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Harley-Davidson brings back the Night

Harley-Davidson is replacing the old-favourite 883 Sportster with a new liquid-cooled 975cc Nightster.

It is arriving now in Australian and New Zealand showrooms at $A23,995 in black ($NZ25,495) and $A24,300 in grey or red ($26,330).

This is the first of the 975cc versions of the liquid-cooled Revolution 1250cc engines which have been fitted to the new Pan America adventure bike and the Sportster S which replaced the 1200cc Sportsters.

Consequently we can soon expect a 975cc Pan America version in the showrooms.

Meanwhile, the “Night” moniker which is familiar from the old Night Train and Night Rod is returning with the entry level 975 Nightster.

It is powered by a 975cc version of the Revolution V-twin with 67kW of power, which is a massive set down in power from the Pan America with 112kW of power and the downtuned Sportster S at 90kW.

However, the interesting thing is that Harley even nominates a power rating which they had rarely done before the advent of these new motors.

More importantly, the new motor packs 95Nm of usable torque at just 5000 revs.

Harley says it has less mechanical noise thanks to hydraulic valve lash adjustment which also reduces service costs, although I see service intervals are still at 8000km.

The balanced engine also now runs smoother than the juddering 883 Sportsters.

Other features of the bike are mid-foot controls, low-rise bars and a low 705mm seat which means the rider sits “in” the bike rather than “on” it like with new Sportster S.

Compared with its bigger Sportster S brother, there are no bronze accents, the pipes are lower and leaner, and there is a more conventional round headlight set into a mini cowl.

Harley says the engine is a structural component of the chassis and the tail section is aluminium which both help to reduce weight, yet it still weighs in at 218kg with a full 11.7-litre tank.

Actually the “tank” is an airbox and the fuel is stored in a plastic tank under the seat for a lower centre of gravity. There is no fuel cap as such with the filler hidden under the hinged solo seat.

The company has again employed the tried and trusted 41mm Showa Dual Bending Valve conventional forks and twin emulsion-technology shock absorbers with coil springs.

Lean angle is now 32 degrees which is similar to the Softail models.

Company boss Jochen Zeitz describes the Nightster as “a canvas for creativity and personalisation”, which usually is code for “basic”.

However, Nightster comes with a suite of electronic rider aids including traction control, a torque-slip control to prevent rear wheel lockups under downshifts and three engine modes.

All can be controlled via buttons on the handlebars.

The 4.0-inch round analogue speedometer is augmented by an inset multi-function LCD display on the handlebar riser. 

It comes with LED lighting including their literally brilliant Daymaker headlight.

Harley-Davidson Nightster with accessories

As expected, there is a host of dedicated accessories including higher bars and a pillion seat.

Harley-Davidson Nightster tech specs

Price $A23,995 in black ($NZ25,495), $A24,300 in grey or red ($26,330).
Warranty  2 years, unlimited km
Service  1600/8000km
Engine 975cc Revolution Max
Power 67kW @ 7500rpm
Torque 95Nm @ 5000rpm
Economy 4.5L/100km
Transmission 6-speed,belt drive
Suspension  41mm Show forks; twin shocks
Brakes 320mm disc, 4-piston caliper; 260mm disc, single-piston calliper
Length 2206mm
Width 836mm
Height 1108mm
Seat 705mm
Wheelbase 1556mm
Tyres 100/90-19;150/80-16 Dunlop HD Series
Fuel 11.7L
Wet weight 218kg

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Aprilia Tuareg 660 arrives in Australia

Aprilia has added a third family to its new 660 range with the Tuareg 660 and Tuareg 660 L adventure models arriving in Australia this year.

The unrestricted Tuareg 660 arrives in May/June from $22,230 rideaway while the downtuned L “learner approved” model is coming in July with pricing yet to be confirmed.

Both come in a choice of Acid Gold, Martian Red or Indaco Tagelmust which is indigo (dark blue) and white and red, reflecting Aprila’s 1980s Dakar Rally race bikes. The latter colour scheme adds $300 to the price.

Powered by the 660 twin-cylinder engine from the naked Touno 660 and RS 660 sports bike, the Tuareg 660 outputs the 58.8kW of power at 10,500 revs which is down from the 75kW off the other models.

More importantly, torque is 3Nm higher at 70Nm of torque and the maximum output comes on at 6500rpm which is 2000 revs less.

The L model is restricted for Australian LAMS rules to 35kW and 61Nm.

These mid-sized Touareg models pay homage to the first Aprilia Tuareg ETX 125 in 1985 and the bikes that unsuccessfully contest the famous Dakar Rally in the 1980s.

Both feature a steel frame with the engine stress-mounted and a double aluminium swingarm.

Despite its thin frame, it still thankfully accommodates as generous 18-litre tank that will ensure it can conquer the vast distances of the Aussie outback between servos.

These adventure bikes sit on off-road oriented 2.5 x 21-inch front and 4.5 x 18-inch rear rims shod with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres, 90/90 up front and 150/70 in the rear.

