The next Harley-Davidson Sportster will be the RH975

We are less than a week away from the official reveal of Harley-Davidsonis the next Sportsterbut we managed to confirm that the new model will use a 975 version of the Revolution Max engine.

Harley-Davidson slowly revealed details of the new model, first with a teaser video and a number of social media posts. We previously speculated that the new model will use a smaller displacement version of the Sportster S‘ Revolution Max 1250T engine, with cues like the telescopic fork, twin rear shocks and single front disc suggesting a less performance-focused focus. The sidelined Bronx streetfighter was originally supposed to use a 975cc version of the liquid-cooled engine, so we assumed it would be a contender for the next Sportster.

We now have evidence supporting the 975 theory, courtesy of Harley-Davidson itself. an official product list for machined aluminum mirrors from Harley-Davidson’s Wild Ones collection mentions models RH975 and RH1250S, noting that both models would also require bar ends. Harley-Davidson designates its new Revolution Max Sportsters as RH models, with the RH1250S being the Sportster S. So the RH975 is to be the new model coming April 12th.

It should be noted that the RH975 model code does not end with an “S” like the RH1250S. Harley-Davidson generally uses the “S” to refer to its more performance-oriented models, such as the Sportster S and Jumper low S. The absence of S suggests that the RH975 would suit the less performance-oriented model hinted at in the teasers.

A new 975cc Sportster would take a much needed place in the Harley-Davidson lineup. For the moment, Harley-Davidson only offers one model with less than one liter of displacement: the Iron 883. One of the last air-cooled Sportsters (alongside the 1200cc Forty-Eight), the Iron 883 has already been discontinued in Europe, leaving several markets without an entry-level model. A new Euro 5 compliant liquid-cooled RH975 would fill that void. For the United States, it would be the eventual successor when the Iron 883 ended production.

When the RH975 is announced, we expect it to be given a model name. Harley-Davidson filed trademark applications for the name “Nightster” in 2021, a name previously used for a 1200cc Sportster. The name is a good candidate for RH975, and if you do a Search Google for the term “Nightster” on Harley-Davidson.com, the landing page for the April 12 announcement is one of the top results. We wouldn’t call it definitive proof, but it wouldn’t surprise us if the new model was called the “Nightster 975”.

We’ll know for sure when Harley-Davidson makes its official announcement on April 12.


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