2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S

Sportster is dead: Long live the Sportster!

2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S RH1250S

Rumours of the death of the Harley-Davidson Sportster brand seem to have been greatly exaggerated!

Instead of replacing the 883cc and 1200cc Evolution-powered Sportster with a water-cooled 1250cc Revolution-engined Bronx, Harley has kept the 64-year-old model name alive with the new Sportster S.

It may be Harley’s attempt to keep fans of the Sportster happy after their experience killing off the Dyna range a few years ago when it merged with the Softail family, much to the chagrin of many Dyna devotees.

However, the new Sportster S is really a Sportster in name only.

It looks more like the short-lived Softail FXDR and, of course, it’s water cooled to meet tougher emissions standards and keep it selling in Europe.

The new model was expected to be called the Bronx Streetfighter, but in May last year it was revealed the company had listed a Sportster Streetfighter in its 2021 line-up.

We expect a 950cc model to follow to replace the current 883 models.

Pricing

Well, it’s now the Sportster S and is powered by a 121hp Revolution Max 1250T V-Twin engine that will no doubt power a whole new line of water-cooled Sportsters.

That makes it the most powerful Sportster yet.

It’s also the most expensive.

Harley-Davidson Australia says it will be available late this year from $A26,495 ($NZ28,750) ride away for the Vivid Black model.

There has never been a Sportster that cost more than $20,000.

Harley says the new Sportster S has a “taut, lightweight chassis and premium suspension” and claims it will corner like no other.

They quote a 34-degree lean angle on both sides thanks to the high scrambler-style pipes and higher-mounted forward-mounted footpegs.

Harley boss Jochen Zeitz says the next-generation Sportster is “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,” he says.

Styling

The bike is dominated by fat “balloon” tyres, a bobbed rear end, shorty front guard, upside-down forks and a slim solo seat.

Harley says it is inspired by their XR750 flat tracker, but those forward controls seem out of place.

However, a mid-mount conversion kit will be available as an accessory.

Images released show the bike in a matte black and a “Chocolate Satin” paint with bronzed engine highlights.

They say it all be available in Vivid Black, Stone Washed White Pearl and Midnight Crimson.

Technology

It will come with three ride modes (Sport, Road and Rain) and two rider-customised modes as well as traction control.

Harley says the round, 4.0-inch-diameter TFT screen will mirror the rider’s smartphone via Bluetooth so it could have Apple CarPlay and the Android version.

That means music, hone calls and satnav on the screen.

All lighting is LED and the headlight is an oval shape more like a modern Fat Bob than a traditional Sportster.

Chassis

The engine is a central member of the chassis which keeps wet weight down to 228kg.

Harley says the stiff chassis and welded tubular steel trellis swingarm with stamped X-member provide sharp handling.

It comes with fully adjustable Showa 43mm upside-down forks and Showa Piggyback reservoir rear shock with hydraulic hand-adjustable pre-load.

The aluminium alloys are shod with high-profile Dunlop/Harley-Davidson GT503 tyres 160mm up front and 180mm at the back.

Brakes are supplied by Brembo with a radial monoblock four-piston caliper and a 320mm single disc up front and a two-piston caliper and a 260mm diameter disc at the rear.

Seat height is a low 752mm and the hand levers are adjustable, so it should suit shorter riders.

It comes pre-wired for accessory heated hand grips, has two power points for heated riding gear and a USB-C port for charging a phone or other device. 

Cruise control and a proximity-based security system are standard.

Accessories

Harley says there will be a range of accessories available at launch, but we are not sure which will be available in Australia, although we expect most will be.

They include the mid-mount conversion kit, passenger pet, seat and backrest, a comfort rider seat, detachable windscreen and mailbag.

Harley-Davidson Sportster S RH1250S

Model

RH1250S Sportster® S

Notes

Dimensions

Length

89.2 in. (2,265 mm)

Overall Width

33.2 in. (843 mm)

Overall Height

42.9 in. (1,089 mm)

Seat Height, Laden

28.9 in. (734 mm)

2

Seat Height, Unladen

29.6 in. (753 mm)

Static Ground Clearance

3.66 in. (93 mm)

Rake (steering head) (deg)

30

Fork Angle (deg)

28

Trail

5.8 in. (148 mm)

Wheelbase

59.8 in. (1,518 mm)

Tires, Type

Dunlop® Harley-Davidson Series, radial

Tires, Front Model

GT503

Tires, Front Specification

160/70TR17 73V

Tires, Rear Model

GT503

Tires, Rear Specification

180/70R16 77V

Fuel Capacity

3.1 gal. (11.8 l)

Reserve Fuel Capacity, Fuel Injection (warning light)

0.8 gal. (3 l)

Oil Capacity (w/filter)

4.75 qt. (4.5 l)

Transmission Capacity

N/A

Primary Chain Case Capacity

N/A

Coolant Capacity

2.32 qt. (2.2 l)