They feature Brembo brakes with 300mm double discs and a 260mm disnlge disc on the back.

They come with an host of electric ic rider aids to help conquer the varied conditions of our country.

The Aprilia Performance Ride Control (APRC) electronic controls package includes:

  • ATC: Aprilia Traction Control, that can be adjusted to 4 levels or disabled;
  • ACC: Aprilia Cruise Control;
  • AEB: Aprilia Engine Brake to prevent rear-wheel lock up on downshifts, adjustable to 3 levels.
  • AEM: Aprilia Engine Map, 3 different mappings for throttle response, but do not change the maximum power delivered.  

You can also option up with an AQS: Aprilia Quick Shift electronic gearbox for clutchless shifts up or down the ratios.

There are four Riding Modes that adjust settings for traction control, engine brake, ABS and all the other managed parameters.

Urban and Explore are dedicated to street riding with ABS on, while Off-Road disables ABS on the rear and Individual lets you fully personalise the electronic controls.

You can control everything via controls mounted on the left and right switch blocks with info scrolled through the TFT screen.

The instruments also feature Aralia’s multimedia platform so you connect your smartphone and controls phone calls, sat nav and music.

Aprilia has also developed a range of special accessories such as protection, lighting, comfort seats and luggage systems as well as a line of adventure riding gear.

Tuareg 660 and Tuareg 660 L

Engine Aprilia forward-facing twin-cylinder, 4-stroke, liquid cooled, dual overhead cam (DOHC) with silent chain drive on the right side, four valve per cylinder.
Bore and stroke 81 x 63.93mm
Engine capacity  659cc
Compression 13.5:1
Power 58.8kW (35kW L) @ 9250rpm 
Torque 70Nm (61Nm L) @ 6500rpm 
Fuel system Airbox with front air vent. 2 48mm throttle bodies, Ride-by-wire management
Ignition Electric 
Lubrication Wet sump 
Transmission Six-speed, Aprilia Quick Shift (AQS) System up and down available as accessory
Clutch Multiplate wet clutch with slipper system
Secondary drive Chain, drive ratio 15/42 
Electronics APRC Suite that includes ATC (traction control), AEB (engine brake) AEM (engine maps), ACC (cruise control) 

Four riding modes (Urban, Explore, Off-road, Individual)

Chassis Frame in steel tubing and built-in subframe screwed aluminium plates connecting the frame to the engine
Front suspension Fully adjustable 43mm upside-down Kayaba fork with counterspring. Wheel travel: 240mm
Rear suspension Aluminium swingarm. Progressive linkage. Fully adjustable Kayaba monoshock. Wheel travel: 240mm
Front brake

Rear brake


300mm double disc 

Brembo callipers with 4 horizontally opposed 30/32mm pistons. Axial pump and metal braided brake line

260mm diameter disc; Brembo single piston 34mm floating calliper. Master cylinder with separate reservoir and metal braided hose

Multimap ABS

Wheels spoked with aluminium drop centre Front: 2.15×21-inch, Rear: 4.25×18-inch
Tyres Tubeless, Front: 90/90-21, Rear: 150/70 R 18
Dimensions Wheelbase: 1525mm 

Length: 2220mm 

Width: 965mm

Saddle height: 860mm 

Headstock angle: 26.7 degrees

Trail: 113.3mm

Weight  204kg kerb weight (187kg dry weight) 
Emissions compliance


Euro 5 

4.0 litres/100 km 

CO2 emissions 99g/km 
Fuel tank capacity

Colour range

18 litres (3-litre reserve)

Indaco Tagelmust, Martian Red, Acid Gold

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Review: BMW S 1000 R M-Sport

Many auto companies have motorsport editions of their production vehicles with an host of modifications and sporty extras.

Mercedes has AMG, Toyota has TRD, while Holden had HSV until 2020 and Ford stopped their FPV range in 2014.

BMW’s “M” for “Motorsport” started as a purely racing venture in the 1960s but gradually began spreading to production models.

The M model code stood for performance with more powerful engines, better suspension and brakes, plus styling touches including M badging featuring the iconic light blue, dark blue and red stripes.

Now BMW has extended its M range from cars to motorcycles, first with the S 1000 RR M sports bike in 2018 and the S 1000 R M-Sport street fighter in 2022.

Some critics claim the performance features of M badged cars has been lacking in recent years and that the badging has become a cynical styling exercise.

In the motorcycle division, BMW M badging on the S 1000 RR means special paint, carbon fibre wheels, a lighter battery, a sport seat, and rear ride height adjustability.

No changes to engine, brakes or suspension, although it has to be said that the S 1000 RR is already a potent performer.

Now the S 1000 R gets a similar M treatment with carbon fibre wheels and highlights, BMW’s quick shift pro, Akrapovič exhaust, endurance chain, lightweight battery, extra screen info and M badging. It’s also about 5kg lighter than the standard model at a lithe 194kg.

The “base model” S 1000 R costs $20,650 (plus on-road costs), the S 1000 R Sport is $24,390, S 1000 R Race costs $26,890 and the M, which is based on the Sport, costs $31,990.

