As the name suggests, the Sportster is the jock of the Harley-Davidson line-up, offering a motor with gusto and a chassis that won’t have a meltdown with every kink in the road.

For 2021, there’s a new one – the Sportster S. It has a new, beefier look with raised exhausts, a low-slung seat and a crouched, ready-to-leap posture, all based on the famous XR750 flat tracker.

Harley-Davidson Sportster S 9

It features the new liquid-cooled Revolution Max 1250T V-Twin motor pushing out 121hp. More importantly, it also pushes 127Nm of torque that Harley says sits at a straight line throughout the rev range, meaning torque at any speed in at any revs. The magnesium engine covers have a Chocolate Satin finish for added styling.

To save weight, the motor is a central member of the chassis, aiding to an on the road weight of 228kg.

There’s a new four-inch TFT screen with an infotainment system that connects via Bluetooth. The screen also controls the three pre-programmed rider modes and two custom modes, plus the new range of electronic safety features.

With the motor being a stressed member of the chassis, there is no traditional frame, while the swingarm is a steel-trellis member.

Harley-Davidson Sportster S 7

The suspension is dealt with by Showa with 43mm cartridge forks up front and a Piggyback reservoir rear shock. The wheels are five-spoke aluminium and are shod with Dunlop SEries GT503 tyres.

The single 320mm front disk is grabbed by a Brembo radial monoblock calliper.

More electrical goodies include the pre-wiring for heated grips that can also plug into heated riding gear. There is also a USB port to charge phones and other accessories.

Harley-Davidson Sportster S 3

Availability in South Africa is still not clear. The price in the USA is $14,999 (approx R220,000) however the SA price is still to be confirmed. 

Harley-Davidson Sportster S image gallery – click to enlarge: