or didnt work the way they were supposed to.

My New Best Friend
So, why do I like — no love — the Rocker? Well, it has great ergonomics for starters. Ergonomics is what I always hone in on first. Not sure if thats a woman thing (a woman riders confidence comes largely from being able to handle a bike; being able to handle a bike means being comfortable to a certain extent), or the fact that the first thing you do with a motorcycle is sit on it, grab the bars and put your feet on the pegs. The Rocker is “low friendly” – just 24.5 inches off the ground giving it bragging rights alongside the Softail Deluxe, as having the lowest seat of any Harley-Davidson. That alone will win over a lot of women. My feet are flat on the ground with just enough bend in the knee to easily shuffle and maneuver the nearly 700-pound motorcycle. Despite its fat 240 mm rear tire, the bikes profile, including the seat, is relatively narrow so no inches are lost in the leg spread. Strong riders standing a solid 5 feet should be able to handle the bike just fine. I say strong, because the Rocker is a lot of bike and on the heavy side so upper body strength is needed to muscle it around.

motorcycle review rocker seat height
Genevieve demonstrates that at 5-foot-7 with boots on, she sits flatfooted on the Rocker, with enough bend in the leg left to manuever the bike.

One of the most noticeable aspects of this new custom from Harley both visually and from its feel is the relatively long rake in the front – 36.5 degrees to be exact. For comparison, the rake on the rest of the Softails is 32 degrees. If youve ever ridden a custom with a raked front end, you might have experienced whats termed “flop” or “front end flop.” This happens when the forks are so kicked out that they lose stabilization and the front tire flops to either side forcing the handlebars to turn with it. You can tell if a bike has flop by simply sitting it on and balancing the front end by positioning it straight the front tire in line with the rear. If you cant find the sweet spot to balance, the tire keeps flopping to side to side. The great thing about the Rocker is theres absolutely no flop. The rake is very manageable. Harley designs for the masses so it has to be. Its well balanced and rides as smooth as it looks. But Im getting ahead of myself. Back to the ergos.

motorcycle review harley davidson rocker dash
A clean and simple cockpit to keep the look of the bike uncluttered. An analog speedometer is complimented by a digital odometer. The small panel below the speedo indicates high beams, low oil, that kind of stuff.
motorcycle review harley davidson rocker c dash
The Rocker Cs cockpit with all its chrome.

The handlebars are angled way back to the rider (no annoying back stretch here) thanks to a five-inch riser attached to a V-Bar, a handlebar in the shape of a V. Im not fan of forward controls (mostly because I find stock settings too far for my 30-inch inseam) but once again, the forward pegs and controls are placed in just the right position for me completing the perfect ergonomic package. Looks aside (you might take em or leave em), I feel a lot of women will be pleased with the ergonomic set up of the Rocker. Its so less imposing than it looks.

motorcycle review harley davidson rocker seat
The bucket style seat is the same on the Rocker and Rocker C. The rise in the back provides a bit of lumbar support.

Rockin the Roads
Out on the highway, I thoroughly enjoyed snicking through the six gears of Harleys Twin Cam 96B power plant getting the bike up to speed. (The B designation means the engine is counter balanced in the frame thereby reducing vibration transfer to the rider.) My test ride included a little bit of everything highway riding and rural road twisties. With my arms and legs outstretched, I pushed the Rocker over as far as I could in the turns scraping the pegs a couple of times. Thank goodness for a little tab at the end of the collapsible peg that hits the pavement first. It takes the scraping instead of your footpeg.

motorcycle review harley davidson rocker riding
Even at slow speeds going around this tight turn, the bike held its line despite its longish wheelbase at 69.2 inches

I wanted to see if the bike held its line – which it did, or experienced any wobble. It did not. Wobble can happen from loose steering dampeners or mostly from a less than stiff chassis. The Rockers chassis is very rigid; the bike went right where I pointed it.

With a big fat tire like that, dont expect to fly around corners – the wider tire surface forces the bike upright so it takes more might and speed to force it to lean over in the turns. But the 240mm is not so big it messes with the ride. Ive found tire size becomes an issue with 250mm and larger. You start to really feel the back end restricting your turning.

“I felt like I had to reach a little farther to the pegs on the Rocker C,” said Genevieve. Compare this picture to her riding the Rocker and youll see her legs are bent more on the Rocker.

On the highway running at about 80 mph (I couldnt believe I got up to 80 so effortlessly) the Rocker tracked well keeping me in a straight line as plowed through the miles. I was quite comfortable in the saddle all day long. For once, my butt reached the back of a motorcycle seat enjoying the benefits of feeling tucked in. The suspension did an adequate job of taking potholes and uneven pavement markings. And the suspension is what brings us to the root of what this bike is all about and why its called a Rocker.

The Rockers Roots
If you look closely at the back end while the bike is moving, the tire and fender appear to be suspended, floating independently of the rest of the bike. Normal back ends have fender struts attaching the fender to the frame. This Rockertail set up gives the illusion of a spine jarring hardtail rigid frame ride (for all those custom junkies) but underneath hides a shock taking all the vibration – just like on other Softails.

motorcycle review harley davidson rocker c rear tire
The gap you see below the back end of the seat is because the fender and tire are essentially independent of the rest of the bike as they are attached directly to the swingarm. The swingarm is the sideways V satin finished metal piece on the outside of the sprocket wheel.

The swingarm in the rear is actually a separate piece attached to the frame. The rear fender and wheel are attached to the swingarm so when the bike is moving the fender and wheel move together in a rocking motion hence the name. I think it looks more like an up and down tight bounce, but Bouncer is not really a good name for a bike, or is it? Bouncer the bike. The Bouncer. I dont know – kind of has a ring to it.