Considering aftermarket carbon-fibre wheels would cost about $5000, an Akrapovič exhaust is about $1700 and the lighter battery and endurance chain add a few hundred dollars more, the premium for the M over the Sport is about right.

Besides, you will have a bike that is rare and exclusive.

You will also have a bike that you can ride to the track on Sunday to unleash its enormous performance potential, then commute to work on Monday.

Unlike many performance bikes which are unrideable unless you are on the limit, this has excellent real-world road manners, agile yet forgiving ride characteristics and a smooth and faultless transmission with anti-hopping clutch.

The R version of the sportsbike’s water-cooled four-cylinder in-line 999cc engine is “downtuned” from 152kW at 13,500 revs to 121kW with just 1Nm more of torque at 114Nm.

It’s a mechanically quiet, but stirring unit that spins up quickly and smoothly with plenty of meat right throughout the range and an unbelievably dizzying response once it revs above 7000.

Riders can chose from four engine modes (Rain, Road, Dynamic and Dynamics Pro) to compliment terrain and riding style.

The electronics package is complemented by Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) so you can harness the brute power without drama.

And for those who want to tour the countryside in Road mode at a more sedate and comfortable scenery-watching pace, there is cruise control, hand warmers, self-cancelling indicators and semi-active suspension which you can adjust for pillion and rider behaviour.

Rounding out the suite of high tech are LED lighting, keyless ignition, tyre pressure monitor and the motorcycle version of BMW’s iDrive with a rotating ring controller on the left handlebar.

It allows the rider to scroll through and modify so many of the parameters of the bike, check on its status and even engage a pit-lane limiter and lap timer for track days.

You can also modify the look and info of the large iPad-style TFT screen which is one of the biggest and clearest on any motorcycle I’ve ridden with hardly any annoying glare from the sun. Why can’t all motorcycle screens be as good?

The 2022 S 1000 R range already features many updates that make it a better performer, including lighter drive and chassis, engine drag torque control (MSR) to prevent rear-wheel lock-ups under downshifts and improved suspension with Flex Frame construction.

But it is the carbon fibre wheels which make the biggest difference in the M model.

If you’ve never ridden a bike with these lightweight cannon fibre wheels, you are missing a treat.

They not only look superb, but affect so much of the bike’s performance.

With less weight, there is less inertia which means faster acceleration, quicker stopping times, lighter and more accurate steering, plus faster change of direction.

The suspension also works better because there is less mass for the springs and shock absorbers to deal with.

So it rides the bumps easier and is more efficient at keeping the wheels on the road over corrugations.

It’s not a plush ride, though. After all, this is a thoroughbred sporting machine, so the ride is firm, yet fair.

So is the M sport seat. It’s good for a tank full of fuel (16.5 litres at 6.2L/100km) by which stage you will want to stretch and massage your buttocks.

The ride position is less aggressive than the RR thanks to the wide bars which have a slight downward bend and are not too wide for lane filtering duties.

That’s what makes this bike a great allrounder for those who want a track-day tool that can also handle a weekend ride through the back roads and the daily commute.

BMW S 1000 R M tech specs

  • Price: $31,990 + ORC
  • Warranty: 2 years/unlimited km.
  • Engine: water-cooled, 999cc, in-line four-cylinder.
  • Power: 121kW @ 11,000rpm
  • Torque: 114Nm @ 9250rpm.
  • Gearbox: 6-speed, chain drive.
  • Weight: 194kg.
  • Suspension front/rear: 45mm upside-down fork, fully adjustable, 120mm travel; rear shock with compression and damping adjustment and semi-active preload, 117mm travel.
  • Brakes front/rear: 320mm discs with four-piston fixed caliper; 220mm disc with one-piston floating caliper , ABS Pro.
  • Dimensions: 2090mm (L); 812mm (W); 1115mm (H); 1450mm (WB); 830mm (S)

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Indian release race-inspired FTR 1200

Indian Motorcycles has released a limited edition of its FTR1200 to celebrate five years of victories in the US flat track championships.

The range starts in Australia at $A20,995 and the new Championship Edition is based on the flagship Carbon model at $25,995 with carbonfibre fenders, tank, airbox cover, headlight and tail cowls, but not wheels, plus titanium Akrapovic exhaust.

For an extra $1000, the Championship Edition has a race paint scheme and badging, and 19″/18″ wheel set up like their race replica model.

Price could be more than that as you can personalise the bike with your own accessories.

Only 400 will be available globally and it appears you have to order online here and submit it to your local dealer who will contact you to confirm details and availability.

The FTR Family is powered by a V-twin with 120Nm of torque and 92kW of power.

Other features include a 4.3-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity; fully adjustable forks and piggyback rear shock; Sport, Standard, and Rain modes with different throttle maps and traction control levels; lean-angle stability control; ABS with cornering pre-control; and wheelie control with rear lift mitigation.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Review: Harley-Davidson Fat Bob S

Harley fans thought the world was coming to an end in 2017 when Harley-Davidson axed the popular Dyna family and married those models with the new Softail family.

