2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S | First Look Review

All-New Sportster is Built on the Liquid-Cooled Revolution Max Platform

2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S liquid cooled Revolution Max MSRP $14,999

After the successful launch of the Pan America 1250, Harley-Davidson’s first-ever adventure bike that’s built on the all-new liquid-cooled Revolution Max platform, the Motor Company has announced a late addition to its 2021 lineup, the Sportster S. It will be in dealerships this fall with an MSRP of $14,999.

Visually similar to the 1250 Custom teased several years ago, the 2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S represents a new era for the legendary Sportster line. Since the introduction of the XL model family in 1957, Sportsters have always been stripped-down motorcycles powered by air-cooled V-Twins.

2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S liquid cooled Revolution Max MSRP $14,999
2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S liquid cooled Revolution Max MSRP $14,999

Harley-Davidson calls the new Sportster S a “sport custom motorcycle,” and at the heart of the machine is a 121-horsepower Revolution Max 1250T V-Twin, a lightweight chassis, and premium suspension.


“The Sportster S is the next all-new motorcycle built on the Revolution Max platform and sets a new performance standard for the Sportster line,” said Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO, Harley-Davidson. “This is a next generation Sportster defined by power, performance, technology and style. And it’s part of our commitment to introduce motorcycles that align with our strategy to increase desirability and to drive the legacy of Harley-Davidson.”

2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S liquid cooled Revolution Max MSRP $14,999

The new Sporter S has a stocky, muscular profile and fat tires that look like balled-up fists. Its minimalist front fender evokes the front end of a classic bobber, while its tail section, high-mount exhaust, and olo seat draw inspiration from Harley-Davidson’s legendary XR750 flat tracker. The engine’s lightweight magnesium engine covers stand out with a Chocolate Satin finish.

“Every visual design element of the Sportster S model is an expression of the motorcycle’s raw power,” said Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson vice president of styling and design. “This is a wolf in wolf’s clothing.”

2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S liquid cooled Revolution Max MSRP $14,999

Displacing 1,250cc just like the Pan America’s engine, the Revolution Max 1250T in the Sportster S makes less peak horsepower and is tuned for a broad spread of torque. The riding experience can be tailored to conditions or preferences with selectable ride modes (Sport, Road, and Rain, plus two Custom modes) and H-D’s Cornering Rider Safety Enhancements.

Like on the Pan America, the Revolution Max engine is a stressed member of the Sportster S chassis. It has a welded tubular-steel trellis swingarm with a braced design and stamped X-member to further stiffen the chassis.

2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S liquid cooled Revolution Max MSRP $14,999

Suspension is made by Showa and is fully adjustable at both ends, with a 43mm USD cartridge fork and a piggyback-reservoir rear shock with a remote preload adjuster knob. Likewise, the Sportster S has Brembo brakes at both ends, with a single 320mm rotor up front squeezed by a radial monoblock 4-piston caliper and a 260mm rear rotor with a 2-piston caliper. Lightweight cast aluminum wheels with a staggered, five-spoke design are shod with wide Dunlop/Harley-Davidson Series GT503 tires.

Forward foot controls and a low handlebar put the rider in an aggressive posture, and seat height is 29.6 inches. Cruise control and a proximity-based security system are standard equipment. With its 3.1-gallon peanut tank full of fuel, Harley-Davidson says the Sportster S model weighs just 502 pounds.

2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S liquid cooled Revolution Max MSRP $14,999

A round, 4-inch TFT screen displays all instrumentation and supports Bluetooth-enabled infotainment. All-LED lighting includes a Daymaker Signature LED headlamp. A wide range of accessories will be available.

The 2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S will be offered in Vivid Black, Stone Washed White Pearl, and Midnight Crimson.

2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S Photo Gallery


  1. great concept, 3.5 to 4 gallon gas tank would be nice, and if you are going to build a real performance bike…..COME ON HARLEY LONG OVERDUE LETS GET TWIN BRAKES UP FRONT!! This bike looks great cannot wait to try one!!

  2. great concept, 3.5 to 4 gallon gas tank would be nice, and if you are going to build a real performance bike…..COME ON HARLEY LONG OVERDUE LETS GET TWIN BRAKES UP FRONT!! This bike looks great cannot wait to try one!! Hope the seat is comfortable, maybe why it only holds 3 gallons.

