2022 Sportster S takes a massive leap forward in performance
2022 Sportster S takes a massive leap forward in performance

Harley has always eschewed the outlaw aspect of its bikes. The Sportster remains an outlaw’s bike but
way sportier
2022 heralds by far the biggest change in architecture since the Harley-Davidson Sportster first hit the
scene in 1957. Since inception the basic design and look of most Sportster models have shown a clear
and distinct lineage to the original that was unmistakable. The riding experience too was certainly
reminiscent of another age. Even with the shift in 2004 to rubber engine isolators that took some of the
shake, rattle and roll out of the bikes, followed by the shift to fuel-injection in 2007, the Sportster ride
still felt distinctly old school. Emissions legislation was what essentially signed the final death warrant of
the current generation Sportster, thus in 2021 we have been led to the situation whereby Sportster is
dead. It is no more. Long live the Sportster!
2022 will mark a huge leap forward in performance and specification that will take Sportster into a
whole new world of riding dynamics, the price has also been hiked by 50 per cent. In this new
generation of Sportster though you can certainly see a massive return in value that clearly illustrates
where that extra money has gone.
That is also understandable as where once the V-Rod was the sharpest tool in the Harley-Davidson
dealership, leaving aside the short lived but now legendary relatively light and flickable XR1200X that
while not boasting the power of the V-Rod, certainly bested it for riding dynamics and cornering
Harley-Davidson XR1200X was the sportiest Harley ever made in the modern era
Now the new Sportster S propels the brand into proper sports naked territory when it comes to engine
performance thanks to the brilliant new Revolution Max 1250 60-degree V-Twin. In Sportster S guise
this high-tech new DOHC powerplant boasts much less power than the Pan America models it first
debuted in. While Pan America boasts 150 horsepower at 8750 rpm and 127 Nm of torque at 6750 rpm,
the quoted figures for Sportster S are 121 horsepower at 7500 rpm and the torque figure remains the
same at 127 Nm but arrives 750 rpm earlier in Sportster S. Harley say they have tuned the engine to be
more torque focused with smaller ports and valves that meet a combustion chamber profile that is also
designed to flow stronger at lower rpm along with milder cams and variable valve timing phasing that
should endow the engine with better low-rpm performance.
Unfortunately, while the engine performance is impressive, albeit still 80 horsepower short of the more
focused Europeans, the chassis performance is unlikely to thrill. The Showa suspension specification is
certainly sporting enough but with a shockingly low 51 mm of rear travel and limited ground clearance,
Harley are only quoting 34-degrees of lean angle, spirited riding will no doubt be the spark throwing
affair that riding a Sportster hard always was. Hopefully bump compliance is improved despite that tiny
amount of rear suspension travel, fingers crossed. A mid-control conversion kit will be available but we
are unsure if that will open up any more sporting potential. A pillion kit will also be an optional extra as
will be a detachable windshield and tail-bag. The powertrain is a stressed member of the chassis,
eliminating the traditional frame. A welded tubular steel trellis swingarm features a braced design and
stamped X-member to further stiffen the chassis, while its shape adds distinctive style to the

Most competitors will exceed 50-degrees of cornering bank angle before running into clearance
problems, so the key to riding a Sportster fast will retain that quintessential riding style that all Harleys
demand in order for them to be punted hard. The new street-fighter styled Bareknuckle will likely raise
the stakes further and become the new undisputed king of performance for Harley but most of the
information on that new model remains under embargo.
Bareknuckle will likely become the new performance spearhead for H-D but the full specs of that model
remain under embargo
While the styling of the new Sportster S is a big departure from most Sportster models there are cues
there, primarily in regards to the high-mount 2-into-1-into-2 exhaust, that does echo the lines of the
legendary XR750 flat-tracker.
The Day maker LED headlight though is a thoroughly modern touch that is signature Harley-Davidson
and will make Sportster S stand out from the crowd.
Rolling on tall 180/70-16 rubber at the rear and a fat 160/70-17 front the bike looks squat and the 753
mm seat height will make the bike very friendly to those short of stature and it retains the long and low
look of so many Sportsters before it.
At 228 kg ready to roll the new 1250 Sportster S is 30 kg lighter than an 883 Sportster and the stopping
power moves to a high-spec Brembo Monobloc four-piston caliper, however, the bike only wears one of
them up front while most competitors boast two.
With the new generation engine, we also move to an up to date suite of electronic safety aids that
includes Riding Modes (Sport, Road and Rain), while a six-axis IMU delivers top shelf traction control and
ABS with cornering and front wheel lift functionality. The IMU also looks after engine braking control to
help stability while down-shifting through the six-speed gearbox which is also aided by a slip-assist
Instrumentation also makes a huge leap forward with a four-inch TFT screen complete with Bluetooth
phone driven infotainment and navigation capabilities. Sportster S is pre-wired for accessory heated
hand grips, and is equipped with two dedicated power points for heated riding gear (heated hand grips
and heated riding gear/apparel each sold separately), plus a USB-C port for charging a phone or other
An external ambient temperature sensor will be useful while tyre pressure monitoring is a great feature.
Cruise control and a proximity-based security system are standard equipment.
The steel fuel tank holds a modest 11.8 litres thus while it will not quite have LiveWire levels of range
anxiety one eye will need to be kept on the tripmeter.

Customisation will be a focus for Harley and their customers with this new platform, which Harley are
referring to as a ‘Performance Custom’.
We look forward to samping the future of Sportster later this year to see how this next step forward in
the modernisation of the Harley-Davidson line-up performs.

Harley-Davidson Sportster S Specifications
Engine Revolution Max 1250T, chain-driven, DOHC, hydraulic self-adjusting lifters, intake & exhaust
VVT; four valves per cylinder
Bore x stroke: 105 mm x 72.3 mm
Displacement: 1252 cc
Compression Ratio: 12.0:1
Engine Torque: 94 ft-lb (127 Nm) @ 6000 rpm
Power: 121 hp (90 kW) @ 7500 rpm
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Air Cleaner: Downdraft intake, tuned velocity stacks, washable filter media
Exhaust 2-into-1-into-2; catalyst in muffler
Lubrication System: Semi-Dry Sump
Primary Drive: Gear, 49/89 ratio
Final Drive: Belt, 80/34 ratio
Clutch: Mechanical, 8 plate wet, assist & slip, 1090N
Transmission: Six-speed
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: Aluminum cast, satin black
Wheels, Front Width: 4.50 x 17 in.
Wheels, Rear Width: 5.00 x 16 in.
Brakes: 320 mm front rotor, radial monoblock four-piston caliper, 260mm rear rotor, single piston
caliper, ABS
Tyre Type: Dunlop Harley-Davidson Series, radial, GT503

Tyre Size: 160/70TR17 73V, 180/70R16 77V
Suspension: Travel, F/R 92 mm / 51 mm
Lean Angle Testing Method: J1168
Lean Angle, Right: (deg.) 34
Lean Angle, Left: (deg.) 34
Length: 2265 mm
Overall Width: 843 mm
Overall Height: 1089 mm
Seat Height, Laden: 734 mm
Seat Height, Unladen: 753 mm
Static Ground Clearance: 93 mm
Rake (steering head): 30
Fork Angle: 28
Trail: 148 mm
Wheelbase: 1518 mm
Fuel Capacity: 11.8 L
Reserve Fuel Capacity: 3 L
Oil Capacity (w/filter): 4.5 L
Weight, In Running Order: 228 kg
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating: 418 kg