They loved the handling of the twin-shock models and enjoyed the comical shaking character character of the unbalanced engine that vibrated madly on its rubber mounts. 

Some may miss that. I certainly don’t.

Not since the new-era Fat Bob with its slick 107 and 114 Milwaukee engines, stiffer frame, lighter weight, plus single shock and upside fork suspension.

It is now smoother, more sophisticated, more powerful and better handling with more cornering clearance.

Quite simply the world did not come to an end!

For 2022 the only change to the Fat Bob is a “waterslide” fuel tank graphic in an oval shape with “H-D” on the lower edge and the absence of the 107 model, leaving just the Fat Bob S with the whopping 114 torque monster drivetrain.

However, improved factory settings and fine-tuning seems to have made the bike even better.

The suspension feels a little better suited to our conditions and the drivetrain is slightly slicker with less mechanical noise and neutral easier to find.

The new-era FXFBS Softail Fat Bob S cost $A30,250 when it was launched and dropped to $29,995 last year. For 2022 it’s up to $31,750.

It’s my pick of the new Softails for its menacing looks and performance.

Dyna fans may bemoan the loss of the unbalanced engine, but they will love the fact that the Fat Bob S is now a much improved performer and handler.

In fact, I have taken a previous Fat Bob to Lakeside Raceway in Brisbane’s north and startled many track-day riders as I passed them thundering out of corners on the massive 160Nm of torque that had that 180mm rear Dunlop leaving thick black lines on the track.

Harley-Davidson Fat Bob and Low Rider S at Champions Race Day Lakeside Park track day
Fat Bob at Lakeside

I sheepishly retired the bike by lunchtime as I had simply run out of rubber!

Somehow the upside-down 43mm forks, slanted single hand-adjustable shock and high-profile rubber works just fine on this bike while a similar configuration on the new Sportster S doesn’t.

Of course, cornering clearance is an issue on all cruisers, but this is a little better with upswept single-sided dual exhaust pipes and lean angles of 31 degrees on the right and 32 on the left.

Upswept pipes

You can tip in with confidence, too, because the stiffer frame means there is no wallowing in corners, even when you hit corrugations.

It also changes direction more nimbly than the tyre specs would suggest thanks to sharper steering geometry.

And the Fat Bob S rides the crusty back roads of Australia better with only a shudder rather than an earthquake shock.

I find it a comfortable riding position with a firm but well-shaped saddle although the reach to the drag bears might be a bit far for shorter riders.

Apart from being slicker, the powerful 114 engine is also more economical and cooler which is handy in slow-moving commuter traffic on a hot summer’s day.

Interestingly, Harley never used to provide power figures, only torque. But now that they have water-cooled engines on their new Revolution models, they are providing power figures for all their models.

It might be a relatively modest 71kW, but it comes in at 4750 revs and tears at your arm sockets under hard acceleration.

The hard-mounted engine also feels smoother thanks to it being 100% balanced with a secondary balancer.

The most confronting element in the Fat Bob’s styling over the past few years has been the move from twin circular headlights to a horizontal rectangular shape with rounded edges.

I’m now starting to warm to the unique LED headlight tucked inside a neat, gloss-black pillar-box nacelle.

However, I’m not such a fan of the bronzed header pipe covers and the silver “rattle-can” painted mufflers.

Like all new Softails, it comes with new keyless ignition, more comfortable seats and new wheel designs.

2022 Harley-Davidson FXFBS Fat Bob S 114 tech specs

Price $A31,750
Warranty 2 years/unlimited km
Service 1600/8000km
Engine Milwaukee-Eight 114 (1868cc)
Power 71kW @ 4750rpm
Torque 160Nm @ 3500rpm
Transmission 6-speed, belt drive
Length 2340mm
Height 1110mm
Seat 710mm
Wheelbase 1615mm
Tyres 150/80-16,71H,BW; 180/70B16,77H,BW Dunlops
Fuel 13.21L
Wet weight 306kg
Suspension USD 43mm forks; single shock
Brakes 300mm dual front discs; 292mm rear disc

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Ducati joins furniture company for XDiavel Nera

Black paint and an Italian leather saddle made by an exclusive company that specialises in home furnishings as well as yachts and luxury cars makes the XDiavel Nera their most expensive power cruiser yet.

The handsome cruiser will be available in Australia and New Zealand in the third quarter of 2022. 

But the black colour scheme and opulent leather seat, available in a choice of five colours, will add about $7000 to the price.

Ducati Australia says the ride away price of the Nera will be $A44,900 ($NZ46,890).  But get in quick as the bike will be limited to 500 numbered units.

The most exclusive feature of the bike will be the seat which is leather wrapped seat by Poltrona Frau Interiors in Motion.

The company has been making luxury leather products since 1912.

It comes in a choice of Siam Red, Steel Blue, Cemento (grey), India (tan) and Selva (grey) with a matching key ring and document holder.

