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New Harley-Davidson Sportster S Unlike Any Sportster Before It

Featuring a version of the Revolution Max 1250cc v-twin first introduced in the Pan America 1250, the new Sportster S unveiled by Harley-Davidson today is a modern, high-tech interpretation of the Harley icon. About the only things familiar are the feet-forward ergonomics. With a claimed 121 horsepower, the new Sportster S should leave its ancestors in the dust.

Here are two press releases (the second containing technical details) from Harley-Davidson, as well as a YouTube video for the new model:

MILWAUKEE (July 13, 2021) – The Harley-Davidson® Sportster® S model is an all-new sport custom motorcycle designed to deliver a thrilling riding experience and ushers in a new era of Sportster performance. A 121-horsepower Revolution® Max 1250T V-Twin engine puts the Sportster S rider in command of unrelenting, on-demand torque. A taut, lightweight chassis and premium suspension deliver responsive, intuitive handling. From stop light to stop light, and corner to corner, the Sportster S model offers riders extraordinary power and performance and creates a new standard for the most enduring Harley-Davidson model.

An addition to the 2021 Harley-Davidson motorcycle line, the Sportster S will reach Harley-Davidson dealers this fall with a base MSRP of $14,999.

“The Sportster S is the next all-new motorcycle built on the Revolution Max platform and sets a new performance standard for the Sportster line,” said Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO, Harley-Davidson. “This is a next generation Sportster defined by power, performance, technology and style. And it’s part of our commitment to introduce motorcycles that align with our strategy to increase desirability and to drive the legacy of Harley-Davidson.”

Styling Communicates Power

In profile, the Sportster S model appears crouched and powerful. The fuel tank and tail section frame the engine as the predominate centerpiece of the motorcycle. The massive front tire recalls the fenderless front end of a classic bobber, while the tail section, high-mount exhaust and slim solo seat draw inspiration from the Harley-Davidson XR750 flat tracker. The thick inverted forks and wide-profile tires suggest high-performance sport bike.

“Every visual design element of the Sportster S model is an expression of the motorcycle’s raw power,” said Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson vice president of styling and design. “This is a wolf in wolf’s clothing.”

The powertrain is highlighted with a Chocolate Satin finish on the lightweight magnesium engine covers. Textures, colors, finishes and details were selected to give the Sportster S model the look of a custom show bike that just happens to be parked in the owner’s garage.

Amplified Performance

The 1250cc Revolution Max 1250T engine is the mechanical heart of the Sportster S model. This new version of the latest Harley-Davidson liquid-cooled V-Twin engine is tuned to make tremendous torque at low RPM, with a torque curve that stays flat through the powerband – engine performance designed to deliver strong acceleration from a start with robust power through the mid-range. To minimize overall motorcycle weight the engine is integrated into the vehicle as the central member of the chassis. The use of lightweight materials helps achieve a desirable power-to-weight ratio. Ready to ride with the 3.1-gallon fuel tank topped off, the Sportster S model weighs just 502 pounds. A high-mount 2-into-1-into-2 exhaust is designed to produce a pleasing low-frequency tone. (See separate Sportster S Technology release for full details)

Technology Enhances the Ride

The Sportster S model is equipped with a host of technologies designed to the enhance the riding experience. Three pre-programmed, selectable Ride Modes (Sport, Road and Rain) electronically control the performance characteristics of the motorcycle, and the level of technology intervention. Two Custom modes may be used by the rider to create a set of performance characteristics to meet personal preference or for special situations. Cornering Rider Safety Enhancements by Harley-Davidson®, a collection of technologies intended to enhance rider confidence during unexpected situations or adverse road conditions, are designed to match motorcycle performance to available traction during acceleration, deceleration and braking, in a straight line or while in a turn.

A round, 4.0-inch-diameter TFT screen displays all instrumentation and supports infotainment generated by the rider’s Bluetooth®-equipped mobile device and helmet headset, including music, incoming and out-going calls, and navigation supplied by the Harley-Davidson® App. All-LED lighting includes a Daymaker® Signature LED headlamp designed to produce a homogenous spread of light, eliminating distracting “hot spots.” The headlamp has a distinctive oval or capsule shape that adds style to the front end and will identify the Sportster® S model to other riders and motorists.

Optimized Chassis

The powertrain is a stressed member of the chassis, eliminating the traditional frame, a design that significantly reduces motorcycle weight and results in a very stiff chassis that contributes to precise handling. A welded tubular steel trellis swingarm features a braced design and stamped X-member to further stiffen the chassis, while its shape adds distinctive style to the motorcycle.

The Sportster S model is equipped with fully adjustable, premium front and rear suspension – SHOWA® 43mm inverted cartridge forks and a SHOWA® Piggyback reservoir rear shock. Rear suspension features hydraulic pre-load adjustment using a convenient knob located on the left side of the motorcycle. Lightweight cast aluminum wheels with a staggered, five-spoke design are shod with wide Dunlop®/Harley-Davidson® Series GT503 tires. Premium Brembo braking components produce outstanding braking feel and performance. The single front brake features a new Brembo radial monoblock four-piston caliper and a 320mm diameter disc. The rear brake is a two-piston Brembo caliper and a 260mm diameter disc.

Forward foot controls and a low handlebar put the Sportster S rider in an aggressive posture on the bike. Unladen seat height is 29.6 inches, low enough for most riders to get feet down at a stop. Brake and clutch hand levers are adjustable for reach, to best match rider hand size or preference. The Sportster S model is pre-wired for accessory heated hand grips for added comfort in cool weather, and is equipped with two dedicated power points for heated riding gear (heated hand grips and heated riding gear/apparel each sold separately), plus a USB-C port for charging a phone or other device. An external ambient temperature sensor and a low-temp warning on the display screen alert the rider to changing conditions. Cruise control and a proximity-based security system are standard equipment. The steel fuel tank holds 3.1 gallons.

Paint Colors: Vivid Black; Stone Washed White Pearl; Midnight Crimson

ACCESSORIES

Sportster S model accessories available at launch through Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Accessories include these key items:

  • Mid-Control Conversion Kit

Relocates the left and right rider foot pegs and foot controls from the Original Equipment forward position to a mid-position on the bike. This may place the rider in a more athletic position and may also provide an improved fit for riders who cannot comfortably reach the forward controls. 

  • Passenger Accommodations

A Pillion Kit, Passenger Footpeg Kit and Passenger Backrest Kit (each sold separately) may be installed. The pillion and backrest feature upholstery styled to match the rider seat.

  • Sundowner Solo Seat

This seat offers an enhanced bucket design and spherical-void foam construction for improved long-haul comfort and shaping for more-aggressive riding. Seam sealed stitch lines prevent water from soaking into the foam and leaving the rider with a damp bum. Details in the top seat cover enhance overall style.

  • Compact Detachable Windshield

Black mounting hardware and support brackets, and the dark tint of the windshield, are a style match for the motorcycle. The windshield mounts to the forks with quick-release clamps, and can be installed or removed quickly and easily. 

  • Sportster S Tailbag

This tailbag is designed specifically to fit and look great on the Sportster S model, and gives the rider a convenient luggage option for ride essentials. It is recommended that the Tailbag be installed over the accessory pillion (purchased separately). Luggage capacity is 5 pounds. The main compartment volume is expandable from 8.2 liters to 11.5 liters.

Learn more about the Harley-Davidson Sportster S model at www.harley-davidson.com

Here are the technical details for the new Sportster S:

MILWAUKEE (July 13, 2021) – The Harley-Davidson® Sportster® S is an all-new performance custom motorcycle designed to give the rider exhilarating performance backed by contemporary technology. The Sportster S model will redefine the Sportster series, launching a new era of Sportster performance and design.

Revolution® Max 1250T Powertrain

The Sportster® S model is powered by the Revolution Max 1250T engine, a liquid-cooled V-Twin tuned to make tremendous torque at low RPM, with a torque curve that stays flat through the powerband – engine performance designed to deliver strong acceleration from a start with robust power through the mid-range.

