The new Harley-Davidson Nightster proves a worthy Sportster successor, but is far from perfect. Hit play on the video below and I’ll explain more…
What we like:
- Strong acceleration
- Playful handling
- Useful, noninvasive tech
Room for improvement:
- Sloppy ride-by-wire
- Uninspiring soundtrack
- Messy LHS styling
2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster price and specs
Harley-Davidson has released its new Nightster, an entry-level model under its Sportster umbrella, that is now available from $23,995 rideaway.
At this price, the Nightster is the second-least expensive model in the 2022 Harley-Davidson range above the more conventional Softail Standard ($22,995), and sits below the higher-spec Sportster S which launched late last year from $26,495.
The Nightster effectively fills the gap left by the Iron and Forty-Eight models which were dropped from the brand’s line-up in 2021, though the new model promises significantly stronger performance from its modern Revolution Max underpinnings.
This is the third model built on Harley’s Revolution Max architecture, after the 1252cc V-twin powered Pan America 1250 and Sportster S, however, the Nightster draws power from a new smaller-capacity unit as INFO MOTO reported in July.
It is now confirmed that the 975cc V-twin motor powering the Harley-Davidson Nightster generates 67kW and 95Nm – similar outputs to the rivalling Indian Scout Rogue ($23,995) which makes 70kW/97Nm from its 1133 V-twin, and the Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster ($21,890) that manages 57kW/107Nm from its 1200cc parallel twin.
The move to the Revolution Max platform brings modern engine technology to the Sportster platform like dual overhead cams, variable valve timing, internal balancers to reduce vibration and hydraulic valves that negate the need for valve adjustment.
This new architecture brings improved outputs and efficiencies compared to the company’s typical V-twin powerplants, although it arguably does not replicate the sound and feel that is synonymous with the Harley brand.
Compared to the Sportster S, the new Nightster takes on a more neutral stance with low-rise handlebars, mid-mounted controls and an approachable seat height of 705mm.
The front end is suspended with 41mm Showa forks, while the rear uses twin emulsion shocks that are adjustable for preload.
Three rider modes, Road, Sport and Rain, give access to adjustable traction control, drag-torque slip control and advanced ABS, although the Nightster makes do with a 4.0-inch analogue speedo with a small LCD display rather than the TFT system fitted to the higher-spec Sportster S.
Spencer has a keen eye for hard news, and does some of his best living on deadline day. He loves more than anything to travel on his motorcycle, and is adamant that Melbourne Bitter is a world-class lager. He also knows how to operate the big computery thing in the office. By night, Spencer plays guitar with Melbourne punk outfit LOUTS.