While the seats look opulent, there is debate about whether leather is better than vinyl.

Certainly, you must look after a leather seat more, dressing it regularly with lanolin or other oil, otherwise it will crack and discolour in the sun.

Apart from the opulent Italian leather seat and black paintwork, there are splashes of iconic Ducati red on the brake calipers and engine head covers and machine-forged black rims. 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Eight ‘new’ Harley models for 2022

Last year represented a revolution for traditional motorcycle company Harley-Davidson with the first new water-cooled engine since the V-Rod in 1999 and their first adventure model.

This year it’s more like an evolution than a revolution with eight slightly altered models including the same line-up of Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) limited-edition models.


Low Rider ST and S

In the cruiser category there is the Low Rider S and a Low Rider ST (sports tourer) with removable luggage, frame-mounted fairing and an audio system powered by Rockford Fosgate.

The biggest change is that they are powered by the 117 cubic-inch Milwaukee Eight engine with 167Nm of torque which was previously limited to the CVO models.

They will arrive in Aussie dealerships in mid-March at $A30,750 for the Low Rider S and $35,250 for the ST.

That compares with last year’s 114-cube Low Rider S at $27,995.


Road Glide ST and Street Glide ST

In their bagger category, there are two ST model additions to the Street Glide and Road Glide, also powered by the 117.

Other features include including linked Brembo brakes with ABS, Boom! Box GTS infotainment system with colour touch screen and navigation, cruise control and Daymaker LED headlamps. 

They come with the following standard suite of hi-tech rider aids:

  • Cornering Electronically Linked Brakes;
  • Cornering-ABS; 
  • Cornering-Traction Control with modes; 
  • Drag Torque Slip Control; 
  • Vehicle Hold Control; and 
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring.

They both arrive in Aussie showrooms in April at $A44,995 which compares with the 2021 114-cube models at $39,750.

Indian Chief Riding On Highway


Street Glide CVO

At the top end are the limited-production factory custom CVO models which are usually different versions of existing models rotated every year or two.

This year it’s once again the Street Glide, Road Glide, Road Glide Limited and Tri-Glide trike that get the CVO treatment.

So they are not really new models at all but just with some new features and paintwork.

They arrive in mid-March with the Rockford Fosgate audio and Boom! Audio 30K Bluetooth helmet headset, plus the electronic rider aids added to the bagger ST models.

CVO prices are: Street Glide $58,250 (was $55,495); Road Glide $58,750 (was $55,995); Road Glide Ltd $61,750 (was $57,995) and Tri Glide $76,250 (was $73,750).

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Triumph Tiger 1200 Aussie prices announced

Triumph Motorcycles Australia has announced prices for the 2022 Tiger arriving in the second quarter of 2022.

They have also announced a new three-year/unlimited kilometre factory warranty for the bikes.

The adventure bikes start at $29,990 rideaway for the Tiger 1200 GT Pro and $32,600 for the GT Explorer, both featuring road-biased 19-inch front and 18-inch rear cast aluminium wheels and tyres.

The more off-road-capable Rally family with 21-inch front and 18-inch rear tubeless spoked wheels start at $31,800 for the Rally Pro with the flagship Rally Explorer from $33,950 rideaway.

Triumph says the new range is up to 25kg lighter, more powerful, with improved handling and specification.

They are powered by a new 1160cc T-plane triple engine with 112kW of power, up 7kW, and 130Nm of torque.

One of the standout features is the very handy long-range 30-litre fuel tank in the GT Explorer and Rally Explorer, while the other two models have a 20-litre tank.

Here are some of the other new features:

  • lightweight chassis and frame with bolt-on rear aluminium subframe and pillion hangers;
  • lighter and stronger ‘tri-link’ swingarm;
  • Brembo Stylema monobloc brakes plus optimised cornering ABS with IMU;
  • Showa semi-active suspension;
  • slimmer waist and more compact design;
  • rider ergonomics designed, including adjustable seat height, which can be lowered even further with an accessory low seat.

Technology abounds, including a Blind Spot Radar System, 7.0-inch TFT instruments with smartphone connectivity, up to six riding modes, keyless ignition and fuel cap lock, LED lighting with Adaptive Cornering Lights, Shift Assist on all models, hill hold and heated grips.


The Explorer models also get heated seats and tyre pressure monitors.The Triumph Tiger line, complete with the GT, GT Explorer, Rally, Rally Explorer, and GT Pro

There is a dedicated Tiger 1200 accessory range including several luggage options, one of which was developed with Givi.

Triumph has also announced a new partnership with the communication brand Sena to produce a Bluetooth headset featuring a new Harman Kardon speakers.

Service intervals are now 16,000km or 12 months.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Should the new Sportster be a V-Rod?

There is no doubt the handsome new liquid-cooled Harley-Davidson Sportster S is a revolutionary model for the traditional heavy motorcycle company.

But it’s a Sportster in name only.

Harley had registered the name Bronx which was suspected to be the new family name, but they obviously want to keep the venerable 65-year-old Sportster moniker alive.

