2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster RH975 First Look

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung
Fast Facts

Revolution Max 975T claims 90 hp at 7500 rpm and 70 lb-ft. at 5000 rpm
Claimed 481 pound wet weight
Price starts at $13,499

A fresh take on a classic

After a brief teaser campaign, Harley-Davidson officially revealed the Nightster, a new Sportster model powered by a 975cc version of the liquid-cooled Revolution Max engine. Arriving in dealerships this month, the 2022 Harley-Davidson Sportster is priced at $13,499 for Vivid Black and $13,899 for the Gunship Grey or Redline Red color options.

Visually, the Nightster hits all the traditional notes of classic air-cooled Sportsters with twin rear shocks, chopped fenders, a round air intake cover, and a walnut-shaped fuel tank. Dig a bit deeper, however, and you will notice some significant changes that modernize the newest Sportster.

The solo seat is hinged from the left side, allowing it to open and reveal the fuel filler.

The visible fuel tank, for example, is actually an airbox cover, with the actual tank located under the seat behind the side covers. Placing the 3.1-gallon plastic fuel tank in this position helps lower the center of gravity while also allowing Harley-Davidson to maximize the size of the airbox. To refuel, you will need to lift the hinged locking seat. The fuel tank is 0.2 gallons smaller than the Iron 883’s tank, and while the fuel economy has improved to a claimed 52.4 mpg, that works out to a range of 162.4 miles compared to the Iron’s range of about 168.3 miles.

The new Nightster is powered by a Revolution Max 975T engine; that’s a 975cc version of the engine of the 1252cc Sportster S. The new displacement comes from a bore of 97 mm and a 66 mm stroke, compared to the larger engine’s 105 mm x 72.3 mm.

The DOHC engine uses hydraulic lifters on all four valves per cylinder, with variable valve timing on the two intake valves. Like the Sportster S’ engine, the “T” indicates the engine is tuned for torque, which suggests that a Revolution Max 975 tuned for other purposes is in the works. Harley-Davidson claims the engine produces 90 hp at 7,500 rpm and 70 lb-ft. of torque at 5,000 rpm.

The engine is joined by an assist & slip mechanical wet clutch and a six-speed transmission.

The 2022 Nightster offers three electronic ride modes, each with a different combination of engine mapping, engine braking, ABS, and traction control. Sport Mode offers the highest level of performance, with full power delivery, quicker throttle response, increased engine braking, and traction control at its lowest setting. Road Mode is designed for everyday use, with a less aggressive throttle and lower mid-range power, plus maximum ABS and traction control intervention. Rain Mode prioritizes safety, with restrained throttle response and power output and limited engine braking, with ABS and traction control maxed out.

The Nightster is also equipped with a drag-torque slip control system which adjusts torque delivery to prevent excessive rear wheel slip during abrupt gear changes or in slippery conditions.

The engine serves as a central component of the chassis, helping contribute reduce weight to a claimed 481 pounds, wet. That’s a claimed 21 pounds lighter the Sportster S. The Nightster is also significantly lighter than the old Evolution-engined Sportsters, with the Iron 883 claiming a wet weight of 564 pounds and the 1200cc Forty-Eight tipping the scales at a claimed 556 pounds.

The front frame is a steel alloy trellis while the rear subframe is aluminum. The swingarm is formed of welded rectangular steel tubing.

The Nightster comes standard with mid-mount foot controls and a low-rise handlebar.

The dual outboard emulsion-technology rear shocks attach directly to the swingarm, offering preload adjustment and 3.0 inches of travel. Up front, the Nightster is equipped with a 41mm Showa dual bending valve telescopic fork with 4.5 inches of travel.

The 19-inch cast aluminum front wheel is equipped with a single axially-mounted four-piston caliper and a 320mm disc. The 16-inch rear wheel is matched with a single-piston caliper and 260mm disc.

The 4-inch diameter instrument cluster consists of an analog speedometer with an inset multi-function LED.

Other features include a 27.8-inch seat height, full LED lighting (market dependent), a 32-degree lean angle to either side, and a choice of three colors: Vivid Black, Gunship Grey, and Redline Red.

