The Harley-Davidson Sportster S packs muscle into a small frame

Image for article titled The Harley-Davidson Sportster S injects muscle into a small frame

Photo: Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson unveiled the Sportster S and it has some exciting details. It advertises itself as a muscle bike with its 121 horsepower Revolution Max V-twin packed into a small frame.

The Motor Company is working hard to reinvent itself. Part of that journey is releasing a bunch of new concepts that go against riders’ expectations. One of these concepts was the Custom 1250packaging a big V-twin engine in a small frame with minimal bodywork and big tires. It seemed more muscle bike than cruiser. Now revealed as the Sportster S, we know it has the specs to back up its looks too.

run things is the Revolution Max 1250 engine. This water-cooled 60-degree V-twin is already found in Pan America and our Bradley Brownell gives it high marks, by comparing it to the Ducati 1260S of the Diavel and Multistrada. In the Pan America, it develops 150 horsepower and 94 lb-ft of torque. Here it is detuned to 121 HP with the same torque output.

Image for article titled The Harley-Davidson Sportster S injects muscle into a small frame

Photo: Harley-Davidson

It’s quite the upgrade for the Sportster, which has used the air-cooled Evolution engine for over 30 years. This engine recently broke Euro 5 emissions regulations, forcing Harley to discontinue it in Europe. It also only produced 60 HP in the Iron 1200 despite its displacement. The Revolution Max has a double power while respecting the regulations.

But the Sportster S modifications are not limited to the engine. Gone is the conventional frame, replaced by subframes as the transmission now acts as a structural element. This saves about 62 pounds of weight over the Iron 1200 and ready to ride, the Sportster S weighs in at 502 pounds. Just look at the thing, it looks ready to explode on a freeway at any moment.

Image for article titled The Harley-Davidson Sportster S injects muscle into a small frame

Photo: Harley-Davidson

The increased lean angles add to the performance driving ambitions of the new Sporty. The old Sportster leaned 28 degrees left and 27 degrees right. The Sportster S leans 34 degrees on both sides.

The Sportster S is also equipped with many technologies. It has full LED lighting, a four-inch TFT screen, cruise control, ABS, traction control and Bluetooth.

Image for article titled The Harley-Davidson Sportster S injects muscle into a small frame

Photo: Harley-Davidson

At least on paper, this machine beats its closest competitor, the Indian Scout Bobber Twenty. It has about 21 more horsepower on tap, weighs 60 pounds less, and ABS is standard..

This new model arrives this fall at $14,999. It will not replace the one from the Motor Company cheap ax models. It also makes it more expensive than the Scout Bobber Twenty with ABSwhich amounts to $12,889.

Still, this bike looks absolutely killer, and the Sportster is no longer the bike with the big engine that produces little power. I can’t wait to swing a leg over it.

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