  • Displacement 1250cc
  • Bore x Stroke: 4.13 in. (105 mm) x 2.83 in (72 mm)
  • 121 horsepower
  • 94 ft. lbs. peak torque
  • Peak 9500 RPM
  • Compression Ratio 12:1

The Revolution Max 1250T engine is similar to the Revolution Max 1250 engine that powers the Harley-Davidson® Pan America™ 1250 models, with these key differences:

  • Cylinder heads have smaller valves and port dimensions, and a different combustion chamber shape, which increases the velocity of flow through the combustion chambers at lower RPM, and increases torque output at low and midrange RPM (providing up to 10% more torque from 3000 to 6000 RPM).
  • Pistons are shaped to match the combustion chamber dimensions of the cylinder heads.
  • The length and shape of the intake velocity stacks, combined with the airbox volume, are tuned to maximize performance across the engine speed range.
  • The camshaft profiles and Variable Valve Timing (VVT) phasing are also designed to match the desired performance of this engine.

Revolution® Max 1250T Model Highlights

  • V-Twin Architecture: A 60-degree V-Twin design provides a narrow powertrain profile that centralizes mass to enhance balance and handling, and also provides ample foot/leg room for the rider. Separate throttle bodies are located between the cylinders, positioned to create minimal turbulence and impedance to air flow.
  • Optimized Design for Light Weight: Reducing the weight of the powertrain contributes to lower motorcycle weight, which enhances motorcycle performance experienced by the rider: efficiency, acceleration, handling, and braking.
    • The use of finite element analysis (FEA) and advanced design optimization techniques in the engine design stage minimized material mass in cast and molded components.
    • Single-piece aluminum cylinders with nickel silicon carbide-surface galvanic coating are a lightweight design feature.
    • Camshaft covers and primary cover are lightweight magnesium.
  • Stressed Member Powertrain
    The Revolution Max 1250T powertrain is a structural component of the motorcycle chassis.
    • The engine serves two functions – providing power and acting as a structural element of the chassis.
    • Eliminating a traditional frame significantly reduces motorcycle weight and results in a very stiff chassis.
    • A front frame element, mid frame element and the tail section bolt directly to the powertrain.
    • The powertrain is designed to be both strong and very rigid so that it can effectively function as a chassis component.
    • The rider realizes optimized performance due to a significant weight savings, a rigid chassis and mass centralization.
  • Liquid Cooling: Liquid cooling maintains a stable and controlled engine and oil temperature for consistent performance in changing environmental and riding situations (cold to hot ambient temperatures, riding at speed or stuck in traffic, conservative or aggressive riding). The engine oil is also liquid cooled, which ensures that engine oil performance and durability will be maintained in challenging conditions.
  • Four-Valve Cylinder Heads: Four-valve cylinder heads (two intake and two exhaust) permit an expansive valve area. The flow of gasses through the combustion chamber is optimized to match the desired performance requirement and engine displacement.
  • Dual Overhead Camshafts (DOHC) and Variable Valve Timing (VVT): The Revolution® Max 1250T engine is equipped with separate intake and exhaust camshafts for each cylinder. The DOHC design permits independent Variable Valve Timing (VVT) on the intake and exhaust cam, optimized for the front and rear cylinder. VVT can help broaden the overall powerband and improve torque management and efficiency. This allows the same engine to provide the rider with both low-end grunt for acceleration off the line as well as the thrill of high-RPM horsepower. Hydraulic valve lash adjustment ensures quiet operation and eliminates the need for costly, complicated service procedures.
  • Forged Aluminum Pistons
    • Piston crowns are machined for precise control of a 12:1 compression ratio. The engine is designed for use with premium-grade (91 octane) fuel to make maximum power, but will run on lower-octane fuel, protected from potential detonation by the knock sensor technology.
    • The piston skirt has a low-friction coating.
    • Low-torsion piston rings reduce friction, which improves performance.
    • The top ring land is anodized to enhance durability.
    • Two oil cooling jets are aimed at the bottom of the pistons to help dissipate combustion heat.
  • Balanced Powertrain: Internal balancers help cancel engine vibration to enhance rider comfort and improve vehicle durability. The balancers are tuned to retain just enough vibration to make the motorcycle feel “alive.”
  • Clutch and Transmission: The Revolution® Max is a unitized powertrain, meaning that the engine and six-speed transmission are housed in a common case. The clutch is mechanically actuated with a large-diameter cable for smooth, consistent disengagement and minimal drag. A clutch slipper function enables the rider to downshift without over-speeding the engine or slipping or hopping the rear wheel.

Sportster® S Model: Instrumentation

The Sportster® S model features a round 4.0-inch-diameter TFT screen (thin-film-transistor, a type of liquid-crystal display noted for high image quality and contrast) that displays all instrumentation and infotainment functions.

  • All display functions are managed using buttons on the left- and right-hand control array, when the motorcycle is at rest or when it is in motion.
  • The screen is covered with non-reflective glass to make it easier to view in most lighting conditions. Colors and the design of the display were selected to make the screen comfortable to view.

Base Screen display

  • Large digital speedometer display on center is surrounded by an arching tachometer graph.
  • Indicators and warning lights appear on the top edge of the display.
  • A space below the speedometer accommodates pop-ups for incoming phone calls and alerts such as “low fuel,” “side stand down,” and “low temperature.

Bike Status Screen display

The rider can select this display option to put bike status information in a prominent position on the screen, with a smaller speedometer on the upper screen. Status information includes front and rear tire air pressure, engine temperature and oil pressure, battery voltage, and diagnostic codes.

Sportster® S Model: Infotainment

The Sportster® S model display supports infotainment generated by the rider’s Bluetooth®-equipped mobile device. The motorcycle does not have an on-board infotainment system, and it is not equipped with speakers. Most infotainment functions also require a Bluetooth headset and speakers worn within a helmet (sold separately).

Music

  • Music files stored on a mobile device or music streamed through a mobile device may be played through the system, as the rider listens through a headset. The artist and track name will appear on the display, and the rider may use the hand controls to scroll through music files and adjust the volume.

Calls 

  •  Using voice commands through the headset, the rider can receive or place calls through a mobile device. The caller ID of an incoming call may appear on the display.
2021 Sportster S – Scotland Photo Shoot

 Navigation

  •  Navigation is supplied by the Harley-Davidson® App for iOS or Android, which must be downloaded into the rider’s mobile device. When navigation is enabled, the rider may select a moving map display or turn-by-turn map, either of which are displayed on the screen, assisted by audio instructions through the headset.
    • When the moving map is displayed, the speedometer, turn signals and other key information is displayed above the map.
    • Using the hand controls, the rider may pan and zoom the map to see more detail.
    • The Harley-Davidson® App helps riders get the most out of their time on the road with features including recommended rides, ride planning, ride recording, riding challenges and the ability to find Harley-Davidson® dealerships, gas stations, hotels, restaurants, motorcycle events and other attractions.
    • Because the navigation system in the Harley-Davidson® App relies on cell service (there is no GPS receiver on the motorcycle), navigation could be disrupted if there is no cellular signal. However, the rider can pre-load an entire route and save it in memory as a back-up.
    • The Harley-Davidson® App navigation system automatically updates, a convenient feature that can be utilized in place of adding updates to an on-board navigation system.

Sportster® S Model: Cornering Rider Safety Enhancements

The Sportster® S model is equipped with Cornering Rider Safety Enhancements by Harley-Davidson®, a collection of technologies designed to enhance rider confidence during unexpected situations or adverse road conditions. Cornering Rider Safety Enhancements are designed to match motorcycle performance to available traction during acceleration, deceleration, and braking, in a straight line or while in a turn. The systems are electronic and utilize the latest chassis control, electronic brake control and powertrain technology.

The Sportster® S model is equipped with a six-axis inertial measurement unit, or IMU, that measures and reports the lean angle as it navigates a turn. While cornering, available grip for braking or accelerating is reduced. Cornering enhanced technology takes this into account, and for optimal performance, intervenes differently when the motorcycle is leaned compared to when the motorcycle is upright.

Disclaimer: Available traction is determined by the road/tire interface. The systems are only able to adjust brake pressure or powertrain torque in an attempt to keep the forces at the tire from exceeding available grip. These technologies do not have the ability to increase grip, to intervene when the rider has not made a brake or throttle application, or to directly influence vehicle direction. This is a key difference between motorcycle systems and automotive stability control. The rider is ultimately responsible for steering, speed and path corrections.

