2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster is the Sportster’s smaller sibling

Harley-Davidson dusted off the Nightster nameplate for a new motorcycle positioned at the bottom of its Sport range. Marketed as a more accessible alternative to the Sportster S, the 2022 Nightster receives a new version of the Revolution Max water-cooled V-twin engine.

Called 975T, the Nightster’s 60-degree V-twin is a 975cc unit that makes 90 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 70 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. It’s the central structural component of the chassis, a solution which allowed Harley-Davidson to keep weight down to 481 pounds. For context, the 502-pound Sportster S uses a 1,247cc two-cylinder that’s tuned to develop 121 horsepower and 94 pound-feet of torque.

Sportster-inspired styling cues and a low-slung design characterize the Nightster. Its fenders are chopped and only available in black, the shock absorbers are left bare, and fairing is kept to a minimum. One of the cool things about motorcycle design is that the drivetrain often doubles as a styling cue, and it’s clearly visible in the Nightster. The cylinders and the full exhaust system are among the exposed parts.

Harley made the Nightster accessible in more ways than one. It’s cheaper and lighter than the Sportster, but it’s also easy to ride. The seat is 27.8 inches high and the bike is reasonably narrow so most riders can place their feet down flat at a stop, according to the company. 

Although it’s positioned near the bottom of the Harley range, the Nightster packs a surprisingly long list of technology. It features ABS brakes, a traction control system, and a Drag-Torque Slip Control System (DSCS) designed to reduce rear-wheel slip under deceleration. And, like many modern cars, the Nightster offers several riding modes: Road, Sport, and Rain. The latter notably adjusts the throttle response and the engine’s output, limits engine braking, and dials in the highest level of ABS and traction control intervention.

The 2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster will reach showrooms this month. Pricing starts at $13,499 for the Vivid Black model, compared to $15,499 for the Sportster S. Gunship Gray and Adrenaline are available as well, but selecting either color bumps the price up to $13,899.


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