  3. Looks like a Fat Bob with a V-Rod engine. Just not my style of bike! Also, how is this considered to be customizable? In fact my V-Rod Muscle had more options for customization then this bike! I do like the 121 horse power, 94 ft lbs torque, and 9500 RPM top end stoke engine and power train. I would like to see this engine and power train dropped into something that looks more like a 2017 Breakout or wide glide with an upswept tail and a longer front fork rack angle.

  4. Shame they could not give it a bit more lean angle. I guess a low slung bike poses challenges in that department. Hope it is a winner for them.

  5. can they make the exhaust pipes any bigger? Design obviously thinks the exhaust is a key feature of the “look”. Not interested.

  6. The “Old school Harley people” will hate it, not buy it. They hated the V-Rod. Wouldn’t even ride with one in their group. The V-Rod was probably the best bike Harley ever built. This will sell like hotcakes and bacon! Just doesn’t seem like it could have dropped from the Harley heritage tree!

  7. I never EVER would’ve thought I would have wanted a Harley Davidson, but this bike changes that.. I love the flat track look – especially the up swept pipes – I love the Indian but the lack of said pipes kill the look for me. Great job Harley! (something I never would have thought I would ever say)

  8. Had a V-Rod and love this new one. Always like owning a Harley that will kick the crap out of those vibrating and underpowered, go in a straight line, sleds

  9. I’m surprised it does not come with twin disc brakes and a bigger tank. The seat looks very uncomfortable because of the seat padding.

  10. Harley, I think you are doing it right. A modern motorcycle with a name reflecting the originals intent. I say make it faster, more powerful and show the pretenders who has the bullocks. It is time for the Company to wake from its slumber and revive the Gods of Horsepower, Torque and Thunder!

  11. It looks like a good start, but no dual disks up front, forward mounted pegs (again!), cornering clearance, and that idiotic front tire…..For once, would you just give it some rear suspension travel, and decent 17 inch wheels front and rear, so a guy has some tire options for performance? Take some hints from Buell, and make a sport bike, for sport bike people.
    The engine looks like the ticket, and some of the other styling bits, like the seat, are a step in the right direction, IMO. I doubt the traditional Harley fans are going to accept it, like the V-Rod, which was another one that was a step in the right direction. At least, you didn’t put ape hangers on it, and a skinny 21″ front.

  12. As stated. Needs lean angle of an XR1200. Dual disks in the front and better suspension on the rear. Was really hoping the Bronx would come out. But will take this as a step in the right direction. Not a fan of the pipes though. But overall a great start. Sporty riding without sparks & hard parts ripping off is most important. Price will tell all.

  13. SO CLOSE! Needs a 240/250 rear and a decent rear fender backrest and better looking aluminum swingarm like the 2012>2017 Nightrod (Best looking V-Rods). Optional rear bags and maybe higher bar option and I would buy one now. Just sold my 04 VRSCB today. Keeping my 2012 Nightrod and Roadking. Will take one for a test drive. If it performs like my V-Rod I will build a rear conversion kit for a 240/250 and fender. OH HD SO CLOSE!

  14. Last year I brought a Harley low rider S 114 and what a perfect bike and this year I am waiting on my bran new generation Harley Sportster Max 1250 T S so I find it amazing owning 2 Harley S bikes but not arriving till November bugger.

  15. This will be my first Harley. I never could stand the Harley look until the New Sportster S and Fatboy came out. I’m going to buy the Sporster S if they ever get one in the showroom before I change my mind. The new Rocket 3 sounds interesting too.

  16. Looks like the Sportster represents the new American. Fat, laden with tech gear, and not macho-looking at all.

    Can’t you guyz modernize an AMF 1975 (around there) Sportster? Lean, mean, machine. That’s a bike I want to be seen on. Customized with a hump seat and sissy bars. People would come up to me asking what Harley I was riding and ohh, that sound!

    People won’t do that with this one. Hey, who is the phat guy? Oh, dat’s the Sporster! You’re not breaking any trails here, Harley. You’re pursuing the wrong guy.

  17. Looks too much like a crotch rocket.
    Had a fat boy and a custom xl.
    Loved the look but they were no fun to ride.
    The fat boy is a tank with two wheels.
    I’m hoping one day they decided to build one in
    the 600 range, lightweight and looks like a motorcycle.
    With a lot of chrome.
    Six speed and water-cooled.


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