2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster | First Look Review

New liquid-cooled Revolution Max 975T powertrain is tuned for torque

The 2022 Nightster is Harley-Davidson’s latest offering, resurrecting an old Sportster model name for a new liquid-cooled Sportster variant using a Revolution Max 975T powertrain. It’s similar to the Sportster 1250 S, but it’s dressed in more traditional garb with several classic Sportster styling cues, like the walnut fuel tank shape, round air intake cover, and a side cover that looks like the previous Sportster’s oil tank. The Nightster also uses twin shocks rather than the S’s rear monoshock. What looks like a fuel tank is an airbox cover to ensure adequate breathing for the 90-hp variable-valve-timing V-Twin, while a 3.1-gallon fuel tank resides below the seat. Pricing starts at $13,499 for the Vivid Black version, while color options retail for $13,899. More information can be found in the press release below.


2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster

The 2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster model starts a new chapter in the Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle story – a leap forward in performance and design while remaining an accessible entry point to motorcycling and the brand. This all-new motorcycle combines a classic Sportster model silhouette with the on-demand performance of the new Revolution Max 975T powertrain and a host of contemporary electronic rider aids and features. The 2022 Nightster model redefines the Sportster motorcycle experience for a new generation of riders.

Check out Rider’s 2022 Motorcycle Buyers Guide

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“The Nightster is an instrument of expression and exploration, underpinned by performance,” said Jochen Zeitz, Chairman, President, and CEO of Harley-Davidson. “By building on the 65-year Sportster legacy, the Nightster provides a canvas for creativity and personalization, offering the ultimate platform for customization and expression for new and existing riders.”

2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster

New Revolution Max 975T Powertrain

At the heart of the 2022 Nightster model is the new Revolution Max 975T powertrain. It is a liquid-cooled, 60-degree V-Twin with a torque curve that stays flat through the broad powerband – and engine performance designed to deliver strong acceleration and robust power through the mid-range. The length and shape of the intake velocity stacks, combined with the airbox volume, are tuned to maximize performance across the engine speed range. The profiles of dual overhead camshafts and Variable Valve Timing phasing on the intake valves are designed to match the performance of this engine.

Revolution Max 975T Engine Specs

  • Displacement 975cc
  • 90 hp (67 kW) @ 7,500 RPM
  • 70 lb-ft (95 Nm) peak torque @ 5,000 RPM
  • 97mm bore x 66mm stroke
  • Compression Ratio 12:1

Hydraulic valve lash adjustment ensures quiet operation and eliminates the need for costly, complicated service procedures. Internal balancers help reduce engine vibration to enhance rider comfort and improve vehicle durability. The balancers are tuned to retain just enough vibration to make the motorcycle feel alive.

Powerful Agility

2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster

The Nightster model pairs a nimble, lightweight chassis with a powerful engine tuned for strong mid-range performance, an ideal combination for navigating urban traffic and charging along curving backroads. Mid foot controls and a low-rise handlebar put the rider in a centered, comfortable posture on the bike. Unladen seat height is 27.8 inches. The low seat height combined with a narrow profile makes it possible for most riders to confidently place feet down flat at a stop.

The Revolution Max 975T powertrain is the central, structural component of the Nightster motorcycle chassis, which significantly reduces motorcycle weight and results in a very stiff chassis. The tail section structure is lightweight aluminum. The swingarm is formed of welded rectangular steel tubing and is an attachment point for the dual rear shock absorbers.

Front suspension is 41mm SHOWA Dual Bending Valve conventional forks designed to provide improved handling performance by keeping the tire in contact with the road surface. The rear suspension features dual outboard emulsion-technology shock absorbers with coil springs and a threaded collar for pre-load adjustment.

Rider Safety Enhancements

The Nightster model is equipped with Rider Safety Enhancements* by Harley-Davidson, a collection of technologies designed to match motorcycle performance to available traction during acceleration, deceleration, and braking. The systems are electronic and utilize the latest chassis control, electronic brake control, and powertrain technology. Its three elements are:

  • Antilock Braking System (ABS) is designed to prevent the wheels from locking under braking and helps the rider maintain control when braking in a straight-line, urgent situation. ABS operates independently on front and rear brakes to keep the wheels rolling and prevent uncontrolled wheel lock.
  • Traction Control System (TCS) is designed to prevent the rear wheel from excessive spinning under acceleration. TCS can improve rider confidence when available traction is compromised by wet weather, an unanticipated change in the surface, or when riding on an unpaved road. The rider can deactivate TCS in any Ride Mode when the motorcycle is stopped and the engine is running.
  • Drag-Torque Slip Control System (DSCS) is designed to adjust engine torque delivery and reduce excessive rear-wheel slip under powertrain-induced deceleration, which typically occurs when the rider makes an abrupt down-shift gear change or quickly reduces the throttle while on wet or slippery road surfaces.

Selectable Ride Modes

2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster

The Nightster model offers selectable Ride Modes that electronically control the performance characteristics of the motorcycle, and the level of technology intervention. Each Ride Mode consists of a specific combination of power delivery, engine braking, ABS, and TCS settings. The rider may use the MODE button on the right-hand controller to change the active ride mode while riding the motorcycle or when stopped, with some exceptions. A unique icon for each mode appears on the instrument display when that mode has been selected.

