Harley-Davidson’s motorcycles have a pedigree to maintain. Rugged, powerful, and cumbersome, the brand has carved out a niche as the embodiment of all things cruiser, but in recent years, the tide is turning.
Earlier this year, Harley-Davidson unveiled its first adventure-touring bike, the Pan-America, to great success, now the iconic motorcycle marque is going small, in a big way. The new Harley-Davidson Sportster S model takes the classic design and trims the edges, making for a far more streamlined and sporty silhouette. Sure, big is beautiful, but sleek is sexy.
2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S
Bore x Stroke: 4.13 in. (105 mm) x 2.83 in (72 mm)
Torque: 94 ft. lbs. peak
RPM: Peak 9500
Compression Ratio: 12:1
The new Harley-Davidson Sportster S cops a 121-horsepower Revolution Max 1250T V-Twin engine, which pumps out enough power to satisfy the Fat Boy fans. A ‘taut, lightweight chassis’, as Harley-Davidson describes it, combined with the premium suspension delivers responsive, intuitive handling designed for the urban commuter.
This new version of the latest Harley-Davidson liquid-cooled V-Twin engine is tuned specifically for high torque at low RPM, with a torque curve that stays flat through the powerband. The engine has also been integrated into the vehicle, reducing weight and putting the Sportster S model firmly in the under 230kg category.
“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,” Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president, and CEO, Harley-Davidson said. “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.”
From a design perspective, the new Harley-Davidson Sportster S has a far more crouched appearance. The fuel tank and tail section frame the engine as the drawcard, with the intimidating front tire throwing back to the bobber designs of old. Down back, the tail section, high-mount exhaust, and slim solo seat draw inspiration from the Harley-Davidson XR750 flat tracker.
“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.”
If there’s one thing Harley-Davidson has lacked over the years, it’s been technology, but the innovation bolt has struck in 2021. The Sportster S comes with three pre-programmed, selectable Ride Modes (Sport, Road, and Rain), in-house cornering
enhancements and around, 4.0-inch-diameter TFT screen displays. Upfront, this view shows all instrumentation and supports infotainment generated by the rider’s Bluetooth-equipped mobile device and helmet.
When it comes to Harley-Davidson, bigger has always been better, but innovations like the Sportster S go against the old firm. Sportier, sleeker, and smaller, the latest motorcycle design is showing that perhaps big things do come in small packages after all. The 2021 Harley-Davidson motorcycle line, the Sportster S will reach Harley- Davidson dealers mid Q4 with a base ride away of AUD$26,495 and NZD$28,750 for the Vivid Black model.