  • Cornering Enhanced Antilock Braking System (C-ABS)
    ABS is designed to prevent the wheels from locking under braking and helps the rider maintain control when braking in a straight-line, urgent situation. ABS operates independently on front and rear brakes to keep the wheels rolling and prevent uncontrolled wheel lock. Cornering Enhanced Antilock Braking System (C-ABS) is a variant of ABS that takes into consideration the lean angle of the motorcycle. While cornering, the available grip for braking is reduced and C-ABS automatically compensates for this reality. Rear-wheel Lift Mitigation utilizes the C-ABS sensors and the inertial measurement unit (IMU) to manage rear-wheel lift during heavy braking and further balance deceleration and rider control.
  • Cornering Enhanced Traction Control System (C-TCS)
    Traction Control System (TCS) is designed to prevent the rear wheel from excessive spinning under acceleration. TCS can improve rider confidence when available traction is compromised by wet weather, an unanticipated change in the surface, or when riding on an unpaved road. Cornering Enhanced Traction Control (C-TCS) is a variant of TCS that accounts for the lean angle of the motorcycle. Each pre-programed Ride Mode has a specific level of C-TCS. In the customizable ride modes, the rider can select from three levels of C-TCS intervention.

    The rider can deactivate C-TCS in any Ride Mode when the motorcycle is stopped and the engine is running. Changing to Rain Mode will automatically re-enable C-TCS, but C-TCS may be disabled again after Rain Mode has been selected. C-TCS can be re-activated with the push of a button on the right-hand control when the motorcycle is stopped or underway.

    C-TCS is also designed to support Front-Wheel Lift Mitigation (FLM) to reduce the height and duration of front-wheel lift (wheelie). The height and duration of front-wheel lift is tied to the rider-selected Ride Mode, with Rain being the most-restrictive and Sport being the least-restrictive of the standard modes. Turning off C-TCS fully disables both C-TCS and FLM.
  • Cornering Enhanced Drag-Torque Slip Control System (C-DSCS)
    Cornering Enhanced Drag-Torque Slip Control System (C-DSCS) is designed to reduce excessive rear-wheel slip and help prevent rear-wheel lock under powertrain-induced deceleration, which typically occurs when the rider makes an abrupt down-shift gear change or quickly reduces the throttle while on wet or slippery road surfaces.

    When C-DSCS detects excessive rear wheel slip under powertrain-induced deceleration it will adjust engine torque delivery to better match rear-wheel speed to road speed. The action of C-DSCS is tailored when cornering, based on detected lean angle.
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
    Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) alerts the rider to low tire air pressure. Maintaining proper tire air pressure is important both for vehicle performance and tire life. The TPMS displays current front and rear tire pressure on the color display screen and displays an indicator to alert the rider when tire pressure is low, and the pressure should be checked.
2021 Sportster S – Scotland Photo Shoot

Sportster® S Model: Ride Modes

The Sportster® S model offers selectable Ride Modes that electronically control the performance characteristics of the motorcycle, and the level of technology intervention. Three of the modes are pre-programmed, while two additional modes may be customized by the owner. Each Ride Mode consists of a specific combination of power delivery, engine braking, C-ABS and C-TCS settings.

The rider may use the MODE button on the right-hand controller to change the active ride mode while riding the motorcycle or when stopped, with some exceptions. A unique icon for each mode appears on the instrument display when that mode has been selected.

With the exception of the Road Mode, the rider may disable Ride Modes through the settings menu on the instrument display. The Custom Ride Modes need to be enabled by the rider through this settings menu before they can be selected with the MODE button during operation.

  • Road Mode: Intended for daily use, Road Mode delivers balanced performance. This mode offers less-aggressive throttle response and less mid-range engine power than Sport Mode, with a higher level of C-ABS and C-TCS intervention. In some markets Road Mode is the default “key on” mode on the Sportster® S model, while in North America the bike will always default to the Ride Mode selected at the last “key off” event. If there is ever a Ride Mode fault issue, the system will automatically default to Road Mode.
  • Sport Mode: Sport Mode maximizes the rider connection to the motorcycle for a direct and visceral performance riding experience; the rider will experience the full performance potential of the motorcycle in a direct and precise manner, with full power and the quickest throttle response. C-TCS is set to its lowest level of intervention, and engine braking is increased.
  • Rain Mode: This mode is designed to give the rider greater confidence when riding in the rain or when traction is otherwise limited. The Rain Mode is also an appropriate setting for riders building confidence as they become familiar with the motorcycle. Throttle response and power output are programmed to significantly restrain the rate of acceleration, engine braking is limited, and the highest levels of C-ABS and C-TCS intervention are selected.
  • Custom Mode: The Sportster® S model has two Custom Ride Modes. Within each Custom Mode the rider may create a set of performance characteristics to meet personal preference or for special situations. To create a Custom Mode the rider may select their combined preference of engine torque delivery characteristics, engine braking, throttle response, and C-TCS and C-ABS intervention, within specific ranges. For example, the rider could create a mode with the Sport engine performance and maximum throttle response (as is pre-programmed Sport Mode) but with a lower level of engine braking than is offered in the pre-programmed Sport Mode.

Learn more about the Harley-Davidson Sportster S model at www.harley-davidson.com

2021 Sportster S – Scotland Photo Shoot

206 Comments

  1. TP says:

    Wow, who’d ride that sled? Its hideous and overwrought. Posing personified.

  2. joe b says:

    Again and again, Harley shows they have lost their way. Hideous looking, overweight, ho hum performance figures, it looks like a cheap model designed in China. Other than the one or two Gloating reviews, probably from Hardly not able to run personnel, everyone dislikes it.

  3. SparkyK says:

    “…weighs *just* 502 pounds.” ROFL!

  4. Maximus Decimus Meridius, says:

    To be “polite”…Harley can take an airborne intercourse. They have screwed motorcyclists (except for touring riders) for decades. Why is it so fricken’ difficult for Harley (or any manufacturer, really), to make not only what riders need but also what they really want?

    Because they’re not riders themselves. They are bean-counters. I don’t buy products from bean-counters. I buy them from knowledgeable enthusiasts that know what I want and need.

    Because those two qualities are one and the same. Screw you HD.

    • SVGeezer says:

      “Because they’re not riders themselves. They are bean-counters.”

      I’m an accountant and I ride. More than a bit. So please don’t slander us that way.
      I do understand why having an accountant in charge will be a problem. We are trained and selected to know the costs but not for seeing and creating opportunities for product and markets. But what you are seeing at H-D are professional “Managers” (See Dilberts Boss if you are willing to take a cultural trip back in time.) They know nothing about product, production, and markets just how to “manage”.

  5. Paul R says:

    I just purchased a new bike a few weeks ago and it will likely be my last bike. Anyway, when I was a kid of 13 or 14 years of age I dreamed of some day owning a BSA 500cc or 650cc bike. I also liked the look of the Sportster 900 as it was then called. I have owned and ridden many bikes over the years. I was seriously shopping for a new Sportster 1200. Then I read the two articles on Motorcycledaily.com describing the Kawasaki W800. I bought a 2020 W800 over the Harley and couldn’t be a happier person. A truly nice to ride bike with the perfect look and sound that I was after.

    This particular rendition of the Sportster is not even close to what I would have spent my cash on.

  6. SVGeezer says:

    If these new liquid cooled bikes fail in the market place and H-D goes under who will buy Harley?

    1) Motorcycle company.
    2) Clothing company.

  7. jimjim says:

    Plenty of tire kicking surface area while at the bars.

  8. tbone34 says:

    -Love the way this looks, like the specs.
    -I wonder if HD will create another affordable, easy going bike to replace the niche the old Sportster occupied.
    -This does not fit my around-town criteria of 400-450 pounds and torquey, but it isn’t for me and will probably sell well.

  9. JR says:

    Put me down for one brand new black 1993 Harley Davidson Sportster 883 out the door @ $4,700.00 thank you.

  10. todd says:

    I just rode a FTR yesterday, similar to this Sportster, and was not impressed by the performance. Very heavy and slow to respond to rider inputs. You could hardly call it “lively” or “engaging”. I couldn’t bring myself to test ride the Sportster and there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of interest in it at the show. I don’t think it would have even lived up to the performance of the FTR, what with its cruiser styling and form over function design. Maybe it will compete more directly with the Scout?

  11. BigBoy says:

    If a Harley flat tracker and a Rokon Ranger had a baby….

    • paul says:

      Exactly, especially when looking at the picture at the very top of the article. All I can see is “styled by Rokon”…. but not nearly as functional.

  12. FNFAL says:

    Ok! that’s cool!