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  • Road Mode is intended for daily use and delivers balanced performance. This mode offers less-aggressive throttle response and less mid-range engine power than Sport Mode, with a higher level of ABS and TCS intervention.
  • Sport Mode delivers the full performance potential of the motorcycle in a direct and precise manner, with full power and the quickest throttle response. TCS is set to its lowest level of intervention, and engine braking is increased.
  • Rain Mode is designed to give the rider greater confidence when riding in the rain or when traction is otherwise limited. Throttle response and power output are programmed to significantly restrain the rate of acceleration, engine braking is limited, and the highest levels of ABS and TCS intervention are selected.

The 3.1-gallon lightweight plastic fuel cell is located below the seat – what appears to be a traditional fuel tank forward of the seat is a steel cover for the airbox. The fuel fill is reached by lifting the hinged locking seat. Locating the fuel cell below the seat optimizes the capacity of the engine intake airbox and moves the weight of fuel lower in the chassis compared to a traditional fuel tank location, which results in a lower center of gravity for improved handling and easier lift off the sidestand.

The Nightster model features a round 4.0-inch-diameter analog speedometer with an inset multi-function LCD display mounted on the handlebar riser. All-LED lighting is designed to deliver style and outstanding performance while also making the motorcycle conspicuous to other motorists. The Daymaker LED headlamp has been designed to produce a homogenous spread of light, eliminating distracting hot spots. Combination rear brake/tail/signal LED lighting is located on the rear fender (U.S. market only).

Fresh Design Based on Classic Form

2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster

All-new from the wheels up with a look that is lean, low, and powerful, the Nightster model conveys classic Sportster model styling cues, most obviously in the exposed rear shock absorbers and the shape of an airbox cover that evokes the iconic Sportster walnut fuel tank. The round air intake cover, solo seat, chopped fenders, and speed screen recall elements of recent Sportster models, while a side cover that conceals the under-seat fuel tank has a shape similar to the previous Sportster oil tank. The Revolution Max powertrain is the centerpiece of the design, framed by snaking exhaust headers and finished in textured Metallic Charcoal powder coat with Gloss Black inserts. A cover below the radiator conceals the battery and helps the radiator appear less prominent. The wheel finish is Satin Black. Paint color options include Vivid Black, Gunship Grey, and Redline Red. Gunship Grey and Redline Red color options will be applied only to the airbox cover; the front and rear fenders and speed screen are always finished in Vivid Black.

Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Parts & Accessories has created a range of accessories for the Nightster motorcycle, designed to enhance fit, comfort and style.

The Nightster model arrives at authorized Harley-Davidson dealerships globally beginning in April 2022. U.S. Base MSRP is $13,499 (Vivid Black) and $13,899 (color options).

2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster

Harley-Davidson stands for the timeless pursuit of adventure and freedom for the soul. Go to H-D.com to learn more about the complete line of 2022 Harley-Davidson motorcycles, gear, accessories and more.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Finally ! A bike that has mass appeal with styling and features to suit a majority of riders searching for “THAT ONE BIKE!!!”

  2. I remember when the Indian Scout came out…It KILLED the Traditional Sportster in performance, engineering, looks…everything..
    Now with this and the Sporster S, Harley is looking like they want to compete again. I would love to see this engine in a Big Bore to compete with the Challenger. Really LOVE both companies, but Harley will have to keep going in this direction to get me back to buying Harley instead of Indian.

  3. Hope this pays off for HD. It has everything but price going for it. A Triumph Speed Twin is lighter faster and cheaper by a nice amount. But for those wanting and needing a Harley this looks the ticket. The standard foot controls ( I dislike forward) are a welcomed factory configuration, the Scout which is a fabulous bike only comes with foot forward. Waiting to see this on the road, may it be as successful as the 883 and Indian.

  4. Although not a Harley fan, I am impressed. I have had an Indian Scout which was way ahead of the old Sportsters but it looks like HD is finally catching up, at least with the Scout Bobber models. I like the looks of the bike but it could use a 2-into-2 exhaust. It also needs a larger fuel cell (4 gal. would do).

  5. Most of it looks… okay. But that HUGE exhaust bazooka, and the giant boxy radiator… Yuck. I suppose the argument is that most owners will ditch that ugly exhaust and spend another grand on an aftermarket set of pipes.

    I dunno. I get that it has a lot of the latest techie bells and whistles, but to me this is not a 14-grand motorcycle.

  6. Another indistinguishable cruiser with a run-of-the-mill moniker, while the truly interesting bike, the Bronx, has disappeared.

    My first bike was a 67 Harley Sprint. Haven’t owned another Harley since. I was lusting after a Bronx, but looks like I can cross Harley off my future bike list.

  7. I had no respect for Harley Davidson, maybe a little for Buell until the street models came along. They looked great and promised a lot with the specs but proved to be a little off on the design and reliability. I have to say respect to Harley now with the Sportster S and Nightster. Finally mid controls and really attractive. I hope the fine points of design and reliability prove better than the Street models.

  8. just did a demo ride on one, ride a Speed Twin for less and be happier. this idled at 1400-1500 rpm, no rear suspension travel, and exhaust note was wimpy, and for over $13k, and teh wires and tubes running everywhere, you can do better. long throw between first and second, was in sport mode the whole time, felt like rain mode, kept waiting for 90 horses to show up. very disappointed, if this is the future of HD, buy a air cooled now, Harley has met the enemy and it is themselves. and this ride review reads like HD wrote it….sorry after 1 million miles and dozens of metric and Euro bikes, look elsewhere, you’ll be glad you did. BTW, it is ugly…

  9. i guess a decent cost effective bike for that new rider not crazy about the gas tank under the seat. Like the riding modes and tech however first looks there is a lot of plastic on this bike- plastic lets face it fades, cracks, and just doesn’t last well in the elements.

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