Style Galore
Lets get to styling, my favorite part and a lot of womens favorite part of a motorcycle. Other than the excellent ergonomics, the other reason I prefer the Rocker over the Rocker C (other than that the seat height is 3/4 of an inch lower, too) is because of its grey satin finish on parts that normally would see chrome. Harley calls it Satin Stainless Metallic powder coat. It’s gorgeous. Subdued yet elegant. It’s not a stone cold gray, but a warm grey with a hint of brown in it. I just love it. I’m not into the chrome that’s splashed all over the Rocker C leaving it with $2,000 higher price tag. Don’t get me wrong, chrome is classy, but I really like the look of the satin finish.

motorcycle review harley davidson rocker c seat height
The Rocker C is decked out in chrome. With a seat height of 25.25 — still very low by cruiser standards — Genevieve had no problem reaching the ground.

It’s worth noting the Rocker C costs more, as well, because of an integrated passenger seat. It’s a neat and innovative feature if you need to carry a passenger on the fly. The pan style seat is tucked under the rider saddle and, in about 15 seconds, is easily flipped out into position.

motorcycle review harley davidson rocker c pillion
The passenger pillion pan flips out from below the rider’s seat, while the pad is stowed right under the rider’s pad.
motorcycle review harley davidson rocker c passenger pillion
The pad attaches in place in a matter of seconds and requires no tools.
motorcycle review harley davidson rocker c passenger seat
Genevieve rides on the back of the Rocker C. “This is a pretty small pillion that is fine for short hops around town, but there’s no way I’d sit on this for more than 75 miles. There’s no back support and my knees were cramped.”

Details like wires hidden in the handlebars, five spoke cast aluminum wheels, a color matched frame, small bullet style turn signals, and turn signals in the rear that double as the stop and taillight (eliminating the need for separate taillight) let you know this is a true custom. I’d change out the stock Harley mirrors and the ugly license plate holder, which have no business being on this beauty. But Harley can’t customize everything for the customer. Some things have to be left for the customer to choose from aftermarket parts and accessories.

motorcycle review harley davidson rocker rear view
The rear view shows the license plate holder and the big rear tire.
motorcycle review harley davidson rocker oil tank
This shows a closeup of a lot of the parts on the Rocker that have that satin metallic finish. The fins on the oil tank below the seat are an attractive styling touch something we’ve not seen on other Softails.

Don’t underestimate the Rocker and don’t be intimidated by it. This is a breeze to ride, an extremely fun bike that looks like those bad boy customs (so be prepared to get a few looks) but is so much easier on your butt, back and bones. And that’s the secret. People will wonder how a woman can (or would even want to) manhandle what appears to be a big and tough motorcycle.

Specs at a Glance: 2008 FXCW Rocker
Displacement: 1584 cc
Seat Height: 24.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 690 pounds
MSRP: starts at $17,295

WRN Recommendation
I was wondering if this bike would work as more than just an in-town cruiser, if accessories were available to turn it into a long haul tourer. Flipping through Harley’s P&A catalog, I find a windshield, a backrest, and a luggage rack specifically designed for the Rocker. Great! It makes this custom machine multi-functional giving me more reason to love it and recommend that you demo ride it…soon.   

134 thoughts on MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: 2008 Harley-Davidson Rocker

  1. Just purchased a 2008 Rocker C. Found your article very interesting. It actually finalized my decision to indulge myself; I have always wanted a custom bike but since we used our bikes to travel I went for the more sensible touring models. We are now doing short rides, weekend trips. My questions are: Are the Vance & Hines mufflers stock on the “C”? We have been told by two different dealer people that Harley only produced the Rocker two years but I find information indicating 2008-2011? Basically I love the Rocker so far; I have only put 100 miles on it after doing some fairly expensive repairs and accessories.

    1. Congratulations on the purchase of the Rocker C. I have a friend who has this motorcycle and loves it still after all these years. The Vance & Hines mufflers are not stock. Those are an aftermarket item that was put on the bike. God bless that you have many wonderful years of riding with your new motorcycle.

  2. I bought an 08 Rocker soon after reading this article. I’m 5 feet 7 inches and find the bike to be really comfortable to ride. Since April I’ve put more than 5000 miles on it including some long highway runs. With the Harley quick release bags and luggage rack/passenger seat it can handle touring duties just fine too.

  3. Hi Genevieve,All your articles are very informative and I really enjoy reading your reviews. I’m a 5-feet-5 140 pound male and I have similar challenges facing some female riders. I’m glad I found your site. It really helped me find the right bike. I finally decided on the Harley-Davidson Nightster and it was the perfect bike for me. Thanks.

    1. Richard,I’m so glad you’re able to glean useful information from my reviews. While Women Riders Now is primarily focused at female riders, I never write specifically to women. All the articles and reviews on this site are inclusive of the male gender, never alienating, never discriminating. We are very careful to refer to women in the third person (versus “us” or “we”) so that readers just like yourself can relate to the article as well. Thanks for your support.

  4. I am planning on buying the Rocker C at Brighton Harley-Davidson, after taking the Rider’s Edge class at the end of April.My question for anyone, can you lower the bike 2 inches with the kit and then put on the Rocker Solo seat (which also lowers you 1/5 inch)? I stand 5-feet-2 on a good day and I can’t/won’t do the tippy toe stop.Either way, I will be purchasing it!

    1. You’ll need to check with your dealer to see if the Rocker can be lowered. Some Harley’s are already “lowered” at the factory, like my Street Glide is a lower FL touring model. But that didn’t stop me from lowering it more using Progressive Suspension shocks. I suspect you can as Harley’s stock settings are never maxed out, so you should be able to lower the bike. I recommend Progressive Suspension’s kit for the Rocker C. Email David Zemla, their marketing guy, at ask him to help you. Tell him I sent you.

  5. Would you recommend the Rocker for a first bike?

    1. Depends on your physical size and experience, but generally not as the Rocker has a lot of power and handles a bit differently than other bikes because of the bigger rear tire.

  6. I own a 2009 Rocker. Just bought it Aug. 2010. It only had 2 miles. It is my first bike and I love it! I have a couple things that I would like to add — windshield, tach, pipes…

  7. In mid-life crisis so I went out a bought a Rocker! Everyone thinks I am insane, but who cares? Nothing like it, and I couldn’t be happier!

    1. Congratulations! Glad you did it. It is indeed a great motorcycle and if I were to buy another Harley that would be the one.