    What first came to mind.

    • Albert says:

      Yeah, it is cool. it’s performance will, no doubt, influence how buyers view the machine. At first glance I like it and hope it succeeds in the marketplace.

  13. Well as old time Sportster own and old guy too… I wonder if they missed the idea of the Sportster in the present day… today it is cheaper bike that will run forever and be a sporty ride for e cruiser rider. In the 60’s the Sporty was the king of the streets and the drag strip, so maybe this NEW baby will do this like in the 60’s to bring HD back into the main stream of street performance. Let’s see and let’s see how is competes with the Indian Scout on the street…comparison road test coming soon I hope!

  14. Tank says:

    I think the people at HD have forgotten what a Sportster is all about. They need to watch a few episodes of Then Came Bronson.

  15. Harold Klassen says:

    So this is the new V-rod looks about the same.

  16. Donald Mercer says:

    Yikes! The exhaust side is painful to look at. I think my eyeballs are bleeding!

  17. Brian says:

    I haven’t had much good to say about HD for years in that I am not a fan of lousy Japanese knock-offs or sloppy pig road barnacles. And, this is not the direction I would go in if they were to survive as a company. Still, I like this bike especially after seeing that weird scrambler they came out with a few months ago. Am I the only one?

  18. EGS says:

    Could HD be so sinister that they INTENTIONALLY built an ugly bike to encourage purchase of their after-market parts? They already state that mid-controls, seats and other items will be available when the bike goes on sale and you KNOW after-market pipes are already in the works. Can a dual-disc, narrower front wheel, traditional rear fender and retro round headlight be far behind?

  19. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    HD needs to read Motorcycle Daily. Maybe a person in charge, would get the message.
    ( It is useful function – not image.)

    • Grover says:

      MCD readers are not really the target market for this particular bike so I doubt Harley is going to base future designs are their opinion. I think HD will do just fine selling to riders that find this Sportster appealing. Personally, I think it looks frumpy with it’s big tires, hideous exhaust and overstyled license plate hanger. That headlight ain’t exactly pretty either and I’ll bet that tank limits the range to about 120 miles.
      I guess I’m a stereotypical MCD reader after all!

      • SVGeezer says:

        Anyone know/ride with the “target market” for this bike? Can anyone explain who they expect to buy this?

        I’m at a loss myself.

        • Tank says:

          This makes as much sense as when Coke changed their formula.

        • Jeremy says:

          I know plenty. They are typically form-over-function or image-first types that are really enthusiastic about the look, image, or community. That isn’t a knock against the riders that value those things or the manufacturers that build bikes to address this demand. I think most of us probably value one or more of those things to some degree, so it shouldn’t be too hard for us to flex our imaginations and relate.

    • huls says:

      @Reginald Van Blunt: They do read Motorcycle Daily, have a good chuckle about the opinions expressed here and go about their business, you know, making motorcycles for people that do matter.

      • SVGeezer says:

        If you add up all the bikes the poster currently own, plus what they have owned in the past, they do matter.

        What are you? A “if you haven’t rode a Harley you haven’t ridden a motorcycle” kind of guy?

      • Reginald Van Blunt says:

        This is not about people, or even motorcycle types, it is about STUPID design details, driven by a perceived market demographic of image affectations.
        A street bike with no fenders is STUPID.
        A cantilevered brake light off the swing arm is STUPID.
        A exhaust near the riders leg is STUPID. Properly tucked in OK.
        A tiny fuel tank is STUPID.
        A jacked up seat above the rear tire is STUPID.
        A small or non existent headlight reflector is STUPID.
        An automobile tire on the front is SUPER STUPID.
        All of these design decisions are made to appeal to image conscious buyers, instead of long term functionality.
        Gad Zooks, when will it end !

      • Anonymous says:

        has anyone ever seen Jochen Zeitz and huls at the same time?

  20. Gary says:

    Finally, a Sportster that isn’t a joke. I’ll bet it will be a hoot to ride. The two shortcomings: an upswept pipe that is bound to generate heat on the calf, and … 3.1 gallon gas tank? Sure it looks classic, but ….

  21. Dan-o says:

    Rarely are comments in such agreement. Great engineering effort and specs let down by the marketing folks. I think we’re all looking forward to the variants. Perhaps let the engineers do the next design rev. Looking forward to it!

    • huls says:

      Once people were convinced that the Earth was flat. A small group of people still think that. These people make up the majority of MCD commenters. Stuck in a world view that has been surpassed long ago. Quite sad really.

      The good news is that this is again a bulls-eye from HD’s styling dept. These guys and gals just keep knocking it out of the park. Well done on an instant museum piece!

  22. Oz says:

    Headlight design by Bender on Futurama?

  23. echanos says:

    Well done Harley. Personally not a Harley fan but that’s a cool modern/retro bike.

  24. Bob says:

    “wide-profile tires suggest high-performance sport bike.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAAHAHAHAHHA!
    *inhalllleeeee*
    MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!

  25. Vinnie says:

    Harley. Please already with the headlight !
    Ugh!

  26. ABQ says:

    H-D is off to a good modest start with this engine. It is expected that a new engine is first tested in a sports bike. In this variation it may beat the Indian scout. I am thinking that was the target. My usual complaint is against the small gas tank. It is like they do not want us to take it out of town. Aside from that it is a good sport bike. I still want them to put that engine into everything, starting with the Dyna sized bikes. I would prefer that they did not reduce the horsepower. Let their next variation beat a Ducati X Diavel S. With a lower price. Go fast or go home.

  27. Randy says:

    Golly…..one side’s ugly and the other side is FUGLY. I’m speechless.

  28. Marcus says:

    The Harley ‘Fatster’.
    Sorry, I know HD wants this bike taken seriously but…
    😂😂😂😂
    The Fatster.

  29. Marc says:

    Would like to say something nice about this bike but……. I have nothing.

  30. Tank says:

    Not really a Harley and definitely not a Sportster.

  31. motomike says:

    I haven’t read all the comments but I think half that front brake’s power is gonna be gobbled up by all that rotating mass. The exhaust can be replaced but that front tire is stuck there.Ridiculous.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I think even a Sportster needs to have enough utility to carry a passenger at the 15k price point they are asking without extra cost accessories. The proportions of the tires to the rest of the bike – especially the front tire to the headlight area – are way off to my eye. Not going to beat a dead horse about the exhaust. The whole thing is kind of a cartoon version of a macho bike.

  33. jimjim says:

    The quickest bar to bar hoppin’ Sportster yet along with the ugliest. Congrats H-D engineers!

  34. Marcus says:

    Single front brake rotor, big fat front tire, forward controls? And that exhaust, LOL. Just when you think Harley Davidson is seeing the light they sink back into “form over function”.
    They will be consumed by their own foolishness. Whatever.

  35. fred B says:

    I guess 121 HP would be a big deal for HD

    • Scotty says:

      Well its not too shabby. Double the hp of the last one. Its not my kind of bike at all, but 120 is respectable power.

    • huls says:

      Horsepower is irrelevant in this application. It is only mentioned because the majority of the Neanderthals commenting on this motorcycle thinks horsepower denotes anything important and the highr the better .. and then they start draggin their knuckles again.

  36. newtonmetres says:

    Harley: put the engine in a DYNA frame and leave out the electronic gizmos -just ABS twin discs pillion seat sizable gas tank and decent suspension. $15000

  37. n says:

    Harley-put the engine in a Dyna frame and leave out all the electronic gizmos-just ABS twin discs twin goddamn seat sizable fuel capacity good suspension and prepare to sell lots!!And keep the cruiser look.

  38. motomike says:

    That’s one thick chubby,hee hee

  39. jim says:

    neener, neener, neener, neener

  40. David M says:

    Next time, do the basic engineering and then turn it over to Mule to design the rest of the bike.

    https://www.mulemotorcycles.net/

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh lawdy NO! Spoked tubes and a cheapazz dinky tank?! WTFWYT?
      That thing is even dumber than the Turdster is. Even if made for the street it is far from usable because only stupid people buy butt jewelry like that for the street. Remember the Harley ’72 of a few years back?

      Stupid people were the only ones to buy it. And then sell it not long after. Why? Because it was USELESS for the street! “Mule”? A mule is a cross between a horse and a donkey, correct? Besides, mules are sterile. Too bad the Turdster’s creators weren’t.

