Harley-Davidson Trademarks Nightster, hinting at the future of the Sportster

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Between feedings on her newborn, Motorcycle.com sleuth Dennis Chung informed us that Harley-Davidson has filed a new trademark application in Europe for the name Nightster.

Why should you care? Because the Sportster line was discontinued in Europe and in the US it only exists in three forms: the Iron 883, Iron 1200 and the Forty-Eight – far from the heyday of the line Sportster. For this reason, it’s hard to believe that Harley would simply let one of its most legendary model lines fade into the depths of history. That Harley is using Nightster, a name for a previous Sportster, would suggest that the replacement for the Sportster line-up will still be called Sportsters (this has always been likely, but it cements it more).

It’s hard to say in more detail what Harley has up its sleeve at this point, but The Motor Company already has registered trademarks both in Europe and USA for 48X, which could be another potential new Sportster. It’s not much of a stretch of the imagination, of course, considering the forty-eight we have right now. Thus, an evolution of the model is probable (hence the X in the name).

The Harley-Davidson Custom 1250 concept has long been seen as the successor to the Sportster, but we have a hunch that the liquid-cooled line will be distinct from the air-cooled Sportster line, if HD is able to pull it off.

A little more interesting is the name Bareknuckle, which Harley also recorded previously. There was speculation that this would be what would become the Bronx streetfighter, which debuted as a concept alongside the Pan America adventure touring model. As we now know, thanks to Harley’s new ReWire plan, the Bronx will only be an interesting note in the history books (and the Harley-Davidson Museum). But what about the name Bareknuckle? If it’s a Sportster, it would be the first new name in the revived Sportster lineup, not a new or slightly revised name like Nightster and 48X.

Where do we go from here? Only time will tell. When we know more, we’ll post it here.


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