Sorry, but no Sportster fan will be fooled.

Harley-Davidson Sportster S
Harley-Davidson Sportster S and old Sportser

Where is the twin shock, iconic oval air-cooler and fore and aft header pipes of the old Evolution motor?

If anything they should have called it a V-Rod with its fat-tyred, low-slung look and water-cooled engine.

2016 Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle air-cooled
V-Rod Muscle

The new Revolution engine first appeared in the also revolutionary Pan America 1250 Special adventure bike, albeit downtuned from 112kW at 750 revs to just 90kW at 7500rpm.

Harley-Davidson Pan America Special
Harley-Davidson Pan America Special

At least that shows the engine is capable of being tuned up for drag work just like the V-Rod has been for years.

But the V-Rod, built in 1999 in collaboration with Porsche, was not a great success except in Australia where it had an enviable reputation on the drag strip.

Sportster has long been the entry model for Harley but this new model is their most expensive Sportster yet at $A26,495 ($NZ28,750) ride away. 

There has never been a Sportster that cost more than $20,000.Harley-Davidson Sportster S

The new Sportster S is an interesting styling exercise in keeping the bike low and mean with fat front and rear tyres highlighted by short fenders, low and flat bars with bar-end mirrors and a narrow horizontal headlight so it doesn’t show up above the bars when riding.

From the cockpit it almost feels like you are flying.

The bronze details and brown/black “Chocolate Satin” paintwork are very 1970s. It also comes in Stone Washed White Pearl and Midnight Crimson.

While styling is subjective, I reckon this bike will appeal to younger riders than the traditional over-50s Harley fans and to them the Sportster name probably means little.

One point of styling that may be polarising is the remote mudguard with rego plate, stop light and indicators.Harley-Davidson Sportster S

Already American aftermarket company Corbin has released a $US455 tail tidy which relocates all this to the short rear fender.

It should be easy to replace as Harley has anchored this section with just three bolts, although there is a fair bit of wiring relocation to be done.

Before going ahead with this modification you should check with your transport department about whether this contravenes vehicle standards. 

Corbin has also released a $US653 Gambler Smuggler dual-seat option to replace the solo seat. Harley also has an accessory passenger seat and backrest and a comfort rider seat although I found the standard seat surprisingly comfortable.

Corbin dual seat

Queenslanders may prefer to retain the solo seat which attracts 50% registration fees.

The seat height is a low 752mm and the hand levers are adjustable, so it should suit shorter riders even with its slightly forward foot controls. However, a mid-mount conversion kit is also available.

Another divisive styling issue is the massive, high-mount, almost scrambler-esque dual muffler. Harley-Davidson Sportster S

We suspect aftermarket pipes are also in the pipeline, if you’ll excuse the pun.

Other styling issues are more about the detail such as the abundance of matte back plastic and the radiator which seems to sit out far too wide.

The modern, digital single-dial 4.0-inch-diameter TFT instrument screen looks like it has been adapted from the electric Livewire.

It has comprehensive information, but the screen has bad glare in sunlight.Harley-Davidson Sportster S

The instruments are compatible with smartphones so you can operate your phone navigation, music and calls from the switch block or via voice activation switch.

The Sportster S also features a handy cruise control, traction control, three engine modes plus two rider-customised modes, LED headlight, two power points for heated riding gear, a proximity-based security system and a USB-C port for charging a phone or other device as standard.

It also comes pre-wired for accessory heated hand grips. Harley-Davidson Sportster S

Sportster S is powered by the same engine as in the Pan America 1250 Special which has 127Nm and 150hp/112kW at 8750.

It has the same torque output but less power at 121hp/90kW at 7500 revs, so it is more in tune with cruising.

Sportster fans will find it totally non-traditional in feel as it’s smoother, revs more and sounds more “brittle”, almost tinny.

While the engine generates the same amount of heat as the Pan America, the riding position means your legs are above the engine, so the only hot spot is on the back of your legs when riding in slow-moving summer traffic.

As you slip through the traffic snarl, you may find the bar-end mirrors a little too wide to fit between lanes of traffic.Harley-Davidson Sportster S

A slick transmission makes gear changes easy and neutral easier to find than usual for a Harley, but the clutch pull is heavy and slow traffic could be tiresome.

Out on the highway, the Sportster S is a fine machine, rumbling along at a leisurely pace with plenty of grunt for overtaking without having to downshift.

But this is no tourer as it comes with a 12-litre fuel tank that is only good for about 160km before the reserve light comes on with about 60-70km of range left.

There is also nowhere to attach panniers or even tie down a rear bag and Harley only offers a small “mailbag” accessory option.

Harley also offers a detachable windscreen, but this hardly makes it a tourer.Harley-Davidson Sportster S

It’s not a canyon carver, either.

Despite the fully adjustable Showa 43mm upside-down forks and Showa Piggyback reservoir rear shock with hydraulic hand-adjustable pre-load, it has short and unforgiving suspension and a lean angle of 34 degrees.

