Harley-Davidson Sportster S, track test

The Pan America 1250 was a major breakthrough for Harley-Davidson, but as impressive as it is, the big beefy ADV doesn’t quite resonate with traditional Harley customers. Buying an ADV from Harley-Davidson is like having a pizza from your favorite burger. Sure, it might have all the right ingredients, but it’s unlikely to become your go-to place for your pizza cravings. You get the drift…

But, earlier this year, the legendary American bike maker brought the Sportster S to our shores. It’s a signature Harley dish with all the excess. For starters, the Sportster S gets all the usual Harley bits and bobs. It gets the typical hot rod muscles, coupled with a V-Twin beating heart, and yes, it looks stunning from every angle. In fact, with the exception of the Suzuki Katana, it scored the highest points out of all the competitors here in terms of design and X-Factor. But, unlike the Katana, the Sportster S is badass to the bone, which makes it so desirable.

The best thing is that it’s not just the Sportster’s sexiness that makes it so alluring, but also the fact that it’s a Harley with the most modern and advanced mechanics to go with it. her stunning looks. The Sportster S is powered by the same Revolution Max V-Twin engine you find in the Pan America. The motor is not as powerful as in the ADV, as it has been tuned for lower torque. However, with 121bhp and 125Nm on tap, it’s still a bit manic for what it is. And the best part is that there’s nothing old school about this engine – it’s supremely refined, revs like a sportbike to its 9,500 rpm redline and delivers blistering acceleration. The Revolution Max is an absolute star!

What brought down the Sportster S’s final ratings was its ride and handling and practicality. While it’s a fun bike to ride every day, it’s still a big killer. The rear suspension has virtually no travel, which means your spine will take a beating on our roads. And this V-twin gets a lot of heat! Plus, we think it’s a bit pricey too.

All told, the Sportster S is Harley’s best attempt to modernize the brand, without compromising its heritage. Think of it as a double pancake Big Mac – deliciously good!

  • Harley-Davidson Sportster S (lap time – 01:30.9)
SETTINGS POINTS SCORE
QUALITY ten 8
COMFORT & PRACTICALITY ten 5
REFINEMENT ten 8
PATTERN ten 9
TRANSMISSION ten 8.5
DRIVING AND HANDLING ten 5.5
X-FACTOR 15 13
CHRONOGRAPH 5 0.3
VALUE FOR MONEY 20 12
TOTAL 100 69.3

Read more:

Harley-Davidson Sportster S review: first ride

Harley-Davidson Fat Bob, track test

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