Best And Worst Years For Harley Twin Cam – Years to Avoid?

After long research, Harley Davidson introduced their popular and superior Twin Cam engines in 1998. Surely, we can’t doubt its quality and performance. It is one of the best motorcycle engines ever built.

However, over the past two decades, the engine has undergone major and minor changes. As a result, Harley Twin Cam integrated motorcycles have received mixed feedback. While some Twin Cam engines performed brilliantly, a few have had a dreadful experience. So, you must know Harley Twin Cam years to avoid if you plan to get one. Also, you may be keen to know the best year for the Harley Twin Cam engine.

Thus, we will discuss best and worst years for harley twin cam. We will also mention the best and worst years of Harley Davidson Twin Cam engines. It will help you quickly know which Harley Davidson motorcycle to buy and which to avoid.

Best And Worst Years for Harley Twin Cam

Best And Worst Years For Harley Twin Cam- Explained

Best And Worst Years For Harley Twin Cam- Explained

The Harley Twin Cam engine was introduced in 1999 and was produced until 2016. While the engine had some notable improvements throughout its production years, there are a few years that are often considered the best and worst for the Harley Twin Cam.

The best and worst years for harley twin cam are generally considered to be from 2007 to 2016. During this period, several improvements were made to the engine failure design, resulting in increased power, reduced heat, and improved reliability.

These improvements included the introduction of the 96 and 103 cubic inch versions, as well as enhancements to the oiling system and camshaft design. Many riders find that Twin Cam engines offer a Smooth ride and enjoyable riding experience from these years. On the other hand, some riders have identified the early years of the Twin Cam engine (1999-2006) as the worst years.

Harley Twin Cam Years To Avoid

Harley Twin Cam Years To Avoid

Of course, Harley has offered some of the most iconic and popular motorcycles ever built. Yet, it had seen a few problems with many of its models. Following it, a few Harley Davidson motorcycles with the Twin Cam engine have problems. The best years for the Harley Twin Cam engine can be subjective, as it largely depends on individual preferences and riding styles.

However, many enthusiasts consider the model years 2007 to 2016 as some of the best for the Twin Cam engine. During this period, Harley made significant improvements to the engine’s design and reliability, addressing some of the issues experienced in earlier models.

2001 Harley Davidson Sportster

The Sportster model had seen many technical issues, including the gearbox problems for the Twin Cam engines. As we have mentioned, the biggest problem for the 2001 Sportster was the longevity of the tensioner cam chain system. It wore out rather too fast. Thus, owners must frequently replace the chain cam system’s rubber shoes. It developed massive rage among the owners.

2004 Harley Davidson Dyna

Harley used the same Twin Cam engine for their 2004 Dyna model. As a result, it also faced the problem of the cam chain system due to poor design. It didn’t have any rubber-mounting either. So, riders faced bumps, shocks, and impacts. It resulted in a poorer riding experience. Owners of Harley Twin Cam bikes often find themselves faced with hefty bills for expensive repairs and maintenance.

Many riders said that the engine would stall only after a few minutes of rides. They swapped the battery and plugs of their motorcycles. Yet, they failed to resolve the problem. Henceforth, the 2004 Dyna model became an unpopular choice.

2014 Harley Electra Glide

You may not believe it, but the Electra Glide is the worst Harley Davidson motorcycle ever built. In fact, many experts marked the Electra Glide a completely useless motorcycle. The problem was not only with the Twin Cam engine.

The overall design and performance of the Electra Glide left much to be desired. From its bulky and outdated appearance to its lacklustre handling and sluggish acceleration, riders were often left disappointed with this particular model. A few problems of it included:

  • Disengagement
  • Clutch failure
  • Faulty master cylinder

These problems and the Twin Cam engine issues were so prominent that Harley Davidson recalled the model five times. It made the model the worst ever.

Street 500 And 700 From 2016 to 2019

Street 500 And 700 From 2016 to 2019

Harley Davidson announced their Street series in 2013. They used the modified V-Twin 88A engine for it. Yet, the models from 2016 to 2019 have seen a few major problems. Hence, Harley recalled the motorbikes a few times.

The V-Twin engine had a throttling problem. Also, owners experienced problems with dragging brakes. It caused inconsistency in riding. On top of it, owners faced corrosion around the gearbox, engine, and tensioner system. Henceforth, the Street series wasn’t welcomed wholeheartedly. It was one of the worst-selling models of Harley Davidson.

