The Harley-Davidson Sportster S Packs Muscle Into A Small Frame

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Image for article titled The Harley-Davidson Sportster S Injects Muscle Into A Small Frame

Photo: Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson has unveiled the Sportster S and it has some exciting details. It’s shaping up to be a bit of a muscle bike with its 121 horsepower Revolution Max v-twin packed into a small frame.

The Motor Company is hard at work reinventing itself. Part of that journey is releasing a bunch of new concepts that buck rider’s expectations. One of those concepts, was the Custom 1250, packing a big v-twin engine into a little frame with minimal bodywork and fat tires. It looked more muscle bike than cruiser. Now, revealed as the Sportster S, we know it has the specs to back up its looks, too.

Leading things off is the Revolution Max 1250 engine. This water-cooled 60 degree v-twin is already found in the Pan America and our Bradley Brownell gives it high marks, comparing it to the Ducati 1260S from the Diavel and Multistrada. In the Pan America it makes 150 HP and 94 lb-ft torque. Here, it’s detuned to 121 HP with the same torque output.

Image for article titled The Harley-Davidson Sportster S Injects Muscle Into A Small Frame

Photo: Harley-Davidson

It’s quite the upgrade for the Sportster, which has been using the air-cooled Evolution engine for over 30 years. That engine recently ran afoul of Euro 5 emissions regulations, forcing Harley to discontinue it in Europe. It also produced only 60 HP in the Iron 1200 despite its displacement. The Revolution Max has double the power while satisfying regulations.

But the Sportster S changes aren’t limited to just the engine. Gone is the conventional frame, replaced with subframes as the drivetrain now acts as a structural member. This saves some 62 pounds in weight compared to the Iron 1200 and ready to ride, the Sportster S comes in at 502 pounds. Just look at the thing, it looks ready to blast down a highway at a moment’s notice.

Image for article titled The Harley-Davidson Sportster S Injects Muscle Into A Small Frame

Photo: Harley-Davidson

Adding to the new Sporty’s performance riding ambitions are increased lean angles. The old Sportster leaned 28 degrees to the left and 27 degrees to the right. The Sportster S leans 34 degrees on both sides.

The Sportster S comes with quite a bit of tech, too. It has full LED lighting, a four-inch TFT display, cruise control, ABS, traction control and Bluetooth.

Image for article titled The Harley-Davidson Sportster S Injects Muscle Into A Small Frame

Photo: Harley-Davidson

At least on paper, this machine beats out its nearest competition, the Indian Scout Bobber Twenty. It has about 21 more horses on tap, weighs 60 fewer pounds and ABS is standard.

This new model comes in this fall at $14,999. It’s not going to be a replacement for the Motor Company’s axed cheap models. That also makes it more expensive than the Scout Bobber Twenty with ABS, which comes in at $12,889.

Still, this motorcycle looks absolutely killer and the Sportster is no longer the bike with a big engine that makes little power. I can’t wait to swing a leg over one.

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