  8. My first Bike was the Rocker, and I truly love it. It handles like a dream but being only 140 pounds I do have to throw my weight around a bit. The power is phenomenal while riding it by myself, but with a passenger in the mountains it doesn’t have the kick I like — so enter the Stage 1 kit, S&S Black Spike Air Cleaner, Martin Brothers Daisy Cutters with two of four baffles removed, Power Commander V and a bug eating smile. Cuts down on steak spendings and rips through anything I need it to.

  9. To Jeffery of Denver, Colorado:There is a seat that will fit this. We just purchased it from J&P Cycles. Not in the catalog but if call them they have it. Also need to purchase the luggage rack and the strut kit bars. Then you have to purchase sissy bar and backrest from Harley. Not on our bike yet but I cannot wait for the bigger seat and backrest.

  10. I have the Rocker C. Love the bike overall but the passenger seat could be better. I am trying to customize it, make it bigger and add a backrest. Anyone have any suggestions on where to find one? I purchased the extra passenger pad so I can always have one under the bike and would like to take the new one and customize it for my girl.

  11. I currently own a Honda Shadow 750 ACE, but as I was driving with my wife one day, I saw some lucky rider in a HD Rocker. I saw myself on it that day. I researched it and started looking around. Unfortunately I found out that this style of bike is not very easy to let go, so owners fall in love with them and previously owned are difficult to find in my area. I got lucky and found one, down in San Diego. I rushed to see it, I immediately fell in love too.

    I tested it, and knew that would be my toy for the rest of my riding years. I'm 5 feet 4 inches tall, 170 pounds, no problem handling it. I find a reason to ride it often. My wife is scared of getting on it (as a passenger)and I don't force her, but I know she is itching to try it and once she does, she will not let me go anywhere by myself. It's all good. Like somebody said: one bike, one love, ride 'em to the end.

  12. My husband and I bought our first H-D last March It is a Rocker C. We absolutely love it! Our Rocker C rides very nice and looks so beautiful. When we first got it, our friends who have motorcycles said that I would hate the passenger seat… well I don't hate it. It may not be the biggest seat but it is not entirely uncomfortable. We went on the 5 State run last year and I was only mildly uncomfortable on our 300 mile journey. I love how it kind of forces you to be closer to the operator. Great for couples. Very sexy bike. My only complaint is he refuses to let me ride it by myself because it is so beautiful. I cannot wait till we pay this one off so I can get my own.

  13. Great article and discussions on the Rocker C. This really helped me in my decision in buying a bike. I ultimately settled on the 2010 Rocker C and had some modifications done. I purchased the bike at the H-D Round Rock, Texas, dealership. They showed me the EZ Rocker C. This is a great mod from Heartland USA. The seat that people either hate or love is gone and replaced by a nice single seat with a removable “get lucky” passenger seat. The rear fender is bobbed and the bike is lowered by about 1.5 inches (visit their Web site for a good picture).

    For the “vertically challenged” the new seat and lowered stance will definitely make it easy to control and manage (I am 71 inches with a 3-inch” inseam so I have no issues). This is a beautiful bike and a definite head turner. This is my first bike and is super easy to ride. Your comments on the balance of the bike are spot on. This bike is so well balanced and does not seem to way the almost 700 pounds. I am so happy with the bike and its performance.

    Thank you for the in-depth article. If anyone has any questions about the bike with the mods I would be glad to answer them.

  14. I am a longtime sportbike rider. I currently ride an ultra fast Ninja ZX-12R,previously had two ZX11s. I took the Rocker out for a ride and that was that. I am selling my Ninja and buying the Rocker. I am 65 and am finding I do not need a bike with 200 horsepower. I feel like I enjoy cruising along and enjoying the sensations of the ride more. I love the way the Rocker handles. Besides I don't have to worry about speeding tickets so much. The Rocker really does attract a lot of attention and it is so much fun to ride. Woohoo bigtime.

  15. Love the rocker! My wife who is 5-feet-2 rides this bike with ease. She traded in her 04 Road King for a Softail Custom but loves this bike. I bought it from the dealer with a Stage I and Vance and Hines Roland Sands Design Tracker black and chrome two-into-one exhaust. It has a H-D 1 of 200 flat red and black flame paint job and is a head turner.

    Three things though: do not go with the stock windshield if you are a taller rider. I am 5-feet10-10 and it puts the wind right in my face. Memphis Shades makes a sport and fats shield that works great. Do buy the Corbin saddle for this bike. Your butt and back will thank you. And lastly, a set of Kuryaken pegs with stirrups is a must because of seating position. The pegs that are stock look like the are passenger pegs off a sportster. Great bike power and handling to spare. I traded an 08 Ultra for this bike. Glad I did.

  16. I would like to meet a girl who must own a Rocker C and not fight with me when we decide to go for a ride togerther. I will drive and she will have to sit on the back. I will love her because I cannot afford the Rocker C. I will even marry her.

  17. I currently ride an 07 Road King and my previous bike was a Dyna Low Rider. I heard all the hype on the Rocker so I had to take one out for a spin to see for myself. I must say that is a nice ride for sure and comfortable, too. If you're not used to the rake, then it takes a little bit to get used to that but I thought it was great!

  18. I am going to learn to ride a bike for my 46th birthday and the Rocker C looks like my baby!
    Hope I can handle it.

  19. I started with a 105th Anniversary Sportster Low Rider, then bought a Rocker for longer rides on the highway. I'm all of 5 feet tall and had a little trouble with balance and touching the ground on my Sportster. The Rocker has been a great step up in regards to power and handling. I've ordered a custom seat from Corbin and a lowering kit for the Rocker. Even though I'm on my toes at a stop, the wide rear tire has made a huge stability difference. Love this bike!

  20. Your article gave me a bad case of the “WANTS” but it is too damn late for me. I had a 1960 model H-D74 back during the crusades, but a brother of mine, weighing about 75 pounds took it for a joy ride, and brought it back in a trailer in pieces. College took all my bike money after that and a wife took it all after college. Now I am 71 and have had a stroke, and can't even balance on my two feet, so no bike, but I can still dream and listen to the distinct Harley music. That rocker is beautiful!

