New 2023 Harley-Davidson Nightster S

The Harley-Davidson Nightster is getting a new “S” variant for 2023. The news comes to us via certification documents from Australia that confirm the new model along with two images of the Nightster S.

The Australian filing provides data on Harley-Davidson’s Revolution Max models including the Nightster (RH975), Sportster S (RH1250S), and Pan America 1250 Special (RA1250S). Not mentioned is the non-Special Pan America 1250, which isn’t offered in Australia. The latest update to the file, dated today, adds a new RH975S model, which we assume will be for a Nightster S.

The file includes a sample vehicle identification number that indicates the filing is for the 2023 model year. The file also includes two photos of the RH975S showing a model that closely resembles the Nightster but with a few styling differences.

And styling differences may be all that separate the RH975S from the RH975, making us question why it is worthy of an “S” designation. That said, the Sportster S only exists with that designation, so perhaps the “S” isn’t as special as it used to be.

The Australian certification document confirms that the engine remains the same state of tune as the 975cc engine as the existing Nightster, claiming 90 hp at 7,500 rpm. The RH975S’ wheel sizes are identical to the Nightsters, but the images show a different cast wheel design. There is no data on the suspension or brakes, but visually they don’t look that different from the existing model.

The photos do show a pillion seat and footpegs, both resembling existing parts from Harley-Davidson’s accessories catalog. The certification lists a “tare weight” of 216 kg (476 pounds), compared to 211 kg (465 pounds) for the Nightster. Harley-Davidson Australia lists 211 kg as the “as shipped” weight for the Nightster, which is slightly heavier than the claimed 462-pound U.S. “as shipped” weight, due mostly to a different license plate mount and taillight on the Australian model. We therefore expect the U.S.-spec Nightster S to come in with a curb weight of about 492 pounds.

In the U.S., the Nightster has a side-mounted license plate holder. This is probably not legal in Australia, which is why the existing Nightster and the RH975S use a different design.

Harley-Davidson’s first 2023 launch event is scheduled for Jan. 18; in the past, Harley-Davidson saves new models, and new Revolution Max models especially, for separate launches, but given the few differences between the Nighster and Nighster S, we wouldn’t be surprised if the RH975S is part of the initial event.


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