Harley-Davidson Unveils The Sportster Roadster. Blacked-Out Styling, Inverted 43 mm Front Suspension, Two-Up Seat, Slotted Black Exhaust. Starting At $11,199.

HarleyRoadsterHarley-Davidson Unveils The Sportster Roadster with a look reminiscent of a garage-built custom with blacked-out styling details, slammed bars, chopped rear fender, race-inspired graphics, a finned timer cover, slotted black exhaust shields and more… The new Roadster features a minimalist, fastback design inspired by classic racing motorcycles

“Since its introduction in 1957, the Harley-Davidson Sportster has proved capable of constant reinvention, and the Roadster writes a new chapter in that story,” said Harley-Davidson Director of Styling Brad Richards. “We’ve watched our customers take the Sportster in so many different directions. The Roadster is a mash-up of styling genres, but the intent was to build a rider’s motorcycle, a Sportster that’s lean and powerful and connects the rider to the road.”

As the newest member of the Dark Custom lineup, the Roadster combines modern performance and retro-inspired styling with premium suspension components, an air-cooled 1200cc V-Twin engine that delivers a strong pulse of mid-range torque and a profile reminiscent of vintage racing motorcycles from the 1950s and 1960s.

“We wanted to give the Roadster some DNA from the high-performance KHR models of the mid-50s, and later Sportsters tuned for the drag strip,” said Richards. “Those bikes had fenders cut to the struts, the small fuel tank, and were stripped to their bare essentials to achieve a singular performance purpose.”

HarleyRoadsterfourthThe 19-inch front and 18-inch rear Offset-Split 5-Spoke cast aluminum wheels were designed specifically for the Roadster and contribute to its balanced, athletic stance. The Roadster puts its rider in an aggressive posture with a new low-rise handlebar and mid-mount foot controls that center the rider’s weight over the classic profile of the 3.3-gallon Sportster® fuel tank.

“The wheels were inspired by classic laced wheels, and are the most intricate cast wheel we’ve ever created,” said Harley-Davidson Industrial Designer Ben McGinley. “The interlacing spokes shoot outward toward opposite sides of the wheel, creating a dramatic visual effect. These wheels are also very light for their size, which contributes to the Roadster’s handling performance.”

HarleyRoadsterbisRoadster’s suspension is enhanced by new 43mm inverted single-cartridge forks with tri-rate springs gripped in robust triple clamps and rear suspension featuring gas-charged emulsion coil-over shocks and tri-rate springs with adjustable pre-load and offers greater suspension travel than any other Sportster model – 4.5 inches in front and 3.2-inches in the rear. Outstanding stopping power is achieved with dual 11.8-inch floating rotors on the front wheel. The Roadster is available with optional ABS brakes.

In keeping with its stripped-down styling, the Roadster’s rear fender has been clipped 1.5 inches shorter than previous bobbed Sportster fenders. The slotted belt guard and muffler shields mimic the lightening holes drilled in race-bike components, and a single four-inch diameter instrument tucked low in front of the triple clamp features a sweeping analog tachometer with an inset digital speedometer. Rear turn signals mounted directly to the fender struts, a side-mount license plate and fastback seat design give the rear of the bike a tight and uncluttered look.

HarleyRoadsterter“The seat’s profile flows into the very short rear fender,” said McGinley. “The cover features a series of pads inspired by an armored leather jacket, and the rear of the seat is designed as a passenger pillion, to give the Roadster added versatility.”

The Roadster model will be offered in four color choices: Vivid Black with a charcoal denim pinstripe; Black Denim with a red pinstripe; Velocity Red Sunglo with a red pinstripe; and two-tone Billet Silver/Vivid Black with a burgundy pinstripe. MSRP starting at US$11,199.00

39 Responses to “Harley-Davidson Unveils The Sportster Roadster. Blacked-Out Styling, Inverted 43 mm Front Suspension, Two-Up Seat, Slotted Black Exhaust. Starting At $11,199.”


  1. 1 Steal Your Face Apr 18th, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Dual disk brakes on an inverted front end. Nice

  2. 2 Spaz Apr 18th, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Aaaaand still slow.