Weight, As Shipped

486 lb. (220 kg)

Weight, In Running Order

502 lb. (228 kg)

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

922 lb. (418 kg)

Gross Axle Weight Rating, Front

359 lb. (163 kg)

Gross Axle Weight Rating, Rear

595 lb. (270 kg)

Luggage Capacity -Volume

N/A

Engine

Engine

Revolution® Max 1250T

Valves

Chain-driven, DOHC, hydraulic self-adjusting lifters, intake & exhaust VVT; four valves per cylinder

Bore

4.13 in. (105 mm)

Stroke

2.85 in. (72.3 mm)

Displacement

76.4 cu in (1,252 cc)

Compression Ratio

12.0:1

Fuel System

Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)

3

Air Cleaner

Downdraft intake, tuned velocity stacks, washable filter media

Exhaust

2-into-1-into-2; catalyst in muffler

Lubrication System

Semi-Dry Sump

Drivetrain

Primary Drive

Gear, 49/89 ratio

Final Drive

Belt, 80/34 ratio

Clutch

Mechanical, 8 plate wet, assist & slip, 1090N

Transmission

6-speed

Gear Ratios

12.21

Gear Ratios

9.022

Gear Ratios

6.994

Gear Ratios

5.641

Gear Ratios

4.731

Gear Ratios

4.131

Chassis

Frame

Stressed-member, high strength low alloy steel trellis frame; stamped, cast, and forged junctions; MIG welded; aluminum forged mid-structure

Swingarm

High strength low alloy steel, tubular sections, stamped x-member, forged axle junctions; MIG welded

Front Fork

43 mm inverted fork with compression, rebound and spring preload adjustability.  Aluminum fork triple clamps.

Rear Shocks

Linkage-mounted, piggyback monoshock with compression, rebound and hydraulic spring preload adjustability

Wheels, Optional Style Type

N/A

4

Wheels, Front Type

Aluminum cast, satin black

4

Wheels, Front Width

4.5 in. (114 mm)

Wheels, Front Height

17 in. (432 mm)

Wheels, Rear Type

Aluminum cast, satin black

4

Wheels, Rear Width

5 in. (127 mm)

Wheels, Rear Height

16 in. (406 mm)

Brakes, Caliper Type

Front: radially mounted, monoblock, 4-piston caliper Rear: floating, single piston caliper

Brakes, Rotor Type

Front: single rotor, floating, tower- mounted Rear: solid uniform expansion rotor

Brakes, Front Diameter

12.6 in. (320 mm)

Brakes, Front Thickness

0.2 in. (6 mm)

Brakes, Front is dual

No

Brakes, Rear Diameter

10.2 in. (260 mm)

Brakes, Rear Thickness

0.2 in. (5 mm)

Front brake lever free travel

N/A

Rear brake pedal free travel

N/A

Brakes, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)

Standard

Suspension Travel, Front

3.6 in. (92 mm)

Suspension Travel, Rear

2 in. (51 mm)

Performance

Engine Torque Testing Method

J1349

Engine Torque

94 ft-lb (127 Nm)

5

Engine Torque

6,000

Power

121 HP / 90 kW @ 7500 rpm

Lean Angle Testing Method

J1168

Lean Angle, Right (deg.)

34

Lean Angle, Left (deg.)

34

Maximum hill-starting ability

N/A

Fuel Economy Testing Method

Estimated City/Hwy

Fuel Economy

49 mpg (4.8 l/100 km)

6

CO2 Emissions Testing Method

N/A

CO2 Emissions

N/A

Electric

Battery

Sealed, maintenance-free, absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery, 12V, 12Ah, 225 CCA at 0°F

Charging

Three-phase, 45 Amp system (300 Watts @13 Volts, 1200 rpm, 585 Watts max power @ 13 Volts, 2250 rpm)

Starting

0.9 kW electric with direct drive starter motor engagement

Lights (as per country regulation), Headlamp

All LED headlamp, low and high beam with signature position lighting

Lights (as per country regulation), Tail/Stop

All LED Tail/Stop lamp with signature tail lighting

Lights (as per country regulation), Front Signal Lights

LED Bullet Turn Signals

Lights, Rear Turn Signals

LED Bullet Turn Signals

Gauges

4 inch viewable area TFT display with speedometer, gear, odometer, fuel level, clock, trip, ambient temp, low temp alert, side stand down alert, TIP over alert, cruise, range and tachometer indication BT capable – phone pairing to access phone calls, music, navigation (H-D App ONLY)

Auxiliary Lamps

N/A

Electric Power Outlet

USB C-Type , Output 5V at 2.4 Amp

GPS System

N/A

Reverse Gear

N/A

Warranty And Service

Warranty

24 months (unlimited mileage)

7

Service Interval

First 1,000 miles (1,600 km), every 5,000 miles (8,000 km) thereafter

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