With the official launch of 2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S, we now understand where The Motor Company is taking the Sportster family. Powered by the liquid-cooled Revolution Max 1250T engine, the Sportster S delivers a significant boost, claiming 121 hp, nearly double the power of the air-cooled Evolution engine.
With a price tag of $ 14,999, that’s also a good chunk of the currency more expensive than the $ 11,549. Forty-Eight, and the same price as the Bob Street 114 Softail. Against this background, it is clear that the newer Sportster is not an entry-level model like previous bikes to carry this label. So where does that leave the Forty-Eight, the Iron 1200 and the Iron 883?
Keen observers would likely have noticed that Harley-Davidson hadn’t referred to these bikes as Sportsters for some time now. Until the Sportster S was announced, Harley-Davidson’s official website classified them as “Street” models. Today, the old Sportsters are grouped with the Softails as “cruisers”. All three air-cooled Sportsters are still part of Harley-Davidson’s 2021 lineup, but as we previously reported, they probably won’t be back in 2022. If this is true, it would leave a void in the Harley-Davidson lineup for an accessible entry point to the brand.
Of course, Harley-Davidson has something in the works. The “S” in “Sportster S” implies just as much, as Harley-Davidson typically uses this letter to denote a more capable variant model. Harley-Davidson also dropped some hints about future additions to the new Sportster family towards the end of the Sportster S launch video. -son of company co-founder William Davidson, expressed his enthusiasm for “what’s to come”. The video then briefly provided a glimpse into the future of the Sportster family (at 12:35 p.m. if you want to jump ahead).
“There will be future models that certainly take advantage of some of Sportster’s more classic form factors,” said Brad Richards, vice president of style and design at Harley-Davidson. We are then presented with three pictures of another new model.
From these brief overviews, we get an idea of what Richards is talking about. With a telescopic fork, dual rear shocks, a different tail, a new peanut tank design, different exhaust routing, and less forward foot pedal placement, it’s clear this new model is not the Sportster S. The right fork and rear shocks suggest a less capable model than the S, and the visible styling cues are more like the Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight.
It is not initially clear if these images are of the same bike, but part of a Harley-Davidson poll posted by a member of HDForums.com seems to confirm that they are indeed part of a single motorcycle. The survey shows six versions of this model, with different combinations of engine, exhaust and wheel colors.
The survey model offers more clues to the mysterious Sportster, including what looks like a 19-inch front wheel, larger front fender, and round air filter. The overall styling brings together elements of the Forty-Eight and Iron models for a more traditional Sportster look.
There is no indication whether the engine retains the same displacement of 1252 cc as the Sportster S and the Pan America 1250. When Harley-Davidson first announced the Revolution Max Platform, he mentioned that the engine was offered in four displacements from 500cc to 1250cc. Harley-Davidson didn’t say if this is still on the cards, but the engine was designed from the start as a modular platform and a smaller-displacement Sportster would make a lot of sense.
Two names come to mind as a potential name for this second Revolution Max Sportster. Earlier this year, Harley-Davidson filed trademark applications in the United States and Europe for “Nightster”, which might be appropriate. Another option is “48X”, for which Harley-Davidson filed in December 2017, around the same time it filed its first trademark applications for the name “Pan America”. This would suggest that 48X was also intended for a Revolution Max model. The name would also tie the new Sportster to the outgoing Forty-Eight model.
Harley-Davidson has not provided any guidance on when a second new Sportster model will be announced, but the launch of a 2022 model seems like a reasonable guess.
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