Skip to main content
Tag

riding

Aprilia Tuono V4 Review

By General Posts

by Geoff Hill from https://www.mirror.co.uk

Big bikes don’t come with big scares any more

Back in the day, powerful bikes were thrilling and terrifying, but this naked Italian beauty has all the thrills and none of the terror thanks to a brain that works faster than the rider’s. Well, Geoff’s, although that’s not saying much.

I started doing bike tests in 1846, before bikes were even invented, so I just sat on a fence making bike noises, then hauled out a quill pen and a sheet of parchment and sent in my review to Velocipede Monthly on a passing donkey.

When bikes finally came along, I remember being simultaneously thrilled and terrified by some superbikes, such as the Kawasaki ZX-10R.

You got the feeling that at any moment it would fling you over the hedge, leaving you draped over a baffled cow called Gertrude, although it did get less frisky when Kawasaki fitted a steering damper to later models.

However, I realised at the launch a while back on the Suzuki Hayabusa that I wasn’t a bit scared.

There are several possible explanations for this. Either I’ve taken on board the advice I read from a psychiatrist recently that fear and excitement are just two sides of the same coin in your brain, so when you feel afraid, pretend it’s excitement.

I tried it on my first time back flying after lockdown, and it worked.

Another alternative is that I have become an astonishingly skilled rider, but since that’s highly unlikely, I suspect the answer is that bikes today such as this one are fitted with so many safety features that you’d need to be a complete idiot to end up draped over Gertrude.

I’m talking about cornering ABS, cornering traction control, anti-wheelie control, launch control, adaptive cruise control and so many other controls that before long we’ll be able to send bikes out on their own, and they can come back and tell us what a great day out they had.

And don’t laugh – BMW has already shown off an R 1200 GS which can tootle around without a rider, and that was back in 2018.

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, just about to climb on board the Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory, the Factory bit meaning that it’s got electronically adjustable semi-active suspension, lower bars, better tyres and a more comfortable pillion position than the £15,500 base model.

In spite of the lower bars on the Factory, it’s surprisingly comfortable, even for the taller motorcycling chap, which is a welcome relief from the days when sportsbikes hunched you over like the love child of Quasimodo and Richard III and left you calling by the chiropractor on the way home.

Which left me free to admire the rather useful mirrors and a 5in TFT screen which is much clearer than on the previous Tuono, with bigger, brighter graphics which show you everything you need at a glance, including road riding modes, which can be either Tour, Sport and User, where you can geek out to your heart’s desire. There are also three track modes.

Acceleration, even in Tour mode, is gloriously lusty, accompanied by a visceral howl from the V4, handling is sublimely light and precise, and braking is as brutal but seamless as acceleration.

It’s a bike that’s impossible to unsettle no matter how ham-fisted you are in and out of corners, even on rough surfaces. Remarkable.

I spent a very happy hour getting lost on the rural A and B roads of Armagh, Northern Ireland’s apple country, feeling like I was on a bike I’d owned for years, rather than just picked up an hour ago.

Tweaked fuelling from the old model, and a firm but slick quickshifter to snick up and down the six-speed box just add to the feeling that this is a very well-sorted package indeed – fast but safe, agile but stable, and sporty but comfortable.

Switch to Sport mode, and it’s as if the bike’s been given a large and probably illegal dose of steroids, and yet even with the suspension firmer and the acceleration even more ludicrously breathtaking, it still never feels unsafe or unsettled, with the bike’s brain working faster than yours can to keep the bike stable under all conditions.

Well, my brain, anyway. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll put away my quill pen and roll up the parchment, since I see a donkey approaching, and the editor of Velocipede Monthly is an impatient sort of chap.

Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory
Engine: 1077cc liquid-cooled V4
Power: 173bhp @ 11,350rpm
Torque: 89 lb ft @ 9,000rpm
Colours: Black/red
Price: £18,100

Visually Impaired Patriots Experiencing the Road to hold its fifth annual motorcycle ride

By General Posts

VIPER ride founders John Carter (former Marine) and T J Oman (retired Navy Lieutenant Commander) at a previous event

by Erik S. Hanley from https://www.jsonline.com

A motorcycle ride supporting veterans with disabilities is rumbling through Oak Creek later this month

When T.J. Oman, a retired Navy lieutenant commander in Wisconsin, reached out to a fellow veteran in Minnesota about the fifth VIPER ride, he learned the man had been diagnosed with cancer and had months to live.

VIPER, or Visually Impaired Patriots Experiencing the Road, will hold its fifth annual motorcycle ride on Aug. 22 in Oak Creek at the Oelschlaeger-Dallmann American Legion Post 434, 9327 S. Shepard Ave. The Minnesota man has traveled to the Milwaukee area for every past VIPER event, but his sister was keeping this year’s announcement from him because of his diagnosis, Oman, one of the VIPER ride founders, said.

“I messed up her plans because when I didn’t see his application this year, I put together an email and sent it to a batch of people curious about their absence,” Oman said.

Now that he knows the ride is happening, despite his diagnosis, that veteran is coming to ride.

Motorcycle owners, known as “pilots,” are partnered with a veteran called a “tailgunner.” The duos stay together throughout the day’s events. Volunteers are known as the “groundcrew” and they work to give directions, welcome participants, set up food and drinks, clean up and more.

“We’re looking forward to it this year because we missed it last year,” said John Carter, a former Marine and co-founder of the VIPER ride. The 2020 ride was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Initially only for blind veterans, the ride recently became “the VIPER ride plus+” expanding to allow veterans with any physical disability that prevents them from operating a motorcycle. There is no cost to participants.

“We don’t charge anybody a dime, this is not a fundraiser,” Carter said.

2021 VIPER ride schedule of events
Early in the morning, breakfast will be offered, Carter said. The 50-mile, 90-minute ride through Milwaukee County will kick off around 11 a.m. with two-wheel motorcycles, trikes and motorcycles with sidecars. This will be the first year incorporating a lot of freeway driving with the entire return trip on the interstate, Oman said. After the ride, a big luncheon with live music will be held.

Overall, Carter estimated the event will last from about 8 a.m. to 3:30 or 4 p.m.

All motorcycles large enough to carry a passenger safely are allowed on the ride. Organizers validate every driver’s license for a motorcycle endorsement, get a copy of everyone’s insurance and perform a full safety inspection on every motorcycle.

“It takes a little bit of time but everything we do is all about the VIPER ride and participants,” Oman said. “The reason we do this is the social side of it, just to hang out and talk with these guys. Some of these guys are true heroes.”

The ride will be escorted by police on motorcycles. Oman said the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office has been a supporter “from the very beginning.” Additionally, officers from the Milwaukee Police Department and the Wisconsin State Patrol have ridden with the group.

“We couldn’t do it without them,” Carter said.

In the past, the ride lasted substantially longer, Oman said. The first two years the ride went out to Kettle Moraine and East Troy, totaling 111 miles round trip. The second year was a little shorter but still hit triple digits on the odometer. After two years, some veterans said it was a little long, Oman said.

Pilots and Tailgunners enjoying the open road

VIPER rides have nationwide participation
Oman, who served on a nuclear submarine during his tenure in the Navy, said this year was the smallest group of participants since they started with 30 tailgunners and between 50-55 motorcycle pilots. In the past, the event had about 50 tailgunners and as many as 120 motorcycles.

Oman attributed the smaller sign-up numbers to the cancellation of the ride in 2020.

“The out of sight, out of mind mentality affected us,” he said. Oman said many were likely still hesitant to come out and do anything in a group as well given the surging number of delta variant cases.

Registration for the ride itself ended in June, but Carter said everyone is welcome to attend the other festivities.

“We match up pilot and tailgunner and put time and effort into making sure we match the tailgunner and the pilot for size,” Carter said. “We try to get it all finalized in June so we know what we’re doing.”

