Harley Mid Controls vs Forward Controls: [Full Comparison]

Compared to forward controls, mid controls are better equipped for riders of shorter stature. It provides a more aggressive foot position. On the other hand, forward controls are advantageous for long-distance riders who like to stretch out when driving.

Wait, is that all? Well, not so fast! In today’s blog, we will take a close look at mid-controls vs forward controls, assisting you to decide which one will be better for you. So, let us go deep into the matter!

Overview of Harleys’ Mid Controls

Mid controls on bikes offer an aggressive riding experience to bikers. Let’s start with the meaning. 

Actually, it means what it sounds like- the levers and pedals of the bikes are positioned in the middle. 

On your Harley bikes, moving the foot pegs from forward to the mid location gives you better positioning while biking. Here are some Harley bikes with the mid features.

  • Sportster® S
  • Road Glide®
  • Street Glide®
  • Road King® Special.
  • Road Glide® Special.
  • Street Glide® Special.
  • Road Glide® Limited.
  • Ultra Limited
  • Road Glide® ST

Overview of Harleys’ Forward Controls

Forward controls or configurations are primarily found in choppers and cruisers. Generally, they offer a more relaxed feeling on a long ride. 

Harley Davidson also provides a forward configuration in its models for a better cruising or touring experience. Let us see some Harley bikes that have forward control features.

  • Softail® Standard.
  • Street Bob® 114.
  • Fat Bob® 114.
  • Low Rider® S.
  • Low Rider® ST.
  • Fat Boy® 114.
  • Breakout® 117.

Read Also: Harley Davidson Panhead Vs Shovelhead | Which Iconic Engine Offers More?

Mid Controls vs Forward Controls: Quick Comparison Table

In a sense, both forward controls and mid controls tend to switch up your position for maximum style and comfort. 

So, what makes the difference between the mid and forward controls of the Harley bikes? Get to know the difference in the below quick comparison table.

Factors Mid ControlForward Control
Comfortability Comfortable and ideal for riders of shorter stature. Comfortable and ideal for the tall riders. 
Seating position Either more straight or lean forward. Lean backward. 
Availability Based on the models of the bikes, only a few ones tend to have mid controls features. Based on the models of the bikes, most cruisers tend to have forward controls. 
Suitability Better for the rider who rides the bikes regularly. Are suitable for the long distance riders. 
Control Better control over the bikes.Poor control over the bikes.

Read Also: Harley Davidson Street Bob Vs Fat Bob: The Ultimate Comparison!

What Are The Differences Between Mid Controls And Forward Controls?

We believe you already understand why the forward controls and mid controls on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle are significantly different from one another. 

Yet, let us break down the key differences between the two in detail for a better and clearer understanding. 

1- Comfortability While Riding

The first thing that comes into play when differentiating between these two features is the comfort of the bikers. 

Some bikers prefer mid controls on their Harley bikes, as they find themselves more comfortable in the mid position than in the forward position for the lower controls. 

Here, the lower controls are repositioned more directly under the seat of the rider. 

Due to this, it is easy to access for short people. Besides, it reduces the reach of the bike’s foot control. 

Again as for the forward controls, it brings super-comfy rides for the tall rider who likes to stretch out when driving on the open road. 

Moreover, it provides more space, which equals more room for big feet. As the forward controls allow leg extensions, it offers more comfortable rides, reducing lower back stiffness. 

As for the seating position, mid controls allow more response to initiate leans. 

Forward controls are like lazy boys. On a bike with forward control, you can comfortably lean back.

Read Also: Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Vs Ultra Limited: The Ultimate Showdown

2- Control Over The Bike 

Now let’s come to the point of which feature will provide more control. As you have seen, there are a couple of advantages to the forward controls on the bikes. 

But you will not have better control with this feature installed on your bikes. With the forward controls, starting, stopping, or turning is a little freaky. 

Keep in mind that, by chance, if life comes to you at light speed, forward controls may not be able to save you! 

That is why most sports bikes do not have forward controls installed. In this case of safety, mid-controls are a lot better for your Harley bikes. 

3- Perfections in Appearance 

For bikers who want a better or perfect appearance, the forward controls and the mid controls are better options. 

As many experts say, both mid controls and forward controls possess attractive visual perfection on Harley bikes. 

You will seem to have a more relaxed appearance if you have a Harley with these features. 

You know most cruiser riders like to have both mid and forward controls on their Harley bikes, as they provide the old-school style.

However, if you want to know more about the difference, refer to the video below. We hope it will also be informative for you. 

Read Also: Harley Ironhead Vs Shovelhead: Which Engine Is More Powerful?

Which Is Better, Between Mid Controls And Forward Controls?

As you know, the mid controls give the riders a more aggressive foot position while biking. It enhanced the rider’s control of the bike and cornering confidence. 

Again, to have a better experience of comfortable long touring, you may choose forward controls over mid controls on your bikes. 

So which will be better for you- the mid or forward controls? Then the answer can be debatable. 

It is because which one will be preferable for your ride totally depends on you. While gathering information from the different forums to inform you of the real-life experience, we see that both features are well based on the perspective of the riders. 

For some riders, forward control provides more comfort on the road. But for some, the perspective is totally different for the mid controls. 

So ultimately, in this debate, the decider will be you; after all, it is you who will go around with your bike.

Read Also: Harley Davidson Road King Vs Street Glide: Which One Is Better?


Still, some questions may linger in your mind regarding mid-control vs forward control. Well, here are the answers to some common queries that are mostly searched for. 

Are Forward Controls Adjustable? 

Yeah, the forward control is adjustable. Many bike models have adjustable forward controls, which allow you to move your feet further forward to cruise more comfortably. You can make some adjustments according to your needs. 

Can You Put Mid Controls On A Softail?

You can put mid controls on a softail. It is a perfect solution for Softail customization, and you do not have to compromise your bike’s handling or function. Here, you can mix or match up the Mid-Controls Accessory configuration and Original Equipment depending on the customization of the vehicle. 

What Is An Example Of Forward Control Of A Motorcycle?

Shifter controls, floorboards or foot-pegs, and brakes are all examples of forward control on a bike. Rider’s foot controls most of the shifting and rear braking. Most bikes have these controls right under the rider’s seat.

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