  21. I fell in love with the Rocker C since it was first announced. I already had a 883 Sportster and thought the Rocker would be way to big for me (I'm 5-feet-1). I went to the dealer to buy oil for my Sportster and while my boyfriend was in the parts dept. I was in the showroom drooling with other customers over the bike. Next thing I know the sales girl had me signing papers. The dealer took off the trick seat and put on a solo seat so I can reach the floor. I then immediately lowered it two more inches and it is now perfect for me.

    I've done some customizing like I put on some blacked-out pipes and she looks amazing. I love this bike! It gets tons of looks. She turns like a dream. I've already gone on a long ride and it was great. The power this bike has is exciting.

    1. Miriam,
      Why don't you submit your review of the Rocker to our Readers' Reviews section. I'm sure others would like to know more about what you think of the bike and details on how you lowered it.

      Click on the link on the left under Reviews and follow the instructions for submitting. Thanks.

  22. I've got the blue Rocker with 8 inch risers, drag bars, Vance and Hines two- into-one wide diameter pipes, nice pegs and levers, Joker Machine mirrors, bullet signals, steel braided cables, big bucket headlight and everything that can be is chromed. There's almost nothing left of my 240 rear tire due to the 10,000 kilometers, and a smoke show or two.

    This winter its getting the Stage three kit and cutom paint with pimped out flames. I love this bike! Everywhere I go people check it out and ask questions. My girlfriend doesn't like it. It gets more attention than she does. Good job, Harley-Davidson!

  23. Upgraded my Sportster 1200C and bought a Rocker last month. Absolutely love the ride. The Rocker handles great and has the awesome power of the Big Twin powerplant, and the 6 speed overdrive rumbles down the highway. Great job HD!

  24. I have had different brands of bikes for the last decade. Finally I came to a conclusion to buy a Harley two years ago. I was torn between the Wide Glide and Night Train at that time and chose the Wide Glide. Despite the fact that I am happy it, I am deciding to trade it for a Rocker C. This thing is really fantastic. I test drove it.

    Only question is that tank could be wider and circular instead of being rectangular. Because rear fender and the tank is in same width. Most riders prefer tank wider than fender. Other than that, more than perfect!

  25. My husband and I purchased my Vivid Black Rocker C in July. This article opened our eyes to this amazing bike! My husband has a Bourget Kruzer and hardly ever rode it because it was literally painful for me to be his passenger. I suggested getting me a bike so that he would get more use out of his. I am a brand new rider, but am pretty athletic. I enrolled in a motorcycle safety course (was the only girl there) and called my husband on break to say he needed to get out his wallet! We were going to start off with a much smaller bike, but realized I wanted to train and learn on a bike I would eventually want to own.

    I'm so GRATEFUL for the honesty of this article. I weighed the pros and cons of our decision and when we walked into the Harley dealership and found this beauty waiting for me, we had to jump on it! Many tried to convince me this bike would be too much for me to handle and I started to listen. My father-in-law offered to trade his Fat Boy for my Rocker C , stating it would be lower to the ground and easier for me to drive (I'm 5 feet 7 inches and 135 pounds). I declined his very sweet offer. I love being in the driver's seat and I am enjoying the freedom it brings! I'm so excited to be a woman rider….now!

    1. Be sure to send us a picture of you on the Rocker C and let us know how you like it by writing us a mini-bike review for our Readers' Motorcycles link. Instructions on what to do at at the bottom of that page. We don't know of too many women riding a Rocker — especially as her first motorcycle so we'd love to read your impressions.

  26. I never owned a bike before, but I walked into the H-D shop with a friend of mine who owns a Sportster 1200 and saw a red Rocker C and fell in love with it! Do you think its a good choice for a first bike? (All I've driven was quadbikes and a Kawasaki Z750)

    1. The Rocker might be tough as a first bike as it has a lot of power if you're not used to it. It's certainly low enough, most men should have no problem with that. It just feels a little different with that longer front end and powerful engine that I beginner rider may not be able to handle. That's my opinon having ridden it.

  27. I agree, this bike is sized for a woman. I disagree about the wide tire limiting lean. I find that it just isn't an issue with me. After researching my new motorcycle purchase, I bought the Victory Hammer. It is a “man's” motorcycle. Yeah, I gave up on Harleys. Thanks for the article!

  28. Great scooter! I have had my Rocker C for about three months and love it. I added the Screamin' Eagle race tuner, Vance & Hines Big Radius pipes and Big Sucker air cleaner and what a ride! This bike gets attention everywhere you go. I found the seat to be very butt numbing (I'm 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds) on long rides. I changed the seat to a Corbin and what a difference. The seat sits down shorter and back further. For tall riders who want this bike, it's a necessity. The seat is so comfortable I would not think twice about a long trip.

    I think this is the most innovative bike Harley has come out with in a long time. If you want one and can find it, buy it. They won't last long on the showroom floor.

  29. Man, the Rocker C is a beast! My wife bought me one for Father's Day and had it delivered by a Harley representative while I was outside mowing my lawn. I had no idea it was mine and was instantly captivated by its appearance as it traveled down the street towards me. The gentleman stopped in front of my residence, motioned for me to come to him and asked for me by name. I was shocked that he was asking for me, and when he told me, “Congratulations!, Happy Fathers Day.” I thought I was being “punked” and immediately searched the area for cameras. By that time, my wife and two daughters were videotaping the moment.

    I am so impressed with this bike that I ride it every opportunity I get. People are constantly amazed by it and bombard me with numerous questions about all aspects of it. It has speed, a comfortable ride, superb handling capability, beauty and attitude. For the Harley-Davidson lovers, this bike has to be a consideration.

  30. I was visiting my local H-D store few months back trying to see what model would be my first H-D bike. (I owned a Honda Shadow 600cc). The Rocker C was the first one I laid my eyes on and that was it. I bought it two weeks ago and I love it! It is like a rocket on a road. Everybody turns their head on my Rocker (and me). Genevieve, thanks for a great article!