In the event’s inaugural year, participants from across the country, encompassing 15 different states, attended the ride. Carter said one regular rider travels from Mesa, Arizona every year.

“He takes a train here, travels three to four days, rides that morning, then takes a bus back,” he said.

While many friendships were gained from the event, some early-year participants have been lost.

“I never really foresaw the impact and the long-term effect but a lot of these guys, the pilots and the tailgunners, have become lifelong friends,” Oman said. “They communicate year-round, they maintain contact, it has become a family and as a result of that we’ve lost a few.”

One veteran and big supporter of the event died a few months ago, Oman said. The group is “breaking the rules” and letting his wife and daughter ride with them this year in his honor.

“They’re part of the VIPER family,” Oman said.

The VIPER ride website has a memorial page for participants that have passed to “keep their memory alive as part of the ride,” Oman said.

“Unfortunately, the list keeps growing, but I guess part of living is dying,” he said.

Supporting veterans with disabilities

Oman said he’d been trying to convince Carter to do a motorcycle ride for the blind in the past. Carter, who became the president of the Blinded Veterans Association of Wisconsin, was looking to enhance recruitment for the organization. Out to lunch one day, the two came up with the VIPER ride.

“We mutually agreed it would be a good tool for recruitment,” Oman said, adding he’d been involved with motorcycle rides for the blind in the past.

Carter said one goal for the event was to get blind veterans back out into the fresh air “experiencing something they wouldn’t experience again.”

“Once you lose your sight you don’t want to participate in much, many don’t,” he said.

Carter wasn’t thrilled about the motorcycles, but Oman convinced him to get on a trike with a friend every year for the VIPER ride. For Oman, he doesn’t need convincing.

“I don’t need much of a reason to ride a motorcycle,” he laughed. He still invites Carter out for other rides but with no success.

“Motorcycles scare the liver out of me,” Carter said.

Royal Enfield Meteor 350 Road Test & Review

By General Posts

So, you want a new, retro-styled street bike under five grand? There is Good News & Bad News.

The Meteor 350 is a bang-for-buck motorcycle. The Enfield name has more mystique than any of the major brands in this space, and those who appreciate Royal Enfield’s history will be proud to ride the modern-day version. Folks place more value on the bike’s style and personality. The Meteor 350 rides exactly the way it looks, as it advertises – “Cruise Easy”.

If you want a turn-key retro motorcycle with a warranty and a few modern luxuries, give the Meteor a try. It’s a nifty way to go motorcycling without getting in over your head.

Click Here to Read this comprehensive Review on Bikernet.com

Join the Cantina for more – Subscribe Today.

https://www.bikernet.com/pages/custom/subscription.aspx

Buffalo Chip Signature B4 Motorcycle at Sturgis

By General Posts

by Savannah Rose from https://rapidcityjournal.com

The Sturgis Buffalo Chip has long been known as the place to be at the Sturgis Rally. Whether you’re spending your day riding through the beautiful hills of South Dakota on one of the venue’s signature rides, or you’re enjoying an ice-cold drink while checking out the bike shows and the iconic live music, the legendary Buffalo Chip has everything you need to make your rally one for the books. Literally everything. You can now even ride off on your own Sturgis Buffalo Chip signature motorcycle.

The Chip crew has teamed up with two renowned builders in the performance realm, Tim Sutherland and Lloyd Greer of Indian Motorcycle Charlotte and Lloyd’z Garage, who are recognized internationally for their design and performance work on Indian Motorcycles. The result is the Buffalo Chip B4 Signature Series.

Each exclusive, signature build starts out with a stock Indian Chieftain. Then Tim and Lloyd get their hands on it and work their magic for a unique creation. The first in their B4 signature line will make its debut at The Chip’s 40th consecutive festival and will be auctioned off at the Buffalo Chip Legends Ride, Aug. 9.