  3. 3 Blackmax Apr 18th, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Unlike the two articles below this one
    This is one BAD ASS sporty
    & the fact that it came from the Factory is even more amazing
    No, I’m too old to ride it now
    But if i was younger & I was more concerned with image & looks vs. power & rideability
    I might have to give it another look ???

  4. 4 JohnnySpeed Apr 18th, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    I could take or leave the rest of it, but that front end is sweet. I’d love to get my hands on one of those.

  5. 5 Highrider Apr 18th, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Just what we need another Sportster, looks like ideas are slim at the MoCo. Maybe they should copy the Vegas, a hell of a lot more for the money imho.

  6. 6 SoCalPhun Apr 18th, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Not in the market for a new bike, but I can dig it. Should do well.

  7. 7 BobS Apr 18th, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Harley’s answer to the Octane?

  8. 8 Woody's Apr 18th, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Always room for another Sportster (or Vic) and that one is sweet. Love that front end.

  9. 9 18bravo Apr 18th, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    I love Sportsters. Four of my bikes use their motors, if you count two Buell Cyclone motors.
    However, I’ll say the same thing here that I said on another site where I first saw this article – Take the same money and get a Scout.
    However, I will take those inverted forks…

  10. 10 cafesportytc Apr 18th, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    lets be honest , this is not a small cruiser like the scout… this is completely different… its something you can flick into the corners and ride like a motorcycle is MEANT to be ridden…

  11. 11 Andrew Walters Apr 18th, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    I’ve always loved the design of the Sportster, and this new Roadster is arguably the best looking Sportster HD has ever designed. The new staggered mufflers and cut-down fenders are very nice and aggressive looking, and the mid-pegs, dual front disc brakes and inverted forks give the bike a definite “Sporty” slant. If it performs as well as it looks, HD has a definite winner here.

  12. 12 NoH2oh Apr 18th, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    Finally. A Sportster that has some sport in it. Truly hope it does well, as properly suspended Sportsters have a spotty record in regards to sales. This bike makes sense going against the other “classic” bikes like the Bonnie and MG V7. At 1200cc she should have a bit more horses.

    That being said, the $$ point could be lower, I mean c’ mon…..this engine has been around since 1986 or so. The tooling has to be paid off by now.

  13. 13 Chris Moss Apr 18th, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Harley 1st quarter earnings are reported tomorrow morning. Let’s see how it’s going and if this launch date just a day before their financial results is diversion from bad numbers.

  14. 14 boston jim Apr 18th, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    H-D needs to bring back the TRAPDOOR in the Tranny, before they shorten the rear fender anymore !

    The Indian Scout, will BLOW the DOORS off this Sportster.
    PS, the Inverted Forks are nice ! BJ

  15. 15 philly Apr 18th, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    Another sports term variant? And only 11k and change?…..seriously?

  16. 16 Pat h Apr 18th, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Enough with the fender stub, loose 75 pounds

  17. 17 Seymour Apr 18th, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    I’m so old I don’t understand what this has to do with the early 80’s Roadster. It was a Sportster. For the Road.

  18. 18 Mdkuder Apr 18th, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    Wow bold new graphics…..

  19. 19 Dan Martinez Apr 18th, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    An inverted front end. Big deal…for Harley.

  20. 20 Doug Apr 18th, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    @boston jim – what doors? 🙂

    @Dan Martinez – good one

  21. 21 Badams Apr 18th, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Coulda Shoulda Woulda. The XR1200 had the right stuff; Roland Sands knew what was up and HD dealers across the pond stepped them up to be real screamers; coulda stepped up the XR, should have taken notes on those who did them right, woulda had a foot in the cafe sport scene?

    Roland Sands XR 1200
    http://www.rolandsands.com/blog/91/xr-1200-build

    Across the pond, WARR’S HD in England :
    http://www.motorcyclenews.com/news/2011/march/mar0311-warrs-harley-davidson-race-deal-/

    Oh and what is with that fender on that “Roadster”? Come on Harley, think…….

  22. 22 Kber45 Apr 18th, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    There is nothing special about this bike. Another black sportster. Really? Is this all you got?

