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Harley-Davidson Sportster S

Spec Showdown: Harley-Davidson Sportster S Vs. Indian Scout

By General Posts

by Dustin Wheelen from https://www.rideapart.com

An American middleweight melee.

For decades, the Harley-Davidson Sportster dominated the American middleweight V-twin class, mostly by dint of being the only American middleweight V-twin. Without a top contender to challenge its reign, the Motor Company only issued modest upgrades since 1986. However, that all changed when the Indian Scout burst onto the scene in 2015.

Heavily based on the Victory Octane, the revived Scout paired Indian’s rich heritage with thoroughly modern equipment. The liquid-cooled, DOHC, 1,133cc V-twin was the antithesis of Harley’s ancient air-cooled Evo engine. Compared to the Sportster’s signature teardrop tank and engine cooling fins, the Scout’s low-slung stance and neo-bobber aesthetic presented a viable alternative to Harley’s aging platform.

Facing a formidable foe and new emissions regulations, the Bar and Shield telegraphed its counterpunch when it revealed the Custom 1250 in July, 2018. Nearly three years later, that haymaker finally landed when Harley officially announced the 2021 Sportster S.

Complete with a liquid-cooled, DOHC, 1,252cc V-twin, the new Sportster’s spec sheet now stands toe-to-toe with the Scout. Of course, we won’t know who wins the battle in the showroom until the Sportster S arrives at dealerships. For now, however, the tale of the tape tells a fascinating story.

Overview
2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S – Vs – 2021 Indian Scout

Middleweight Might
Featuring Harley’s shiny new Revolution Max 1250T, the 2021 Sportster now produces 121 horsepower and 94 lb-ft of torque. While the Scout previously set performance benchmarks for the category with 100 horsepower and 72 lb-ft of torque, Indian’s entry cruiser now looks outgunned. Of course, the Revolution Max V-twin touts a larger displacement, which helps the Sportster S steal that performance feather from Indian’s cap.

On top of that power deficit, the Scout lugs around 59 extra pounds, weighing in at 561 pounds compared to the Sportster’s 502-pound wet weight. Straightline acceleration and top speed define a motorcycle not, but agility goes to the Hog as well. With a 59.8-inch wheelbase, fully adjustable USD fork, and a linkage-equipped monoshock, the Sportster S outmaneuvers the Scout’s 62-inch wheelbase, conventional front end, and dual rear shocks.

Indian does outfit the Scout with a 16-inch wheelset shod in sticky Pirelli Night Dragon rubber while Harley opts for a 16-inch rear and 17-inch front. We could surmise that the smaller wheelset gives the Scout a handling edge if it weren’t for the Sportster’s specially-developed Dunlop GT503 tires. Thanks to an aggressive profile and sticky compound, the Dunlops compensate for the Sportster’s larger front wheel, helping to deliver a 34-degree lean angle compared to the Scout’s 29 degrees.

Novice-Friendly
Though Indian no longer holds the performance edge, the Scout still has a fighting chance. At 29.6 inches, the 2021 Sportster’s perch is a full four inches about the Scout’s 25.6-inch seat height. Most riders won’t have an issue with the Sporty’s seat height, which sags to 28.9-inches in the saddle, but even less will have problems with Indian’s low-slung seat. Of course, novice and inseam-challenged riders benefit most from a low seat height and the Scout is good option for that reason.

Conversely, Indian only offers optional ABS on the Scout while the Harley flaunts rider aids like traction control, cornering ABS, ride modes, and engine braking settings. On top of the full electronics suite, the Motor Company’s new round, four-inch TFT display also outshines the Scout’s analog speedometer and digital tachometer combo. Of course, you could reason the Scout’s spartan accommodations help beginners learn the ropes with a less cumbersome system, but it’s usually better to have rider aids and not need them as opposed to the other way around.

