2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster RH975 First Look
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 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 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.
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 Type||Liquid-cooled Revolution Max 975T Chain-driven, DOHC, hydraulic self-adjusting lifters, intake VVT; four valves per cylinder|
|Bore||3.82 in. (97 mm)|
|Stroke||2.6 in. (66 mm)|
|Displacement||59.5 cu in (975 cc)|
|Power||90 hp at 7,500 rpm (claimed)|
|Torque||70 lb-ft. at 5,000 rpm (claimed)|
|Fuel System||Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)|
|Air Cleaner||Downdraft intake, tuned velocity stacks, washable filter media|
|Exhaust||2-into-1; catalyst in header|
|Lubrication System||Semi-Dry Sump|
|Primary Drive||Gear, 49/89 ratio|
|Final Drive||Belt, 80/34 ratio|
|Clutch||Mechanical, 8 plate wet, assist & slip, 1090N|
|Gear Ratios (overall) 1st||12.21|
|Gear Ratios (overall) 2nd||9.022|
|Gear Ratios (overall) 3rd||6.994|
|Gear Ratios (overall) 4th||5.641|
|Gear Ratios (overall) 5th||4.731|
|Gear Ratios (overall) 6th||4.131|
|Frame||Stressed-member, high strength low alloy steel trellis frame; stamped, cast, and forged junctions; MIG welded; aluminum forged mid-structure|
|Swingarm||Mild steel, rectangular tube section, stamped x-member; MIG welded|
|Front Fork||41mm Showa Dual Bending Valve conventional forks. Aluminum fork triple clamps. 4.5 inches of travel|
|Rear Shocks||Rear 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 Wheel||19-inch aluminum cast, satin black, 2.5 inches wide|
|Rear Wheel||16-inch aluminum cast, satin black, 4.25 inches wide|
|Front Brakes||Axially mounted 4-piston caliper, single 320mm disc|
|Rear Brakes||Floating single-piston caliper Solid uniform expansion rotor, 260mm disc|
|Brakes, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)||Standard|
|Tires||Dunlop Harley-Davidson Series Bias Blackwall|
|Front Tire||D401F 100/90-19 57H|
|Rear Tire||D401T 150/80B16 77H|
|Rake (Steering Head)||30°|
|Trail||5.4 in. (137 mm)|
|Length||86.9 in. (2,206 mm)|
|Overall Width||32.9 in. (836 mm)|
|Overall Height||43.6 in. (1,108 mm)|
|Seat Height, Laden||27.1 in. (688 mm)|
|Seat Height, Unladen||27.8 in. (705 mm)|
|Wheelbase||61.3 in. (1,556 mm)|
|Fuel Capacity||3.1 gal. (11.7 l)|
|Oil Capacity (w/filter)||4.75 qt. (4.5 l)|
|Coolant Capacity||2.22 qt. (2.1 l)|
|Weight, As Shipped||462 lb. (210 kg)|
|Weight, In Running Order||481 lb. (218 kg)|
|Gross Vehicle Weight Rating||922 lb. (418 kg)|
|Gross Axle Weight Rating, Front||353 lb. (160 kg)|
|Gross Axle Weight Rating, Rear||595 lb. (270 kg)|
|Lean Angle||32 degrees left and right|
|Fuel Economy||52.4 mpg (claimed)|
|Battery||Sealed, maintenance-free, absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery, 12V, 12Ah, 225 CCA at 0°F|
|Charging||Three-phase, 45 Amp system (300 Watts @13 Volts, 1200 rpm, 585 Watts max power @ 13 Volts, 2250 rpm)|
|Starting||0.9 kW electric with direct drive starter motor engagement|
|Headlight||All LED headlamp, low and high beam with signature position lighting|
|Rear Lights||All LED rear lighting|
|Front Signal Lights||LED Bullet Turn Signals|
|Rear Turn Signals||LED Bullet Turn Signals|
|Gauges||4-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.|
|Warranty||24 months (unlimited mileage)|
|Service Interval||First 1,000 miles (1,600 km), every 5,000 miles (8,000 km) thereafter|
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More by Dennis Chung