Next Revolution Max Harley-Davidson Sportster

Harley-Davidson will announce its next Revolution Max-powered Sportster model on April 12. The Motor Company dropped a short music-themed teaser video titled “Instrument of Expression,” to promote the announcement, and offer a few tantalizing glimpses of the new model.

Harley-Davidson previously teased the next Sportster model last July, revealing a design with more traditional styling than the Sportster S. A dimly-lit shot of the whole bike at around the 12-second mark reveals a motorcycle that resembles photos Harley-Davidson sent out in a survey to select people, with similar details like the engine, fuel tank and the seven-spoke wheels.

Future Harley-Davidson Sportster

The sign-up page on Harley-Davidson’s website for updates on the new Sportster provides another look, this time revealing a headlight fairing and another look at the front end that also matches what we saw from the survey images. We can also make out a telescopic fork and a rear shock mounted right behind the seat, presumably matched with a second shock on the left side. This suggests the new model will have more typical cruiser performance than the Sportster S which employs an inverted fork and monoshock.

UPDATE: Harley-Davidson posted more photos of the next Sportster on Instagram, providing a better look at the silhouette, a head-on shot, and a glimpse of a circular instrument panel.


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The video’s title, “Instrument of Expression,” hints at the next Sportster as being a platform for customization, and we see a bit of that in the video. In the screenshot below, we can make out the exhaust pipe from the rear cylinder slanting down and towards the rear, like the pipes in the survey images.

Elsewhere in the video, we see someone working on a different exhaust design that has the pipe from the rear cylinder running forward and then curving back around the crankcase. Unless Harley-Davidson has two different models planned for April 12, we’re likely looking at an example of a customized version of the next Sportster.

The Sportster S is powered by the Revolution Max 1250T engine, but it’s not yet clear if the next model will have the same 1252cc displacement. When the Revolution Max engine was first announced, Harley-Davidson indicated that it would be offered in multiple displacements, from 500cc to 1250cc.

We suspect the new model will use a 975cc version of the engine, the size originally intended for the Bronx streetfighter. This would give Harley-Davidson two displacements similar to the 883cc and 1200cc displacements of the air-cooled Sportster range. It also gives Harley-Davidson a much-needed new model in the sub-1000cc range, and one with an MSRP lower than the Sportster S’ $15,499, to compete against the likes of the Indian Scout.

What we don’t know yet is what the next Sportster will be called. Over the last few years, Harley-Davidson has trademarked two names that could be likely candidates: Nightster and 48X. Both names have connections to previous Sportster models, and may be suitable for this new model.

We’ll find out more in a couple of weeks, when the next Harley-Davidson Sportster breaks cover on April 12.

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