“Tim’s and Lloyd’s attention to quality and craftsmanship make these signature edition Sturgis Buffalo Chip B4s collectible from the day they are built,” said Rod Woodruff, President and CEO of the Sturgis Buffalo Chip. “The bikes will no doubt be a unique and valuable way to own a piece of motorcycle history.”

Now, down to the nitty-gritty…these bikes are truly built for performance. Based on Indian’s flagship Chieftain model, the Sturgis Buffalo Chip signature edition B4 is loaded and ready to rip. The powertrain in this bagger, designed and built by Indian performance guru Lloyd Greer, boasts a whopping 126-inch displacement. Big bore cylinders, ported heads and big cams provide the 120 horsepower and 148-foot pounds of torque you crave in a two-wheeled machine. The Rush Racing pipe provides a deep, throaty growl to let everyone know you mean business. The Rekluse Clutch will transfer all that power to the ground, and you’ll be tempted to warm up those tires in a smoke show.

Designed by legendary Indian customizer Tim Sutherland, the styling on the SBC B4 will stand out in a crowd. This bagger means business, but not black-tie business. The unique black, red and silver paint job screams that you’re here to make an impression. The 18-inch wheels, handlebars and more from 1901 Customs further add to the mean stance of this motorcycle and the Arnott TruAIR shocks will keep you rollin’ comfortably out on the twisty roads of the Black Hills.

Each B4 owner will be part of a very exclusive group, as there will only be a limited number produced. In addition, these owners will receive exclusive access to a variety of VIP ownership benefits, including free Chip passes, Top Shelf VIP upgrades and more.

“Owning a Sturgis Buffalo Chip Signature Edition B4 is membership into a fun, passionate, party-going family!” said Tim Sutherland. “The SBC B4 motorcycles will have you rolling into Sturgis like a king, plus all the special VIP benefits and perks that go along with it make this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” added Lloyd Greer.

The first in the line of SBC Signature B4 motorcycles will be on the auction block at the 2021 Legends Ride, Monday Aug. 9 in Historic Deadwood. See it for yourself this year at the new Lloyd’z Garage, located at the Buffalo Chip free-access CrossRoads.

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.

Electric dream: Horwin CR6 reviewed

By General Posts

by Fraser Addecott from https://www.mirror.co.uk

Sales of electric two-wheelers are booming and with manufacturers producing bikes like this one, it’s easy to see why.

It seems difficult to keep up with the number of new electric two-wheelers coming on to the market these days.

The trend was already under way and has only been accelerated by the pandemic, with commuters and others looking for alternatives to public transport.

Figures from the Motorcycle Industry Association show sales of electrics for June up 155% compared to the same month last year.

Sales for the year up until last month are also up 210% compared to the same period in 2020.

That is impressive growth, with the majority of bikes sold falling in the 50cc and 125cc equivalent categories.

Artisan Electric is a British company established in 2016 with a “mission to change the face of electric motorcycles and scooters with industry-leading innovation and product quality”.

The company offers a range of seven electric bikes and scooters – and the one I am testing here is the CR6.

This is a 125cc-equivalent machine, with a pretty cool retro-meets-futuristic look.

The air-cooled electric motor is powered by a 3.96kWh Panasonic lithium-ion battery.

Careful riding will produce a range of around 60 miles.

Haring around flat out – top speed is about 55mph – will cut your range to around 30 miles.

That may not sound much, but the CR6 is aimed at commuters and for jaunts into town, so it’s perfectly adequate.

A full charge from zero takes around four hours, but bear in mind you’ll hardly ever be charging from completely flat, so shorter times are more realistic.

Charging is via a standard three-pin socket and a socket in the side of the bike.

The battery comes with a reassuring three-year warranty.

On board, the ride position is relaxed and comfortable with a long and well-padded cafe-racer type seat.

There’s a round retro/modern, backlit, colour clock with a rather unnecessary rev counter across the top and a LCD panel with speed, charge level etc.