  31. I have had mine for about two months now. I love this bike. The only thing the Motor Company screwed up on is the pipes. This thing sounds like a Honda. So I had a customizer make me some street sweepers. Along with a heavy duty breather this thing now sounds as bad as it looks.

    1. Unfortunately, Harley, like all manufacturers, must adhere to strict emission and exhaust standards, hence the quieter sound. Thank goodness for the aftermarket industry.

  32. I ordered a blue Rocker C through military sales while I was in Afghanistan in Feb 08 and got it mid-May 08 after returning to the states. This bike has a great look and fantastic ride. I would agree with a previous rider that the rear brake is a little weak but the handling of this bike with the raked fork is excellent. I will be curious to see if H-D makes any changes to the bike in the 2009 model. They are expected to begin showing these this month.

  33. Great reviews. I currently have the Sportster 1200N which is my first street bike but feel I have outgrown it. After seeing the Rocker, I want one so bad but I am only 4 feet 11 inches tall. A lot of people are telling me it is to big. I would like to know your thoughts on this.

    1. I recommend sitting on one at a dealership and seeing how it feels to lift it off the kickstand and moving it around.
      That should give you a feel for seat height and maneuverability. Then demo one at a rally to get a feel for the ride.

  34. Great article! I've had my red Rocker C for about a month and am loving it. I did change the seat to the solo Rocker seat and it makes a world of difference! Getting a little impatient waiting for exhaust to be fitted to the Rocker but I'm sure it will be worth the wait.

  35. I ordered my Rocker C in August and finally got it in March. Had the motor pumped up big time. Added ape hangers, pegs and a couple other little chrome doo-dads. This is my 14th Harley — by far the baddest chopper I have ever ridden. Handles like a dream, crack the throttle, it screams. Only complaint is the rear brake. Very weak. Other than that, it is extremely well designed bike. Real head turner. Love it!

    1. We'd love to see the Rocker with ape hangers. Please send a picture and write-up to our Readers' Motorcycles.

  36. Im hooked. I just bought a Sportster and after reading your review, Genevieve, not only do I want your job but I also want a Rocker (I know what I want). I stand at just over 5 feet, so I'm a little stretched on my Sportster. I love her to bits but this review has given me a new and more ambitious determination to go try one for myself.

  37. Im still waiting for my Rocker C. I ordered it in Dec 07. Is this the standard waiting time for these models? Should I wait for this or choose something else maybe from another company?

    1. That does seem like an unusually long time but you are in Australia so perhaps because the bike is being imported it's taking longer. I know that people in the U.S. have had to wait a little longer than normal for this bike. Harley shut down production for a short time last fall which delayed a lot of shipments.

      The bike is worth the wait, but by late summer, you're may want an 09 Rocker. I'd ask around at other dealers to see what the wait time is there. And try to insist on a specific delivery date.

  38. Just picked up my new Rocker C in black and love the bike. Beefy back end and long tank makes it look tough as hell. The handling is great. Corners are tough at high speed, but lower the gear and get on the throttle and it straightens right out of the turn.

    I've been scrambling for accesories – not much out there yet. I did add some Rush slip-ons but would really like to find some bags (other than H-D-only stock $1000 set up). Did get a great deal on it, about $1500 below MRSP and a $400 gift card from my local Harley store. Can't wait to break this baby in and open up on the highway.

    I love the fact that not many people own this bike because it does turn heads. Everybody says it's Harley's best designed Softail out there. I have to agree!

  39. I picked up my Rocker C on April 20th. I love it! I am 5 feet 4 and had a hard time putting my feet flat on the ground so I purchased a regular Rocker seat, it made all the difference now I can ride with confidence.

  40. I have a friend who works for H-D here in Brazil, and I asked him in January to let me know as soon as the Rocker sales start here. I had a great surprise this week when he called me and said that I am going to be the owner of the first Rocker in Brazil. I ordered the black one with red flames, and in around 30 days I will be surely enjoying it a lot. I can´t wait!

  41. I've looked all over the web for prices of the Rocker and Rocker C, but I still can't find them. I just want to know what to expect. I was also looking for advice if I should get the Softail Standard instead? I mean, what are the most significant differences riding-wise.

    1. The price of the Rocker is at the end of our review; it also can be found on

      The main difference between the Rocker and the Softail Standard is that the Rocker has a longer rake, a fatter rear tire, it sits lower, and the rear end moves independently of the rest of the bike as described in the article. It definitely feels and rides very differently from the Softail Standard. No comparison, actually. We like the Rocker, better, hands down.

  42. I have been considering trading in my Dyna for something new. I love the looks of this bike too. But I am very tall for a woman (6 feet). I wonder how I'd fit this bike with such a long inseam? I guess I'll just have to go test ride one.

  43. G—I can't believe you let the dude drive. He should be riding on the back with you in front.

    1. Thanks for your comments. The beauty of being a woman who rides is that I can ride on the front… as well as the back, should the need arise.

  44. I picked up my Rocker C with the Stage II Big Bore Kit, and added pegs, grips etc. and have to say that anybody wanting one of these machines will NOT be disappointed as you have look, power, and a sweet ride. Everywhere I go I end up having conversations about this smart H-D choice. I ended up with the blue one — and no regrets besides the payments.

  45. I put a down payment on the Rocker C in July 07. Didn't get it untill the first release in Jan. 08. It was well worth the wait. I have more than 5,000 miles on it now and am extremely pleased it.

    I have still not seen another one on the road yet. Went to Daytona for Bike Week with it, which is about a 400-mile run from here and the ride was great. Still, no other Rockers cruising there either. All these people talking about having them must be hiding them in the garage or something.

    P.S. The passenger seat makes a great spot to tie down a bag for trips.

  46. Great article! Ordered my Rocker C in blue before reading the article, but nice to see all the positive comments. Hemmed and hawed too long and now have to wait for mine to come in as an '09 — hopefully early August. Love the looks; just had to have one. Can hardly wait.

