Harley-Davidson's Sportster lineup hit the market way back in 1957. The entry-level model championed the Motor Company’s Iron Head mill until 1986 when the Evolution engine revamped the range. Since then, the Sportster has featured the same Evolution V-twin nestled into a double-cradle steel frame.

In July, 2018, Harley unveiled the 1250 Custom, a concept many believed would replace the aging Sportster platform. After nearly three years, the MoCo is finally confirming those speculations by lifting the covers on the 2021 Sportster S.

2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S 
Engine: Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 1,252cc Vtwin 
Bore And Stroke: 105 mm x 72,.3 mm  
Transmission: 6-speed  
Performance: 121 hp/ 94 lb-ft  
Weight (Wet): 502 pounds  
Price: $14,999 

Harley’s acclaimed 1250 Revolution Max brings the Sportster family into a new generation. The liquid-cooled, DOHC, eight-valve, 1,252cc V-twin cranks out 121 horsepower and 94 lb-ft of torque. Similar to the Pan America, the Sportster’s new wundermill also features variable valve timing and self-adjusting lifters.

Of course, all that power and technology isn’t useful without a competent chassis. Opting to make the engine a stressed member of the chassis, Harley greatly reduces the Sportster’s weight (502 pounds) while improving rigidity and handling. The steel trellis swingarm connects to a Showa Piggyback reservoir rear shock complete with a pre-load adjustment knob while the front end benefits from a fully-adjustable 43mm USD Showa fork.

Gallery: 2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S

Lightweight aluminum cast wheels also lower the unsprung weight and the Dunlop GT503 tires deliver excellent grip. With a potent combination of power and agility, the brakes needed an upgrade as well. So, Harley equipped the Sportster S with a four-pot Brembo monoblock caliper binding a 320 mm front disc while a two-pot Brembo unit bites a 260 mm rear rotor. The cruiser’s new low and lean stance results in a 29.6-inch seat height.

While Sportsters are historically known for their spartan accommodations, the Sportster S changes all that with a round, four-inch TFT display, cornering ABS/traction control, and all-around LED lighting. The selectable Ride Modes allow users to choose between Sport, Road, and Rain or personalize the power delivery with two separate custom modes. Bluetooth connectivity also puts music, incoming/outgoing calls, and navigation right at the rider’s fingertips.

Davidson Sportster S - Stone Washed White Pearl (Action)
Davidson Sportster S - Vivid Black And Crimson (Outdoors)

Along with the electronics suite, the Sportster S offers two dedicated power points for heated gear and pre-wired for heated grips. An additional USB-C port enables mobile device charging on the go as well. Equipped with cruise control, ambient temperature sensor (with low temp warning), and sipping from a 3.1-gallon gas tank, the new Sportster is ready for the open road.

“The Sportster S is the next all-new motorcycle built on the Revolution Max platform and sets a new performance standard for the Sportster line,” said Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz. “This is a next-generation Sportster defined by power, performance, technology, and style.”

Available in Vivid Black, Stone Washed White Pearl, and Midnight Crimson, the 2021 Sportster S will retail for $14,999 (base). Of course, customers can trick out their new Sporty with accessories such as a mid-control conversion kit, detachable windshield, or a model-specific tail bag.

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