10 Reasons The 2024 Harley-Davidson Sportster S Is The Perfect Urban Cruiser - SUV VEHICLE

10 Reasons The 2024 Harley-Davidson Sportster S Is The Perfect Urban Cruiser 

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The Sportster is an old book in Harley-Davidson’s library, going way back to 1957. This family of “junior” cruisers by the Motor Company has always focused on being excellent urban cruisers and an entry point into the brand. But what was once born as a bare-bones cruiser to take on the British twins and singles has now grown into a beast in its latest avatar. Yes, older Sportsters have won raves and jumped cars, but the latest-generation Sportster S is revolutionary.




Launched back in 2021, the Harley-Davidson Sportster S redefined the moniker, representing a seismic shift in terms of performance, handling, and design. The bike looks stunning, produces on-demand torque anywhere in the rev range, and is taut in the corners. It is the perfect urban cruiser for a modern rider. Here’s a quote from Jochen Zeitz, CEO, Chairman, and President, Harley-Davidson to set the tone:

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.

In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from Harley-Davidson, and other authoritative sources, including Motorcycle News and Motorcycle Magazine.


Related
10 Pictures That Illustrate The Evolution Of The Harley Davidson Sportster 

Harley-Davidson’s middleweight cruiser has gone through many changes over five decades

10 Hey, A Harley-Davidson With Electronic Rider Aids!

2024 Harley Davidson Sportster S
Harley-Davidson


The Sportster S comes equipped with various electronic rider aids, which are much-needed for the amount of low-end torque this motorcycle produces. Even the handling characteristics are such that they would encourage you to push the bike, (sometimes, beyond your skill levels). The bike boasts various rider aids, such as cornering ABS, cornering traction control, cornering drag-torque slip control system, and four rider modes (road, sport, rain, and custom). It also comes with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), so in this regard, it’s almost a complete package.


9 A Headlight That Actually Lights Up The Road

2024 Harley Davidson Sportster S
Harley-Davidson


This Harley-Davidson has an all-LED lighting setup, with the crown jewel being the Daymaker Signature LED headlamp. It not only looks sleek (thanks to its distinctive capsule shape) but also packs plenty of functionality. According to Harley-Davidson, the lighting setup produces a strong spread of light without any noticeable hot spots or gaps, so for urban riding, the lights should be plenty.

8 It’s Got Plenty Of Functional Features And Accessories

2024 Harley Davidson Sportster S
Harley-Davidson


The Sportster S has a healthy dose of functional bells and whistles. For starters, there’s a 4.0-inch TFT screen that offers all the essential information at a glance, along with Bluetooth connectivity for calls, music, and navigation. Apart from that, the bike is equipped with two dedicated power points for heated riding gear, a USB-C port, an external ambient temperature sensor, cruise control, and a proximity-based security system. It is also pre-wired for heated hand grips, and you can also opt for various Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Accessories listed below.

Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Accessories For Sportster S

  • Mid-control conversion kit
  • Passenger accommodation, including a pillion kit, passenger footpegs, and a backrest — each sold separately
  • Sundowner solo seat
  • Compact, detachable windshield
  • Tail bag with 8.2 to 11.5 liters of capacity

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7 The Ergonomics Are Aggressive And Engaging

2024 Harley Davidson Sportster S
Harley-Davidson


The Sportster S is not a long-distance cruiser but an urban cruiser, and as such, it has comparatively more ergonomics than your usual H-D. This will allow you to push the bike harder in both outright acceleration and cornering scenarios, promising an engaging experience. The foot controls are forward-set and the handlebar is low, plus the seat height isn’t too high, so most riders won’t have to tip-toe this bike anywhere. The levers are adjustable, too. Just don’t expect a luxury bagger-like comfort if you want to spend hours in the saddle.

6 The Handling Characteristics Will Surprise You

Chassis Type: Stressed Member, High Strength, Low Allow Steel Frame

2024 Harley Davidson Sportster S
Harley-Davidson


What makes the Sportster S even more engaging is how it handles on the road. Here, the engine is used as a stressed member inside a lightweight frame paired with a welded tubular steel trellis swingarm. The overall frame of the bike is stiff while being lighter than most Harley-Davidsons.


How does it perform on the road? The motorcycle is agile and changes direction much better than older Sportsters. The only thing hampering its handling dynamics is the bulbous front tire. Still, there’s ample cornering fun to be had. One more thing: this urban cruiser won’t scrape at every roundabout, thanks to sizable ground clearance.

Chassis And Dimensions Specifications

Rake

30 degree

Trail

5.82 in

Length

89.37 in

Seat Height

30.11 in

Ground Clearance

3.54 in

Wheelbase

59.84 in

Weight

502.65 pounds (in running order)


(Specs sourced from Harley-Davidson and Motorcycle News)

5 Premium Components That Improve The Ride Quality

2024 Harley Davidson Sportster S
Harley-Davidson


But wait, there’s more. The ride quality and handling are further aided by some premium components, which modernize the package and enhance its value proposition. To start with, the motorcycle has a set of fully adjustable Showa USD forks up top, while the rear has a piggyback reservoir for on-the-go adjustments. In addition, the Sportster S is equipped with lightweight cast-aluminum wheels that wear Dunlop’s Harley-Davidson Series GT503 tires. The braking duties are handled by a four-piston Brembo radial monobloc caliper at the front and a two-piston caliper at the rear.