  47. I ordered the vivid black Rocker C and am eagerly waiting for it to come in. I, too, am a new rider and am a bit nervous about taking this baby out for the first time. I rode a Magnum V65 some 20 years back so I do have some old experience. I love the look of this bike!

  48. I bought my Rocker C in November and am expecting delivery in the next few days. Loved the article. Am a 27-year veteran rider and fell in love with it on sight from a pic. Did a custom bike similar in design and love the raked front and wide rear tire. Kudos to Harley.

    Not crazy about the finish on the Rocker although love the seat height and lines (saw it at the bike show). To me, it looked kind of cheap and plasticy, so I went for the C version instead. Hope to see more women riding on the roads this summer and be inspired!

    What we need now is a good ladies motorcycle wear designer instead of getting all labeled up with Harley- Davidson gear like everyone else.

  49. I test rode a Rocker last weekend and loved the feel of the bike on the road. Unfortunately, the dealer wanted $2,500 over MRSP. I did find a dealer outside the metropolitan area that ordered the bike at MSRP, so I have a Crimson Red Sunglo due June 6. Thanks to Genevieve Schmitt for providing the forum and everyone who has responded on this forum.

    1. Good for you for not giving in to a dealer who's charging over MSRP. I understand dealers who want to customize a motorcycle and offer it at a higher price over MSRP, but I think there should be stock versions of the motorcycle available at MSRP. Glad you were able to find a dealer who offered MSRP.

  50. Got my Rocker C in a friendly, sunny vivid black a week ago and rode about 250 miles this weekend. It's my fifth H-D and it's the absolute best I've ever had. This bike is more handy than it looks!

  51. Great article. I just test rode a Rocker C last weekend. The bike handles very smoothly on strait-a-ways and curves, has excellent ballance and plenty of power.

    I'm 5 feet 7 inches and the feel of the bike was really good. A couple of things I noticed was that I felt like I was sitting a little high and the seat was stiff.

    I would love to ride the Rocker to see if the lower seat makes that much difference. I also like the satin finish on the Rocker as well.

    1. I felt riding the Rocker that I was sitting more “into” the bike and lower than the Rocker C. I, too, prefer the satin finish over the chrome on the C.

  52. Fantastic article. I bought my Harley Rocker a week ago and have already put 270 miles on it. I love it. It has it all: comfort, power and looks. Next month I plan on deckin' it out with lizzard lights and slip on mufflers. I love the attention my rocker draws. Many admirers stop me because they have not seen “the Rocker” in person yet, and noticeably it takes their breath away. When I am on my rocker I feel lke the Queen of Texas.

  53. I really enjoyed the article and comments on the Rocker C. I'm convinced it is the next bike for me. Keep up the great work, riding and reporting!

  54. This bike is outstanding! I had a lot of doubt converting from a sportbike to a Harley a.k.a. cruiser bike, but I have absolutely no regrets. This bike is extremely nice. I got the black Rocker C.

    I've already dropped more chrome onto the existing chrome. Had to go wtih the Screamin' Eagle slip-ons, but awaiting the Big Radius Vance & Hines to be available. The seat could be a little more cushy, but overall, an outstanding bike and cheaper chopper-like cruiser as well.

  55. To Carl Masterson's girlfriend (letter 3.31.08): I'm afraid she should be in the drivers seat of a Wide Glide or Road King herself! Then I'm willing to bet she'll be even more spoiled by being liberated enough to be on her own bike and not having to “put up” with anything she doesn't want to.

  56. I bought a blue Rocker C three weeks ago. Liked the bike in pictures, but pictures don't do it justice. Currently it's at a Harley dealer in Houston getting some pipes, controls, etc., put on. (I work in Houston.)

    I am planning to ride it back home with my friend in July, but I need to put a kilometer speedometer on it. I am hoping to find a digital one. No one so far can help. If anyone knows a part number or where, please post. I have not even heard this baby run yet. Can't wait to go back to work just to ride this.

    1. If anyone knows where Raymond can purchase a digital kilometer speedometer (say that three times fast!), please respond and we'll post.

  57. I just put more than 1,000 miles on my blue Rocker C and have loved every minute of it. I took it in for its first service and had a few extras added to it at the same time: 575 cams, Thundermax computer module, K&N air charger system, and Vance and Hines Straightshot HS Slip-ons, Flush mount LED gas gauges, and the audible alarm. Now it's truly is a work of art!

    I was originally planning on buying the Big Radius pipes but heard a lot of negative reviews about the dust that kicks up on the bike due to the pipes pointing down. The cam and Thundermax are worth every penny. Got my first speeding ticket the other day, but was well worth it! Also, my wife says that the rear seat really isn't that bad to ride on. We have taken several all day rides and haven't heard any complaints. She only gets mad at all of the female attention that the bike brings! Haha!

  58. I just picked up my Rocker. I added Rush mufflers to mine and changed the grips and pegs for now.

  59. I have ordered a Rocker for May delivery. I have taken the MSF course and have been riding a Sportster 1200 for three years now. I should not have a problem with the Rocker despite the 240 tire should I?

    1. I think the Rocker may be actually easier to ride than the Sportster because it's much lower to the ground and feels more planted. The tire really does not affect the ride.

  60. I just ordered this bike and am very excited for its arrival.However I am a brand spanking new rider and am a bit nervous having this as my first bike. Should I be worried?

    1. Frank,
      I'm assuming you have some experience having taken the MSF class. I thing you should be a little nervous because the Rocker, while it rides very smoothly and is easy to handle, beginners like yourself may find it a bit challenging at first. Its wheelbase is a little longer longer than most motorcycles, it has a fatter tire on the rear than most motorcycles, it has a bit of a longer rake on the front than most motorcycles, so all this, plus some other features, lend it to feel different than your average cruiser. I would hate for you to do what a lot of beginners do and “turn” the handlebars in a slow speed turn (as opposed to leaning the bike) forcing the bike to go down.

      My recommendation is try and get some seat time on a smaller size and smaller powered bike before hopping the radical and raked Rocker.

