Can a touring version of the venerated Low Rider S hold its street cred when loaded up with touring options? Snaggy finds out…
What we like:
- Top notch build quality
- Clever fuel mapping
- DNA of the S model retained
Room for improvement:
- Instruments too small
- Bags too small
- Bring a fat cheque
Some recent history to kick us off. The last of the Harley-Davidson Dynas, the Low Rider S released in 2016, became an instant cult classic. Tough, deadest gorgeous and dynamically brilliant. Yep, the original Low Rider S came very close to gracing the Snag Garage. Close indeed. It was, and remains, a superb motorcycle. Watch the prices go up on that one. Big time.
When the Low Rider S became a Softail, the market rejoiced that the hot rod cool of the original bike was continued. Now, the Motor Company has answered the call for a touring variant. But, is all that cool lost in the long-distance add-ons?
Well, for mine H-D deserves to be congratulated on this bike. It seems to me that the Milwaukee mob has gone back to producing bikes that the market wants, rather than the scatter gun approach of a few years ago that saw the brand attempting to produce ‘100 models in 10 years’ I knew that was ridiculous and it seems they’ve worked it out too.
Now, we are getting models that are useable and cool gain. Thank Christ for that.
So, back to the ST. First up, the thing is built beautifully. Another step up. It is as good as anything mass-produced now, and I’m a hard marker on that front. Gone are the exposed fasteners, loose flimsy plastics and uneven, rough textures. I was impressed there.
Mind at north of 35 large, it would want to be pretty good. That’s real coin in anyone’s language.
You get hard non-removable bags, a neat frame-mounted fairing and longer travel rear suspension. Good move that. I like my kidneys right where they are and some of the H-D shorter travel stuff has juggled my innards a little more than I care for in the past.
Now, there’s no getting around that weight. It’s 327kg wet. I can’t use the word ‘fat’, because I’ll get cancelled. So let’s say, umm… ‘well-fed’. Twiggy she/he/they ain’t.
Now, the important stuff. The 117ci Milwaukee 8 engine is a peach, making 77kW at 4750rpm and 168Nm at 5020rpm from its 1923cc twin. Good numbers, but not startling from that capacity. But wait. The gold here is in the donk’s inherent fuel mapping, which is a highlight. No jerks from right off the bottom, offering effortless express take-offs and bursts of gut-wrenching pull. I love that. And so do the schoolkids cheering you on at the lights.
The clangy gearbox engagement is all but gone. You still need to earn a good gearchange, but you should have to. I don’t like bikes that chew your food for you and this one asks you to be a capable rider. And, you are, are you not?
Anyway, enough blurb. Hit the video and I’ll give you the good bad and the ugly. You were warned…
Snag’s career in motoring journalism spans 29 years with stints at major bike mags Australian Road Rider, Motorcycle Trader and AMCN along with contributions to just about every other outlet worth a hill of beans. He was editor of Unique Cars magazine and hosts his legendary podcast ‘Snag Says’ when he gets off his date.