Harley-Davidson reveals new 121-hp Sportster S

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As part of its lineup overhaul, Harley-Davidson officially pulled the sheet off its new 121-horsepower Sportster S model, topping off the performance bike range with double the output of its Iron 1200 model. 

Harley has been teasing the new Sportster S for a while now, touting its performance and hinting that it would render the bikes it replaces obsolete. Power comes from Harley-Davidson’s new 1,250cc water-cooled V-twin, dubbed the Revolution Max 1250T. It makes 121 horses and 94 pound-feet in the Sportster S (as opposed to the 150 horsepower it produces in Harley’s Pan America 1250 adventure touring bike). Despite nearly doubling the Iron 1200’s horsepower, its fuel economy is expected to be 1 mpg better (49 vs. 48). 

“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.”

“Every visual design element of the Sportster S model is an expression of the motorcycle’s raw power,” said Harley-Davidson design boss Brad Richards. “This is a wolf in wolf’s clothing.”

The Sportster S is more than just a new engine. Its powertrain is a structural member of the chassis, which means it doesn’t have a conventional frame, but sub-frame elements bolted directly to the driveline. H-D says this significantly reduces the bike’s weight (it weighs 62 lbs less than the Iron 1200) and helps centralize the mass better for superior control. Its high-mounted exhaust and forward-mounted controls reinforce its performance ambitions, but H-D will offer a relocation kit for those who want a more relaxed posture. 

The Sportster S will be available this fall with a starting price of $14,999. 

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