Harley-Davidsons are known for their mechanical appeal with air-cooled V-twins and rumbling exhausts. But lately, things have taken a rewarding turn amid the dramatic ups and downs the automaker has endured. In 2019, they took a pretty bold step to unleash the iconic Milwaukee hearts for a modern motorcycle called the Revolution Max.
Continue, Harley Davidson decided to bring this new bike and iconic name together with the Revolution Max 1250T V-twin powered Sporster S. This bike is based on the “High-Performance Custom” Concept showcased in 2018, along with the Pan America ADV and the Bronx street fighter.
While we got the ADV, the Bronx didn’t get the green light. Aside from all the modern parts used in the great new Sportster S, it’s the history behind the nameplate that makes things more interesting. The name “Sportster” is synonymous with HD enthusiasts as it has been around since 1957. Known for its simplicity, the old Sporster range was a favorite choice for custom motorcycles.
The steel cradle frame and dramatic air-cooled 45-degree V-twin engine were the hallmarks of the good old days. All this places a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of the new Sportster S to live up to its legacy. Thankfully it has some of the widest tires in the motorcycle world to take care of things!
The Sportster S is everything a Harley-Davidson can be; in a cool looking hooliganistic packaging.
The best feature: modern engine for a modern hooligan
The engine is the bold and best feature of the Sportster S. Although it is the same engine architecture as in the Harley-Davidson Pan America ADV, the Revolution Max engine used in the Sportster S has undergone many changes internally to better match on the “Sportster” nameplate. This power cruiser is packed in a 60-degree Revolution Max 1250T and here the torque levels are divine!
It delivers 121 horsepower and 94 lb-ft of torque through a six-speed transmission to the belt-driven rear wheels. The numbers are normal for a cruiser, but it’s how HD spread the torque in this bad boy that puts a wide grin on the rider’s face. The “kick” shoots low down in the RPM gauge and peaks out at 6000 RPM. Power peaks at 9,000 RPM and so the Sportster S is a bit shy of its top speed.
But it’s the heaps of couple that get you hooked. The “T” in the engine name makes all the difference to the Sporster S. Although it shares almost everything with Pan America, the crazies at Harley divided to give it distinctive internal components, such as new pistons, cylinder heads and speed stacks. The airbox design and 2-1-2 exhaust layout are unique to the Sportster S and add to its character.
All of these come together to give a raspy exhaust note that can hurt the feelings of HD fans who love the iconic potato nut! But change is inevitable and the direction Harly-Davidson has taken with the Sportster S is all the more desirable. Without the impressive Revolution Max engine, the Sportster S will only “watch” the hooligan part!
Harley-Davidson Sportster S is a comfortable Power Cruiser
The mountain of torque, which is neatly distributed over the rev range, makes the Sportster S a very comfortable cruiser. Also for a change, there is no steel cradle frame that makes you nostalgic. HD has used the 1252cc Revolution Max engine as a tensioned part. This is a first from Harley and the front, center and rear frames all bolt directly to the engine mounts.
This layout helps increase chassis stiffness, not to mention the weight savings associated with smaller tubes. The low-slung design also helps improve stability. Speaking of which, the Sportster S gets huge Dunlop GT503 tires. The 160/70-17 front tire is even wider than the rear tire on a Harley-Davidson Street Bob 114! Yes, it’s that huge.
Suspension duties are taken care of by fully adjustable 43mm Showa USD forks and a linkage-assisted monoshock mated to the asymmetric swingarm. The braking is provided by the heavy Brembos. The driver’s triangle is exactly the same as the Forty-Eight, according to HD. The low-slung design with a seat height of 29.6 inches; and the forward-facing stance gives it a fierce look.
Flat-Track inspired styling is a breath of fresh air
The styling is fresh, but Harley-Davidson has also managed to combine some classic bits. The upward twin pipes, tail section and even the shape of the fuel tank are inspired by the Harley-Davidson XR750. There are bits of bobbers and even cafe racers with the small front fender and those bar-end mirrors. The sleek LED lighting setup and bare-bones design give it its own sly character, unique from all other Harleys.
2022 Harley-Davidson Sportster S is a desired cocktail
There are plenty of tech features too, including five riding modes and a full suite of IMU-assisted assist functions, including parts like lean traction control and even wheelie control. All these bits can be integrated through a concise yet bright four-inch TFT color display.
The display even supports Bluetooth connectivity that seamlessly connects your smartphone for navigation, caller ID and more. The main competitors of the Sportster S are the Indian FTR 1200, the Ducati Diavel and the Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster.
The HD Sportster S is truly a cocktail of fun, comfort and pure hooliganism. The 2022 Sportster S starts with a suggested retail price of $15.499 and comes in three sick shades. Who said Harley will lose its radiance with its new wave of machines; the Sportster S is a fitting answer that says – NOPE!