Harley-Davidson takes its Sportster line in a welcome direction with its 2021 Sportster S, offering riders a machine with up-to-date tech, high-quality suspension, and its latest Revolution Max engine. The streetbike will be available for purchase starting this fall with a $14,999 price tag.
Harley introduced its new mill earlier this year with the debut of the Pan America. The liquid-cooled 1,250cc 60-degree V-twin in the Sportster S cruiser shares many of the same elements as the adventure engine, with a few notable differences. The Sportster S has smaller valves and port dimensions in the cylinder heads along with a different combustion chamber shape, all geared toward enhancing low-end and midrange torque. As a result, the forged aluminum pistons have a different shape as well. Harley also revised the airbox volume and design of the intake velocity stacks in order to optimize performance with the new design. Camshaft profiles and the variable valve timing phasing are unique to the Sportster S as well.
In terms of numbers, the engine in the Sportster S pumps out 121 hp and 94 pound-feet of torque with a 9,500-rpm redline. Designers aimed to give the machine loads of punch down low, followed by a smooth, linear powerband up through the rev range.
The frame was revised to accommodate the engine as a stressed member of the chassis, and a tubular steel trellis swingarm is designed to further improve the stiffness of the chassis.
A fully adjustable Showa fork and fully adjustable Showa shock handle suspension duties, while Brembo braking components provide stopping power. The braking setup includes a radial-mount four-piston caliper and 320mm disc at the front and single-piston caliper, 260mm disc at the back. The brake and clutch levers are adjustable and seat height measures 29.6 inches.
The cockpit will feature a 4-inch TFT instrument display, with all display functions editable via control arrays on the left- and right-hand side. The bike is compatible with Bluetooth devices as well, displaying caller and music information and allowing riders to scroll through tracks and adjust the volume of their Bluetooth headset (sold separately) via the hand controls. Riders can also download the Harley-Davidson app and see navigation information displayed on the instrument panel.
The tech enhancements continue by way of a new six-axis IMU that informs the cornering ABS and cornering traction control systems. There’s also a cornering drag-torque slip control system which further aids in reducing rear wheel slip in corners while also preventing rear wheel lockups during hard deceleration.
There are three preset ride modes that calibrate each system to the specific conditions, and one rider-customizable setting. The Sportster S will include a tire pressure monitoring system.
Numerous accessory upgrades will be available including mid-controls, passenger kits, solo seat upgrades, wind protection, and luggage. The 2021 Sportster S comes in Vivid Black, Stone Washed White Pearl, and Midnight Crimson colorways.
2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S Technical Specifications and Price
|Engine:||1,250cc, liquid-cooled Revolution Max V-twin|
|Bore x Stroke:||4.13 x 2.85 in.|
|Clutch:||Wet, multiplate w/ assist and slip function|
|Frame:||Steel trellis w/ stressed-member engine|
|Front Suspension:||43mm Showa USD fork, fully adjustable|
|Rear Suspension:||Linkage-mounted, piggyback Showa shock, fully adjustable|
|Front Brake:||Radial-mount Brembo 4-piston caliper, 320mm disc w/ ABS|
|Rear Brake:||Floating Brembo 1-piston caliper, 260mm disc w/ ABS|
|Wheels, Front/Rear:||Cast aluminum; 17 in./16 in.|
|Tires, Front/Rear:||Dunlop GT503; 160/70-17 / 180/70-16|
|Seat Height:||29.6 in.|
|Fuel Capacity:||3.1 gal.|
|Claimed Curb Weight:||502 lb.|