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Wednesday 14 July 2021


Next Generation Sportster Motorcycle Combines Unbridled Power with Contemporary Technology

Describing it as combining "unbridled power with contemporary technology," Harley-Davidson has now announced that it is to bring its long awaited 1,250 cc Revolution Max 60-degree custom V-twin to market.
In doing so, and in anticipation of the likely shorty-term demise of the existing line of XLs, Harley has badged it as the Sportster S - "an all-new sport custom motorcycle designed to deliver a thrilling riding experience that ushers in a new era of Sportster performance."
Highlighting the "on-demand torque" delivered by the 121 hp engine, basically the same power plant developed initially for the Pan America, Harley says that "a taut, lightweight chassis and premium suspension deliver responsive, intuitive handling" offering riders "extraordinary power and performance" and creating "a new standard for the most enduring Harley-Davidson model."

The Sportster S is slated to start reaching dealers in the fall, and although the MSRP is considerably higher than the price-point at which Sportsters have traditionally been positioned, at $14,999 Harley has continued the start-point pricing realism that it started to show with the Pan America and continued with the also recently announced LiveWire ONE.
"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."
Harley says that "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."
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." As with the Pan America, the engine is integrated into the vehicle as the central member of the chassis - minimizing overall weight. The use of lightweight materials helps achieve a desirable power-to-weight ratio. It has a US 3.1-gallon fuel tank and weighs in at 502 lbs. The high-mount 2-into-1-into-2 exhaust is "designed to produce a pleasing low-frequency tone."


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 outgoing 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."
The powertrain is also 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 43 mm inverted cartridge forks and a SHOWA piggyback reservoir rear shock.
The 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 320 mm diameter disc. The rear brake is a two-piston Brembo caliper and a 260 mm diameter disc.
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. Harley optimistically states that the relaxed riding geometry created by the forward foot controls and a low handlebar put the Sportster S rider in an "aggressive posture on the bike" - a stance that Harley tacitly accepts as being less than optimal for this model by the availability of a mid-control conversion kit as an accessory option.
The aftermarket will no doubt be quick to additionally offer revised handlebar and triple tree layout options that are more in keeping with the nature of the new model's potential.
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. It is (initially) available in Vivid Black, Stone Washed White Pearl and Midnight Crimson.
In addition to the mid-controls kit, other accessory options include a pillion kit, solo seat, compact detachable windshield and expandable tailbag.