On a fine sunny day, the roar of the Harley Davidson Sportster S echoes through the calm as I set out to explore this mechanical marvel—a motorcycle that carries a legacy stretching back to 1957. As I delve into the evolution of this series, it’s not just a journey through the modifications and enhancements of a motorcycle, but a ride through the shifting landscapes of the motorcycle industry.
A Walk Down Memory Lane
Before I could fully appreciate the masterpiece that is the Sportster S, I found myself traveling back to its roots. The year was 1957, a time when the competition was fierce with the British motorcycle industry, led by the likes of Triumph and Norton. Harley Davidson’s response was the creation of a smaller, lighter, faster bike to keep up with the competition – the original Sportster.
But as time rolled on, the once sporty icon of Harley Davidson began to lose its lustre, overshadowed by more innovative models in the market. From the use of the same iron head engine from 1957 to 1985, to the switch to the Evo motor from 1986 onwards, the Sportster series had become a legacy, albeit a stagnant one.
The Rebirth: Sportster S
Fast forward to the present, and the Harley Davidson Sportster S emerges as the first chapter of a new era in the Sportster saga. With a starting price of $23,995, it comes in various captivating color options including Vivid Black, White Sand Pearl, Gray Haze, and Bright Billiard Blue. Designed for those with a penchant for top-notch performance and aggressive riding, the Sportster S boasts a forward riding position and forward foot controls. It’s not just a motorcycle; it’s a statement by Harley Davidson, offering sport bike agility and handling alongside available rider safety enhancements for those who crave the fusion of style and performance.
And oh, what an innovation it is! The Sportster S now houses the Revolution Max engine, a 1250cc beast that’s not only liquid-cooled but also flaunts a double overhead cam with variable valve timing. From a mere 60 horsepower and 70 foot-pounds of torque in the previous models, this powerhouse boasts a mind-boggling 121 horsepower and 97 foot-pounds of torque. And let’s not forget the efficiency, offering a potential 49 miles to the gallon, though I must confess, the thrill of the throttle under my grip made fuel efficiency the last thing on my mind.
A Modern Marvel with a Touch of Classic
Despite its modern enhancements, the Sportster S hasn’t lost its classic charm. The bike still flaunts the iconic V-Twin engine structure, though now it’s part of a frame that’s as sleek as it is sturdy. It’s the little details that caught my eye – the adjustable front suspension, the adjustable rear suspension, and the front Brembo brakes. And of course, the digital gauge that adds a touch of modernity to the classic design.
But it’s not just about the looks or the power; it’s about the ride. The Sportster S offers a smooth ride, arguably one of the smoothest I’ve ever experienced on a Harley. The roar of the engine, the wind against my face, and the open road stretching ahead; it was a symphony of sensations that only a true rider can appreciate.
Some Tweaks Here and There
No masterpiece is without its quirks, and the Sportster S is no exception. The ergonomics, for instance, leans more towards a street rod style, something that might not sit well with purists who prefer a sportier stance. But as with any Harley, customization is part of the deal. A few tweaks here and there, and you can have the bike that not only roars in tune with your heart but fits you like a glove.
My Experience Test Riding the New Harley-Davidson Sportster S
When Harley-Davidson announced they were releasing an all-new Sportster model, I was excited to check it out. As a long-time motorcycle enthusiast and Sportster owner myself, I was curious to see how this new Sportster S would compare to previous generations.
I recently had the chance to take the 2022 Sportster S out for a test ride. Right away, I could tell this was unlike any Sportster I’ve ridden before. Powering the bike is Harley’s new Revolution Max 1250 engine, putting out a whopping 121 horsepower and 97 lb-ft of torque – nearly double the output of the previous Sportster 1200. This liquid-cooled V-twin has the most power of any production Sportster in H-D history.
Sitting on the bike, the ergonomics felt more aggressive than the relaxed cruising position I’m used to on my Sportster. The Sportster S has forward controls instead of mid controls, giving it a feet-forward riding stance. This surprised me at first, as I expected a sportier riding position on this model. However, after adjusting the adjustable suspension and handles bars, I was able to dial in a set up that felt sporty yet comfortable.
Taking the Sportster S through the winding backroads near my home, I was amazed by the performance. This bike handles incredibly well, with precise steering and acceleration. The advanced brake system brings the bike to a stop on a dime. Cranking the throttle delivered instant, exhilarating torque across the entire rpm range. I even popped the bike into Sport Mode, which opened up the exhaust. The sound that Revolution Max engine makes when unleashed is unbelievable!
After my test ride, I came away thoroughly impressed by what Harley has created with the Sportster S. This is a very different bike from the Sportsters of old, and represents an exciting new chapter for the iconic Sportster line. While I’ll always cherish my traditional Sportster, the Sportster S proves that classic Harley models can keep evolving with the times while retaining their signature styling and attitude. This modern performance machine has me itching to get one in my garage!
RTW Wrap Up
The Harley Davidson Sportster S is not just a motorcycle; it’s a narrative of evolution, a blend of the old and new, a ride that promises an adventure with every twist of the throttle. As I throttled down the highway, the world blurring past, I couldn’t help but appreciate the innovation and the heritage riding with me. The Sportster S isn’t just a ride; it’s an experience, a legacy reborn.
So, as I rev up to explore new horizons, I can’t help but look forward to what Harley Davidson has in store for us next. Until then, the road beckons, and as always, it’s not about what you’re riding, but where you’re going.