It doesn’t handle bumps well at all on back roads and will scrape the footpegs soon and suddenly on most corners.

But the biggest handling issue comes from the choice of Dunlop/Harley-Davidson GT503 tyres, 160mm up front and 180mm at the back.

The wide tyres make cornering difficult, requiring plenty of deliberate counter steering effort and handlebar force to the keep the bike turned.

As soon as you wind on throttle it wants to stand up and run straight.

It’s not so much the tyre width that is the problem, though.

The high 70% tyre profile cases the bike to bounce over high-frequency bumps which makes braking difficult as the wheels are skipping over the ground. It also makes the stand the bike up in corners when it hits a bump.Harley-Davidson Sportster S

It could have been so much better with lower-profile skinnier tyres, but then the cornering clearance issue would also have been worse.

Stopping power is surprisingly good considering the 228kg bike has only one front disc.

But it’s a big 320mm disc with Brembo mono block four-piston calipers while the low ride and long wheelbase means the rear wheel stays on the ground under heavy braking and adds to the stopping power.

So it’s not great in traffic, as a tourer or a canyon career.

Perhaps its main claim is on the urban cafe route. Which means it may have been better named the Bronx, after all.

Harley-Davidson Sportster S RH1250SHarley-Davidson Sportster S


$A26,495 ($NZ28,750) ride away




89.2 in. (2,265 mm)

Overall Width

33.2 in. (843 mm)

Overall Height

42.9 in. (1,089 mm)

Seat Height, Laden

28.9 in. (734 mm)


Seat Height, Unladen

29.6 in. (753 mm)

Static Ground Clearance

3.66 in. (93 mm)

Rake (steering head) (deg)


Fork Angle (deg)



5.8 in. (148 mm)


59.8 in. (1,518 mm)

Tires, Type

Dunlop® Harley-Davidson Series, radial

Tires, Front Model


Tires, Front Specification

160/70TR17 73V

Tires, Rear Model


Tires, Rear Specification

180/70R16 77V

Fuel Capacity

3.1 gal. (11.8 l)

Reserve Fuel Capacity, Fuel Injection (warning light)

0.8 gal. (3 l)

Oil Capacity (w/filter)

4.75 qt. (4.5 l)

Transmission Capacity


Primary Chain Case Capacity


Coolant Capacity

2.32 qt. (2.2 l)

Weight, As Shipped

486 lb. (220 kg)

Weight, In Running Order

502 lb. (228 kg)

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

922 lb. (418 kg)

Gross Axle Weight Rating, Front

359 lb. (163 kg)

Gross Axle Weight Rating, Rear

595 lb. (270 kg)

Luggage Capacity -Volume




Revolution® Max 1250T


Chain-driven, DOHC, hydraulic self-adjusting lifters, intake & exhaust VVT; four valves per cylinder


4.13 in. (105 mm)


2.85 in. (72.3 mm)


76.4 cu in (1,252 cc)

Compression Ratio


Fuel System

Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)


Air Cleaner

Downdraft intake, tuned velocity stacks, washable filter media


2-into-1-into-2; catalyst in muffler

Lubrication System

Semi-Dry Sump


Primary Drive

Gear, 49/89 ratio

Final Drive

Belt, 80/34 ratio


Mechanical, 8 plate wet, assist & slip, 1090N



Gear Ratios


Gear Ratios


Gear Ratios


Gear Ratios


Gear Ratios


Gear Ratios




Stressed-member, high strength low alloy steel trellis frame; stamped, cast, and forged junctions; MIG welded; aluminum forged mid-structure


High strength low alloy steel, tubular sections, stamped x-member, forged axle junctions; MIG welded

Front Fork

43 mm inverted fork with compression, rebound and spring preload adjustability.  Aluminum fork triple clamps.

Rear Shocks

Linkage-mounted, piggyback monoshock with compression, rebound and hydraulic spring preload adjustability

Wheels, Optional Style Type



Wheels, Front Type

Aluminum cast, satin black


Wheels, Front Width

4.5 in. (114 mm)

Wheels, Front Height

17 in. (432 mm)

Wheels, Rear Type

Aluminum cast, satin black


Wheels, Rear Width

5 in. (127 mm)

Wheels, Rear Height

16 in. (406 mm)

Brakes, Caliper Type

Front: radially mounted, monoblock, 4-piston caliper Rear: floating, single piston caliper

Brakes, Rotor Type

Front: single rotor, floating, tower- mounted Rear: solid uniform expansion rotor

Brakes, Front Diameter

12.6 in. (320 mm)

Brakes, Front Thickness

0.2 in. (6 mm)

Brakes, Front is dual


Brakes, Rear Diameter

10.2 in. (260 mm)

Brakes, Rear Thickness

0.2 in. (5 mm)

Front brake lever free travel


Rear brake pedal free travel


Brakes, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)


Suspension Travel, Front

3.6 in. (92 mm)

Suspension Travel, Rear

2 in. (51 mm)


Engine Torque Testing Method


Engine Torque

94 ft-lb (127 Nm)


Engine Torque



121 HP / 90 kW @ 7500 rpm

Lean Angle Testing Method


Lean Angle, Right (deg.)