If we’re going to make any case for beginner-appropriate features, however, it should start with the brakes, and the Sportster delivers yet again. Championing a full Brembo braking system with a radially mounted four-piston front caliper, floating single-pot rear binder, and master cylinder, the Sportster S stops surprisingly well. On the other hand, the Scout’s single two-piston caliper up front and single-piston clamper in the rear don’t deliver as much stopping power as its counterpart.

The Final Decision:
Though the 2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S walks away with nearly every round in its pocket, we still have to consider one very important detail: price. At $14,999, the souped-up Sporty is $3,000 over the Scout’s MSRP. Coupled with a 121-horsepower V-twin, Harley’s asking price could easily put the Sportster S out of most beginner’s grasp. When price is taken into account, the two cruisers stack up much more evenly, and may even cater to different customers/budgets.

With that said, we can’t wait to see how the Sportster and Scout duke it out in the future. Will Indian fight back with an even punchier V-twin? Will Harley offer a cheaper Sportster option without diluting too much performance? The middleweight cruiser class is a much more competitive environment these days, and we can’t wait to see Sportster and Scout continue to battle it out in the future.

Riding Experiences on Harley-Davidson Sportster S

By General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

In mid-July, American bike maker Harley-Davidson pulled the wraps off the Sportster S, one of the new Milwaukee models we’ve been waiting for for so long we kind of lost hope of actually seeing it. Yet, here it is, so fresh that it is only now beginning to be properly tested by users, and so promising it’d better not disappoint.

Described by Harley as an “all-new sport custom motorcycle designed to deliver a thrilling riding experience,” the two-wheeler makes use of the most modern technologies brewed recently in Milwaukee, and, for a rather balanced price of $14,999, promises entirely new thrills for its riders.

Massive in design, the bike holds in its frame the Revolution Max 1250 engine, an application of which some people are already enjoying in the Pan America. On this here beast, the V-Twin is officially titled Revolution Max 1250T, and comes with impressive performance figures: 121 horsepower and “tremendous torque at low RPM” as per Harley. That’s fewer hp than the 150 claimed for the Pan America, but more than enough for the lightweight bike: the thing tips the scale, after all, at only 502 pounds (227 kg).

All that power is put to the ground by means of cast-aluminum wheels with a staggered design, 19-inch front and 17-inch rear, linked to the rest of the build by fully adjustable front and rear suspension – SHOWA 43 mm inverted cartridge forks and a SHOWA Piggyback reservoir rear shock.

Stopping power comes from Brembo, forward foot controls are there together with a low handlebar to give the rider an aggressive posture while riding, and thanks to these the entire experience of moving on the back of the Sportster S should be one to remember.

Harley threw into the Sportster mix the entire might of its technological advancements, some of them already deployed on the Pan America. We get things like three pre-programmed, selectable ride modes (Sport, Road and Rain) and two custom modes, a 4.0-inch-diameter TFT screen showing all the instrumentation and infotainment features, and all-LED lighting.

By now, almost three weeks past the unveiling point, there is number of test ride videos with this motorcycle already out there for us all to get a sense of how the thing feels on the actual road. The latest comes from a German custom and Harley-junkie shop that goes by the name Thunderbike.

Knowing the way these guys treat the American wheeled wonders, we tend to trust what they’re saying. And for the Sportster S, the verdict is simple and blunt: fantastic.

The rider sent by the Germans for the test ride spent about 200 km (124 miles) on the back on the motorcycle, and the crew managed to get some incredible images of the thing while on the move, as you can see in the short video below. And, even if we don’t get to see the Sportster S reach its top speed, we’re still treated to some incredible shots – but possibly not enough talk about it.

The new Harley should arrive at dealerships in mid-September, and that’s probably when the real flood of test ride videos will hit us. Kind of a close call, given how fall will move in to put an end to motorcycle riding in most parts of the world, but one never knows with this global warming and all.

Being less pretentious than the Pan America when it comes to its target customers, the Sportster S, the only bike offered presently by Harley in a family it calls Sport, could become one of the heavy-hitters in its segment in no time. And judging by how good two of them look on the road at the same time, we wouldn’t mind seeing larger packs of such machines roaming the continents at once.