      • huls says:

        I never enter a discussion with a child because they will immediatley start crying uncontrollably, but I’ll make an exemption for you.
        Go on your mummies computer and Google resell prices Harley-Davidson. You will see they are the highest of all makes, making them the best of all.
        Then swithc of mummies computer and go back to kindergarten

    • Bud says:

      I think you’re on the right track, that mule looks really well done. I’d love to see an XR inspired hooligan Harley with proper suspension and brakes.

  41. joe b says:

    when i graduated in ’69, the Harley XLCH was the fastest bike that year. I dont see much I like on this version, other than it has respectable HP and torque, at least as much as my old Suzuki GSF1250, but you have to rev it more. It looks like a childs toy. I would like to see a comparsion test, and how it fares against other bikes, other brands, in the real world. Honestly, as my friend would often say, “I’m not impressed”. It looks goofy.

    • mickey says:

      Beg to differ Joe. In 1969 the Honda CB 750 was the fastest (125 mph), followed by the BSA 750 Rocket 3 (117 mph) and then the XLCH (111 mph). Over the years I owned all 3.

      • todd says:

        Let us not forget the Münch4 1200TTS with its top speed of 137 mph. It was so powerful (88hp) that it would break conventional heavy-duty spokes so a special magnesium rear wheel was made…

      • joe b says:

        I meant 1/4 mi time. searching the XLH (i remember it being the XLCH) is listed at 13.07 by Cycle World magazine. i cannot at this time find a 1/4 mi time for the Honda (all the 69 search results are just paint and polish stuff about the sandcast, surprised i cant find the 1/4 mi time for it, it was in the 13’s) I wasnt speaking about top speed. I also roade a Triumph Trident, and the Honda 750, both were fast. so wish we could all meet up at Newcombs and discuss this, ? any of you guys are local to so cal?

      • joe b says:

        I meant 1/4 mi times, posted by Cycle World magazine, the honda was 13.38, the XLCH 1200 was 13.07. I didnt mean top speed.

        • mickey says:

          Ahhhhhh so you meant quickest, not fastest lol. English, tough language.

          Would be glad to meet up, but I’m afraid it would require a 2000 + mile ride for me. Did it in 2014, Ohio to So Cal, up the coast to San Fran and back home 5500 mi in 11 days.

        • todd says:

          Far be it from me to nit pick but the XLH was not a 1200. You were looking at 883 or 1000 for those. I think the XLCH (1000) wasn’t available in ‘69 but Cycle World has both the ‘69 CB750 and the ‘72 XLCH as 13.38 in the quarter. The CB has a higher speed through the lights which suggests its first few gears are a bit taller than the Sportster’s. So, off the line, the 1000cc H-D was quicker but the smaller Honda would catch up and eventually pass the H-D after a quarter mile.
          https://www.cycleworld.com/2012/04/02/fifty-years-of-do-you-have-any-idea-how-fast-you-were-going/

          All this and the Sportster boat tail styling suggested Harley used to make sport bikes but soon gave up and has never returned since.

          • joe b says:

            I see, I thought it was 1200, but your right, it was 1000 (I am getting old) different CW articles give different times, its tuff to pinpoint. Possibly, what i am remembering, is the sportster came out early. the Honda later, it was some 50 years ago, or more. I guess my comment was mean to say, the sportster, was quick at one time, in its past.

          • mickey says:

            That it was joe b. My 59 XLCH was a benchmark motorcycle for it’s time. I raced some mighty fast Bonnevilles up until 68. That was the beginning of the end of Sporster supremacy.

  42. Anonymous says:

    This bike reminds me of another American made bike that is still in production… the Rokon.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Harley’s version of a TW200?

  44. Grover says:

    It’s still a girl’s bike as evidenced by the first person appearing in the video is a girl. I thought HD wanted to distance itself from the notion that the Sportster was a girl’s bike. Hopefully, the “Skirtster” will sell.

  45. Gary Turner says:

    The new Harley without an apparent rear fender and a minimalist front fender. Why not call it the Harley Fenderless!

  46. Marcus says:

    As Chief Wild Eagle once famously said…
    “IT IS BALLOON” 🎈

  47. Greg says:

    What the hell is up with this license plate tail light piece of crap hung off the back of any bike? First time I saw that abortion I could not believe what an insult it was to the eyes. This trend needs to stop! I can’t believe that Harley of all manufacturers would stoop so low. Who ever came up with this idea knows nothing about style. The idea of some geeky nerd that is obviously not a motorcyclist of any stature. Leave it in Europe on some geek bike, but keep it out of The Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. The ugliest and most stupid thing on a motorcycle I have ever seen. Please stop the madness to my beloved motorcycles!

    • Greg says:

      I liken it to a large piece of prolapsed bowel hanging out the ass end of a four legged creature.

    • Greg says:

      I liken it to a large piece of prolapsed bowel hanging out the rear end of a four legged creature. Just gross!

    • David M says:

      Is it possiblly a DOT requirement for the placement at the rear for lights and licence plate ? Or “fender” as big of a stretch as that may be ?

      • todd says:

        This is not a USA thing, I think there are countries that require the license plate to be behind the centerline of the rear axle. This either means a long stupid thing like above or a regular fender like on a real motorcycle. In the US, the requirements are as follows:

        5201. License plates shall at all times be securely fastened to the vehicle for which they are issued so as to prevent the plates from swinging, shall be mounted in a position so as to be clearly visible, and shall be maintained in a condition so as to be clearly legible. The rear license plate shall be mounted not less than 12 inches nor more than 60 inches from the ground…

        24601. Either the taillamp or a separate lamp shall be so constructed and placed as to illuminate with a white light the rear license plate during darkness and render it clearly legible from a distance of 50 feet to the rear. When the rear license plate is illuminated by a lamp other than a required taillamp, the two lamps shall be turned on or off only by the same control switch at all times.

        “CLEARLY VISIBLE” does not mean you can roll it up and tuck it in front of your rear tire under a tail-tidy.

        • Marcus says:

          US DOT rules state that the license plate be positioned BEHIND the rear wheel.

          • todd says:

            Please provide evidence to back your claim. As far as I understand, license plates are not within federal jurisdictions and belong to the state that issues them. I’m also pretty sure I have seen brand new motorcycles that have license plate provisions mounted on the swing arm, to the left of the rear wheel, just slightly behind the axle.

          • Bubba says:

            Don’t think so, all the other Sportsters have side mounted plates.

    • huls says:

      License plate solution is the same as about half of all new bikes these days. Are you intentionally stupid or do you save that to satisfy your childish disapproval of this make?

  48. falcodoug says:

    I had to look up the statement “Apex Predator” from the sales video and found this on Wikipedia.
    “An apex predator, also known as an alpha predator or top predator, is a predator at the top of a food chain, without natural predators”
    They wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true.

  49. Dean says:

    I knew they would screw up the looks and ergonomics on this bike just like they did on the Vrod.Has to have that weird “stance” that most Harley riders think looks cool. Bet you’ll see one soon with apehangers also.

    • newtonmetres says:

      agree 100%

    • huls says:

      HD’s ergonomics are a class above Italians or Japanese. They have ergonomics based on dwarfs. No connection to reality at all. HD is very comforatbale touring. 1000km a day is no problem at all. I do that on a regular basis

      • Motoman says:

        So how can you classify something as superior when they are designed for very different uses. Poor comparison. That would be like saying a Gold Wing has better ergonomics than a ZX10… you know pointless.

        Just a troll, eh?

  50. bill says:

    further proof of the declining western civilization.

  51. Pete says:

    Now that’s ugly, really ugly.

  52. Neil says:

    The exhaust is a deal breaker. For someone short of stature those are a hazard. For everyone it puts intense heat near your naughty bits. Stupid design. Should have made it a 2-in-1 exiting below the engine, between the wheels. Otherwise, it’s a good first volley. About time the iron Sportster was superseded

  53. Staying in Mexico says:

    It seems like there are two very different sides to Harley Engineers those who are true Performance orientated and a Stylist that has stumbled onto Willie G notebook that he stashed away on his last day with the hopes they find it!