  61. Love the Rocker C, but was wondering if you can take the Rocker C seat off and replace with the Rocker solo seat?

  62. Ordered my Rocker C in December. Now that the weather is clearing up I'm looking forward to my new bike coming in April. My girlfriend is a bit apprehensive about the seat as she has been spoiled with a Road King and currently a Dyna Wide Glide. But I'm afraid she'll have to get used to it. Fab article and great reading.

  63. I am also looking strongly at the Rocker and want more information about the benefits of Stage I or Stage II upgrades as well as fuel modulators (type, etc.)

    1. Since the Rocker is so new, we don't suspect many have had experience with those upgrades. If anyone has, please respond with your thoughts and we'll post it in response to this question.

  64. I have visited many of the large H-D dealerships in major cities around the country over the past few weeks and was dissapointed that all of them wanted to put me on a waiting list and all wanted substantially more than MSRP. I was pleasantly surprised when my small, local hometown dealership called me yesterday to say that one would be here next week and wasn't spoken for. Not only that, all they wanted was MSRP and not a penny more. Moral of the story: If you want one, don't call the “big” dealerships, call the ones in rural areas. Can't wait for my blue Rocker C in three days!

  65. The bike looks sweeeet! Can't wait to buy one.

  66. I visited Harley Dubai to purchase a V-Rod, but when I started reading the article on the Rocker and saw the style, I absolutley had to have one. Im 6 foot 3 inches and was told by the dealer that I would be able to sit comfortly on the bike. I have put my deposit down and await my Rocker in May 08. By the way great article, really enjoyed it, and fantastic pics.

  67. Glad I came across the article. Mine is here, but it's too cold to ride. Was reassuring to find out that women can ride it comfortably after being told at a dealership that it wasn't a good choice for a woman.

  68. I am not a fan of seeing women operating bikes as I am kind of old school, but seeing the ladies on the Rocker and Rocker C made me shake my head and say, “That looks hot!” I'm sure the “brothers in the club” would razz me for saying that but, “Oh well.”

    I have been tossed between the Softail Custom and the Rocker C. I must say I have been “delivered” on two things. One was making my final decision on a bike due to the great article…and seeing pretty ladies on the same machine. Good article darling.

  69. I picked up my Rocker C a few weeks ago. I chose to do the Screaming Eagle big-bore kit with cams. I put in a fuel modulator as well. I ordered several pipes to get one that would sound/run the best…nothing fit. I had to put on the Screaming Eagle ends — big bummer.

    Overall the bike is all that I had hoped for and VERY fast. The only problem I have now is I cannot get out of a parking lot becasue people want to see the bike. I have also had to turn down several attractive woman who volunteered to take the passenger seat for a “test” ride…I don't need the temptation…;)

    If you are living in the West, I recommend Black Canyon Harley Davidson in Montrose, Colorado. I went through several dealers before I found them. They are the only dealer charging MSRP and not a penny more. I drove 12 hours to buy from them and would do it again in a second.

    The only downer is the seat on the Rocker C. If anybody has a Rocker and wants to upgrade I would trade the entire seat system for the lower-slimmer seat on the regular Rocker (after paying more to get it). That being said that is the only thing about it that is not way above the hype.

    With a new seat, aftermarket pipes, and some sort of backrest for a T-bag the Rocker C would be perfect.

  70. My friend just put a hold on the Rocker C. It is one big bike. Such huge tires. I have the Nightster and it is the only bike so far that has been able to suit me as I'm 5-feet-2. I can't imagine how the Rocker would suit people my height?

    1. The Rocker C is a big bike for someone of your height if you expect to stand flat footed, but if you wore thick-heeled shoes and/or are an experienced rider where you don't need both feet flat on the ground, then you can ride the Rocker C.

  71. I rode both the Rocker and the Rocker C a couple of months ago and loved them both, although I found the seat on the C a little too high. Do you know if the seats are interchangeable across both bikes?

    You;re right about it being a great beast for women.

    1. The seats are not interchangable because of the C's integrated passenger seat. With that said, the Rocker has an accessory passenger pillion option. Plus, the Rocker option has a backrest pad option that the Rocker C does not. The Rocker option is also detachable with just four torx screws to undo it.

  72. I just picked up my Rocker the last day of January. I already put some Vance & Hines slip-on mufflers and a Stage 1 kit. The bike sounds and performs so much better. I can't tell you how much I love this thing. Put the deposit down and wait it out, like I did, it will be well worth it!!!

  73. Saw the Rocker FXCWC at the 2007 Sturgis rally. I have been wanting to build my own chopper but after seeing the Rocker it had everything I was looking for in the chopper style. Kept checking with local dealer who said he would call me. He called and I have the red metallic FXCWC in my garage.

    I called Vance/Hines on their Big Radius pipes which would go great with this bike. They are not out yet but maybe later this year. I have changed the grips, foot pegs, shifter pegs to the H-D flamed chrome. Looks really good. Handling is great. I want to leave it clean and chromed out. I think it is going to be easy to do on this bike as soon as I get the pipes changed out. It's a looker. Still cheaper than building my own.

  74. Great read. Captures the true legend this machine will be for H-D. Short and to the point. This is a H-D that needs to be seen to really sense the overall lines and passion that went into this design.

    Have been riding bikes for more than 37 years and love the hype that H-D built this bike up to. I went to the Nashua, N.H., H-D back in October 07 just wanting to look at the Rocker C. None available until late December maybe early January I was told. I rolled that off my back like the 96 cubic inch introduction. Wait and see.
    The H-D saleman Dan Gilbody remembered I talked to him and how I really wanted to see one. He called me on January 16th and stated he had one in. I bought mine on the 19th of January.

    Living in New England and owning this bike has only increased my desire to move south. The Vidid Black Deluxe Rocker C is so much more to see in person then online. I encourage anyone that is on the edge deciding to buy to go to their local dealership and see a Rocker in person.

  75. I've got the hots for a Harley man out in Southern Calif. and was just looking at the general pricing on their bikes most recommended for ladies. Great article and not a bad price.