Harley-Davidson Sportster S 2021 First Ride Review

By General Posts

by Dustin Wheelen from https://www.rideapart.com

Teaching an old dog new tricks.

Harley-Davidson has produced the Sportster for over six continuous decades. Despite the nameplate dating back to the Eisenhower administration, the Sportster canon only contains two periods: the Ironhead years and the Evo era. Since 1957, a pushrod-actuated, 45-degree V-Twin always thrummed at the model’s core. Along with the vibey powerplant, a cradle frame, conservative styling, and spartan accommodations defined the platform. That all changes with the 2021 Sportster S, however.

For the first time in the model’s history, the brakes read Brembo, the gearbox touts six speeds, and the lighting is LED. Boasting a feature-rich electronic suite, the historically entry-level Hog gains premium status overnight. A daring new design encompasses the brand’s acclaimed Revolution Max engine and aligns with the model’s performance ambitions. Of course, the 1,252cc, 60-degree V-twin doesn’t deliver the cruiser’s customary vibes. Instead, it delivers 121 horsepower. The Sportster may be a sexagenarian, but it’s spryer than ever in 2021.

To prove the new model’s mettle, the Motor Company invited us to a day-long ride through the picturesque canyons of the Angeles National Forest and the man-made canyons of Downtown L.A. With such a dramatic makeover, questions naturally arose. Will the 2021 interpretation appeal to the customer base? Will it retain its David vs. Goliath attitude? Is it still a Sportster? Like all Harleys, the answers center around the V-twin mill.

Engine
Since 1986, the Sportster harnessed the MoCo’s Evolution engine. Long after the Big Twin class moved on to the brand’s Twin Cam V-twin, and subsequently, the Milwaukee-Eight, the Sportster continued championing the bulletproof Evo. Undersquare, air-cooled, and rumbly, the engine’s charisma overshadowed its crudeness. Instead of refining the platform over the years, H-D didn’t fix what wasn’t broke.

Instead, it reinvented the model 35 long years later with the aptly named Revolution Max engine. Fresh off its debut in the Pan America, the liquid-cooled, DOHC, 1,252 V-twin earns a cruiser-appropriate retune in the Sportster S. The Revolution Max 1250T may concede 29 ponies to its adventurous cousin, but it’s hard to notice the difference in the saddle.

Unlike the Pan America, which spools up to its powerband, the Sportster S is all teeth all the time. Well, in Sport mode, at least. Predictably, Road is more mannerly and Rain is downright pleasant. Two additional custom ride modes allow users to adjust power delivery, traction control/ABS parameters, and engine braking settings to their liking. Whether you prefer a chill ride or a thrill ride, the Sportster switches identity with the tap of a button.

In Sport mode, performance reigns supreme. From the initial throttle crack, the torque piles on, peaking at 94 lb-ft at 6,000 rpm. The 1250T really shines in the mid-range, but power is accessible throughout the 9,500-rpm rev range. On the other hand, the throttle-by-wire system exhibited an abrupt, on/off quality in Sport mode.

Snappy roll-ons frequently pushed me to the edge of the plank-like seat and the front end dove under quick throttle cuts. What Sport mode lacks in finesse, it makes up with enthusiasm, so I reserved it for highway and canyon duty. In the city, Road mode smoothed out the V-twin’s power pulses without sacrificing too much raw acceleration. However, the Revolution Max and high-mount exhaust system threw off significant heat when confined to surface streets.

While the Sportster S does feature rear cylinder deactivation at a stop, the tracker-style pipes not only contribute to the engine heat, it traps it under the seat. Unsurprisingly, the rider’s right leg receives the first heatwave, but the engine’s port side follows suit in short order. In motion, the warmth goes unnoticed, but from light to light, the heat forced me to rest my right foot on the peg at a stop. Otherwise, the exhaust was liable to broil my inner thigh to a medium-well shank.

Despite those drawbacks, the Revolution Max remains the star of the show. Of course, to optimize that star performance, Harley had to surround it with a complimentary cast of components.