    So here we have a Fully Adjustable suspension really nice, Single Brembo Monoblock alright I get it to save a few pounds and make a few more profits. So this a little bit to compete with the Scout that has a wet weight of 578 and 100 Horsepower or The FTR 1200 Wet Weight 508 and 121 Horsepower! The FTR is a Flat Track inspired machine and in a way, the Sportster S is Flat track Inspired as well. Look they even share similar swing arms. This could be a really really cool fun bike to go up against the FTR except Harley decided to throw very strong hints of their cruiser heritage in the Sportster S the first being Bobber front end and wide tire and forward controls with no way of safely mounting rear or Mid controls that will not damage the engine case in a low side crash… Out of the three Bikes i own my V rod is great for Commuting with its low center of gravity and pretty good power its no Apex carver by any means but as a rider i have adapted and can ride it! Was really hoping they dropped the forward controls and the bobber tire but hey Companys build bikes that apeal to people and this does not apeal to what i like or want in my V rod replacment, I doubt it but hopeful the next model the Sportster R rolls on performance 17 inch wheels with better engeenered rear sets and leave every thing else just the way it is, Harley you really built a cool bike its just clashes for me as a customer as to what is a performance bike in its odd style but thanks for trying something diffrent!

    • Marcus says:

      In the accessory section they list a mid-control option you can buy.
      I was hoping for a Bronx with this engine but nooo… this Sportster looks stupid IMHO.

      • Staying in Mexico says:

        I saw the mid-mount set up and it attaches to the engine clutch cover and stator cover since there are no lower frame rails, Not something I want if I low side or even a tip-over.

        The mid control for the V rod was an afterthought as well! Harley is just not a performance-minded company and there are people there that assume you can hustle a bike with forward controls!

        Its a really cool bike with a lot of new features for HD. The more i look at it and i can see dropping close to fifty pounds in Exhaust, Tag holder, Replacing the front tire with a 120 70 17 and the rear with a lower profile it could be for me a fun Commuter and every other weekend bike but i did not expect the forward controls!

        • Reginald Van Blunt says:

          You forgot to mention $700 for a weak structure, ready to break,if one ever had to get up on the pegs. This is a perfect example of not designing in function from the beginning, like the front exhaust routing up the leg instead of under the peg.
          When people continue to buy styling ‘image’ over practical function, the manufactures will give us just that.

      • Anonymous says:

        Mid controls on a bike with a short seat height are pretty much useless to the majority of riders out there.

      • Scruby says:

        The Bronx looks so much better,but the new engine is kick ass,and will show up in more models.I hope the Bronx gets the Lazarus treatment.

  54. YFZSE says:

    to the people complaining about loud pipes, i think your problem is more with the irresponsible people that typically ride bikes with them, not the loud exhausts themselves. when i ride a bike with them i have certainly been more noticed when i blip the throttle before a intersection or when passing cars. what i dont do is come to a red light or stop sign 2 or 3 gears too low while looking around to see if i was noticed. i also dont rev a bike relentlessly before it even makes it off the kick stand. with the way people drive today and how distracted they are, i think the focus should be more on the fact that anybody can get a license and that texting and driving is out of control. if i were in charge, id treat it like a DUI. i cant teach people how do do the right thing, just like you cant fix stupid.. ooops, same thing! responsible people shouldnt be punished because of others, but we always are 😉

    • paul says:

      People who blip their throttle every chance they see a “look at me opportunity” are Throttle Wankers. Everyone is getting sick and tired of these pathetic morons and they are threatening motorcycling’s future.

      • mickey says:

        un-baffled exhausts are offensive in every circumstance to me

        • RyYYZ says:

          Hear, hear, here.

          Yep, offensive to me as a human, not just a motorcyclist. And that doesn’t just go for motorcycles, I feel the same way about all the a-holes with excessively loud ricers, muscle cars, pickup trucks (especially diesel), and heavy trucks (straight stacks have no place on the street).

          It’s not that I worry about the impact noisy bikes have on the rest of us (though I do) – I’m sick of listening to all kinds of a-holes riding/driving past my house all day disturbing me.

          But some people have a really entitled attitude when it comes to their “right” to make excessive noise. There is NO such right.

  55. MGNorge says:

    Touting its light weight but designing it looking bulbous offends the senses. That front tire has got to go, even if just for aesthetic reasons. Power and torque claims seem mystical too. Hmm?

  56. yellowhammer says:

    The power unit and chassis are spot on; maybe a little porky (tongue/cheek) and needs more suspension travel. I agree with several below: Correct the wheels & tires, add usable rear fender and dual seat, round headlight, low exhaust, and you would have a very appealing motorcycle.

  57. Neal says:

    Oh man, that is awful. Way worse than I thought it might be, I’m usually pretty cynical about these things. The proportions are off, the details are ugly, the ergos are made for leggy dwarves, the stance is awkward. Its all random black plastic shapes on one side and somewhere between how Picasso and Philip K Dick would design a Harley on the other.

  58. patdep says:

    I like the torque figures and no valve adjustment

  59. Brakeman says:

    Great to see new and modern models coming out of Milwaukee. Being they’re cloaking this new Sportster as a Performance enhanced model, what the heck are they doing with a single disc up front? That is wholly inadequate for a performance motorcycle…particularly at over 500lbs…

  60. RyYYZ says:

    Looks Ok from the right, I guess, if you like that sort of thing. Like a number of other recent bikes (like the latest Ducati Monster), the view from the left looks like it was completely forgotten by the styling department.

    Love some of the advances noted in the press release, which are things that most other bikes have had for only, oh, about 30 years.

    Still think the engine has great potential – love the VVT and self-adjusting valves. Especially wish every bike had the latter.

  61. DR007 says:

    I like it. I’d change the headlight, but I want to see Harley Davidson succeed. We need them too. Haters aside, the motorcycle community needs to big growth spurt. HD’s marketing has always been lack luster and always fails to reach the consumer properly. It’s time to bring emotion back to motorcycling. Now the bike. I like it, seems like a good starter bike for its size and I like that it comes with a mid-pedal kit. It’s a modern bike with a touch of the past without being archaic. Go HD, keep pushing, but you need new riders and younger riders at that.

  62. OldBiker says:

    It looks kinda small. I guess 6 footers need not apply…

  63. patdep says:

    I like it, happy to see that’s it’s belt driven.

  64. Ricardo says:

    Thank you but I will keep my V-Rod, a much cleaner design, especially the engine, and more aesthetic than this conjunction of parts put together without rime and rhythm. There I said it.

  65. Paul says:

    I couldn’t stomach that corn-ball video for more than 1 minute. The bike itself is a pork-meister special. Good gawd.

  66. Mick says:

    Got exhaust? How about that superstructure they have unsprung on the swing arm instead of a decent tail section? Don’t let a comic book design real things.

    “Just” 502 pounds? It’s a motorcycle, not a car. “Just” should be reserved for numbers under 400 for add copy and 300 for verbal use. I’m feeling pretty stabby just now.

    I raced supermoto last weekend. I thought my YZ (two stroke naturaly) felt kind of heavy. Maybe I ride bicycle too often. My electric motorcycle weighs half what my YZ does at…wait for it…just 125 pounds. Or just under a forth of Pipes R Us up there.

    Just, yeah, just.

    • DeltaZulu says:

      Maybe you should work out a bit. Sounds like you are too puny to handle a motorcycle.

      Oh, and what will all the “traditionalist” Hardley-Ableson riders think of a 60 degree V-twin? And, of course, liquid cooling. Yeah, probably nothing on the cylinder spacing because most probably don’t really know anything about engine architecture, anyways (bad ass accountants and all that most are – lol!). But, if you tell them that all the older Hardleys are 45 degree V-twins, then they will definitely be against it.

      • Bob Krzeszkiewicz says:

        Yeah, Mick is a little wimpy obviously, not to mentin unrealistic. Under 400 lbs resert for “just?” How many literbikes weigh under 400? Not a whole lot. And those were designed for compactness, lightness and racing in mind. Maybe those bikes are utter failures as well.

        I was an owner operator of a shop dedicated to designing and manufacturing go fast parts for HD and BMW twins, as well as singles from the big 4 MX lines. It all started with my landspeed racing hobby and the aftermarket players at the time not meeting my needs. One thing that was limiting to HDs was the 45 degree architecture. If you wanted bigger pistons, you had to bore bigger spiggots, use longer con rods and pushrods and create cylinders with a higher deck so the piston skirts didn’t collide at BDC. Then you need a longer intake manifold to span the new gap between the heads. That in turn made a taller engine that might not fit in an existing chassis. The beauty of the air cooled rocker engines was that rocker heads are easily 2″ shorter than an overhead cam designs which allows for 5 or 6 gallons of fuel to sit lower and handle better. The Revolution gets some of that back by having a shorter stroke than the air cooled bikes.

