Harley Mid Controls vs Forward Controls [Which is Better]

The mid controls, also referred to as the standard controls, have an upright position. This is usually suitable for daily riding on streets, or roads. Comparatively, the forward controls feature a more lean-back riding position.

So the rider can experience a more relaxed posture while riding. It’s suitable for long touring on highways. So there’s no immediate need to shift gear, apply brakes, and put the foot on the ground.

Harley Davidson motorcycles can feature mid-control or forward controls. Both of these controls have their own features, and also their pros and cons.

We’ll be discussing it in detail, so let’s get into it.

What are Harley Motorcycle’s Mid Controls? 

Mid controls feature the standard position for riding the motorcycle. It has the foot placed right below the rider’s seat in the middle of the bike.

Which gives a more aggressive and upright riding position. 

If you’re someone who’ll need to ride on a road with traffic, then mid-control will be more suitable. So, you’ll be able to stop the motorcycle and place your feet on the ground quickly.

Also, it is comparatively safer and better for controlling the handlebars.

The majority of Harley’s sports bikes have a mid-control since they’re more critical to handle. It’s more suitable for daily riding as compared to longer hours of cruising, as it doesn’t feature a much more comfortable posture.

What are Harley’s Motorcycle’s Forward Controls?

The forward controls provide a more relaxed riding experience for an extended duration. Over time, Harley has made several adjustments to the motorcycle to provide more relaxed and comfortable long-hour rides. 

The forward controls on the Harley motorcycle are ideal for longer touring. There are a lot of benefits of forward control such as more control and handling the motorcycle. 

The forward controls on Harley are the replacement of the original footpeg placements to slightly forward, within the reach of the rider’s foot. So their feet can easily reach it, allowing them to ride with a lean-back position.

Riding for a longer duration isn’t very suitable on Harley motorcycles. However, forward controls are ideal for such riders who have any knee injury.

Also, the riders who’ve to travel on longer tours.  Most cruiser bikes of Harley feature forward control which makes these bikes ideal for touring or long-distance riding.

Harley Mid Controls Vs Forward Controls: 

1- Comfort While Riding:

One of the major factors to consider while comparing both controls is comfort. The mid-controls give a more upright riding posture.  

This means the knees get slightly bent, which can be a bit tiring and an uneasy posture. In case you’re riding for longer hours, it’ll cause fatigue.  

However, the mid-control on Harley is more suitable if you’re riding around the town. So you’ll be required to put your foot down quite often. Also, it provides more visibility, and ease to turn at slower speeds. 

The forward riding provides a more reclined position. Which is comparatively more comfortable than the upright riding position. 

On longer routes, the regular placement of the footpegs, gear shifter, or brake pedals isn’t ideal for providing comfort. 

Since there’s no need to shift the gears or stop the bike immediately while you’re traveling on highways or long-distance cruising. As there’s not much traffic, signals, or interruption.

Also, the forward controls can be a great option for taller riders as these provide more room for stretching the legs. So, their legs won’t cramp after riding for a while.

2- Outer Appearance: 

For many riders, the overall looks of the motorcycle is highly important. Both the mid-control and forward control feature pleasant looks, which are appreciated by riders who are enthusiastic about the looks. 

The Harley motorcycle with a forward control gives a more old-school look. Which is preferred by a lot of riders out there.

Whereas, the mid-controls have the usual traditional look that a motorcycle has.

3- Ease of Installation: 

When it comes to ease of installation. The mid-controls and the forward control, both are easier and less complicated to install. 

Usually, you’ll require a well-trained professional to install any part on the bike. But unlike other parts, installing a mid-control or forward controls on a Harley motorcycle is less complicated. 

You’ll require a few basic tools, so you can install the Harley Davidson aftermarket kit. The process is simple and can be done by the rider himself. 

You don’t have any professional motorcycle mechanic to install the parts as it can be done with basic knowledge, tools, and effort.

4- Handling and Controlling: 

Handling is also another factor to consider while comparing the mid-controls and forward controls on Harley-Davidson motorcycles. 

Overall, the mid-controls feature better handling as compared to the forward controls. It’s comparatively safer as well.   

Turing at corners, braking, or stopping can be difficult with the forward controls. Initially, you might feel like falling down at every stop.

But, you’ll get used to it with the passage of time. You’ve to practice how you’ll be balancing the motorcycle. 

Also, the forward control is not very reliable during an accident. So these are not going to save your life as well.

Pros and Cons

Pros of Harley Mid Controls:

  • You can use the brakes immediately, to reduce the chances of accidents
  • Suitable for riding on streets, or roads with heavy traffic. 
  • Provides an aggressive and upright riding position.
  • Easier to ride for mid or short-heighted riders.
  • It provides better handling and control.  
  • It’s easier to start, apply brakes, or stop the motorcycle. 

Cons of Harley Mid Controls:

  • Isn’t comfortable for long-hour rides or highway cruising. 
  • Doesn’t feature enough leg space for taller riders which can be tiring. 

Pros of Harley Forward Controls: 

  • Prevents fatigue while riding, so the rider doesn’t have to stretch after an hour. 
  • The rider can put his feet on the ground right at the moment when he stops the motorcycle. 
  • Provides a more comfortable and laid-back posture.
  • While riding, it gives a boost of confidence to the rider 
  • Provides more room to the rider’s leg for stretching. 
  • Provides enough leg space for taller riders.

Cons of Harley Forward Controls: 

  • Isn’t suitable for riding on streets or roads with traffic. 
  • Starting, stopping, and turning the bike at corners can freak out the rider.

Which One is the Better? Mid Controls or Forward Controls?

The major difference between the mid and forward controls lies in the place where the rider places his feet. Which can have a major impact on the overall riding experience and the handling. 

The mid-control features the standard placement of the feet. This upright riding position provides a more firm control over handling.

Since, the braking, starting, or shifting gears is a lot quicker. So, they’re more suitable for riding daily on roads. 

Whereas, the forward control gives a more relaxed and lean-back riding position. If you’re looking to ride your motorcycle on long tours then forward control is a more suitable choice. 

So, which one among these is better? Well, It depends upon your preference. If you prefer long touring rides with a more relaxed posture and enough leg space. Then forward control is a great choice. 

Also, if you want to ride daily between traffic, with constant gear shifting, braking, and better control, Then you should prefer mid-control on your Harley motorcycle.


What are the Forward Controls on a Harley Davidson?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top

Motorcycle Roadside Repair Guide

Subscribe to get our latest content by email.

    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.