Chassis
Composed of three separate frame sections, the Sportster S chassis is like nothing in the company’s current cruiser lineup. The front, middle, and tail trellis frame units bolt directly to the 1250T engine, reducing weight while increasing rigidity. In turn, the handling improves markedly over the Evo era models, jumping from a 28-degree maximum lean angle to 34-degrees of lean. Tip-in and steering rate are predictable and stable.

Despite the 160/70 Dunlop GT503 tire wrapped around the 17-inch front wheel and the 180/70 rubber shod onto the 16-inch rear, the Sportster is surprisingly agile. Similarly, the 320mm single-disc front braking system seems lacking for a 121-horsepower machine, but the Brembo master cylinder delivers excellent bite along with nuanced feedback and feel. Needless to say, we would love to see how the Sportster S performs with slimmer tires and a dual-disc setup, but the stock equipment exceeds expectations.

The rear suspension suffers the same fate. With just 1.5-inches of travel, I anticipated the Showa monoshock to be one step removed from a hardtail. Thankfully, the linkage system helps the unit outperform the spec sheet, but the setup still has its limitation. The shock happily soaked up slow-speed bump, but fast-bump compliance was another story. Several large hits bucked me out of the seat or sent a shock directly through my back.

Of course, the model’s aggressive, low stance may look sporty, but it also restricts the suspension travel. Again, we would love to see a taller monoshock on the sportiest of Sportsters, but the piggyback unit performed admirably considering its handicaps. Luckily, the fully adjustable USD fork isn’t hindered by the same issues.

The front end only boasts 3.6 inches of travel, but the appropriately damped fork never bottoms under hard braking or big bumps. In a corner, the Sportster S holds its line in a smooth and predictable manner. The Dunlop GT503 tires suit the model well, with enough feedback and grip to inspire confidence. Of course, dragging the single-piston rear caliper on the 260mm disc helps stabilize the 500-pound rig upon corner entry.

The Sportster S was in its natural element in the canyons. The model holds its own in the city, but it reveals its naughty side on a curvy road. The high-spec componentry and adjustability certainly contributed to that nature, but the rider posture also factors into the Sportster’s performance.

Cockpit
At 29.6 inches, the S model’s seat height should fit a broad range of inseams. Despite the large exhaust heat shields pressing into the rider’s right leg, flat-footing the Sportster is effortless. Reach to the bars is a slight stretch, with the rider’s upper half leaned forward and a small bend at the elbows. The forward controls position the legs at a 90-degree angle, but feet point slightly upward on the pegs.

While the forwards increase long-distance comfort, they also place more weight on the rider’s hindquarters and off the pegs. As a result, I preferred the mid control-equipped Sportster S despite the acute leg bend. The sense of control provided by the mids would make it an instant upgrade for me. Unfortunately, the Motor Company doesn’t offer an option for mid control, but customers can purchase a conversion kit for $660.

The Sportster doesn’t perform poorly with the forwards, as both setups yield a 34-degree lean angle, but the mids allow the model to reach its full performance potential. Not to mention, after several hours with forward controls, my rear end started to ache due to so much of my weight bearing down on the thinly padded seat.

Harley also outfits the forwards with an extended shift lever (compared to the mid controls). The lever’s long throw also resulted in numerous unintentional shifts into neutral when kicking from first to second gear. I didn’t encounter the same problem once on the mid controls. I should note that the mids may prove too cramped for taller riders. At five-foot, 10-inches, I fit comfortably into the new rider triangle but the user’s purposes and preference will determine what’s best for them.

Last but certainly not least, the all-new round, four-inch TFT display is a first for the Sportster family. While the switchgear gains a host of new buttons and switches, the interface is intuitive and easy to navigate. From ambient temperature to engine temperature, from tire pressure to battery voltage, the rider can check every metric impacting the bike’s performance.

Bluetooth connectivity unlocks navigation, incoming call identification, and music-playing features. However, the Sportster S doesn’t include a GPS receiver, so the system relies on the rider’s smartphone network for those services. Also, without speakers included, the user will need to link their helmet communication system to the motorcycle.

