When H-D unveiled the Sportster S back in 2021, it wanted to attract younger, more performance-oriented riders. In fact, the MoCo went as far as to tease the new bike as a full on sporty street machine, so much so that for a brief moment, we actually thought that a naked streetfighter style bike was finally about to roll off Harley-Davidson's assembly line. Alas, we were wrong, but the Sportster S was undeniably a cool bike.
Now, a new bike joins the ranks of Harley’s cruiser lineup. Harley-Davidson proudly presents the newest addition to its cruiser lineup in the form of the Nightster. The Milwaukee manufacturer has resurrected the nameplate for the most entry-level machine in its Sportster range, and is meant to sit below the more premium and powerful Sportster S. The new Nightster is pretty much a new motorcycle from the ground up, and continues to showcase new innovations from the MoCo.
For starters, it’s powered by a new engine—a smaller iteration of the Revolution Max motor we see in the Sportster S and Pan America. It’s a 60-degree V-twin engine displacing 975 cubes. It gets liquid-cooling and electronic fuel injection, making it capable of pumping out some decent power figures; 90 horsepower at 7,500 rpm, and 70 ft-lbs at 5,000 rpm. Furthermore, the engine serves as a stressed member of the chassis, and allowed Harley-Davidson to keep the Nightster’s weight rather low at just 481 pounds. Granted, it isn’t light compared to other bikes, but it sure is light for a Harley.
When it comes to styling, there’s no doubt that the Nightster takes several design cues from Sportsters of years passed. It features chopped fenders, exposed shock absorbers, and a tiny headlight cowl. All these features give the bike a very custom look and feel out of the box. Furthermore, the new 975cc Revolution Max engine, as well as its beefy air filter and exhaust system are proudly on display. The bike’s low-slung aesthetic translates to an extremely friendly ride, too. Its seat height is very low, at just 27.8 inches, meaning it’s easily accessible even to the most height-challenged of riders.
The Nightster, although being near the bottom of the Harley lineup, has a surprising number of modern features. It comes with dual-channel ABS, traction control, and a Drag-Torque Slip Control System (DSCS), which works similarly to a slipper clutch used on street bikes. The Nightster has three riding modes: Road, Sport, and Rain, which allow users to tailor the bike's performance to their specific preferences and road conditions.