        I think this engine platform will really be accepted by even the old faithful because it addressed every concern ever had and it actually harkens back to the traditional look of a v-twin and is the visual centerpiece the customer base desires.

        My only beef is that it has now morphed into something so complicated that I don’t want to work on it myself. And that is something I’ve always enjoyed doing. But I’m also older now and less energetic so I’d much rather ride than wrench these days.

    • Anonymous says:

      Geeze louise, Mick. You must be one fluffy old fart. Nothing is ever gonna be light enough for a midgie-manlet such as you present yourself here as.

    • Mick says:

      Sorry you big strong Neanderthals.
      I must have this bone in my head that makes me expect progress to, well, progress.

      Long about 1994 I bought a 916 Ducati and a 610 Husqvarna to serve as my street bikes. At a little over 100hp and around 450 pounds I felt the the Ducati had more power and weight than it really needed for the very limited venue that public roads will always be. In 2000 I replaced both of them with a modified XR650R. To this day I ride a heavily modified 2003 XR650R. Why? I feel that it strikes about the right weight and power balance for the public road venue that I ride it on. I’d let you ladies ride it to see what I mean. But it’s kick start and you can’t ride it if you can’t start it.

      I’m waiting for a replacement for my aging street bike. But the industry seems to think that all they need to do is add ever more power to ridiculously heavy bikes to make people happy. Sorry pals. I want to live in the future. And that ain’t the future in any book that I want to read.

      • todd says:

        Maybe I’m a broken record; the last of the Duke 690s are around 14 horses and pounds more than your XR, a worthy replacement.

        • Jeremy says:

          The 690 is a great bike, in Duke or Enduro form. I no longer need a street bike or a dual sport with that much motor, but those would be my bikes if I did.

          • Mick says:

            While a 690 has more a little bit power. It also has considerably more weight.

            I’m just frustrated to see all this talk about power figures and high weight. The street bike industry has not really delivered on decent power and low weight after decades of refinement.

            Though, thankfully, some progress has been made.

            It’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow. Particularly when you can get there faster on the slow bike due to your self imposed limitations on how much you want to break the law.

            So I wait. I’m not happy about it.

          • todd says:

            I don’t know how much you modified your XR but I weighed my Duke (with less than half tank of gas) and it was 329 pounds. That doesn’t seem very heavy to me. I’m pretty happy with its performance.

        • Dirck Edge says:

          690 Duke is one of my all-time favorite rides. Particularly 2017+ with the super smooth motor.

  67. David M says:

    I never thought that I’d describe a bike as bulbous but here goes…

    • Evan says:

      It’s a feature. Just buy 2 rear tires and rotate them every 3,000 miles. Boom, double your tread life, who cares if it doesn’t turn.

      • Bob Krzeszkiewicz says:

        The tire rotation, while said in jest, actually was pretty clever and maybe realistic as long as the wear isn’t too bad. In Texas, MC tires tend to turn square like a car tire due to a severe lack of fun roads.

        As for turning, you should try a bike whose front and rear are close in width. They are real easy to flick in and out. It’s the bikes with big width differences that are harder to turn and keep leaned over, even the lighter race reps.

  68. Jeremy says:

    It seems that anytime HD has an opportunity to do something special, they just can’t wrap their heads around a potential, performance-oriented concept.

    Here, they start with what is seemingly a great engine and wrap it with just about everything they can think of to prevent the rider from taking advantage of it. Forward controls, ridiculous tires, singles front disc (on a 120 HP 500 lbs bike?) The exhaust looks pretty comical, but I’ll give them a pass on that considering how difficult it is becoming to put a nice looking exhaust together that meets regs. The weight isn’t “sporty” but it is acceptable enough given the power on tap to haul the pork around. It’s a shame, really… Take the goofy cruiser touches away, and it is probably a nice looking bike. Perhaps we’ll see such a variant in the future?

    I don’t recall what the old Sportster 1200 sold for, but the $15K asking price on this one seems to betray the intent of the previous gen Sportster. Do Scouts cost $15K these days?

    • mechanicus says:

      I agree they nailed the motor and muffed the styling and ergos. Zeitz let the Levatich FXDR/FatBob’esqe momentum come to fruition. What else could he do? They’re a small company – they can’t throw manpower at stuff like a Boeing or Raytheon. Their site indicates other stuff is on the way. Zeitz’s touches will show up late ’22, ’23 etc. They’re close here, lots of potential you have to admit. 4″ suspension front and rear, front wheel change, round headlight, legit rear fender with sane 2-up seat, staggered duals, and mid controls, and you are there.

      • Jeremy says:

        I agree there is a lot of potential. Even if other variants turn out to be pretty cruiser-ish, there is potential to execute a really nice bike from this platform. And while this bike no longer carries the entry level price and mission that went with the Sportster brand, it is a hell of a lot more bike than it’s predecessor could ever hope to be. In truth, I’m pretty interested to see where they take this platform.

    • YFZSE says:

      you cant recall what the 1200, that is still being sold today in a couple versions, sold for? we have information right at our fingertips and even while using it we still seem to know just as little as before.

      • Jeremy says:

        As the 1200 Sportster is never a bike I would buy, it doesn’t really matter that they still sell it – I wouldn’t need or care to know the price of a Sportster in the same way I don’t need or care to know what a box of tampons goes for.

        As far as looking it up, the tampon analogy still applies. I don’t care enough about the answer to look it up. I was just thinking it loud. But thanks for letting me know that someone invented the internet.

  69. My2cents says:

    It looks like a hot air balloon caricature of itself. But a 4 valve vvt V twin engine has potential…..calling Eric Buell

  70. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    Front tire mass, cross wind area, and slow steering all wrong. Front exhaust pipe absolutely should be below riders foot/leg. Cantilevered rear brake light/license stuff sucks long term. No fenders front and rear suck short term. 29 inch seat height ok for little circus clowns. Foot controls not as far forward as is usual HD. Head light is way double ought cool. Fuel tank really could of been longer toward the forks. It does have belt final drive, which I will never trust. Needs a Saturday morning happy color. Sound in promotional video sounded nice enough.
    Still a Harley, not a UJMC which pleases my sense of balanced industry.
    This could be the start of something better than HD till now. I hope so. The Scout is prettier, but both are too low and cruisers still. Single f brake disc not a problem.

  71. todd says:

    it’s funny, in the video they actually sound kind of proud of it. They also sound like they’ve never ridden a bike with more than 70 horsepower that weighs less than 700 pounds. “Unlimited amounts of horsepower”? Come on.

  72. viktor92 says:

    It’s ugly, but at least mechanically modern.

  73. larlok says:

    I had high hopes for this machine with that new motor. I was hoping for a new roadster. They managed to throw every design element that I hate into one motorcycle. I hate it.However, since everything I like doesn’t sell, sales should be brisk.

    • Anonymous says:

      It deserves to be not just “hated” but loathed. Fugly piece of poop that it is. I would say I hope Harley brass are reading this but they’re obviously too dumb to be literate in the least.

  74. fred says:

    I’m neither Harley guy nor a cruiser fan, but I like this bike. With mid controls and the windshield, it should be a great every-day ride. The price seems a bit ($1-2K) high, but compared to other Harley’s, it’s still good value for money.

    IMHO, one of the worst mistakes that many riders make is putting loud pipes on their bikes. Making the general populace hate bikes and bikers is a poor strategy. Quiet and quick is much better than loud and slow.

    While I don’t like/agree with some of the decisions (fat front tire, single front disk, small gas tank, high pipes), it makes sense to not alienate the faithful with this bike. It looks like a Harley, and also is a serious bike with solid specs.

    This could be even more of a game-changer for Harley-Davidson, even more that then Pan America. After years/decades of “meh”, I’m actually looking forward to seeing what H-D builds next.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry Fred. It is FUGLY. You can have it but it is FUGLY. I really doubt many will buy this thing even though they will claim to want to. That is the way of the internet.

      And no. I don’t ever recall asking Harley to build a really fugly, cheap looking two wheeled turdle.

