Harley-Davidson’s New Sportster Looks Anything But ‘Sporty” – UPDATED

Harley-Davidson’s New Sportster Looks Anything But ‘Sporty” – UPDATED

August 22, 2021: I added a video at the bottom of my story proving I’m not the only one to draw the Sportster/V-Rod connection.

July 22, 2021: I was enthusiastic about Harley-Davidson’s new Pan America model (although my buying advice is to hold off until the bugs are worked out). Can’t say I feel the same optimism about the recently-announce all-new Sportster model.

Photos of the bike in action (like in the Cycle News review) show the rider in a very un-sporty, upright position. I mean, how many times can you read the soles of a rider’s shoes in an action photo? Check out the opening shot in the Cycle News feature. That forward-foot position is all cruiser. The 9-page review then goes on to say, in the nicest way possible, that they don’t like the bike. 

It is curious that Harley went the cruiser route with their new Sportster (classified inaccurately by Harley as a “Sport” bike) because they already have a ton of cruisers in their lineup. The Pan America filled a gap. The Sportster does not. I don’t expect that H-D dealerships will enjoy a sizable sales bump from the latest incarnation of the Sportster legacy.

Cover boy: Cycle News gave the new Sportster their cover and a thorough 9-page review inside, but I wouldn’t say it was a “favorable.”

Family resemblance: The new Sportster owes more of its styling cues to the now-discontinued V-Rod than to the Sportsters of old. Raise the pipes and reduce the steering-tube angle on the V-Rod and you’ve got the new Sportster.

X-citing Inspiration: H-D’s design department should use the Harley-Davidson XR750 for their Sportster inspiration. Maybe something along these lines is coming down the pike. We can only hope.

I am not alone: It appears that I am not the only one drawing comparisons between the new Sportster and V-Rod of old. My short attention span made it impossible not to fast forward through this video, but it does prove some of my feelings about the new Sporty.