2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster Specifications

Engine TypeLiquid-cooled Revolution Max 975T Chain-driven, DOHC, hydraulic self-adjusting lifters, intake VVT; four valves per cylinder
Bore3.82 in. (97 mm)
Stroke2.6 in. (66 mm)
Displacement59.5 cu in (975 cc)
Compression Ratio12:1
Power90 hp at 7,500 rpm (claimed)
Torque70 lb-ft. at 5,000 rpm (claimed)
Fuel SystemElectronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Air CleanerDowndraft intake, tuned velocity stacks, washable filter media
Exhaust2-into-1; catalyst in header
Lubrication SystemSemi-Dry Sump
Primary DriveGear, 49/89 ratio
Final DriveBelt, 80/34 ratio
ClutchMechanical, 8 plate wet, assist & slip, 1090N
Gear Ratios (overall) 1st12.21
Gear Ratios (overall) 2nd9.022
Gear Ratios (overall) 3rd6.994
Gear Ratios (overall) 4th5.641
Gear Ratios (overall) 5th4.731
Gear Ratios (overall) 6th4.131
FrameStressed-member, high strength low alloy steel trellis frame; stamped, cast, and forged junctions; MIG welded; aluminum forged mid-structure
SwingarmMild steel, rectangular tube section, stamped x-member; MIG welded
Front Fork41mm Showa Dual Bending Valve conventional forks. Aluminum fork triple clamps. 4.5 inches of travel
Rear ShocksRear suspension is dual outboard, direct-acting (no linkage) emulsion technology shock absorbers with coil springs and a threaded collar for pre-load adjustment. 3.0 inches of travel
Front Wheel19-inch aluminum cast, satin black, 2.5 inches wide
Rear Wheel16-inch aluminum cast, satin black, 4.25 inches wide
Front BrakesAxially mounted 4-piston caliper, single 320mm disc
Rear BrakesFloating single-piston caliper Solid uniform expansion rotor, 260mm disc
Brakes, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)Standard
TiresDunlop Harley-Davidson Series Bias Blackwall
Front TireD401F 100/90-19 57H
Rear TireD401T 150/80B16 77H
Rake (Steering Head)30°
Fork Angle28°
Trail5.4 in. (137 mm)
Length86.9 in. (2,206 mm)
Overall Width32.9 in. (836 mm)
Overall Height43.6 in. (1,108 mm)
Seat Height, Laden27.1 in. (688 mm)
Seat Height, Unladen27.8 in. (705 mm)
Wheelbase61.3 in. (1,556 mm)
Fuel Capacity3.1 gal. (11.7 l)
Oil Capacity (w/filter)4.75 qt. (4.5 l)
Coolant Capacity2.22 qt. (2.1 l)
Weight, As Shipped462 lb. (210 kg)
Weight, In Running Order481 lb. (218 kg)
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating922 lb. (418 kg)
Gross Axle Weight Rating, Front353 lb. (160 kg)
Gross Axle Weight Rating, Rear595 lb. (270 kg)
Lean Angle32 degrees left and right
Fuel Economy52.4 mpg (claimed)
BatterySealed, maintenance-free, absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery, 12V, 12Ah, 225 CCA at 0°F
ChargingThree-phase, 45 Amp system (300 Watts @13 Volts, 1200 rpm, 585 Watts max power @ 13 Volts, 2250 rpm)
Starting0.9 kW electric with direct drive starter motor engagement
HeadlightAll LED headlamp, low and high beam with signature position lighting
Rear LightsAll LED rear lighting
Front Signal LightsLED Bullet Turn Signals
Rear Turn SignalsLED Bullet Turn Signals
Gauges4-inch viewable round gauge area analog display with, Speedometer, L/R turn Indication, Traction Control Indication, Coolant Temperature Alert, ABS alert, Fog Lamp Indication, Battery Voltage Alert, High Beam Indicator, Low Fuel Indication, Rear-ABS Disabled Indication, Failure-Indication Alert, Neutral Position Indication, Low Tire Pressure indication, Check Engine Light indication, Oil Pressure Alert, Service Indication.
Warranty24 months (unlimited mileage)
Service IntervalFirst 1,000 miles (1,600 km), every 5,000 miles (8,000 km) thereafter

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the Motorcycle.com team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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