In a world of high-performance cruisers, cafe racers, and garage-built rods, along comes a Harley-Davidson managing to blend all genres like none before – with a major nod to the Sportsters from the ’50s and ’60s.
With its minimalist design, the Roadster is the latest in Harley’s “Dark Custom” roster, appealing mainly to the social media generation and twentysomething hipsters sporting well-groomed beards looking for the next kale cronut craze.
Part of the appeal is its rideability, especially with the 1200cc V-Twin engine producing plenty of low-end torque on its way to sport-touring heights of 145 km/h. But apart from the obvious muscle, this machine really proves its penny in the corners. It’s the only Sportster variant with inverted 43mm front forks, and when mated with the beefy twin gas-charged emulsion coil-over shocks it is able to absorb any punishment the road throws at it – and you, the rider.
Interestingly, this model opts away from superbike-like brakes and 17-inch wheels. Instead, it runs 19-inch front and 18-inch cast spoke rear wheels, with immediate bite coming from the dual disc front brakes with floating rotors and optional anti-lock brakes front and rear.
The rearset footpegs, sporty chassis and hunched forward look give it a more aggressive and purposeful stance than most production Harleys before it. Throw in 1920-style cafe racer handlebars, cut chrome mufflers, a fast-back seat design, and a bobbed fender (or two) and you have the factory version of what custom shops have been piecing together for the last few years.
You just don’t get the badge, you also get the motorcycling heritage and all the social and aftermarket benefits that come with it. Badassery at its finest – in your choice of Vivid Black, Black Denim, Velocity Red Sunglo, or Billet Silver/Vivid Black.
Go on, do it.