  76. I've owned the same Sportster for 35 years. Never thought I'd get another bike until I saw the Rocker C. Put my deposit down and I'm expecting mine in March or April. Only complaint maybe that they are very quiet. Gonna do a Stage 1 on it as soon as it gets here.

  77. Love the article. I love the old bikes. But after reading and seeing these pictures, this bike may be fun to test ride. Even buy. Like the style of it.

  78. Great article. The first I have been able to locate from a woman's perspective.
    I am a 5-feet 1 inch thin framed female. I am somewhat concerned about the steering through corners. The safety course teaches you to “look where you want to go.” With that fat tire on the back, is this still applicable?

    I currently am testing riding an Iron Horse Outlaw with a 38-inch front rack and a 240mm back tire. Cornering has me a bit flustered. Advice?

    1. The 240mm rear tire is not that much of an issue. Sure it's wider than standard tires, but I've found tire size doesn't really start to affect handling in a major way unless it's 250mm and larger. The 240 on the Rocker is very managable.

  79. Saw this bike on Harley's site and fell in love with the looks. Read your review and plan on making it my first motorcycle.

  80. I am not a biker yet, but this Harley Rocks and would love to own one. I enjoyed this article and pictures so much I had to read it a few times. Hopefully soon I will also be the proud owner of a Harley Rocker C.

  81. Gees, I read all the thoughts about this Rocker and find that it boils down to personal preference. Everyone is worried about what they look like, and should be more concerned about comfort. 5'7″ 160 lbs. or 6'2″ 280 lbs. It doesn't matter if you're comfortable and like it.

    Take myself for instance, 6'0″ 290 lbs. Went and saw it at the Toronto bike show; sat on it, loved the feel, added a 15-inch windshield, some leather bags and a hefty down payment and bought the bike.

  82. I had too many motorcycles and models for the last seven years. When I bought my 2006 Dyna Wide Glide I thought this is the king of all. I loved her untill I saw the new brand Rocker C. I am afraid I'll cheat her with Rocker C. Perfect look. I wish we could be able to see the Rocker models at the 2008 Cycle Fair in Istanbul.

  83. I've reread your article more than once. Loved it. Been reading everything on this bike I could get my hands on. In fact, I placed an order for a “C” just recently.
    Expect delivery in March…hopefully!
    As I'm only 5 feet 7 inches, too. Glad to hear I'll be able to stand on it.

  84. Great review, hitting the technical and the personal at the same time. And great pictures. They look good, and actually demonstrate fit and finish and convey riding info. I am only 1.5 in. taller than Genevieve, and I can see the bikes ergos will fit me great! But the chrome still is sexier. You don't buy THIS bike to be understated.

    I ride a Harley FXRS Convertible, so called for it's ability to “convert” to a bagger lite. And the FXRS is a great handling Harley. But with the described accessories, the Rocker is an awesome upgrade in both technology and style. And soooo hot looking.

    Great. Just one more obsession, just one more sinuous object of garage lust!

  85. I LOVE this bike. I'll be getting one as soon as I can. Excellent pics and article.

    Yo, TX Bobbie, I'm 48 and just started riding again this past summer after getting a used Harley Sportster 1200cc. Your statement about riding when you were a kid up until you started driving cars is exactly how I grew up too – 'cept on Honda 125s and Elsinors. Everyday after school, out riding the N. GA logging roads behind our houses.

    After being off bikes since about 1976, it is a huge thrill to be back on – and of course, I've always wanted a Harley. My kids thought I was nuts every time I made a big deal out of seeing one out on the road. Well – now that's me on the bike – and I couldn't be happier! Hope you get one soon too. If you've got the bucks, this Rocker looks slammin'.

  86. Yesterday I had the privilege of riding the Rocker C, the only one in Australia at this stage. Ditto all that Genevieve says in her review. It looks great and is so easy to ride. I, too, am 5'7″ and found it a perfect fit. Bottom line, I want one! NOW!

  87. I am a 42-year-old female. I grew up riding motorcycles in the late 1970s from the time I was 9 until I began driving a car. My sister and I always rode our little Honda 70's around the yard and on the trails which led to open pastures behind our house in rural Oklahoma. I really enjoyed reading about the Harley-Davidson Rocker. I've always dreamed of riding a motorcycle again. My sister was recently killed in a car accident. She was only 46. I want to live the rest of my life to the fullest and enjoy life without fear. None of us know the hour we will die. I hope to ride again soon.

  88. Very nice article! I'm very interested reading about the Rocker C because I'm waiting for it.

  89. I've been on a 2002 V-Rod for the past three years and love it. How does the Rocker compare for handling and balance?

    1. I've only ridden the V-Rod a couple of times, but I recall it rides similarly to the Rocker – both very balanced and handling superbly in the corners.

  90. Thanks for your great review. I am currently waiting for my Rocker C to be delivered here in New Zealand. I am 5-feet-4, so pleased to know that it will be an easy ride. Great read, thanks.

  91. This is my first time visiting this site. I really appreciate the excellent article. Thanks.

  92. I'm tall, about 6-feet-1. How tall is the guy in the pictures. I'm just wondering if it would be the right fit for me.

    1. He's about six feet. I witnessed men taller than 6 feet riding the Rocker and Rocker C comfortably.

  93. I am only 5 feet so there are not a lot of bikes that I can choose from. I ride a Deluxe because of the seat height but will certainly check this bad girl out! (Although, I love my Deluxe)!

  94. Very good article. Thorough. I own a Road King Classic Custom, but find it a bit heavy at times in tight curves. I rode my son's Low Rider years ago and liked the way it handled. I've owned many different makes and models over the last 50 years. Can't wait to try a demo ride on the Rocker. Not quite sure whether I like the dull finish. It will take some getting used to. I've been a chrome nut for many years. Keep up the good work. I enjoy reading your articles.

  95. Kept hearing about this new bike so it was nice to finally get see what it looks like and all the stats. I am a new rider (little over a year) and love my Dyna Low Rider, but am now very intrigued about the Rocker and want to test ride it. Thanks for sharing.

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