Lean Angle, Left (deg.)


Maximum hill-starting ability


Fuel Economy Testing Method

Estimated City/Hwy

Fuel Economy

49 mpg (4.8 l/100 km)


CO2 Emissions Testing Method


CO2 Emissions




Sealed, maintenance-free, absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery, 12V, 12Ah, 225 CCA at 0°F


Three-phase, 45 Amp system (300 Watts @13 Volts, 1200 rpm, 585 Watts max power @ 13 Volts, 2250 rpm)


0.9 kW electric with direct drive starter motor engagement

Lights (as per country regulation), Headlamp

All LED headlamp, low and high beam with signature position lighting

Lights (as per country regulation), Tail/Stop

All LED Tail/Stop lamp with signature tail lighting

Lights (as per country regulation), Front Signal Lights

LED Bullet Turn Signals

Lights, Rear Turn Signals

LED Bullet Turn Signals


4 inch viewable area TFT display with speedometer, gear, odometer, fuel level, clock, trip, ambient temp, low temp alert, side stand down alert, TIP over alert, cruise, range and tachometer indication BT capable – phone pairing to access phone calls, music, navigation (H-D App ONLY)

Auxiliary Lamps


Electric Power Outlet

USB C-Type , Output 5V at 2.4 Amp

GPS System


Reverse Gear


Warranty And Service


24 months (unlimited mileage)


Service Interval

First 1,000 miles (1,600 km), every 5,000 miles (8,000 km) thereafter

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Harley-Davidson announces 2022 models

Riders around the world will be invited to watch the unveiling of the 2022 Harley-Davidson models at a virtual event on January 26.

The new models include limited-production Custom Vehicle Operations bikes in an event they call “Further. Faster.” 

Since Jochen Zeitz took over as Harley chairmanWorld, president and CEO a couple of years ago, the new range of models has been launched in January, instead of September to better reflect the new riding season in the northern hemisphere.

And since the pandemic, riders have been able to see the bikes at the same time as dealers and motoring media in virtual events.

To take part, register at H-D.com/22. The bikes will be revealed on January 27 at 3am AEDT (January 26, 10am CST). 

The first two bikes in the 2022 range are the Sportster S and Pan America 1250 Special which have been available for sale for a few months now.

I reviewed the Pan America adventure bike a couple of months ago.

Harley-Davidson Pan America Special
Harley-Davidson Pan America Special

It has since become the top-selling adventure touring motorcycle in North America and was named Best Adventure Bike and Motorcycle of the Year by Motorcycle.com. 

Over the past couple of weeks I have been riding the water-cooled Sportster S with a review coming soon.

Harley-Davidson Sportster S
Harley-Davidson Sportster S

For 2022, the main changes seem to be cosmetic with new paintwork and wheel styles.

As a teaser, Harley has revealed a few photos of 2022 models such as the Street Bob 114, Fat Boy 114 and Street Glide Special.

2022 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

Here is what we know about the 2022 models so far:

  • Softail Standard gets Annihilator cast aluminium wheels with Silver finish replacing the spoked wheels. 
  • Heritage Classic 114 offers a Chrome trim option with Black 9-Spoke cast aluminium or Chrome Laced wheels. The Black trim version has  Black 9-Spoke cast aluminium or Black Laced wheels and features Wrinkle Black on the upper rocker covers, camshaft cover, transmission cover and primary cover, with contrasting Gloss Black lower rocker covers. Trim details include a Gloss Black rear lightbar, windshield brackets, front lightbar and turn signal standoffs, Black mirrors and triple clamps, Black Anodised wheel hubs and hub cap, and Matte Black exhaust shields with Chrome muffler tips. 
  • Street Bob 114 also comes with Annihilator cast aluminium wheels with Gloss Black finish instead of spoke.
    2022 Harley-Davidson Street Bob 114
  • Fat Boy 114’s Lakester cast aluminium wheels have been re-styled with 11 turbine-like spokes and an open centre, while the classic Fat Boy model tank badge is revised and now has a single trailing “wing” while retaining the centred star.
    2022 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 114
  • Fat Bob 114 features a “waterslide” fuel tank graphic in an oval shape with “H-D” on the lower edge. 
  • Breakout 114 gets Gasser II cast aluminium wheels and a riser-mounted digital gauge set. 
  • The Touring range of Sport Glide, Road King Special, Street Glide Special, Road Glide Special and Ultra Limited come in new colours.
    2022 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special 1
  • Freewheeler trike has a Chrome and Gloss Black tank medallion in a classic “V” shape and a new optional two-tone paint scheme in Midnight Crimson/Vivid Black on the fenders and the tank. 
  • Tri Glide Ultra trike comes with a new Cloisonné tank medallion in Chrome with Black and Red glass fill and optional two-tone paint schemes in Midnight Crimson/Vivid Black or Gauntlet Gray Metallic/Vivid Black, each with a dual pinstripe.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com