Harley Davidson Nightster First Ride Review

The Sportster has not been so sporty for some time – apart from the Sportster S 2021, the Nightster shares more than a handful of tricks. It has been 65 years since Harley-Davidson touted the Sportster as America’s answer to the British invasion of motorcycles, which by that time had gained popularity in the United States. At that time, people used their motorcycles for everything-trails, test rides, enduros, scrambles, bunnies and dogs, street races and Sunday cruises. You could do anything on a Harley, according to the 1958 ad for the Sportster CH and C models below. The market was not so segmented.

Harley-Davidson at night 2022

Modern performance in the classic Sportster setup.

+ Tops

  • Mid-range performance
  • Dealing with trust
  • Feels much lighter than it is

– Sigh

  • Where is the lower end?
  • A little jerky only in slow motion
  • I would appreciate a 1 inch higher seat if we could add it to the shock absorbers

Of course, this is not to discredit the history of the Sportster model in the competition. While my 30-year-old vision of the Sportster knows it as a platform for customizers and entry-level drugs in the HD group, the dynamic character of the motorcycle is the reason why the Sportster line has been so popular since its launch. From the enduros and drags of the late 50s and 60s to today’s hooligan races and all the custom machines along the way, the Sportster has been used in a variety of ways by enthusiasts of all kinds. With the brand new Nightster, we now have a Sportster with seriously modern sporting capabilities.

Practical and easy to drive, with high-performance glass

That was the goal of the Harley-Davidson Nightster 2022. With a saddle height of 27.8 inches (empty), a measured wet weight of 482 pounds – most of which is stowed on the bike – 90 hp and 70 lb-ft of torque, it seems like the people in Milwaukee have put together a good formula to achieve this goal. It wasn’t easy, says Brad Richards, vice president of design. Maintaining the classic Sportster DNA was a challenge for the new engine, especially after the engine was used as a loaded element of the chassis, as opposed to the traditional “loop” frame that athletes used from the very beginning. A similar setup can be found on the Sportster S, but the Nightster should fit the silhouette of the Iron 883 as closely as possible, so H-D still had a lot to do.

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