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2022 Harley-Davidson Sportster Nightster First Look Preview

The 2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster: low stance, low bars, low everything.

The 2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster: low stance, low bars, low everything. (Harley-Davidson/)

First only happens once. For some, the 2007–2012 Nightster cruiser was its first, in motorcycle terms. It impressed, but ultimately the Nightster was a murdered-out Sportster with shorter forks and lower bars. Like most Sportsters, it was a start.

The original Nightster shared the same heart as any other Sportster, a 45-degree Evo V-twin. The traditional 45-degree Evo engine was good for 50-ish horsepower. But the jump to 60 degrees, as in the much hyped 1250T Sportster S, changes things—a lot. The Nightster’s rebirth means a much improved first ride for an upcoming generation of riders.

The 2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster carries the new liquid-cooled 60-degree V-twin Revolution Max 975T powertrain, making 90 hp at 7,500 rpm with 70 pound-feet torque at 5,000 rpm. Pick your metaphor; this is either a brain or a heart transplant. Either way, America, this is your new Sportster.

Hydraulic valve lifters, familiar to the Milwaukee-Eight engine (and 1948 Panheads, believe it or not), will make things quieter, while revised crank balancers tame most vibration except the good kind, reportedly.

The new Nightster also gets ABS, traction control, and drag-torque slip control to help with abrupt downshifts. Good news: Traction control can be disengaged, so beach burnouts at Bike Week are still a go. Three ride modes, Road, Sport, and Rain, are also included. A 41mm Showa fork makes an appearance, along with preload-adjustable rear shocks.

An analog speedometer with LCD but zero TFT displays brings the Nightster back to its spartan Sportster origins. Paint options are Vivid Black, Gunship Gray, and Redline Red. Fuel is actually carried under the seat, mind blown, with the “tank” being an air cleaner cover. For a bike that prides itself on a low center of gravity, this is quite smart. LED lighting all round finishes things out.

Intentional or not, the Nightster is reminiscent of a past black-sheep member of The Motor Company family; the headstock and frame feature trellis bracing between downtube and backbone are similar to the venerable V-Rod. Low to the ground, and low, period, the Nightster cuts a pleasingly similar profile.

Serious power is finally paired with the rider aids every rider should have, whether beginner or whatever. The Motor Company is rolling the dice and taking the right kind of chances.

Available in April, which is right now.

Some things never change; analog speedo with LED keeps things simple.

Some things never change; analog speedo with LED keeps things simple. (Harley-Davidson/)

A 2-into-1 exhaust hints at added power; round airbox and airbox “tank” evoke classic Sportster styling.

A 2-into-1 exhaust hints at added power; round airbox and airbox “tank” evoke classic Sportster styling. (Harley-Davidson/)

2022 Harley-Davidson Sportster Nightster Technical Specifications and Price

PRICE $13,499
ENGINE 975cc, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, 60-degree V-twin
BORE x STROKE 97.0 x 66.0mm
COMPRESSION RATIO 12.0:1
FUEL DELIVERY Electronic fuel injection
CLUTCH Wet, multiplate
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 6-speed/belt; 49/89 ratio
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER 90 hp @ 7,500 rpm
CLAIMED TORQUE 70 lb.-ft. peak torque @ 5,000 rpm
FRAME Steel trellis frame; aluminum forged mid-structure
FRONT SUSPENSION Dual 41mm Showa fork
REAR SUSPENSION Dual shock/springs, preload adjustable
FRONT BRAKE 4-piston caliper, 320mm disc
REAR BRAKE 1-piston floating caliper, 260mm disc
WHEELS, FRONT/REAR Cast aluminum; 19 in./16 in.
TIRES, FRONT/REAR Dunlop Harley-Davidson Series Bias Blackwall; 100/90-19 / 150/80B-16
RAKE/TRAIL 30.0°/5.4 in.
WHEELBASE 61.3 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 27.1 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 3.1 gal.
CLAIMED CURB WEIGHT 481 lb.
WARRANTY TBD
AVAILABLE April 2022
CONTACT harley-davidson.com

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