  23. 23 Boomer Apr 18th, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    Never hurts to have an inverted front end with dual disks. Just sayin’…

  24. 24 garagedog Apr 18th, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    I like it. Just picked up an ’05 1200 roadster to build a cheap (I mean economical) hot rod.
    Why? Can’t be a mid-life crisis because I am too old.
    Love those forks……

  25. 25 nicker Apr 18th, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    Nothing at all wrong with this scooter…..
    Put a turbo-kit on it and have a BLAST….. 🙂

    -nicker-

  26. 26 coma Apr 19th, 2016 at 2:36 am

    Did anyone mention horsepower? Or weight? Come on HD, you tried to sell Sportsters as “Roadsters” 30 years ago (then it was just a, wait for it, Superglide tank that was supposed to do the magic). Nice front end though, and you’re only about 15 years late here.

  27. 27 coma Apr 19th, 2016 at 2:46 am

    In addition to my above comment: the Sporty engine with its four camshafts (can you believe 4 cams for just two pots? This is hard to beat in terms of uniqueness) is one of the surviving examples of a better time, when things were air cooled and made of bulletproof castings of agricultural dimension and quality. It will be a sad day when HD finally decide to let it die.

  28. 28 Randy L Hunt Apr 19th, 2016 at 6:27 am

    One nice sportster! Bet the Octane or Scout neither one will ever last as long as the sportster. Best bike Harley ever made. Proof is in the numbers. Cuddos to the MOCO for listening to the buyers.

  29. 29 Randy L Hunt Apr 19th, 2016 at 6:29 am

    No bike will ever out last the mighty sportster.

  30. 30 bigalyts Apr 19th, 2016 at 6:31 am

    aaannndddd where is the Frickken’ 100 HP Buell motor? You didn’t give that away to Eric, along with everything else for free, did you?

  31. 31 boston jim Apr 19th, 2016 at 7:05 am

    Hey Coma, Thank you, for the trip down memory lane! The early 60’s XLCH, made into Strokers in the late 60’s ! Now that was a riding rush everytime out! I don’t know how I made it to 66 ? The Good Ole Days ! When men were men, & the XLCH was KING ! I miss those days, camping on the side of Rt.106, Laconia, NH ! BJ

  32. 32 boston jim Apr 19th, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Hey bigalyts, I hope Eric Buell stole everything he could, after what H-D did to him ! H-D brought in a guy from Johnson Controls, to be the New CEO, He had NEVER even sat on a H-D, never mind, ride one! H-D stock dropped to $7.99, & we bought a Boatload of it, sat on it till it got back to $65, a share, & sold that! Today, they are somewhere near $46., they are reporting this morning, I’ll be watching! BJ

  33. 33 calif phil Apr 19th, 2016 at 7:54 am

    That is a great looking bike. I love Sportsters and own two vintage examples. I’m with Boston Jim. HD needs to bring back the trap door. A transmission issue should not cost as much as the bike is worth to repair.

  34. 34 SK Apr 19th, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Firstoff, find someone that doesn’t stay upright as a fence post in corners to model your bikes. Second, ABS isn’t standard for eleven grand? Third, another vote for the trap door!

  35. 35 cafesportytc Apr 19th, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    screw the trap door… give me 6 gears…..

  36. 36 Roberto Apr 20th, 2016 at 12:45 am

    The only one who controls my Johnson is the ol lady…..and the bike.

  37. 37 Will Morton Apr 20th, 2016 at 3:46 am

    Beautiful design and that front end is sweet. Not a bad price too!

  38. 38 boston jim Apr 21st, 2016 at 11:36 am

    @ Chris Moss, well Chris, it looks like it was a DIVERSION ! H-D down 0.5%, Indian up 50% ! BJ

  39. 39 PineappleAl Apr 25th, 2016 at 6:19 am

    Good job HD except you already were producing that bike, XR1200. Six speed, aluminum swing arm from the XR, rear set mounts, Buell XB wheels now we’re talking! Keep hp in the 80 to 90 range and cut weight to 425 lbs with fuel and bike could beat BMW r90t, Ducati Monsters and other mid displacement competitors on performance and price.

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Cyril Huze