2005 Harley Softail Deluxe

Although it was a deluxe edition of the Harley Davidson Softail series, it had one of the worst twin-cam engines. Therefore, it easily finds its place in the Harley Twin Cam years list to avoid. Ultracool, referred to as the motorcycle, has cheaper components.

The engine has cheaper plastic shoes in the chain cam engine. So, it would wear out sooner due to the friction of the rubber shoes. The repair cost was huge, making the Softail Deluxe model in 2005 an unpopular choice.

2005 FXSTB Night Train

The motorcycle came with an all-black addition and attractive naming. Experts trolled the whose name and design are the only good things about it. It uses a V-Twin engine which you want to avoid.

The engine was not reliable engines at all. Plus, the motorcycle had seen an oil leakage problem. It resulted in fire breakouts several times. Following the continuous complaints, Harley Davidson recalled the model in 2007.

Best Year Harley Twin Cam Engine

Best Year Harley Twin Cam Engine

The best year for the Harley Twin Cam engine is widely considered to be the 2007 model. Introduced as part of the Dyna and Softail lineup, the 2007 Twin Cam engine boasted significant improvements over its predecessors. With a displacement of 96 cubic inches (1584cc) and a higher compression ratio, it delivered enhanced blend of power and torque for a more exhilarating riding experience.

Moreover, Harley-Davidson addressed the previous engine’s reliability issues by introducing a redesigned cam chain tensioner system, minimizing the chances of premature failure wear and failure. The above discussion may show that the Twin Cam engine is the worst. But, in reality, the engine performed miraculously well most times. It has a few popular models too.

Harley-Davidson 2009 FXDF Dyna Fat Bob

Harley-Davidson 2009 FXDF Dyna Fat Bob

The Fat Bob is the go-to option if you want a Harley to invest worthy. Its Twin Cam 96 engine performs superbly. Furthermore, the motorcycle is incredibly powerful. Most people will also love its basic design. No doubt why it has become one of the best Harley Davidson Twin Cams ever built.

Its low-ride saddle also improved riding comfort. One of the key features of the Harley Twin Cam is its dual overhead cams, which help improve engine efficiency and power delivery. The chassis of the Harley Twin Cam is known for its durability and strength, making it a reliable choice for motorcycle enthusiasts.

Harley 2006 FXSTS Springer Softail

While the 2005 Softail Deluxe was a disaster for Harley, they made a complete turn-around in 2006. The Springer Softail in 2006 featured a completely redesigned Twin Cam engine. The manufacturer focused on counterbalancing the engine and boosting its power.

It was a great leap. Previously riders complained about the Twin Cam engines being underpowered. Its increased power and balanced design offered better comfort and riding smoothness. Also, the cam chain’s shoe design lasted longer than the rubber ones.

Harley 2008 FXSTC Softail Custom

Harley’s 2008 Softail Custom was a massive success following the redesigned Twin Cam Engine. Its air-cooled 1584cc engine performed brilliantly. Also, it is one of the most powerful model Harley engines ever built. Neglecting regular maintenance on your Harley Twin Cam can lead to costly repairs and decreased reliability.

Also, its efficiency and cooling capacity make it a perfect choice for long rides. On top of it, a 200MM rear tire and cruiser-style handlebar gave it the perfect classic look. Neglecting regular maintenance can lead to costly repairs and decreased reliability of the Harley Twin Cam.

2009 FXSTB Night Train

2009 FXSTB Night Train

The 2005 FXSTB Night Train was among the worst Harley Twin Cam engines ever built. The company addressed the engine problem to redesign it in the later models. Following it, the 2009 model became one of the best-selling Twin Cam models.

It uses a 1584cc engine. It is durable. Moreover, its comfortable seating arrangement, rebellious look, and classic appearance make it a great choice among youngsters. Top Speed marked the 2009 Night Train a perfect deal for youngsters. Its six-speed transmission systems performed equally well in street riding and cruising.

Harley Twin Cam Problems

Harley Twin Cam Problems

The Twin Cam engine from Harley Davidson is one of the finest motorcycle engines ever built. It has transformed the motorcycle industry completely. Also, it helped Harley establish its supremacy again in the motorcycle market.

Nonetheless, the engine had undergone a few major and minor overhauls during its 1998 to 2017 period. Following the continuous adjustments of the engine, it has shown a few problems. The pump is an essential component in the functioning of a Harley Twin Cam engine.