    • YFZSE says:

      im going to have to disagree on loud pipes as it depends on how you use them in my opinion. when im on a louder bike, there are times i’ll blip the throttle before an intersection and am immediately noticed most times. the way people drive today and how distracted they are, id much rather have that ability. passing somebody in the passing lane? im more noticeable there too… now, i will agree there is a wrong way to ride a bike with a loud exhaust. some examples being coming to a light or stop sign 2 or 3 gears low and looking around to see if everyone sees how cool you are. revving the bike relentlessly at every stop and as you get moving. starting the bike and revving it to the moon before even letting the kick stand up. yeah, none of those are me. i cant teach others to do the right thing, that would be like trying to fix stupidity, or maybe its the same thing… either way im not saying loud pipes can prevent all accidents, but i sure as heck have seen that i am more noticed when riding a bike with them!

      • fred says:

        I guess we’ll just disagree. IMHO, the people who “notice” your load pipes are almost certainly not an active threat. Homeowners watching tv in their living room or watering the front lawn are not a crash danger. The pipes are pointed to the year, and sometimes towards the side. Threats come primarily from the front. Startling people in front of you that are stopped at the red light or stop sign doesn’t make you safer.

        Loud noises are distracting. Riding a loud bike will lower your concentration levels and decision-making abilities. It will do the same to those around you, but not with quite the same intensity, as you are subjected to the noise at a higher level, for a longer period of time.

        Sorry to disappoint you, but loud pipes neither prevent accidents nor save lives. Hopefully you have not damaged your hearing irreversibly. Even as I type, the (non-existent) insects constantly buzzing in the background remind me of the many bad choices I made with loud noises in my younger days.

      • Bob says:

        YFZSE, you are literally the problem. STFU, you attention-seeking whore.

      • foster says:

        “but i sure as heck have seen that i am more noticed when riding a bike with them!”

        That’s because people are looking at you in disgust for your blatant disregard of consideration for those that are forced to listen to your needy, attention getting racket.

  75. dt-175 says:

    too much bike exif, not enough cal rayborn.

  76. ScotocS says:

    Sounds and looks pretty decent… ironically, “About the only things familiar are the feet-forward ergonomics…” — that’s kinda the deal-breaker for me. Also not a giant fan of the two enormous exhaust cans on one side instead of spacing them out symmetrically.

  77. Anonymous says:

    WTF? Looks like the butt-baby of a Fat Bob and a Softail (sub)Standard. HD deserves to go belly up. The idiot(s) that designed this piece of poo need to be fired and set loose to become free range hobos. The new Turdster is your butt-baby’s E-Ticket to nowhere. Awful. Fugly. Stoopid.

  78. Anonymous says:

    “S” must stand for shit cuz that’s what this thing looks like. FTN.

  79. Anonymous says:

    This thing is stoopid fugly. I hope they lose their ass on this one. I like Harleys and have owned several but I will NEVER own this pile of crap looking Turdster.

    The market for motorcycles is weak as it is and this fly magnet looks like crap. Tiny gas tanks, single disc brakes up front. Styling by Helen Keller. WTFHD?

  80. mickey says:

    The original Sportster looked light, even if it wasn’t. This looks heavy, even if it isn’t. Wierd.

    Too bad, they had a great engine to work with, and then a bunch of new age “hip” kids design it.

    Guaranteed the first thing anybody that buys one of these things is going to buy is a set of pipes. I HATE loud pipes, but this thing sounds so anemic, it’s a crime. Hard to believe Harley of all companies is coming out with a bike that sounds like that.

  81. Dave says:

    It has really good bones. Great engine, decent weight, good tech but they’ve held onto lots of HD things (proportions, cruiser riding position, that ridiculous front tire) that they really needed to let go of. While it’s plenty light and powerful enough for a performance bike, It’s otherwise too fat for “sport”.

  82. Dirty Bob says:

    No! I’ve turned down demos from all HD callers. Ugly! I’ll stick with my 2016 street bob, and laugh every time a ride it.

  83. DucatiSSsp says:

    Took a while to type this as I had to keep clearing the vomit from my throat! I hope they build a XLCR version of this bike with 17″ front wheel, duel discs and a tail section somewhat reminiscent of 70’s/early 80’s bikes.
    Looks like they’re trying to showcase the EPA mandated exhaust system. Not a fan of chubby front tires, ugly headlights and stubby tail sections with a extruded appendage from the swingarm to hold the license plate and signals.
    Not sure why they even tried to put a front fender on as it’s totally useless. Bet a lot of rad guards will be ordered for this bike!

  84. Moto-Kafe says:

    …..maybe rename it from the “Sportster”…….to the “Porkster” (still a Hog)…???

  85. Tom R says:

    Is the female rider’s long ponytail her real hair, or is this something from the H-D accessories catalogue?

  86. Brinskee says:

    Why did they put a rear tire up front?

    • Tom R says:

      That is my dominant thought whenever I look at this bike. This thing is hideously out of proportion.

      • Tom K. says:

        Yep, Willie G. is likely shaking his head, it looks like a 30 psi-maximum inflatable motorcycle filled from a nitrogen tank without a regulator.

        On the other hand, I hear Deadpool’s roommate ordered two of them, but upon hearing that exhaust note, now wishes (once more) that she was deaf as well as blind.

        I’m so old I remember how I used to tell people that “Harley’s aren’t much for performance, but they sure are pretty – they have great styling, paint, and chrome”. Not sure what I’d say about them today.

  87. newtonmetres says:

    Correction-front wheel is 17 inch: but 160 wide 120 looks better and probably handle better

    • todd says:

      they said it was a 16″ in the video. I think it’s 16, front and back, probably to keep it short like they did with the Blast.

    • huls says:

      Nope. Same width back and front handles best given all other possible combo’s

      • Jeremy says:

        Unless you are running a balloon on the front like this bike, then handling clearly wasn’t a design priority. Narrower handles better. Manufacturers would love to be able to put narrower tires on the rear too if physics allowed, but a narrower front tire will handle better even if the rear is wider. That’s why 100% of racing and 99.9% of production bikes do just that. The other .01% fall into the “styling exercise” category.

        • todd says:

          Remember when BMW would offer their sport bikes with a narrower rear wheel/tire to improve handling? Pretty much everyone that bought the bikes went for the optional wider tire out of pure vanity. BMW learned their lesson and stopped offering design choices based on performance benefits.

          • Jeremy says:

            I didn’t even know that was an option at one time. A lot of bikes run a size (or two) bigger on the rear than is necessary.

      • Motoman says:

        Think I have a different definition of “handles best” than you do.

  88. newtonmetres says:

    Dont like fat front tyre-17inch would be better. left side looks too busy. headlight too small. Dont like space in front of tank. Rear end looks like FXDR leftovers.
    Mid controls should be standard. Apart from this…..

  89. John says:

    502 lbs. and 121 HP, and only a single front disc brake?

  90. RBS says:

    I like how HD keeps on touting this as a lightweight bike, without the bike actually being lightweight! It’s over 500 pounds. But it IS lighter than its direct competition, the Indian Scout.

    Speaking of the Indian Scout, it couldn’t be more obvious that this bike is HD’s answer to that bike. It’s practically identical, right down the the fat front tire and way too low stance. This new Sportster makes more horsepower and weighs less than the Scout, but it costs thousands more. I guess that HD thinks that they can charge more because they have their name on it.

    I don’t think that anyone who was hoping for a mainstream competitive motorcycle from HD will be attracted to this bike. It really doesn’t come close to competing with various KTM and Ducati models, not to mention Japanese bikes. I wonder how many folks are out there who want a high performance version of a Harley cruiser?

    • Bob Krzeszkiewicz says:

      My Ninja 1000 is 505 lbs. Being compact and light was part of Kawasaki’s design brief and that’s the best they could do at that price point. The newer one is heavier. So, I think HD did a pretty darn good job of getting as “light” as they did.

  91. Wayne Argabright says:

    why would one buy a “Fat Bob” now? however I do like the subdued look of the fatbob much better.

  92. Curly says:

    That’s a no from me. I don’t see an appealing angle anywhere on that bike. From the right side it looks like one those crude plastic kids toys of the past. From the left. Just what is that thing hanging off the back and why? Not even a trace of the original Sportster.

  93. Grover says:

    I’m thinking that $15,000 price tag is going to cost them a few sales. Not exactly an entry bike for Harkey now, is it?

  94. Grover says:

    So the Sportster lives. It’s what I predicted in the previous article…new 1200 engine in the Sportster.

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