In between feedings for his newborn child, Motorcycle.com’s sleuth, Dennis Chung, has informed us that Harley-Davidson has filed a new trademark application in Europe for the name Nightster. 

Why do we care? Because the Sportster line has been discontinued in Europe, and in the US it only exists in three forms: the Iron 883, Iron 1200, and Forty-Eight – a far cry from the heyday of the Sportster line. Because of this, it’s hard to believe that Harley would simply let one of its most legendary model lines fade away into the depths of history. That Harley is using Nightster, a name for a previous Sportster, would suggest the Sportster line’s replacement will still be called Sportsters (this was always likely, but this further cements it).

It’s hard to say with any more detail what Harley has up its sleeve at this point, but The Motor Company has also previously filed trademarks both in Europe and the US for 48X, which could be another potential new Sportster. This isn’t much of a stretch for the imagination, of course, considering the Forty-Eight we currently have. So, an evolution of the model is likely (hence the X in the name). 

The Harley-Davidson Custom 1250 concept has long been believed to be the successor to the Sportster, but we’ve got a hunch the liquid-cooled line will be separate from the air-cooled Sportster line, if H-D is able to pull it off.

A little more interesting is the name Bareknuckle, which Harley has also registered previously.  There was speculation this was going to be what ended up being the Bronx streetfighter, which debuted as a concept alongside the Pan America adventure-touring model. As we now know, thanks to Harley’s new ReWire plan, the Bronx will just be an interesting side note in the history books (and the Harley-Davidson museum). But what about the Bareknuckle name? If it ends up a Sportster, it would be the first new name in the revived Sportster line, and not a rehash or slightly revised name like Nightster and 48X.

Where do we go from here? Only time will tell. When we know more, we’ll post it here.


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