The breadth and technology of the new infotainment system may be a giant leap forward, but the limited screen real estate can be restricting in navigation and diagnostic modes. With so much information crammed in such a small area, fonts quickly become illegible, especially at speed. For that reason, I stuck with the standard setup, pairing a large mph readout, needle-style tachometer, gear position indicator, and trip meters.

Conclusion
The 2021 Sportster S marks a watershed moment for the longest production motorcycle in history. From side valves to overhead valves to four valves per cylinder, the Sportster has come a long way, but its latest form is a major departure from the previous iterations. The Sportster S should appeal to existing, performance-oriented Harley customers but also draw new blood into the brand.

At 500 pounds and 121 horsepower, the historically entry-level model is lighter and more powerful than any other cruiser in the Motor Company’s portfolio, making it more of a giant killer than ever. By Sportster standards, the 2021 S model is a marvel, warts and all. While the Sportster S is a seminal entry in the Harley history books, the potential it presents is even more intriguing.

We can’t wait to see what the Bar and Shield does with the platform as it fills the slots under the flagship trim. No, this isn’t your grandad’s Sportster, it’s something entirely new, and Harley-Davidson plans to build on the model’s possibilities for the next 64 years.

New Harley-Davidson® Sportster® S Model Delivers Unrelenting Performance

By General Posts

Next Generation Sportster Motorcycle Combines Unbridled Power with Contemporary Technology. Uses H-D’s awesome 121 hp Revolution Max engine seen in Pan America model.

MILWAUKEE — The Harley-Davidson® (NYSE:HOG) Sportster® S model is an all-new sport custom motorcycle designed to deliver a thrilling riding experience and ushers in a new era of Sportster performance. A 121-horsepower Revolution® Max 1250T V-Twin engine puts the Sportster S rider in command of unrelenting, on-demand torque. A taut, lightweight chassis and premium suspension deliver responsive, intuitive handling. From stop light to stop light, and corner to corner, the Sportster® S model offers riders extraordinary power and performance and creates a new standard for the most enduring Harley-Davidson model.

An addition to the 2021 Harley-Davidson motorcycle line, the Sportster S will reach Harley-Davidson dealers this fall with a base MSRP of $14,999.

“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.”

Styling Communicates Power
In profile, the Sportster S model appears crouched and powerful. The fuel tank and tail section frame the engine as the predominate centerpiece of the motorcycle. The massive front tire recalls the fenderless front end of a classic bobber, while the tail section, high-mount exhaust and slim solo seat draw inspiration from the Harley-Davidson XR750 flat tracker. The thick inverted forks and wide-profile tires suggest high-performance sport bike.

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

The powertrain is highlighted with a Chocolate Satin finish on the lightweight magnesium engine covers. Textures, colors, finishes and details were selected to give the Sportster S model the look of a custom show bike that just happens to be parked in the owner’s garage.

Amplified Performance
The 1250cc Revolution Max 1250T engine is the mechanical heart of the Sportster S model. This new version of the latest Harley-Davidson liquid-cooled V-Twin engine is tuned to make tremendous torque at low RPM, with a torque curve that stays flat through the powerband – engine performance designed to deliver strong acceleration from a start with robust power through the mid-range. To minimize overall motorcycle weight the engine is integrated into the vehicle as the central member of the chassis. The use of lightweight materials helps achieve a desirable power-to-weight ratio. Ready to ride with the 3.1-gallon fuel tank topped off, the Sportster S model weighs just 502 pounds. A high-mount 2-into-1-into-2 exhaust is designed to produce a pleasing low-frequency tone. (See separate Sportster S Technology release for full details)

Technology Enhances the Ride
The Sportster S model is equipped with a host of technologies designed to the enhance the riding experience. Three pre-programmed, selectable Ride Modes (Sport, Road and Rain) electronically control the performance characteristics of the motorcycle, and the level of technology intervention. Two Custom modes may be used by the rider to create a set of performance characteristics to meet personal preference or for special situations. Cornering Rider Safety Enhancements by Harley-Davidson®, a collection of technologies intended to enhance rider confidence during unexpected situations or adverse road conditions, are designed to match motorcycle performance to available traction during acceleration, deceleration and braking, in a straight line or while in a turn.