Problems In The Cam Chain System

The Harley Twin Cam engine, introduced in 1999, has had its fair share of issues with the cam chain system. Some common problems associated with the cam chain system in the Twin Cam engine include tensioner failure, cam chain wear, and camshaft bearing failure.

Tensioner failure is a recurring issue in the Twin Cam engines, particularly in the early years of production.  This can result in excessive vibration noise, loss of power, and potential buyer issues engine damage if not addressed.

Another problem is cam chain wear, leading to timing issues and reduced engine performance. Over time, the cam chain can stretch and become loose, affecting the engine’s ability to properly maintenance time the valves. Camshaft bearing failure is also a concern in the Twin Cam engines.

Horrible Failure Of The Engine

Many Twin Cam engine users experienced untimely and horrible failure of the engine. Usually, the engines would last easily from 50000 miles to 150000 miles. Unfortunately, Twin Cam engines needed plastic or rubber shoe replacement in less than 40000 miles. Vibration is a key aspect of the Harley Twin Cam engine, providing a distinct and unique riding experience.

Additionally, some Twin Cam engines failed almost immediately within 15000 miles of riding distance. It became a concerning issue for the riders. Later, Harley addressed the problem and made a few minor tweaks to the Twin Cam engine. Thus, they solved the engine failing problem of the Twin Cam largely.


Harley Davidson’s Twin Cam engine is one of the finest, most efficient, and power motorcycle engines built ever. Nonetheless, the engine has gone through a few problems in different models. While some years have been marked by impressive performance and innovation, others have faced challenges and recalls.

As with any product, it is important for consumers to do thorough research and consider their individual needs before making a purchase. Ultimately, the Harley Twin Cam remains a popular and iconic engine among riders. With continued improvements and advancements, it will remain a staple in the motorcycle industry for years. We hope now you understand best and worst years for harley twin cam.


What is the common problem with Harley twin cam?

The common problem with Harley Twin Cam engines is the Electrical Issue of cam chain tensioners. These tensioners can experience premature wear and failure, leading to potential engine damage and decreased performance.

When did Harley stop using twin cam?

Harley stopped using twin cam engines in their touring models after the introduction of the Milwaukee-Eight engine in 2017. This decision marked a turning point in the company’s engineering strategy, as they aimed to enhance power, performance, and overall rider experience.

What’s the fastest Harley ever?

The fastest Harley ever is the Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle Electric LiveWire, which can reach a top speed of 110 mph. The LiveWire’s impressive acceleration and top speed can be attributed to its cutting-edge electric motor.

What years are the twin cam Harleys?

The twin cam Harley-Davidson engines were introduced in 1999 and are still being produced today. These engine design were a major advancement in performance and reliability, offering riders a whole new level of power and efficiency.

What is the hardest Harley to ride?

The hardest Harley to ride is subjective and can vary depending on the individual’s riding experience and preferences. However, some riders may find larger and heavier Harley models, such as the touring or cruiser bikes, more challenging to handle, especially in tight spaces or at slow speeds.

4 thoughts on “Best And Worst Years For Harley Twin Cam – Years to Avoid?”

  1. You call it years to avoid of the twin cam and don’t give years to avoid. Do you see the problem with the article?
    If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.

    • Sir please check carefully, I already mention some years to avoid twin cam engine. 2001, 2004, 2005 Harley Softail Deluxe, 2014 Harley Electra Glide, 2005 FXSTB Night Train those are already mention in my post.
      Thanks ric

  2. The description in the beginning of this article is totally inaccurate.
    1) The cam chain itself does not have shoes .
    2) The shoes were never made of rubber , but a hardened plastic.
    3)The shoes on the cam chain tensioners DO NOT come in contact with each other as one is on one side of the cam plate and the other on the opposite side , with the cam chain running between the two
    4) the initial chain design itself is what caused accelerated wear of the cam shoes . The chain typically had a ridge on the outer edge from manufacturing that would groove the shoes .Also additionally the spring on the tensioner having too much tension against the chain.

  3. Here are some real facts. I have a 2014 Ultra Limited with 121,000+ miles. At 54,000 I lost a water pump, at 98,000 I had the throttle body crack. Other than those items, it has been routine maintenance that includes brake pads , wheel bearings , tires , spark plugs etc. I don’t believe the 2014 Ultra Limted belongs on the worst bike categories. I know there was some issues with the CVO 110 motor but those were much less produced.


Leave a Comment