Everything works seamlessly together to create an exciting ride quality, although the suspension is hamstrung from the onset. You’ll have to spend some time finding the right balance for you. The brakes seem ample, but we still wish H-D slapped another disc at the front.

Suspension And Braking Specifications

Front Suspension

43 mm inverted fork with compression, rebound, and spring preload adjustability

Rear Shock

Linkage-mounted, piggyback monoshock with compression, rebound, and hydraulic spring preload adjustability

Front Tire Size

160/70 x 17

Rear Tire Size

180/70 x 16

Front Brake

320 mm radially mounted four-piston Brembo monobloc

Rear Brake

260 mm floating two-piston caliper


(Specs sourced from Harley-Davidson)

Related
10 Things You Should Know About Sportsters Before Buying

Sportsters, or basic entry level cruisers have been popular for decades, but like all motorcycles, they aren’t for everyone

4 A Wolf In Wolf’s Clothing, As Harley-Davidson Calls It

2024 Harley Davidson Sportster S
Harley-Davidson


One look at the 2024 Harley-Davidson Sportster S and you won’t mistake it for anything else. That’s because it looks nothing like the good ol’ Sporsters of the past. This one is a radical shift in terms of design, thanks to its crouched and mass-centralized design. The aesthetics are all about muscle and performance, especially the front end (with its beefy forks and fat tire).

Design Highlights

  • Fuel tank and the subframe house the V-twin engine as the centerpiece
  • Bulbous front tire recalls the fenderless front end of classic bobbers
  • Slim seat, high-mount exhaust, and tail section inspired by the XR 750 flat tracker

“Every visual design element of the Sportster S model is an expression of the motorcycle’s raw power. This is a wolf in wolf’s clothing.” says Brad Richards, Vice President at Harley-Davidson.

3 Revolution-ary Performance (For A Harley)

Torque Output: 93 LB-FT @ 6,000 RPM

2024 Harley Davidson Sportster S
Harley-Davidson


The highlight of the motorcycle (both visually and in terms of the ride experience) is the Revolution Max 1250T V-twin engine. Sat at the heart of the Sportster S, the V-twin engine is in line with modern times, producing tremendous torque at low RPM with a steady torque curve throughout the rev range. While it may lack the character and buzz of older Sportsters, you won’t complain about how it performs on the road.


Give it the beans and the S lurches ahead without chugging or shuddering, and the engine doesn’t try to shake itself loose from the frame, either. Even the gearing on the bike is suited for urban riding, with the third gear being the most versatile one — it will go from the low 30s to a speeding ticket before you need to shift. Still, the bike can reach a top speed of 143 MPH!


But we have a couple of complaints about the engine. One, it does not have the drama that you’d associate with Harley-Davidson V-twin engines. Second, it lacks the signature potato-potato exhaust note that Harleys are known for. Third, it’s relatively quiet, thanks to modern emission norms.

Engine Highlights

  • Smaller valve and port dimensions, reshaped pistons, combustion chamber and airbox, and reworked cam profiles and VVT compared to the Pan America’s Revolution Max 1250 engine
  • 60-degree V-twin is narrow to aid in mass centralization while providing amble legroom for you
  • Throttle bodies create minimal turbulence in the airflow
  • Liquid cooling
  • Forged aluminum pistons for improved performance while reducing friction
  • Capable of running premium high-octane fuel

Engine And Performance Specifications

Engine Type

Revolution Max 1250T V-twin, liquid-cooled

Displacement

1252cc

Compression Ratio

12.0:1

Horsepower Output

121 HP @ 7,500 RPM

Fuel Economy

49 MPG (claimed)

Top Speed

143 MPH


(Specs sourced from Harley-Davidson)

2 It’s Lightweight, Too (Again, For A Harley)

Power-to-Weight Ratio: 0.241 HP/LB

2024 Harley Davidson Sportster S
Harley-Davidson


We were surprised at how light this Sportster S is. No, it’s not anywhere close to a naked, but it’s light for what it is. This is made possible thanks to a lightweight engine, used as the stressed member of the frame. According to Harley-Davidson, the engine is designed with the use of finite element analysis (FEA) and advanced design optimization techniques — whatever that means — to minimize material mass in both cast and molded components. At least this translates well in the real world, with the bike being easy to throw around, but the fat front tire is still a sore thump.

1 It’s Not Perfect, But It’s Still Terrific

Starting MSRP: $16,999

2024 Harley Davidson Sportster S
Harley-Davidson


The 2024 Harley-Davidson Sportster S might not be a perfect motorcycle (it somewhat lacks the OG Harley character) but it’s still a terrific urban cruiser. Marked as the pinnacle of the Sportster lineup (yet), it stands true to its flagship status in more than one aspect.


And just like all flagship Harleys, there’s no shortage of rivals for the S. Some of the key names are the Indian FTR 1200 (Indian’s take on a flat track-inspired bike), Ducati Diavel V4, and also the Indian Scout Bobber. Thinking which to pick? Then, check out this comparison between the FTR and the Sportster S.

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