As with all electrics, the acceleration is instantaneous and impressive.

At just 134kg, this bike is light and it feels agile, manageable and nippy – perfect for the urban jungle.

With low-down weight, a decent aluminium chassis and an excellent turning circle, the CR6 handles extremely well.

The non-adjustable USD forks and preload-adjustable rear monoshock do a perfectly reasonable job.

And braking via a front 265mm disc and three-piston caliper and rear 220mm is plenty powerful enough.

The headlight is a nice bright LED and the “tank” is actually a lockable storage compartment, ideal for the charge cable, gloves etc.

It also contains a USB port – handy for charging your phone.

At five grand, the CR6 is obviously a bigger initial outlay than a petrol 125, but running costs work out at just a penny a mile.

Overall then, the Horwin is a solid little city commuter, easy to ride, with good looks and decent performance.

Specs:
Horwin CR6
Motor: Air-cooled electric
Max power: 8bhp
Max torque: 30ft lb
Colours: White; blue; green; black
Price: £4,992

BMW Debuts R 18 Transcontinental and R 18 B ‘Bagger’ touring motorcycles

By General Posts

by Florina Spînu from https://www.autoevolution.com

According to BMW, the new R 18 Transcontinental and R 18 B will be available worldwide as special R 18 Transcontinental First Edition and R 18 B First Edition models when they hit the market in September. The two new R 18 family members will be unveiled to the public for the first time on August 6th in Sturgis, South Dakota.

BMW is expanding the R 18 family with the new R 18 Transcontinental and the R 18 B “Bagger,” one ideal for long-distance rides and one perfect for touring and cruising. You can watch some high-octane scenes with the new models in The Cadillac Three’s new music video, “Get After It.”

The collaboration between the American Southern rock group and BMW only came naturally as the new models are built to appeal to those looking for a sportier ride and those going for a more touring-oriented machine. The southern country music is a perfect addition for these bad boys that star in the clip, riding just outside Nashville.

The new R 18 Transcontinental is a luxurious tourer that comes with a high windshield, wind deflector, and flaps. Compared to the standard R 18, it has additional lights, a top case, and four analog round instruments. The ride has seat heating as standard to ensure long-distance riding comfort even when two people get on it.

On the other hand, the R 18 B has no top case and a lower windscreen that adds to the style of a bagger. Among other features, it sports a smaller seat, wider and more comfortable footrests, and a matt black metallic engine.

Like the previous R 18 models, both rides combine the power of the 2-cylinder “Big Boxer” engine with a classic chassis design based on BMW’s historical motorcycle models. The engine generates an output of 67 kW (91 hp) at 4,750 RPM, and between the 2,000 to 4,000 RPM range, it produces more than 150 Nm of torque.

Tech-wise, they feature a 10.25 inch TFT color display that provides all the information the rider needs. The motorcycles come with three riding modes, Rain, Roll, and Rock, and a Hill Start Control function that turn one’s journeys into a memorable experience.

What can make that experience even better is the new Marshall sound system. Developed in collaboration with the British manufacturer Marshall (yes, the same brand that makes the renowned guitar amplifiers), the audio system uses 4 loudspeakers and 2 subwoofers to produce great sound quality and “good vibrations.”

Pre-Rally Week Bikernet Weekly News for July 29, 2021

By General Posts

Hey,

The rally is starting next week and at the last minute we are buying a Bikernet Billboard in Sturgis. It’s another project, but what the fuck.

We are working with Markus Cuff on a Petersen Museum motorcycle exhibit featuring long distance motorcycles. Some wild bikes.

I’ll sign books for donations to Kid’s Ride at the Builder’s Breakfast coming up next weekend.

Never stop or slow down and always fight for the freedom to ride fast and free.

–Bandit

Click Here to Read the Weekly News on Bikernet.com

Join the Cantina for more – Subscribe Today.

https://www.bikernet.com/pages/custom/subscription.aspx

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.