A round, 4.0-inch-diameter TFT screen displays all instrumentation and supports infotainment generated by the rider’s Bluetooth®-equipped mobile device and helmet headset, including music, incoming and out-going calls, and navigation supplied by the Harley-Davidson® App. All-LED lighting includes a Daymaker® Signature LED headlamp designed to produce a homogenous spread of light, eliminating distracting “hot spots.” The headlamp has a distinctive oval or capsule shape that adds style to the front end and will identify the Sportster® S model to other riders and motorists.

Optimized Chassis
The powertrain is a stressed member of the chassis, eliminating the traditional frame, a design that significantly reduces motorcycle weight and results in a very stiff chassis that contributes to precise handling. A welded tubular steel trellis swingarm features a braced design and stamped X-member to further stiffen the chassis, while its shape adds distinctive style to the motorcycle.

The Sportster® S model is equipped with fully adjustable, premium front and rear suspension – SHOWA® 43mm inverted cartridge forks and a SHOWA® Piggyback reservoir rear shock. Rear suspension features hydraulic pre-load adjustment using a convenient knob located on the left side of the motorcycle. Lightweight cast aluminum wheels with a staggered, five-spoke design are shod with wide Dunlop®/Harley-Davidson® Series GT503 tires. Premium Brembo braking components produce outstanding braking feel and performance. The single front brake features a new Brembo radial monoblock four-piston caliper and a 320mm diameter disc. The rear brake is a two-piston Brembo caliper and a 260mm diameter disc.

Forward foot controls and a low handlebar put the Sportster S rider in an aggressive posture on the bike. Unladen seat height is 29.6 inches, low enough for most riders to get feet down at a stop. Brake and clutch hand levers are adjustable for reach, to best match rider hand size or preference. The Sportster S model is pre-wired for accessory heated hand grips for added comfort in cool weather, and is equipped with two dedicated power points for heated riding gear (heated hand grips and heated riding gear/apparel each sold separately), plus a USB-C port for charging a phone or other device. An external ambient temperature sensor and a low-temp warning on the display screen alert the rider to changing conditions. Cruise control and a proximity-based security system are standard equipment. The steel fuel tank holds 3.1 gallons.

Paint Colors: Vivid Black; Stone Washed White Pearl; Midnight Crimson

Accessories
Sportster S model accessories available at launch through Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Accessories include these key items:

Mid-Control Conversion Kit
Relocates the left and right rider foot pegs and foot controls from the Original Equipment forward position to a mid-position on the bike. This may place the rider in a more athletic position and may also provide an improved fit for riders who cannot comfortably reach the forward controls.
Passenger Accommodations
A Pillion Kit, Passenger Footpeg Kit and Passenger Backrest Kit (each sold separately) may be installed. The pillion and backrest feature upholstery styled to match the rider seat.
Sundowner Solo Seat
This seat offers an enhanced bucket design and spherical-void foam construction for improved long-haul comfort and shaping for more-aggressive riding. Seam sealed stitch lines prevent water from soaking into the foam and leaving the rider with a damp bum. Details in the top seat cover enhance overall style.
Compact Detachable Windshield
Black mounting hardware and support brackets, and the dark tint of the windshield, are a style match for the motorcycle. The windshield mounts to the forks with quick-release clamps, and can be installed or removed quickly and easily.
Sportster® S Tailbag
This tailbag is designed specifically to fit and look great on the Sportster® S model, and gives the rider a convenient luggage option for ride essentials. It is recommended that the Tailbag be installed over the accessory pillion (purchased separately). Luggage capacity is 5 pounds. The main compartment volume is expandable from 8.2 liters to 11.5 liters.

Learn more about the Harley-Davidson Sportster S model at www.harley-davidson.com.